the fleets of the world. For here are docks for the repairs I dare not say of how many vessels, and ship-houses for the construction of one knows not how many more, and work-shops and arsenals and stores of timber and iron well-nigh inexhaustible. This is to have more than a hundred ships. This is to create productive capacity out of which may come many hundred ships, when they are are wanted. The faith men have in the maritime greatness of England rests not simply on the fact that she has afloat a few hundred frail ships, but rather on this more pregnant fact, that England, from Pentland Frith to Land's End, is one gigantic work-shop, -and that, whether she turn her attention to the clothing of the world or the building of navies, there is no outmeasuring her mechanical activity.

But passing from these questions, which relate to what may be called a nation's innate character and capacity, we come to a third consideration, of perhaps more immediate interest. One of the elements which help to make a nation's power is certainly its available strength. An important question, then, is, not only-How many ships can a nation produce ? but—How many has it complete and ready for use? In an emergency, what force could it send at a moment’s notice to the point of danger? In 1857 England had 300 steam ships-of-war, carrying some 7,000 guns, nearly as many more sailing ships, carrying 9,000 guns, an equal number of gun-boats and smaller craft, besides a respectable navy connected with her East Indian colonies: a grand sum-total of more than 900 vessels, and not less than 20,000 guns. And behind this array there is a community essentially mercantile, unsurpassed in mechanic skill and productiveness, and full of sailors of the best stamp. What tremendous elements of naval power are these! One does not wonder that the remark often made is so nearly true, -that, if there is any trouble in the farthest port on the globe, in a few hours you will see a British bull-dog quietly steaming up the harbour, to ask what it is all about.

There is another consideration which perhaps many would put foremost. Has the nation kept pace with the progress of science and mechanic arts ? Once, her superior seamanship almost alone enabled England to keep the sea against all comers. But it is not quite so now. Naval warfare has undergone a complete revolution. The increasing weight of artillery, and the precision with which it can be used, make it imperative that the means of defence should approximate at least in effectiveness to the means of offence. The question now is not, How many ships has England ? but, How many mail-clad ships ?-how many that would be likely to resist a hundred-pound ball hurled from an Armstrong gun? And if it should turn out that in this race France had outrun England, and had twenty or thirty of these gladiators of the sea, most would begin to doubt whether the old dynasty could maintain

The considerations to which we have alluded have already received a large share of the public attention. They have been examined and discussed from almost every point of view. Probably every one has some ideas, more or less correct, concerning them. But there is a consideration which is equally important, which has received very little attention, which indeed seems to have been entirely overlooked. It is this: the degree to which naval efficiency is dependent upon a wise colonial system.

its power.



If the only work of a fleet were to defend one's own harbours, then colonies, whatever might be their commercial importance, as an arm of naval strength, would be of but little value. If all the use England had for her navy were to defend London and Liverpool, she would do well to abandon many of her distant strongholds, which have been won at such cost, and which are kept with such care. But the protection of our own ports is not by any means the chief work of fleets. The protection of commerce is as vital a duty. Commerce is the life-blood of a nation. Destroy that, and you destroy what makes and mans your fleets. Destroy that, and you destroy what supports the people, and the Government which is over the people. But if commerce is to be protected, War-ships must not hug timidly the shore. They must put boldly out to sea, and be wherever commerce is. They must range the stormy Atlantic. They must ply to and fro over that primitive home of commerce, the Mediterranean. Doubling the Cape, they must visit every part of the affluent East and of the broad Pacific. With restless energy they must plough every sea and explore every water where the hope of honest gain may entice the busy merchantman.

See what new and trying conditions are imposed upon naval power. A ship, however staunch, has her points of positive weakness. She can carry only a limited supply either of stores or of ammunition. She is liable, like everything else of human construction, to accidents of too serious a nature to be repaired on ship-board. If, now, from any reason, from disasters of storm or sea, or from deficient provisions, she is disabled, and no friendly port be near,--and in time of war no ports but our own are sure to be friendly,--then ber efficiency is gone. And this difficulty increases almost in the ratio that modern science adds to her might. The old galley, which three thousand years ago, propelled by a hundred strong oarsmen, swept the waters of the Great Sea, was a poor thing indeed compared with a modern war-ship, in whose bosom beats a power as resistless as the elements. But its efficiency, such as it was, was not likely to be impaired. It had no furnace to feed, no machinery to watch, only the rude wants of rude men to supply, and rough oars to replace. A sailing ship, dependent upon the uncertain breeze, liable to be driven from her course by storms or to be detained by calms, gives no such impression of power as a steamship, mistress of her own movements, scorning the control of the elements, and keeping straight on to her destination in storm and calm alike. But in some respects the weak is strong. The ship is equal to most of the chances of a sea-experience. If the spar break, it can be replaced. If the storm rend the sails to ribbons, there are skilful hands which can find or make new ones. But the steamer has inexorable limitations. Break her machinery, and, if there be no friendly dock open to receive her, she is reduced at once to a sailing ship, and generally a poor one, too. Nor need you suppose accidents to cause this loss of efficiency. The mode of propulsion implies brevity of power. The galley depended upon the stalwart arms of its crew, and they were as likely to be strong to-morrow as to-day, and next month as to-morrow. The ship. puts her trust in her white sails aud in the free winds of heaven, which, however fickle they may be, never absolutely fail. But the steamer must carry in her own hold that upon which she feeds. You can reckon in weeks, yes, in days, the time when, unless her stock be renewed, her peculiar power will be lost.

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an five days; and from Malta to the extreme eastern coast of the sea .d back again hardly ten days' sail.

