« PredošláPokračovať »
All, save the legends of the good old MAYOR,
On some far-distant shores
What can we do with him but let him go ?”
Yet sometimes harder measure was dealt out
During those four sad months wherein is mute
These, if we remember rightly, were very nearly the words attributed to the worthy magistrate on one of the occasions here referred to.
+ It is well known that the eight oyster-months are distinguished by the letter R, which does not occur in the other four.
His friend had never known that in the heart Of him who loves the oyster, there resides A feeling towards the cockle, which 'twould need Space far beyond our limits to explain.
Yet those four dismal months, for many a year, Dando survived ; and, as September came, Still reappeared-at first an altered man, But speedily to be himself again. We have already said that, now and then, He was “in trouble ;” and we now will say, That no good Londoner who ever heard Of Dando's “troubles,” but was glad at heart To meet him once more on his daily walk.
For there are few of us who do not see In any man, in any walk, possessed By any one idea, and whose life Is passed in still embodying the same, Something that takes its hold upon the mind : And all true oyster-eaters saw in one Who loved THE FISH “not wisely, but too well,” Much that they could not weigh in common scales.
In CLERKENWELL there is a lowly grave
IRON-CLAD SHIPS OF WAR.
“What! put an engine and screws the immediate adoption of these iron into the Royal Albert?” said, in 1849, plates, as a security against some of the best of the naval shipbuilders in the great risks of a sea-fight, would England, if not in the world. “Turn appear to be a natural and sensible that ship, sir, into a steamer ! Never measure. Surely,” he argues, “ if while I live!” The Royal Albert it be found that the wooden sides of was then on the stocks, and the our ships, whether of oak or teak, no Agamemnon's keel was being laid in longer afford partial protection for Woolwich dockyard. Five years the seamen at their guns against the afterwards, that worthy old man was strokes of Armstrong shells, at even in his grave, and the Royal Albert a mile distance-and Whitworth was a screw three-decker, and flag- boasts that his 3-pounder (which ship to Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons. is about the weight of the grapeThe world will wag on in spite of shot of the old 68-pounder gun) will the school of naval architecture. likewise pass into a vessel at a “What !” exclaim others to-day, as greater distance-if it is known that good and as true as Oliver Lang, an Armstrong's hundred - pounder
what ! put our Benbows, our shell, bursting at the water-line in Hawkes, Nelsons, and Victorias into the wooden side of a man-of-war, armour ?- cover our heart - of - oak rends a hole that will assuredly sink with iron, sir ? Have a care !" Yes ! her, in spite of all the shot-plugs in alas! we say, good sirs, it must be the navy—if a solitary red-hot shot,
Men of the sea, and men of planted in a ship's side, sets her on the dockyards, may, like the worthy fire-or if either it reaches, or a shell Canadian who first saw a vessel move bursts in, the magazines or handing under steam, throw up their hands rooms, the entire ship and crew will to heaven, and exclaim, “ Croyez be hurled into cternity-and it is
le bon Dieu permettra tout found that a 45-inch armour of cela !” and yet the world will wag wrought-iron materially reduces all on. Gunnery, steam, rifled muskets these risks-it must be better to and rifled cannon, have called into apply it, even should it not be enexistence certain safeguards, such tirely invulnerable, until some better as stouter earthen and granite para invention is discovered. It may not pets, better mantlets, securer maga- be perfect,” he would argue,“ but it zines, and lastly, iron plates to resist is a step in the right direction, and for a while the terrific strokes of evidently an improvement upon wood Armstrong's and Whitworth's pro- alone.” Our unprofessional man is jectiles. The thick parapet, the simply rational upon this point of mantlet of stout rope, the magazine ship-armour, because he happens to deeply buried in the ground, are out be untrammelled with any preconof the power of sailors to adapt to ceived notions upon the subject. It their ships; but theiron plate-which is far otherwise with the majority of is perfectly proof to shell, to hot-shot, naval officers and naval ship-archito grape-shot, and to congreve rock- tects. They are just as intractable ets, and only to be penetrated, upon the question of covering their when overlaying an elastic substance, wooden ships with armour as he (the by the heaviest solid shot, thrown landsman) would be if the matter at the close distance of 200 yards- were one of Puseyite innovation, affords to our navy an amount of church-rates, town-drainage, or musecurity equal to that found by sol- nicipal taxes. Bearing this in mind, diers behind their parapets of earth, therefore, let us not rail at the old or in granite casemated fortresses and experienced seamen and shipnot immunity, remember, but partial wrights, who are so hard to convince security. To the unprofessional in- upon the desirability of employing habitant of the United Kingdom, this new invention; but try to con
vince them, by meeting all their ob- ships out to fight our wooden ships, no jections, and by pointing out the doubt our fleet would have handled proved and probable advantages of his as effectively as the Russian fleet iron-clad ships over wooden ones. did that of the Porte at Sinope. But
We will first point out the causes that is exactly what the Russian did that have called into existence this not do. He had no distant colonies novel mode of protecting ships from to defend - he estimated at their the destructive effects of modern ar- proper value the man material of his tillery. When the Russian war of fleet; and he logically argued that 1854 broke out, there was a general a crew of seamen gunners behind opinion in naval circles, shared by a shot-and-shell proof parapet upon ourselves, that a fleet of line-of-battle the coast, must be a far more forships, manned with good seamen midable force for our fleet to tackle, gunners, would batter down any than if they were behind a wooden fortifications, if it could be laid wall through which every projecsufficiently close for the purpose-, tile could pass. That he judged namely, at about three hundred rightly, the history of our naval proyards' distance. If any one de- ceedings in the Baltic and Black Sea murred to this opinion, and quoted thoroughly proves. A steam-frigate the case of the line-of-battle ship of ours grounded a few miles from that, in