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SEA-POWER AND OTHER STUDIES

BY ADMIRAL SIR CYPRIAN BRIDGE, G.C.B.



PREFACE

The essays collected in this volume are republished in the hope that they may be of some use to those who are interested in naval history. The aim has been to direct attention to certain historical occurrences and conditions which the author ventures to think have been often misunderstood. An endeavour has been made to show the continuity of the operation of sea-power throughout history, and the importance of recognising this at the present day.

In some cases specially relating to our navy at different periods a revision of the more commonly accepted conclusions—formed, it is believed, on imperfect knowledge—is asked for.

It is also hoped that the intimate connection between naval history in the strict sense and military history in the strict sense has been made apparent, and likewise the fact that both are in reality branches of the general history of a nation and not something altogether distinct from and outside it.

In a collection of essays on kindred subjects some repetitions are inevitable, but it is believed that they will be found present only to a moderate extent in the following pages.

My nephew, Mr. J. S. C. Bridge, has very kindly seen the book through the press.

June 1910.



CONTENTS

I. SEA-POWER. II. THE COMMAND OF THE SEA. III. WAR AND ITS CHIEF LESSONS. IV. THE HISTORICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE NAVY AND THE MERCHANT SERVICE. V. FACTS AND FANCIES ABOUT THE PRESS-GANG. VI. PROJECTED INVASIONS OF THE BRITISH ISLES. VII. OVER-SEA RAIDS AND RAIDS ON LAND. VIII. QUEEN ELIZABETH AND HER SEAMEN. IX. NELSON: THE CENTENARY OF TRAFALGAR. X. THE SHARE OF THE FLEET IN THE DEFENCE OF THE EMPIRE. XI. NAVAL STRATEGY AND TACTICS AT THE TIME OF TRAFALGAR. XII. THE SUPPLY AND COMMUNICATIONS OF A FLEET. INDEX.



Ten of the essays included in this volume first appeared in the EncyclopoediaBritannica, the Times, the MorningPost, the NationalReview, the NineteenthCenturyandAfter, the CornhillMagazine, and the NavalAnnual. The proprietors of those publications have courteously given me permission to republish them here.

Special mention must be made of my obligation to the proprietors of the _Encyclopoedia_Britannica_ for allowing me to reproduce the essays on 'Sea-Power' and 'The Command of the Sea.' They are the owners of the copyright of both essays, and their courtesy to me is the more marked because they are about to republish them themselves in the forthcoming edition of the _Encyclopoedia_.

The paper on 'Naval Strategy and Tactics at the Time of Trafalgar' was read at the Institute of Naval Architects, and that on 'The Supply and Communications of a Fleet' at the Hong-Kong United Service Institution.



I

SEA-POWER[1]

[Footnote 1: Written in 1899. (_Encyclopoedia_Britannica_.)]

Sea-power is a term used to indicate two distinct, though cognate things. The affinity of these two and the indiscriminate manner in which the term has been applied to each have tended to obscure its real significance. The obscurity has been deepened by the frequency with which the term has been confounded with the old phrase, 'Sovereignty of the sea,' and the still current expression, 'Command of the sea.' A discussion—etymological, or even archaeological in character—of the term must be undertaken as an introduction to the explanation of its now generally accepted meaning. It is one of those compound words in which a Teutonic and a Latin (or Romance) element are combined, and which are easily formed and become widely current when the sea is concerned. Of such are 'sea-coast,' 'sea-forces' (the 'land- and sea-forces' used to be a common designation of what we now call the 'Army and Navy'), 'sea-service,' 'sea-serpent,' and 'sea-officer' (now superseded by 'naval officer'). The term in one form is as old as the fifteenth century. Edward III, in commemoration of the naval victory of Sluys, coined gold 'nobles' which bore on one side his effigy 'crowned, standing in a large ship, holding in one hand a sword and in the other a shield.' An anonymous poet, who wrote in the reign of Henry VI, says of this coin:

For four things our noble showeth to me, King, ship, and sword, and _power_of_the_sea_.

