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stores; and the question immedi- ventilation was conducted by artiately arises as to whether these ficial means, the axiom being that transports should not be able to the fighting value of the ship was defend themselves. If this ques- in no case to be interfered with. tion is answered in the affirmative, But we have changed all this; it we at once come to the big man-of- was found that the officers and men war again; and the really absurd had to live, the fight might never but strictly logical contention, from take place, and in case it did it the torpedo advocates' point of was more important to keep the view, of M. Gabriel Charmes, that living mechanism, on which, after a maritime power should depend all, everything depended, in a entirely on small torpedo - boats, healthy condition, than to prevent falls to the ground.
a chance shot đoing some small What, then, should be the proper damage, so in our more recent function of a navy such as England ships, skylights, ports, and scuttles, requires ? The answer cannot be giving the necessary air and light, better given than in the words of have been allowed, with the result the distinguished French admiral, of corresponding comfort and effiJurien de la Gravière. He asks, ciency under ordinary circum«« À quoi peut servir une marine pri stances. It appears to me that And he answers, “A occuper les this illustration shows the way in grandes voies maritimes."
which we should consider our navy This is our first necessity, and generally. It should be suitable large ships and large cruisers are for ordinary everyday use, and it required for this duty.
cannot be constructed solely to It is evident, too, that we must meet any special theory of war. meet any enemy on even terms, and Let us take the bombardment of if rams and torpedo-boats are im- Alexandria or the French operaportant factors in modern naval tions in China, in both of which warfare, we must not be behind- cases naval force came into play, hand in placing our fleet, to use but in neither of which would an expressive Americanism, “be- rams or torpedo-boats have been yond a peradventure," by being of much use. I am aware that a armed at all points, and we must great deal was endeavoured to be accordingly possess similar vessels. made of the use of torpedoes by But naval power consists in the the French in China; but a careability to carry out other duties ful consideration of the operations than that of fighting an enemy in shows that they played a very the open sea.
subordinate part, if indeed all that It is too easily assumed that in was done by the torpedoes might speaking of a navy we have sim- not have been at least as well done ply to be prepared to fight a rival, without them. On the other hand, who will meet us more or less on both after the bombardment of even terms; but peace service, and Alexandria and after the destrucwarfare against weaker or less tion of the forts at the mouth of civilised nations, have also to be the river Min, after the big guns thought of by the admiralty. had played their part, numerous
In the ironclads built ten to landing-parties were wanted; and twenty years ago, it was thought it was of the weaknesses necessary to sacrifice everything to of the modern ironclad or turretcomplete armour protection : mess- ship, adapted solely for action at sea, decks and cabins were not allowed that she could not furnish enough scuttles, skylights were tabooed, men to meet these requirements.
I hold, then, that, while modern and dogmatism, they have certainly arms and inventions must not be not been clearly stated; and I now ignored, we must enlarge our views propose to show the shipbuilding so as to embrace all the duties re- policy actually being carried out quired of a great maritime Power, by the leading maritime Powers. unless we are to sacrifice much of The following table is from a what has generally been held to be return called “Navies of England included in the term naval suprem- and other Countries,” moved for by acy. It may be necessary here to Lord Charles Beresford, and preadd, that among modern weapons sented to the House of Commons I have not forgotten the Norden- on 17th May last. The return felt submarine boat, but that I gives names and much detailed ininclude it as a development of the formation ; but as there is no sumtorpedo, very formidable under mary, I am responsible for classify
I certain circumstances, but essen- ing the results in a tabulated form. tially limited in its action.
It will be seen that I have adopted I have given above general indi- the term “ battle-ships" as prefercations of the views on which I able to that of ironclads, as the hold that our naval shipbuilding latter term would strictly include policy should proceed, which are, I lightly armoured gunboats, while believe, those of our best naval the large Italian vessels are not authorities at the Admiralty and properly ironclad at all, being unelsewhere, though probably, from protected by armour at the waterour national objection to formulas line.