the Walcheren expedition, Odessa. She had fourteen heavy guns, was beaten off by a couple of how- throwing 32.pound shot and shell, beitzers worked through a gap in a sides two pivots of the most formiddike-or the severe punishment of able description in the navy. She had the Pompée and Tigre, under the two 24-pounder howitzers, and two heroic Sir Sydney Smith, by a soli- field-pieces (a 6-pounder and 12-pountary martello tower—he was at once der). The Russians despatched from met by the very just reply, that naval Odessa a battery of four 24-pounder gunnery was then unborn; and all ob- or 12-pounder howitzers, with a portjections were overruled by the trium- able furnace for heating shot. There phantenumeration of Lord Exmouth's was a fog at first : when it lifted, exploit at Algiers, and of Admiral the frigate and battery commenced Stopford at St Jean d'Acre. There, action at short range. There was no you were told, fleets had recently suc- wind to affect the practice, and the ceeded in fighting fortresses, and only only thing against the frigate was, required to be well led to do so again. that she could only fire à portion The fact that it was in both cases a of her battery — yet the weight of mere contest between European and metal was all in favour of the Eastern skill and courage, was ignored ship. The frigate was thoroughly --and that at Algiers, as well as at searched by the enemy's fire, the Acre, our fleet was tamely permitted shell from the howitzers of the to proceed deliberately into position, enemy passed easily through her and open fire at its own time and sides and decks, bursting and spreadconvenience, was not sufficiently borne ing destruction everywhere. The in mind. However, our fleets had hot shot lodged in sail-bins, storehardly sighted the fortifications of rooms, and amongst other inflamRussia, and had a taste here and mable matter. The ship was soon there of the quality of their metal, on fire in many places; the captain and precision of their practice, before was mortally wounded--poor Giffard the fact of the extreme insecurity could do no more than die in the of the wooden ship as an engine of execution of his duty. Threatened modern warfare, dawned on the in- with explosion of the magazines, tellect of those immediately taking the frigate surrendered, and the part in the operations. If the Czar Tiger fell a prize to the Russians. Nicholas would have made war ac- A court - martial acquitted officers cording to rule, and sent his wooden and men of all blame ;* but the
* The facts of the case speak for themselves : A heavily armed frigate, stationary facts ought to be very instructive, of land-batteries over wooden vesand incontestably prove that even sels, however great the disparity of light shells and hot shot, thrown force in guns and weight of metal. from guns whose crews are properly We need not go into details; but sheltered, will generally master heavy amongst those engaged, there were artillery where the men have only a several who readily allowed that the wooden parapet. The bombardment employment of hot shot by the Rusof Odessa, for the purpose of destroy sians, to the extent that they used ing the shipping within the mole, was them, added undeniably to the danour next lesson. So far as numbers, gers of ship-fights; and one vessel weight, and efficiency of the guns was often quoted as an instance of upon the side of the Allies was con- the effect of a single hot-shot well cerned, all was in our favour. Yet placed. She was struck by such a prudence forbade the fleet taking missile, and it rolled down near the up fixed positions, and deliberately lining of the magazine; this vessel engaging the open batteries and had to cease firing, go out of action, field-works of the Russians. The and turn the energies of her crew to attacking force had to keep mov- the discovery of the shot and the ing to disconcert the fire of the ene- extinguishing of the fire. We may my. This measure told both ways, safely say that a naval action, upon for our vessels, instead of hitting the the plan of the Odessa bombardfortifications alone, often inissed ment, will not again be repeated. them, and spread their shot all over It may answer, as it did at Sveaborg, an open and harmless city. We sub- to have a fleet of heavily-armed gunsequently visited Odessa, and the im- boats, rattling along, and firing pression left on our mind was broadcast over the area of a fortitivery painful one; for the people cation, just to distract attention from fancied these stray shots were inten- mortar-vessels, or heavy ships that tional : and, indeed, their numbers are really doing the pounding ; but obliged one to confess that the prac- the issue of the combat must rest tice must have been very bad. We with the latter; and at Sveaborg the do not know whether it is so still, mortar-boats were judiciously placed but all those numerous shot-marks at an extreme range, where the heavy on the houses, churches, boulevards, guns of the enemy could not reach shops, or palaces, were then sur- them with effect. rounded with two black circles form- On the 17th October 1854 the final ing a riband, on which was inscrib- experiment of wooden ships against ed, “Holy Saturday, 1854,” as a granite and earthen walls was made, memento of what in Odessa was con- never, we believe, again to be residered an attack gloriously repulsed. peated until iron-clad ships range up Of course we do not think so; for in line of battle. The allied fleet was although no landing was effected, repulsed. The Agamemnon, the Alno trophies carried off, yet our object bion, Sanspareil, and other ships, did was attained; we burnt the shipping all that skill, gallantry, and daring with rockets, and destroyed the Rus- could accomplish to silence that Fort sian means of transport. Still the Constantine. They did not succeed; general result seemed still in favour neither will the Russian official ac
because aground, is knocked to pieces and captured by a trumpery battery on a cliff. “I think, sir !" observed an American engineer in Russian employ, " that your Tiger's affair was caution number one. I'm cussed if I'd like to come at these chaps hot-shot and shell in your wooden boxes !” Our Yankee friend was right to some extent; and after that affair there was more attention paid towards procuring shelter for guns' crews, especially on the upper decks of our steam vessels. Instead of letting bulwarks down, and allowing sixteen men to stand in a group to be a target for every missile, ports were more generally introduced, and bulwarks of wood again appeared. It was traditiovary to use wood; "it had answered against spherical, chaiu, and bar shot-why not against shell and rockets ?”