Even in its present form the term is not of very recent date. Grote [2] speaks of 'the conversion of Athens from a land-power into a sea-power.' In a lecture published in 1883, but probably delivered earlier, the late Sir J. R. Seeley says that 'commerce was swept out of the Mediterranean by the besom of the Turkish sea-power.'[3] The term also occurs in vol. xviii. of the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica,' published in 1885. At p. 574 of that volume (art. Persia) we are told that Themistocles was 'the founder of the Attic sea-power.' The sense in which the term is used differs in these extracts. In the first it means what we generally call a 'naval power'—that is to say, a state having a considerable navy in contradistinction to a 'military power,' a state with a considerable army but only a relatively small navy. In the last two extracts it means all the elements of the naval strength of the state referred to; and this is the meaning that is now generally, and is likely to be exclusively, attached to the term owing to the brilliant way in which it has been elucidated by Captain A. T. Mahan of the United States Navy in a series of remarkable works.[4] The double use of the term is common in German, though in that language both parts of the compound now in use are Teutonic. One instance out of many may be cited from the historian Adolf Holm.[5] He says[6] that Athens, being in possession of a good naval port, could become 'einebedeutende Seemacht,' i.e. an important naval power. He also says[7] that Gelon of Syracuse, besides a large army (Heer), had 'eine bedeutendeSeemacht,' meaning a considerable navy. The term, in the first of the two senses, is old in German, as appears from the following, extracted from Zedler's 'Grosses Universal Lexicon,' vol. xxxvi:[8] 'Seemachten, Seepotenzen, Latin. summae potestatesmaripotentes.' 'Seepotenzen' is probably quite obsolete now. It is interesting as showing that German no more abhors Teuto-Latin or Teuto-Romance compounds than English. We may note, as a proof of the indeterminate meaning of the expression until his own epoch-making works had appeared, that Mahan himself in his earliest book used it in both senses. He says,[9] 'The Spanish Netherlands ceased to be a sea-power.' He alludes[10] to the development of a nation as a 'sea-power,' and[11] to the inferiority of the Confederate States 'as a sea-power.' Also,[12] he remarks of the war of the Spanish Succession that 'before it England was one of the sea-powers, after it she was the sea-power without any second.' In all these passages, as appears from the use of the indefinite article, what is meant is a naval power, or a state in possession of a strong navy. The other meaning of the term forms the general subject of his writings above enumerated. In his earlier works Mahan writes 'sea power' as two words; but in a published letter of the 19th February 1897, he joins them with a hyphen, and defends this formation of the term and the sense in which he uses it. We may regard him as the virtual inventor of the term in its more diffused meaning, for—even if it had been employed by earlier writers in that sense—it is he beyond all question who has given it general currency. He has made it impossible for anyone to treat of sea-power without frequent reference to his writings and conclusions.

[Footnote 2: Hist.ofGreece, v. p. 67, published in 1849, but with preface dated 1848.]

[Footnote 3: ExpansionofEngland, p. 89.]

[Footnote 4: _Influence_of_Sea-power_on_History_, published 1890; _Influence_of_Sea-power_on_the_French_Revolution_and_Empire_, 2 vols. 1892; _Nelson:_the_Embodiment_of_the_Sea-power_of_Great_ _Britain_, 2 vols. 1897.]

[Footnote 5: _Griechische_Geschichte_. Berlin, 1889.]

[Footnote 6: Ibid. ii. p. 37.]

[Footnote 7: Ibid. ii. p. 91.]

[Footnote 8: Leipzig und Halle, 1743.]

[Footnote 9: InfluenceofSea-poweronHistory, p. 35.]

[Footnote 10: Ibid. p. 42.]

[Footnote 11: Ibid. p. 43.]

[Footnote 12: Ibid. p. 225.]

There is something more than mere literary interest in the fact that the term in another language was used more than two thousand years ago. Before Mahan no historian—not even one of those who specially devoted themselves to the narration of naval occurrences—had evinced a more correct appreciation of the general principles of naval warfare than Thucydides. He alludes several times to the importance of getting command of the sea. This country would have been saved some disasters and been less often in peril had British writers—taken as guides by the public—possessed the same grasp of the true principles of defence as Thucydides exhibited. One passage in his history is worth quoting. Brief as it is, it shows that on the subject of sea-power he was a predecessor of Mahan. In a speech in favour of prosecuting the war, which he puts into the mouth of Pericles, these words occur:— _oi_meu_ _gar_ouch_exousiu_allaeu_autilabeiu_amachei_aemiu_de_esti_ _gae_pollae_kai_eu_uaesois_kai_kat_aepeirou_mega_gar_ _to_tes_thalassaes_kratos_. The last part of this extract, though often translated 'command of the sea,' or 'dominion of the sea,' really has the wider meaning of sea-power, the 'power of the sea' of the old English poet above quoted. This wider meaning should be attached to certain passages in Herodotus,[13] which have been generally interpreted 'commanding the sea,' or by the mere titular and honorific 'having the dominion of the sea.' One editor of Herodotus, Ch. F. Baehr, did, however, see exactly what was meant, for, with reference to the allusion to Polycrates, he says, _classe_maximum_valuit_. This is perhaps as exact a definition of sea-power as could be given in a sentence.

