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her interests are deliberately menaced, and on the other hand there are few instances in history where a nation has been stayed in a career of conquest by anything except the application of brute force. The time, therefore, may come when England, either singlehanded or backed up by other Powers, must bid Russia stop. Should a resort to arms be the result, the objects for which we shall fight will be remote from the capitals of both empires, and the war rather what may be termed one of “convenance."
The feelings on either side need not be very seriously engaged — at all events not with the savage intensity we may have to witness displayed in struggles between races whose mutual hatred has been rendered more bitter by their geographical proximity. Should a conflict unhappily become necessary, it is to be hoped that its result will not be a rooted antipathy between the English people and the Slav race, which of a certainty has a great future before it in the world.
A. H. WAVELL,
RAJAH BROOKE-THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS:
I FIND that I was mistaken in stating (Macmillan's Magazine, No. 212, p. 154) that negotiations for the transfer of Sarāwak to England had some years since been renewed by the present Raja. So much misunderstanding has arisen in relation to that country that I am anxious to correct my mistake as early as possible, and to state that the cession of Sarāwak to England or to any other power has never been the subject of any negotiations to which the present Raja was a party.
RECENT DESIGNS FOR SHIPS OF WAR.
An opinion may perhaps be entertained he recommends the abandonment of in many quarters that professional armour for the protection of the batcritics are alone competent to discuss tery. An opposite view is expressed the shipbuilding policy of the navy. in an able letter which I have reA distinction should, however, beceived from an admiral in a high drawn between questions of construc- command. The writer is of opinion tive detail and questions of general that our men would have no chance in policy. In regard to the former, ex- an unarmoured ship if they had to perts alone can express a competent contend against heavy guns, protected opinion : on the general question, com- by a turret, and therefore fired with mon sense is no untrustworthy guide. confidence and precision. The perplexity of the subject is in- The painful uncertainty in which creased by the unfortunate circum- we are placed in this country is, howstance that the opinions of the experts ever, shared by every maritime power. themselves are often diametrically op. Impressed with a conviction of the posed ; and, as the controversies that impracticability of resisting the fire are raised are of the gravest national of the heavy guns recently introimportance, it becomes necessary for duced, many naval authorities have the public to form for themselves an advocated the abandonment of armour independent conclusion.
as a useless and costly encumbrance. I take as an illustration the discus. In his able work, La Marine Cuirassée. sions on the expediency of retaining published in 1873, M, Dislere, of the armour, and the relative power of Constructor's Department of the French the gun, the ram, and the torpedo. Navy, said, “The armoured sea-going In the British navy there is an cruiser is in our judgment an obsolete almost hopeless conflict of opinion. type.” The predictions of M. Dislere Captain Noel, the author of an essay, are almost justified by the course of to which the prize of the United Ser- events in naval construction. The vice Institution was recently awarded Inflexible is protected by 18-inch by three distinguished admirals, dwells armour, and the Italian ironclad, the on the importance of avoiding excessive Dandolo, by 22-inch armour. When top-weight, and so securing a sufficient the progress of gunnery shall have margin of stability to enable an iron- rendered 22-inch armour insufficient, clad to continue seaworthy, even Messrs. Cammell undertake to roll though partially waterlogged from plates of 30 or even 40 inches. “For injuries received in action. He con- the moment," as it was observed in siders this point so important, that an article on these vessels in the Times,
No. 214.- VOL. XXXVI.
