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cover the actual requirements of the Admiralty, and whereas the colliery owner now strives for a maximum output to enable him to reduce his cost per ton of coal worked, the Government objective would be a minimum, in order to reserve as much coal as possible underground for future contingencies. Of all the collieries in the United Kingdom, those in the South Wales coalfields are the most difficult and costly to work owing to their greater physical difficulties, and once a colliery commences to raise coal, it is essential to keep continually at work, otherwise the cost of winning the coal is increased beyond its marketable value. Furthermore, on the assumption that the Government would only raise sufficient coal to meet its own requirements, a large and unremunerative expenditure would be entailed in freeing the workings from water, and in keeping miles of underground roads in a state of efficiency-these roads require constant and unremitting attention, as, if they are neglected, they quickly become choked by dislocations and falls, and the cost of reopening is enormous.

As an example of the cost of maintenance, during the five months' coal strike of 1898 the expense of keeping in proper working order the Welsh collieries on the Admiralty list averaged 18. 6d. per ton, based upon the quantity that could have been raised had the collieries been in operation.

Doubtless, if it were possible for the Admiralty to take their requirements of fuel with regularity at certain equal periods, the difficulties of working one or more collieries would be obviated, or at least considerably simplified, but as the Admiralty requirements depend entirely upon the movements of the British fleets, the calls made upon the Welsh coalowners are not made at regular intervals; large quantities of coal are very often required at short notice to meet special requirements, and it is obvious that no one colliery would be capable of supplying more than a small proportion of these sudden demands.

For example, at the time of the autumnal maneuvres, or when the Channel Fleet makes an extended cruise, or on the occasion of any special mobilisation, the heavy demands for coal to be delivered immediately are met by a number of the twenty-four collieries now capable of turning out coal up to the Admiralty standard. What would be the position in a case of emergency, and were the whole of our naval resources put into commission ? The demand would be such that it would be absolutely impossible for a limited number of collieries under Government control to deal with it.

If our better-class collieries have to face a reduced export on account of an increased export tax, the result would doubtless be the closing of many, and the falling out of repair of others, so that it would be impossible, under these circumstances, to look to those collieries to supply any heavy Government demand which might

suddenly arise, until the time when such collieries were again placed in efficient repair to enable them to regain their normal output, and it can easily be imagined the difficulties a Government might experience in securing sufficient supplies of smokeless steam coal to meet its requirements.

Let us now turn to the proposal to purchase an unlet area of Welsh smokeless steam coal.

This proposition has been already under consideration by the Admiralty, and the matter has come under discussion during the sittings of the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies; but as this is not specially within the terms of reference of the Commission, it may be concluded that the Government had not contemplated adopting such a policy when the Commission was appointed.

That the available coal area is becoming very limited is generally admitted, and what is left is being gradually acquired by existing colliery companies for the further development of their properties.

No surprise need be felt at the Government's hesitation to recommend the locking up of capital in a venture of this description, as although a sufficiently large area may possibly be obtained, there can be no guarantee, when the time arrives for opening up these reserves, that the coal will be of a nature suitable for the needs of the Navy, and the purchase is bound to be of a somewhat speculative and doubtful character. The history of the coal trade is full of examples of capital lost in the sinking for coal which was never found, or, if found, was of a much inferior quality to what had been expected.

Then it must not be forgotten that an area cannot be developed in a short period of time, so that, in a case of emergency, au area which required opening out would be useless.

Owing to the nature of Welsh coal, it cannot be brought to the surface and stored for any lengthy period, as, unless under favourable climatic conditions, its calorific power deteriorates by exposure to the atmosphere; and it is owing to this fact that the Admiralty now ship considerable quantities of patent fuel for reserve stocks in hot climates, as this class of fuel can be better stored without the risk of deterioration.

The arguments used in favour of conserving our fuel supply for future generations lose much of their force when we consider the researches and developments of modern science.

We are told that Lord Nelson in his day advocated the reservation of British oak trees for the exclusive use of the Government in building ships of war. This year is the centenary of the battle of Trafalgar, and the death of England's greatest naval hero. What a revolution has been witnessed in naval architecture since that stirring episode in our national history! Is it not a reasonable inference to draw that the coal which we now possess stored in the Vol. LVII-No. 335


earth will in the near future be superseded by some vastly improved method of generating force? To think otherwise is a slur upon the inventive genius of our age. May we not look with confidence to the future, relying upon the infinite possibilities of electricity, gas, water, &c., as motive powers, any of which may replace coal as force-producing agents, or at any rate, considerably reduce its consumption ?