[Footnote 13: Herodotus, iii. 122 in two places; v.83.]

It is, however, impossible to give a definition which would be at the same time succinct and satisfactory. To say that 'sea-power' means the sum-total of the various elements that go to make up the naval strength of a state would be in reality to beg the question. Mahan lays down the 'principal conditions affecting the sea-power of nations,' but he does not attempt to give a concise definition of it. Yet no one who has studied his works will find it difficult to understand what it indicates.

Our present task is to put readers in possession of the means of doing this. The best, indeed—as Mahan has made us see—the only effective way of attaining this object is to treat the matter historically. Whatever date we may agree to assign to the formation of the term itself, the idea—as we have seen—is as old as history. It is not intended to give a condensed history of sea-power, but rather an analysis of the idea and what it contains, illustrating this analysis with examples from history ancient and modern. It is important to know that it is not something which originated in the middle of the seventeenth century, and having seriously affected history in the eighteenth, ceased to have weight till Captain Mahan appeared to comment on it in the last decade of the nineteenth. With a few masterly touches Mahan, in his brief allusion to the second Punic war, has illustrated its importance in the struggle between Rome and Carthage. What has to be shown is that the principles which he has laid down in that case, and in cases much more modern, are true and have been true always and everywhere. Until this is perceived there is much history which cannot be understood, and yet it is essential to our welfare as a maritime people that we should understand it thoroughly. Our failure to understand it has more than once brought us, if not to the verge of destruction, at any rate within a short distance of serious disaster.

SEA-POWER IN ANCIENT TIMES

The high antiquity of decisive naval campaigns is amongst the most interesting features of international conflicts. Notwithstanding the much greater frequency of land wars, the course of history has been profoundly changed more often by contests on the water. That this has not received the notice it deserved is true, and Mahan tells us why. 'Historians generally,' he says, 'have been unfamiliar with the conditions of the sea, having as to it neither special interest nor special knowledge; and the profound determining influence of maritime strength on great issues has consequently been overlooked.' Moralising on that which might have been is admittedly a sterile process; but it is sometimes necessary to point, if only by way of illustration, to a possible alternative. As in modern times the fate of India and the fate of North America were determined by sea-power, so also at a very remote epoch sea-power decided whether or not Hellenic colonisation was to take root in, and Hellenic culture to dominate, Central and Northern Italy as it dominated Southern Italy, where traces of it are extant to this day. A moment's consideration will enable us to see how different the history of the world would have been had a Hellenised city grown and prospered on the Seven Hills. Before the Tarquins were driven out of Rome a Phocoean fleet was encountered (537 B.C.) off Corsica by a combined force of Etruscans and Phoenicians, and was so handled that the Phocoeans abandoned the island and settled on the coast of Lucania.[14] The enterprise of their navigators had built up for the Phoenician cities and their great off-shoot Carthage, a sea-power which enabled them to gain the practical sovereignty of the sea to the west of Sardinia and Sicily. The control of these waters was the object of prolonged and memorable struggles, for on it—as the result showed—depended the empire of the world. From very remote times the consolidation and expansion, from within outwards, of great continental states have had serious consequences for mankind when they were accompanied by the acquisition of a coast-line and the absorption of a maritime population. We shall find that the process loses none of its importance in recent years. 'The ancient empires,' says the historian of Greece, Ernst Curtius, 'as long as no foreign elements had intruded into them, had an invincible horror of the water.' When the condition, which Curtius notices in parenthesis, arose, the 'horror' disappeared. There is something highly significant in the uniformity of the efforts of Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Persia to get possession of the maritime resources of Phoenicia. Our own immediate posterity will, perhaps, have to reckon with the results of similar efforts in our own day. It is this which gives a living interest to even the very ancient history of sea-power, and makes the study of it of great practical importance to us now. We shall see, as we go on, how the phenomena connected with it reappear with striking regularity in successive periods. Looked at in this light, the great conflicts of former ages are full of useful, indeed necessary, instruction.

[Footnote 14: Mommsen, _Hist._Rome_, English trans., i. p. 153.]