" the advantage seems to be in favour merits of our latest ships, we may of armour; and yet a target, re- mention their proved capability of presenting the strongest portion of keeping the sea in any weather, their the armour of the Inflexible, was pene- abundant coal supply, and the powerful trated at 1,800 metres by a Krupp gun.” calibre of their artillery. It is not
While we find an eminent French too much to say that, by the origiauthority announcing that armour will nality displayed in their design, and shortly be laid aside, Admiral Porter, the skilful workmanship with which in his report, published in December, they have been constructed, the prestige 1875, said that the aim of the United of our country has been sustained, and, States should be, in making changes, indeed, in a very high degree increased. to resist the shot from the 12-inch 35- If it were probable that the navy ton gun, which at 200 yards perforates would be required to operate chiefly 15 inches of solid wrought iron. He in ocean warfare, it might be the wiser asked for twenty-four first class ships; course to continue to build ships of the but such vessels would represent, in Inflexible type, in preference to smaller his opinion, no decided power for vessels. But there is no immediate offence or defence, unless they carried prospect of naval operations on the sufficient thickness of armour to resist broad ocean. The principal maritime the average rifled gun, and had speed powers are directing their attention to get within striking distance of the chiefly to warfare of another kindenemy. “Wooden vessels," he ob- to the attack and defence of forts and served, “add nothing to the fighting harbours; and for coast operations force, just as, in former days, engage- ocean-going ironclads are not adapted. ments fought with frigates never ma- In the United States, no new ironclads terially affected the result of a war.” have been commenced since the close
In his essay, published in the pre of the civil war. In his report for sent year, entitled La Guerre d'Escadre, 1875, the Secretary of the United M. Dislere somewhat modifies the States Navy says, “Our circumopinion he had previously expressed. stances do not require that we should He says, “ The aim has been, with the take part in the rivalry between mastless ironclads, to produce a ship- monster cannon and impenetrable of-war unsinkable by the fire of the armour, since few of our ports are enemy, and capable of fighting its guns accessible to vessels carrying either, to the last. Everything has been sac- and these may be better defended by rificed to that idea. Due regard has attacking the vessel below her armour not been paid to the effect of the new by sub-aqueous cannon and movable weapons, the terrible effect of which and stationary torpedoes.” In Russia was revealed during the American War attention has of late been directed of Secession, and at the battle of Lissa. chiefly to the circular ironclads, the Against the ram, and against the tor- Popoffkas, which are intended solely pedo, the Colossus of the seas, of from for coast defence. In Germany it has ten to eleven thousand tons, loses the been decided to lay down no more advantages so dearly purchased; and ironclads at present. In France the the ironclad ship, protected by armour programme of shipbuilding was settled of moderate thickness, resumes those in 1872, when it was decided that advantages which, under a somewhat sixteen first-class and twelve secondinconsiderate impulse of popular class ironclads should be built. Finanopinion, were too little appreciated.” cial considerations have prevented the
The most competent authorities execution of these plans within the abroad are unanimous in the opinion period of ten years, originally contemthat the first-class ironclads of the plated, and, while the delay has caused British navy are triumphs of naval deep regret to many members of the architecture. Among the conspicuous French legislature, with others, that
regret has been tempered by the con- furthest possible point, there yet viction that, in a period of such rapid remain some unquestionable defects. transition, it was impossible to spend The armament of our most recent ironlarge sums on shipbuilding, with any clads is unsatisfactory. Their guns, confidence that the ships, when built, although of tremendous calibre, are would represent the latest ideas of too few in number. In the excitement naval constructors.
of action we cannot rely on perfect In his essay, La Marine d'Aujour- accuracy of fire, even were the field of d'hui, Admiral de la Gravière asks, but view unobstructed by the smoke, which does not answer, the question, What must inevitably envelope the contendkind of squadron will the admirals of ing fleets. Of the uncertainty of 1882 be called upon to command ? He artillery practice, no more striking appears so much in doubt as to future proof could be produced than that transformations of matériel, that his which was quoted by Captain Price, in attention seems to be mainly directed the course of the discussion on Captain to the effectual training of the person- Scott's lecture, delivered at the Royal nel of the fleet.
United Service Institution, on the On examining our shipbuilding pro- maritime defence of England. Captain gramme of the present session, one Price stated that the only practical salient feature will be at once noted. test as yet applied to our large guns, in With a single exception, that of an respect to accuracy of aim, was made in armoured torpedo vessel, all the 1870, when our three largest ships, the armoured vessels proposed are of Captain, the Monarch, and the Hercules large tonnage. The list includes the were sent out from Vigo Bay to fire at following ships :
a rock, distant about 1000 yards. The Agamemnon... :)
day was almost absolutely calm. The
each of New Agamemnon. ·
rock was 600 feet long, and 60 feet.
8,492 tons. Ajax . . . . . .
high, that is to say twice as long and Dreadnought ... 10,886 ,
four times as high as a ship. The Inflexible . . . . 11,406 ,, Nelson
18-ton guns, .
Hercules, armed with . . .., each of Northampton . . . } 7,323 ,
fired 17 shots, of which 10 hit. The Shannon . . . . . 5,103 1
Captain, armed with 25-ton guns, fired Téméraire . . . . 8,412 , 11 shots, and made 4 hits. The Torpedo Ram . .