If we reserve large coal areas for the hypothetical requirements of future generations, it is quite probable that, long before our present collieries are exhausted, posterity may have on its hands large quantities of a combustible of little or no practical value, but which at the present time forms the basis of our national commercial supremacy.

Alarmists urge us to restrict the export of our smokeless steam coal. Why do they stop there? Why not arrest the sale to foreign nations of British-built ships of war, guns, ammunition, and the thousand and one articles manufactured in this country for export abroad, which might possibly be used against us in times of national peril? If it be considered a national danger to part with the output of our Welsh collieries, surely it is a much more suicidal policy to allow the 20,000 men now employed in the great Elswick Arsenal to devote their brains and energies to turning out guns for foreign men-of-war, guns which may be turned against us with the most disastrous effects should we become engaged in a great struggle with some powerful rival.

There is no foundation for the contention that our ships of war would be at any loss for smokeless coal should we again find ourselves at war. It is idle to suppose that, should this country be engaged in active hostilities, any smokeless coal which could possibly fall into the hands of our enemies would be allowed to leave our shores ; moreover, during such a crisis, the export trade of this country would be severely restricted, if not entirely suspended, and the export coal trade would naturally be the first to suffer.

The result would be that the bulk of the coal raised in the Welsh collieries would be immediately at the disposal of our Government. In a case of emergency the State would not hesitate to adopt temporary legislative measures to absolutely reserve all available smokeless coal for its own use. The idea that foreign governments have accumulated vast stores of Welsh coal is absurd. The very nature of the coal precludes any such idea. Welsh coal must be burnt within a limited period after being raised to secure the full advantage of its calorific powers. We may rest assured that in case of any complications, our Navy would have no difficulty in securing unlimited supplies of smokeless steam coal, and its position with regard to this class of fuel would be supreme.

It may be consoling to those pessimists who are alarmed at the




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increase in our coal exports to learn that we no longer enjoy the distinction of being the largest coal-producing country in the world. The world's output of coal has now reached a total of 790 millions of tons: the output in the United States of America has risen to 320,983,000 tons in 1903 as compared with 230,334,000 in the United Kingdom during the same year.

The time cannot be far distant when the competition of foreign countries will be far more seriously felt by our coal exporters. The increase in our exports of coal in the future will bear no comparison with that of previous years.

According to the opinions of experts, the resources of the Welsh coalfields will not be exhausted for at least another hundred years, and in view of this fact, and with the knowledge that the full naval requirements of Welsh coal, except during the period of a strike, have always been readily forthcoming, it may safely be concluded that the British Admiralty is content to rely upon present sources of supply, feeling no serious anxiety as to the future of that supply.

In conclusion, it is essential to keep before us the fact that any restrictions upon the free export of Welsh coal will be followed by economic disturbances of national importance; we cannot jeopardise the earning power of the many millions of money sunk in the development of the South Wales coalfield, and the great attendant enterprises requisite for the carriage and shipment of the coal, endanger the employment of the great mining population, to say nothing of the injury to our immense shipping industry, unless it is proved beyond any possibility of doubt that our very existence as a nation is at stake.


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Cardiff : December 1904.

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NOTHING has caused greater anxiety to thoughtful men of late than the relations between England and Germany. The statement by Count von Bülow printed in this Review last month was a welcome and by no means unneeded contribution to our knowledge of German feeling towards this country. One could wish that it was all that was required to reassure us as to the relations of the two peoples, but this is decidedly not the case. For some years past there has been a growing estrangement between the two nations, and something more than the obiter dicta even of Count von Bülow is required to set matters right. From the English point of view, of course, it is Germany which is chiefly to blame for the present state of things. The German press has been ostentatiously unfriendly to this country ever since our troubles began with the Boers in South Africa. During the Boer war, as Count von Bülow himself admitted in a speech last month in the German Parliament, the comic journals of Berlin went beyond all bounds in their violent and frequently indecent attacks upon England, its royal family, and its public men. But comic journals, more particularly those of the Berlin type, are regarded by sensible Englishmen as too contemptible to be worthy of serious notice. They have their importance, of course, as straws that show how the wind is blowing, but otherwise they cannot affect our English nerves. The misfortune in this case was that these comic papers indicated only too accurately the temper of the German people towards us, and that temper has certainly not improved of late. Two small experiences of my own show something of what appears to be the prevailing temper of large classes in Germany towards this country. For more than thirty years I have been a steady customer of a large wine-grower on the Rhine.

Our relations have always been most amicable, and I think I may say that a sincere friendship has grown up between us. Towards the close of the war this gentleman paid me one of his periodical visits, and in conversation with him I referred to the constant attacks and lampoons upon England in the German press. To my surprise, this friend of mine, whom I had always regarded

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