In the first and greatest of the contests waged by the nations of the East against Europe—the Persian wars—sea-power was the governing factor. Until Persia had expanded to the shores of the Levant the European Greeks had little to fear from the ambition of the great king. The conquest of Egypt by Cambyses had shown how formidable that ambition could be when supported by an efficient navy. With the aid of the naval forces of the Phoenician cities the Persian invasion of Greece was rendered comparatively easy. It was the naval contingents from Phoenicia which crushed the Ionian revolt. The expedition of Mardonius, and still more that of Datis and Artaphernes, had indicated the danger threatening Greece when the master of a great army was likewise the master of a great navy. Their defeat at Marathon was not likely to, and as a matter of fact did not, discourage the Persians from further attempts at aggression. As the advance of Cambyses into Egypt had been flanked by a fleet, so also was that of Xerxes into Greece. By the good fortune sometimes vouch-safed to a people which, owing to its obstinate opposition to, or neglect of, a wise policy, scarcely deserves it, there appeared at Athens an influential citizen who understood all that was meant by the term sea-power. Themistocles saw more clearly than any of his contemporaries that, to enable Athens to play a leading part in the Hellenic world, she needed above all things a strong navy. 'He had already in his eye the battle-field of the future.' He felt sure that the Persians would come back, and come with such forces that resistance in the open field would be out of the question. One scene of action remained—the sea. Persuaded by him the Athenians increased their navy, so that of the 271 vessels comprising the Greek fleet at Artemisium, 147 had been provided by Athens, which also sent a large reinforcement after the first action. Though no one has ever surpassed Themistocles in the faculty of correctly estimating the importance of sea-power, it was understood by Xerxes as clearly as by him that the issue of the war depended upon naval operations. The arrangements made under the Persian monarch's direction, and his very personal movements, show that this was his view. He felt, and probably expressed the feeling, exactly as—in the war of Arnerican Independence—Washington did in the words, 'whatever efforts are made by the land armies, the navy must have the casting vote in the present contest.' The decisive event was the naval action of Salamis. To have made certain of success, the Persians should have first obtained a command of the AEgean, as complete for all practical purposes as the French and English had of the sea generally in the war against Russia of 1854-56. The Persian sea-power was not equal to the task. The fleet of the great king was numerically stronger than that of the Greek allies; but it has been proved many times that naval efficiency does not depend on numerical superiority alone. The choice sections of the Persian fleet were the contingents of the Ionians and Phoenicians. The former were half-hearted or disaffected; whilst the latter were, at best, not superior in skill, experience, and valour to the Greek sailors. At Salamis Greece was saved not only from the ambition and vengeance of Xerxes, but also and for many centuries from oppression by an Oriental conqueror. Persia did not succeed against the Greeks, not because she had no sea-power, but because her sea-power, artificially built up, was inferior to that which was a natural element of the vitality of her foes. Ionia was lost and Greece in the end enslaved, because the quarrels of Greeks with Greeks led to the ruin of their naval states.

The Peloponnesian was largely a naval war. The confidence of the Athenians in their sea-power had a great deal to do with its outbreak. The immediate occasion of the hostilities, which in time involved so many states, was the opportunity offered by the conflict between Corinth and Corcyra of increasing the sea-power of Athens. Hitherto the Athenian naval predominance had been virtually confined to the AEgean Sea. The Corcyraean envoy, who pleaded for help at Athens, dwelt upon the advantage to be derived by the Athenians from alliance with a naval state occupying an important situation 'with respect to the western regions towards which the views of the Athenians had for some time been directed.'[15] It was the 'weapon of her sea-power,' to adopt Mahan's phrase, that enabled Athens to maintain the great conflict in which she was engaged. Repeated invasions of her territory, the ravages of disease amongst her people, and the rising disaffection of her allies had been more than made up for by her predominance on the water. The scale of the subsequent Syracusan expedition showed how vigorous Athens still was down to the interruption of the war by the peace of Nicias. The great expedition just mentioned over-taxed her strength. Its failure brought about the ruin of the state. It was held by contemporaries, and has been held in our own day, that the Athenian defeat at Syracuse was due to the omission of the government at home to keep the force in Sicily properly supplied and reinforced. This explanation of failure is given in all ages, and should always be suspected. The friends of unsuccessful generals and admirals always offer it, being sure of the support of the political opponents of the administration. After the despatch of the supporting expedition under Demosthenes and Eurymedon, no further great reinforcement, as Nicias admitted, was possible. The weakness of Athens was in the character of the men who swayed the popular assemblies and held high commands. A people which remembered the administration of a Pericles, and yet allowed a Cleon or an Alcibiades to direct its naval and military policy, courted defeat. Nicias, notwithstanding the possession of high qualities, lacked the supreme virtue of a commander—firm resolution. He dared not face the obloquy consequent on withdrawal from an enterprise on which the popular hopes had been fixed; and therefore he allowed a reverse to be converted into an overwhelming disaster. 'The complete ruin of Athens had appeared, both to her enemies and to herself, impending and irreparable. But so astonishing, so rapid, and so energetic had been her rally, that [a year after Syracuse] she was found again carrying on a terrible struggle.'[16] Nevertheless her sea-power had indeed been ruined at Syracuse. Now she could wage war only 'with impaired resources and on a purely defensive system.' Even before Arginusae it was seen that 'superiority of nautical skill had passed to the Peloponnesians and their allies.'[17]