Monarch, also armed with 25-ton guns, It cannot be doubted that all the fired 12 shots, and made 9 hits. ships under construction will prove for- Captain Price, arguing from these midable additions to the navy. It is data, agreed in the opinion, previously not contended that the construction of expressed by Captain Columb, that the first-class vessels of war should be Monarch, which, in six minutes from continued; but it is a subject for the time of opening fire, would have regret that, whereas, according to the fired 12 shots, could only expect to hit Navy Estimates of the present session, a sister vessel at a distance of 1000 it is proposed to build only 8,000 tons yards, from twice to fifteen times out of iron-clad shipping, we have so of every 100 shots. He further largely and rapidly increased the remarked that “as the size of our gun dimensions of individual vessels, that increases, so we must expect the the whole shipbuilding of the year is accuracy of the gun to decrease.” only sufficient to produce a single ship, Captain Scott lays it down that the and that ship liable to instant de armament of a first-class fighting ship struction by weapons of a comparatively should not be less than one gun to inexpensive nature, which can be multi- every thousand tons displacement. The plied therefore in almost overwhelm Inflexible has only one gun to every ing numbers. Moreover, while the 2000 tons displacement, and her dimensions have been carried to the armament, being mounted in pairs in
two turrets, and loaded and trained by mechanism, a great portion of which is common to both guns, cannot be reckoned as having the same relative value as four independent guns. If a projectile were to penetrate a turret the pair of guns mounted therein would probably be disabled. Four guns, therefore, mounted in pairs, cannot be reckoned as equivalent to more than three guns mounted and worked independently. It is a weak point in the Inflexible class that they have no light armament with which to defend themselves against gunboats and torpedo vessels.
Again, the armour, in the latest designs, covers only a limited area of the sides of the ship; and the unprotected ends, even though filled with cork and coals, and subdivided into numerous cellular compartments, are alleged by Mr. Reed to be fraught with considerable danger to the armoured citadel. I am not competent to take any part in the controversy between Mr. Reed and Mr. Barnaby; but I venture to point to the present discussion as an argument of incontrovertible weight against the policy of building vessels of extreme dimensions and consequently excessive cost. If a new argument were needed, in order to show the desirability of distributing more widely the risks of naval war, and increasing the means of attack — objects which can be best attained by multiplying the number of our fighting ships—it would surely be found in the deplorable controversy which has arisen respecting the Inflexible. Haying enlarged the dimensions of a single ship to 11,400 tons, and having expended upon its construction a sum which may be estimated at not less than half-a-million sterling, we have the mortification of hearing from a high authority that our enormous and costly ship is not fit to go into action.
There is reason to believe that other features in the most recent designs are not altogether satisfactory. The magazines are outside the citadel, with only a three-inch armoured deck over
them. The weakness of the bow for ramming is a still more serious consideration. “Suppose," as it has been suggested by a distinguished flag. officer, “a ship with unarmoured ends should be obliged to meet another, bow to bow, at full speed (a most likely occurrence); nothing could save her from immediate destruction, provided that her opponent were armoured, and therefore the stronger. If the Devastation or the Dreadnought, which are armoured round the bows, were to steer straight for the Inflexible, they would inevitably have the advantage over her weakly constructed bow. If the Inflexible were to endeavour to avoid the blow, she must expose her side to the enemy, which would be still more dangerous."
It is disappointing to be informed of the existence of so many defects in our most ingenious and costly ships ; and the British public will probably be disposed to concur in the opinion expressed by Mr. King, of the United States navy, in his description of the Inflexible, quoted in the Engineer of June 22nd :-“ Almost every conceivable precaution," he says, “has been taken to make her secure from the ram and the torpedo. If, however, she should be fairly struck by a soli. tary powerful fish-torpedo, it is quite possible that she would be crippled, water-logged, or possibly sunk.” The question, therefore, presented to us is whether two vessels of smaller dimensions, each carrying two 81-ton guns, instead of four, would not have been a a safer, and, in some respects, a better investment.
It was stated at the outset that it was not proposed to criticise the designs of our most recent ships of war, or to advocate any original views on naval architecture; but rather to ascertain the opinions of the most competent professional authorities, and to see how far the latest programme of shipbuilding was wisely framed for the purpose of carrying out their recommendations. The controversy as to the continued use of side armour