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stunted by habitual espial and distrust. If, therefore, their system of education, instead of smelling from first to last of the policeoffice, were one of wisely-graduated probation, as they are capable of responding to generous treatment, and capable of selfrespect (else how could they possess that great personal courage?), much more would be done for the cultivation of these high and noble qualities than is now done in French places of education. To turn to matters intellectual, it is not very difficult to trace some part of their alleged weaknesses to the manner in which they have been taught. One naturally expects very headlong and headstrong reasonings from one who has never been inured to the pains of doubt and self-contradiction. But this training can only be had where the student is made to think for himself. Now, take any programme of French study and you will find that the deductions are all ready-made and taught pari passu with the facts. Every fact has its reason cut and dry. Iris is not the daughter of Thaumas, according to the Gallic mythology; all that state of wonder which is so useful both in humbling and in fortifying the mind is anticipated by a professorial solution.
To what does the French nation owe its great neatness and tact in arrangement, by which it has become the first people in the world in Epigram and in Ribbons? First and foremost, to its natural conformation of mind, which is marked by an instinct, so to say, for Plan and Pattern in everything, from Philosophy downwards ; but partly also to its own language, the very constitution of which requires the nicest delicacy in co-ordinating
wish it not to be offensive and obscure. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at if the study of their own language, and the reading and analysing of their best authors forms so large a portion of the instruction in a French school ; but much more is it a thing for us to wonder at and to be ashamed of, that, with such a literature as ours, the English lesson is still a desideratum in nearly all our great places of education, and that the future gentry of the country are left to pick up their mothertongue from the periodical works of fiction, which are the bane of our youth and the dread of every conscientious schoolmaster. Having thus given our neighbours and rivals the last word, and that in a matter of real importance, we quit them with cordial hopes of mutual forbearance and mutual edification.
Art. V.-1. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 177.
Debate on the Navy Estimates, 1865. 2. Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. United States, 1864. N unexampled amount of public attention has of late been
For more than two centuries, from the reign of Elizabeth to the commencement of the Revolutionary War with France, it was an accepted axiom that England was mistress of the sea ; and when, after the crowning victory at Trafalgar, we gave up the privilege of causing all foreigners to dip their colours and lower their topgallant-sails in the Narrow Seas, we did it as the graceful concession of the conscious victor to our beaten and humbled antagonists. Camperdown had enabled us to forgive, if not to forget, the short-lived superiority of De Ruyter and Tromp. St. Vincent and the Nile had shown our superiority at sea to our two ‘hereditary enemies. During the latter years of the Revolutionary War, until 1812, we found no one able to compete with us, and our confidence led us, in some degree, to relax our vigilant preparation.
Our dream of absolute superiority was, however, rudely awakened in that year; and the loss shortly after of three frigates, captured from us by the United States, showed us that Preparation is the handmaid of Victory. The success of the “Shannon' showed in what that preparation should consist. A ship equal in size and speed to her antagonist
, a crew disciplined by long sea-service, confident in their officers, and accustomed to accurate and rapid firing, gave a short and satisfactory account of a worthy foe. But peace soon followed upon this achievement. The lesson taught by it was forgotten, and some forty years of warfare with semi-barbarous antagonists rather thrust us back into a vainglorious confidence. In the mean time, however, great and rapid changes had been taking place in the matériel of our Navy. The changes, indeed, as the necessity for each appeared, had been passively resisted by the Admiralty; and though our mechanical ingenuity often made Great Britain the cradle of new inventions, yet other nations were frequently the first to avail themselves of the benefits conferred. Thus, the changes from sailing-ships to paddle-steamers, and from paddle-steamers to screw-propulsion, were grudgingly and slowly undertaken; and a similar hesitation is now experienced when the change in artillery has compelled us to reconsider the whole question of Naval strategy
Let us, now, therefore, endeavour calmly to review our Naval prospects.
To no country is naval superiority so vital a necessity. Wealthy cities, accessible from the sea, offer a tempting bait to the daring rover; a commerce co-extensive with the habitable world encourages the cupidity of hostile privateers; and colonies on which the sun never sets are the fair mark for an enemy's ambition. Have we a Navy ready to undertake the defence of all these varied interests and to protect the national honour? The first necessity of a Navy is a good supply of disciplined
The impossibility of manning our fleet at the outbreak of the Russian War gave us so rude a lesson that we have a little improved in this particular. The Coastguard and the Naval Reserve alike afford sources of supply which, it is to be hoped, may not fail us in the day of trial. But the true source of supply should be the boys whom we train for the Navy, and it is with great regret that we see a hesitation on the part of the Government to extend this useful national institution. At every port of any importance a training-ship should be stationed. In it the sons of our seafaring population would receive a short gratuitous naval education. In peace they would enter the mercantile marine, enrol their names in the Naval Reserve, improve the tone of our merchant service, and in war be ready to serve in the Royal Navy, returning with interest the care bestowed upon their youth. This would be a true Naval Reserve, and Government should be compelled to carry out completely the Report of the Commissioners on Manning the Navy. It is equally to be regretted that a reduction is threatened in the corps of Royal Marines. With all the qualities of good soldiers they are also amphibious, and are the most available troops for those short semi-naval cainpaigns which our insular position so frequently forces upon us. Another body of men is also urgently required; it is to the disgrace of our Naval Administration that a corps of trained artificers has not been formed to meet the varied requirements of an iron Steam Navy.