[Footnote 15: Thirwall, _Hist._Greece_, iii. p. 96.]

[Footnote 16: Grote, _Hist._Greece_, v. p. 354.]

[Footnote 17: Ibid. p. 503.]

The great, occasionally interrupted, and prolonged contest between Rome and Carthage was a sustained effort on the part of one to gain and of the other to keep the control of the Western Mediterranean. So completely had that control been exercised by Carthage, that she had anticipated the Spanish commercial policy in America. The Romans were precluded by treaties from trading with the Carthaginian territories in Hispania, Africa, and Sardinia. Rome, as Mommsen tells us, 'was from the first a maritime city and, in the period of its vigour, never was so foolish or so untrue to its ancient traditions as wholly to neglect its war marine and to desire to be a mere continental power.' It may be that it was lust of wealth rather than lust of dominion that first prompted a trial of strength with Carthage. The vision of universal empire could hardly as yet have formed itself in the imagination of a single Roman. The area of Phoenician maritime commerce was vast enough both to excite jealousy and to offer vulnerable points to the cupidity of rivals. It is probable that the modern estimate of the sea-power of Carthage is much exaggerated. It was great by comparison, and of course overwhelmingly great when there were none but insignificant competitors to challenge it. Mommsen holds that, in the fourth and fifth centuries after the foundation of Rome, 'the two main competitors for the dominion of the Western waters' were Carthage and Syracuse. 'Carthage,' he says, 'had the preponderance, and Syracuse sank more and more into a second-rate naval power. The maritime importance of the Etruscans was wholly gone.... Rome itself was not exempt from the same fate; its own waters were likewise commanded by foreign fleets.' The Romans were for a long time too much occupied at home to take much interest in Mediterranean matters. The position of the Carthaginians in the western basin of the Mediterranean was very like that of the Portuguese long afterwards in India. The latter kept within reach of the sea; 'nor did their rule ever extend a day's march from their ships.'[18] 'The Carthaginians in Spain,' says Mommsen, 'made no effort to acquire the interior from the warlike native nations; they were content with the possession of the mines and of stations for traffic and for shell and other fisheries.' Allowance being made for the numbers of the classes engaged in administration, commerce, and supervision, it is nearly certain that Carthage could not furnish the crews required by both a great war-navy and a great mercantile marine. No one is surprised on finding that the land-forces of Carthage were composed largely of alien mercenaries. We have several examples from which we can infer a parallel, if not an identical, condition of her maritime resources. How, then, was the great Carthaginian carrying-trade provided for? The experience of more than one country will enable us to answer this question. The ocean trade of those off-shoots or dependencies of the United Kingdom, viz. the United States, Australasia, and India, is largely or chiefly conducted by shipping of the old country. So that of Carthage was largely conducted by old Phoenicians. These may have obtained a 'Carthaginian Register,' or the contemporary equivalent; but they could not all have been purely Carthaginian or Liby-Phoenician. This must have been the case even more with the war-navy. British India for a considerable time possessed a real and indeed highly efficient navy; but it was officered entirely and manned almost entirely by men from the 'old country.' Moreover, it was small. The wealth of India would have sufficed to furnish a larger material element; but, as the country could not supply the personnel, it would have been absurd to speak of the sea-power of India apart from that of England. As soon as the Romans chose to make the most of their natural resources the maritime predominance of Carthage was doomed. The artificial basis of the latter's sea-power would not enable it to hold out against serious and persistent assaults. Unless this is perceived it is impossible to understand the story of the Punic wars. Judged by every visible sign of strength, Carthage, the richer, the more enterprising, ethnically the more predominant amongst her neighbours, and apparently the more nautical, seemed sure to win in the great struggle with Rome which, by the conditions of the case, was to be waged largely on the water. Yet those who had watched the struggles of the Punic city with the Sicilian Greeks, and especially that with Agathocles, must have seen reason to cherish doubts concerning her naval strength. It was an anticipation of the case of Spain in the age of Philip II. As the great Elizabethan seamen discerned the defects of the Spanish naval establishment, so men at Rome discerned those of the Carthaginian. Dates in connection with this are of great significance. A comprehensive measure, with the object of 'rescuing their marine from its condition of impotence,' was taken by the Romans in the year 267 B.C. Four quoestores classici—in modern naval English we may perhaps call them port-admirals—were nominated, and one was stationed at each of four ports. The objects of the Roman Senate, so Mommsen tells us, were very obvious. They were 'to recover their independence by sea, to cut off the maritime communications of Tarentum, to close the Adriatic against fleets coming from Epirus, and to emancipate themselves from Carthaginian supremacy.' Four years afterwards the first Punic war began. It was, and had to be, largely a naval contest. The Romans waged it with varying fortune, but in the end triumphed by means of their sea-power. 'The sea was the place where all great destinies were decided.'[19] The victory of Catulus over the Carthaginian fleet off the AEgatian Islands decided the war and left to the Romans the possession of Sicily and the power of possessing themselves of Sardinia and Corsica. It would be an interesting and perhaps not a barren investigation to inquire to what extent the decline of the mother states of Phoenicia, consequent on the campaigns of Alexander the Great, had helped to enfeeble the naval efficiency of the Carthaginian defences. One thing was certain. Carthage had now met with a rival endowed with natural maritime resources greater than her own. That rival also contained citizens who understood the true importance of sea-power. 'With a statesmanlike sagacity from which succeeding generations might have drawn a lesson, the leading men of the Roman Commonwealth perceived that all their coast-fortifications and coast-garrisons would prove inadequate unless the war-marine of the state were again placed on a footing that should command respect.'[20] It is a gloomy reflection that the leading men of our own great maritime country could not see this in 1860. A thorough comprehension of the events of the first Punic war enables us to solve what, until Mahan wrote, had been one of the standing enigmas of history, viz. Hannibal's invasion of Italy by land instead of by sea in the second Punic war. Mahan's masterly examination of this question has set at rest all doubts as to the reason of Hannibal's action.[21] The naval predominance in the western basin of the Mediterranean acquired by Rome had never been lost. Though modern historians, even those belonging to a maritime country, may have failed to perceive it, the Carthaginians knew well enough that the Romans were too strong for them on the sea. Though other forces co-operated to bring about the defeat of Carthage in the second Punic war, the Roman navy, as Mahan demonstrates, was the most important. As a navy, he tells us in words like those already quoted, 'acts on an element strange to most writers, as its members have been from time immemorial a strange race apart, without prophets of their own, neither themselves nor their calling understood, its immense determining influence on the history of that era, and consequently upon the history of the world, has been overlooked.'