Take the grand highway of nations to India. England has her places refreshment scattered all along it with almost as much regularity as pôts on a railroad. From England to Gibraltar is six days' sail ; ence to Sierra Leone twelve days; to Ascension six days; to St. -lena three days; to Cape Colony eight days; to Mauritius not more; Ceylon about the same; and thence to Calcutta three or four days. ving farther east, a few days' sail will bring you to Singapore, and a v more to Hong Kong, and then you are at the gates of Canton. ark now that in this immense girdle of some twelve or fifteen thousand les there is no distance which a well-appointed steamer may not easily complish with such store of coal as she can carry.

She may not, leed, stop at all these ports. It may be more convenient and economI to use sails a part of the distance, rather than steam. But, if an igency required it, she

could stop and find everywhere a safe harbour. What is true of the East Indies is true of the West Indies. England 1 as much power as America to control the waters of the Western lantic and of the Gulf of Mexico. If America has Boston and New vrk and Pensacola and New Orleans and Key West, England has Llifax and the Bermudas and Balize and Jamaica and Nassau, and vre more of island-harbours stretching in an unbroken line from the orida Reefs to the mouth of the Orinoco.

But it is not simply the number of the British colonies, or the evenness th which they are distributed, that challenges our highest admiration. e positions which these colonies occupy, and their natural military rength, are quite as important facts. There is not a sea or a gulf in

world, which has any real commercial importance, that England has t a stronghold in the throat of it. And wherever the continents nding southward come to points around which the commerce of tions must sweep, there, upon every one of them, is a British settlement, d the cross of St. George salutes you as you are wafted by. There is rdly a little desolate, rocky island or peninsula, formed apparently by ature for a fortress, and formed for nothing else, but the British lion sit secure beneath his paw.

This is a literal fact. Take, for example, the great overland route im Europe to Asia. Despite its name, its real highway is on the iters of the Mediterranean and Red Seas. It has three gates,-three one. They are, the narrow strait of Gibraltar, fifteen miles wide ; that ice where the Mediterranean narrows between Sicily and Africa to ss than a hunded miles wide, and the strait of Bab-el-mandeb, venteen miles wide. England holds the key to every one of ese gates-Gibraltar, Malta, and at the mouth of the Red Sea, not one it many keys. There, midway in the narrow strait, is the black, bare ck of Perim, sterile, precipitous, a perfect counterpart of Gibraltar; d on either side, between it and the main-land, are the ship-channels hich connect the Red Sea with the great Indian Ocean. This England ized in 1857. A little farther out is the peninsula of Aden, another ibraltar, as rocky, as sterile, as precipitous, connected with the main nd by a narrow strait, and having at its base a populous little town, a srbour safe in all winds, and a central coal depôt. This England ought in 1839. And to complete her security, she has purchased of me petty Sultan the neighbouring islands of Socotra and Kouri,


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What a tremendous limitation this is! A passenger-boat, whose engines move with the utmost possible economy, having no cargo but the food of her inmates, will carry only coal enough for thirty-three or thirty-four days' consumption. This is the maximum. The majority cannot carry twenty-five days' supply. And when we add the armament and ammunition, and all that goes to make up a well furnished ship, you cannot depend upon carrying twenty days' supply. Put now, in time of war with a great maritime power, your ship where she would be most wanted, in the East Indies, and close against her the ports of the civilised world, and the sooner she takes out her propeller, and sends up her masts higher, and spreads her wings wider, the better for her. That is, under such circumstances, modern improvements would be worse than useless ; a sailing ship would be the best possible ship. Or come nearer home. There is the Alabama, swift as the wind, the dread of every American merchantman. How long would she remain a thing of terror if she were shut out from all ports but her own, or if Northern ships were permitted to frequent British and French ports for her destruction? Or consider another case equally pertinent. We are told, and no doubt truly, that the loss of Norfolk, at the commencement of the war, was an incalculable injury to Northern America. That is to say, the removal of a place of naval supply and repair only the few hundred miles which divide the Chesapeake from the Hudson was an untold loss. Suppose it were removed as many thousand miles, what then? One single fact, showing what, under the best of circumstances, is the difficulty and expense of modern warfare, is worth a thousand theories. In 1857, then, it took two hundred thousand tons of coal to supply that part of the English fleet which was in the East,--two hundred thousand tons to be brought from somewhere in sailing ships. If ever a contest shall arise among great commercial powers, it will be seen that modern science has made new conditions, and that the first inexorable demand of modern warfare is coal depôts, and docks and machine shops, established in ports easy of access, and protected by natural and artificial strength, and scattered at easy distances all over the commercial world. In short, men will appreciate better than they do now, that the right arm of naval warfare is not mail-clad steamers, but well-chosen colonies.

The sagacity of England was never more clearly shown than in the foresight with which she has provided against such an emergency. Let war come when it may, it will not find England in this respect unprepared. So thickly are her colonies scattered over the face of the earth, that her war-ships can go to every commercial centre on the globe without spreading so much as a foot of canvas to the breeze.

There is the Mediterranean Sea. A great centre of commerce. It was a great centre as long ago as when the Phænician traversed it, and, passing through the Straits of Hercules, sped on his way to distant and then savage Britain. It was a great centre when Rome and Carthage wrestled in a death-grapple for its possession. But England is as much at home in the Mediterranean as if it were one of her own lakes. At Gibraltar, at its entrance, she has a magnificent bay, more than five miles in diameter, deep, safe from storms, protected from man's assault by its more than adamantine rock. In the centre, at Malta, she has a harbour, land-locked, curiously indented, sleeping safely beneath the frowning guns of Valetta. But from Southampton to Gibraltar is for a steamship an easy six days' sail; from Gibraltar to Malta not more

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