Skilful officers and well-disciplined men will not, however, alone give us the victory. The new artillery, the new naval architecture must be frankly accepted, and we must briefly consider these two material elements of success. When the Russian shot and shell rained harmlessly on the first French ironclads at Kinburn a revolution took place in naval war. At first the advantage was entirely on the side of the ships. Ships could be built of sufficient size to carry armour all but impenetrable to every projectile then in use.
The great danger of a modern sea-fight is fire, and the iron sides could exclude those missiles which were contrived to set fire to a wooden enemy. But the superiority of the ironclads was shortlived. Guns were contrived of so powerful a character that no ship could float the armour required to oppose them successfully. The attempt to give entire protection to the ship can now no longer be entertained, and it behoves us, under these altered circumstances, to decide what are the qualities necessary in a modern man-of-war. The first question to be resolved is the gun with which she is to be armed. If the Admiralty had at once bethought them of finding the best gun, and had not fettered that consideration with others of minor importance, the question would be nearer solution. The Admiralty, however, hampered
, the gunmakers by the incompatible condition of a gun to be made too light in comparison with its projectile.
The solution of the problem is to be found by accepting the necessity of a heavy projectile, fired from a gun of the requisite weight with a sufficient charge of powder. The four essential qualities of a gun are Precision, Force, Safety, and Endurance. To obtain Precision and range,
the be rifled, and, in the present state of our knowledge, on the best of those systems which allows of easy muzzle-loading. To obtain Force, a charge of powder must be used of at least one-sixth of the weight of the rifled projectile. To obtain Safety, the gun must be made of some material which will not burst under rapid and continuous fire; and to obtain Endurance, the internal tube of the gun must be made of some substance as hard as the steel projectile, or must be protected from friction by the interposition of a softer substance upon the shot. The gun should also be sufficiently long to give full effect to the charge, and at least one hundred and fifty times the weight of the projectile. Add to this that the projectiles must be of steel, and of such a diameter as to ensure that the holes they make cannot easily be plugged, and that the charge they may contain shall blow the side in on bursting if the shell itself fails to penetrate. The Ironplate Committee found by experiment carefully and repeatedly made, that no gun of less than twelve tons weight and capable of being used with 45 lbs. of powder had been successfully used by them against targets representing modern iron-clads, even at two hundred yards' distance. It would follow that a steel rifled projectile of 300 lbs. is the smallest with which our ships should be armed. To fire this efficiently a charge of at least 60 lbs. of powder is requisite, and the only guns which can be trusted to fire such charges have been made, up to this period, of coiled wrought-iron. Such a gun as this, however, should weigh at least 22 tons, and the problem to be solved is, how to use it at sea. Experiments have conclusively proved that no gunless than the 300-pounder is equal to the ironclads which are now in the possession of our own country and of foreign navies; but the 300-pounder at present is a gun of only 12 tons' weight. The best of the old 32-pounders was nearly 200 times the weight of the shot, and the 95 cwt. 68pounder was more than 150 times the weight of the shot. But the Admiralty will not give up the broadside principle; and though only two years ago they decided that no ship could use guns of more than 6 tons' weight in the broadside, they have determined, rather than give up their darling broadsides, to make what they call a compromise, and to use a 12-ton gun which is too heavy for the broadside and too light for the shot. No doubt exists that such guns as we require can be constructed, for a gun of twice the specified weight, known as “Big Will,' has been successfully used with a shot twice as heavy and a charge of 70 lbs.; and not only can they be constructed, but guns as large are being made in this country and supplied to every foreign Power from Russia to Peru.
The necessity for accepting this change is as urgent as was the change from bows and arrows to gunpowder, from flint locks to percussion caps, from Brown Bess to the Minié; and it now remains to decide how such guns can best be carried and handled at sea. The first quality for a good sea-going man-of-war is speed, consistent with perfect sea-worthiness. The next is stability. The third is handiness for maneuvring. She must also be incombustible and unsinkable. If she has these qualities in a greater degree than her enemy, her commander can so place his gun as to overpower his antagonist. Simultaneously with the great advances in artillery which we have been discussing, a discovery was made which gave us the power of using these monster guns at sea. An ingenious officer, now famous, Captain Coles, bethought him of applying the railway turn-table to ship purposes; and by an ingenious adaptation, the now well-known cupola protected the gun and gave it facility for manœuvring. Grudgingly did the Admiralty accept this fortunate discovery, and its advantages had been recognised by Danes and Americans long before we had a ship of the now necessary pattern. Refuse to use the turn-table and we shall go on blundering expensively until we recognise its value. Accept it, and the question of our future Navy is half solved.
What ships then shall we require for the sea-service ? No very great speed can be obtained with a vessel of less than 1500 tons, but such a ship can be built to go thirteen knots.