The above return is very com- ironclads recently projected; but plete, and up to date of May last there were rumours as to the unyear. It would seem that ironclad satisfactory nature of their deship-construction on various sys- signs before Admiral Aube—who tems is still being carried on briskly has been called “Amiral Torpille,” in England, France, Russia, Italy, from his leaning towards torpedoes and Austria. Germany is holding —gave orders to suspend their her hand for the present; but for construction. It is very important her wants as a Baltic Power, she to note that in Italy and Russia is strong in ironclads.
more attention has been paid to In Russia and in Italy ironclads questions of naval warfare than have been commenced during the even in France or Germany. Ruspast year, and Russia has quite sia was the first to advocate and recently offered rewards to Russian attempt to carry out torpedo warnaval officers who may be success- fare on
a large scale; and the ful in competing for “the best Italians have also shown their full type of ironclad.” Italy, as I have appreciation of the torpedo as a shown, has recently taken the lead weapon. Yet it is remarkable in conducting experiments in re. that both these countries, whose gard to naval construction, and interests lie rather in maritime is building the three largest war- defence than in offence, with a vessels in existence. France, it limited commerce and a geographiis true, has stopped building two cal position which might allow of their dispensing with thorough sea- ances of naval officers and other going vessels, are eager to build responsible persons in this country, big ships. France has many ships of which I propose to give a few in course of construction, and will specimens :certainly complete them, with the Admiral Arthur, an officer of exception of the Charles Martel high attainments, who was for and Brennas, though this has been three years in charge of our adstigmatised by the torpedoists à mirable torpedo school in the outrance in that country as a waste Vernon, in a recent lecture at of public money. Austria has still the United Service Institution, two ironclads building, and is press- speaks as follows on the question ing their construction.
of ironclads. He reminds us A further comparison of the that France has generally “given table is foreign to my purpose in us the lead' in ship-construction, this article; but I am strongly of and adds, “they are now ahead of opinion that our great need at us in the coming arm—viz., the present lies rather in more cruis- sea-going torpedo-boat.
We now ers, torpedo-vessels, and torpedo- hear from France that the days of boats than in big ships. The lat- ironclads of the present type are ter, on the other hand, take much numbered ; and that such is really lo:iger to build, and cannot be the case I feel perfectly certain. neglected; while those who are The destructible ironclad, as I dissatisfied with the designs on will call it, valued at half a milwhich our new ships of the Ad- lion of money, can be sunk by miral class have been constructed, a locomotive torpedo valued at have been naturally anxious that £400, discharged from a sea-going some more formidable vessels should torpedo - boat, valued, say, at be commenced.
£25,000." This brings me to the Nile and Commander Bethell, M.P., has, Trafalgar controversy of last year, both in the House of Commons in which Admirals Sir Cooper and at the United Service InstituKey and Sir A. Hood took part, tion, pressed very similar views; and the discussion in the House of but at the latter he only went so Commons on Mr Shaw Lefevre's far as to advocate the substitution motion to suspend their construc- of smaller vessels for the large tion. The motion depended mainly ironclad, while in the House he on tactical questions, and as such it appeared willing to rely almost was discussed, though Mr Hibbert, exclusively on torpedo-vessels for in defending the vote for these fleet actions. Captain Bethell, large vessels, was content to urge who has had recent sea experience, the impolicy of “ blowing hot and and who stated that he was putcold,” and to state the necessity ting before the House " the views for placing this country in a posi- held by, at all events, a considertion of "equality or superiority” able section of his brother officers,” with that of France.
stated truly that “big ships were That the motion was defeated a corollary to big guns, and small is satisfactory on many grounds, ships a corollary to torpedoes, and of which I consider the tactical the question therefore now one as the most important; but between big ships and small there was, I admit, abundant ships ; and he added his “belief justification for it in the utter- that before long the torpedo would