[Footnote 18: R. S. Whiteway, _Rise_of_the_Portuguese_Power_ _in_India_ p. 12. Westminster, 1899.]

[Footnote 19: J. H. Burton, Hist.ofScotland, 1873, vol. i. p. 318.]

[Footnote 20: Mommsen, i. p. 427.]

[Footnote 21: Inf.onHist., pp. 13-21.]

The attainment of all but universal dominion by Rome was now only a question of time. 'The annihilation of the Carthaginian fleet had made the Romans masters of the sea.'[22] A lodgment had already been gained in Illyricum, and countries farther east were before long to be reduced to submission. A glance at the map will show that to effect this the command of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, like that of the western, must be secured by the Romans. The old historic navies of the Greek and Phoenician states had declined. One considerable naval force there was which, though it could not have prevented, was strong enough to have delayed the Roman progress eastwards. This force belonged to Rhodes, which in the years immediately following the close of the second Punic war reached its highest point as a naval power.[23] Far from trying to obstruct the advance of the Romans the Rhodian fleet helped it. Hannibal, in his exile, saw the necessity of being strong on the sea if the East was to be saved from the grasp of his hereditary foe; but the resources of Antiochus, even with the mighty cooperation of Hannibal, were insufficient. In a later and more often-quoted struggle between East and West—that which was decided at Actium—sea-power was again seen to 'have the casting vote.' When the whole of the Mediterranean coasts became part of a single state the importance of the navy was naturally diminished; but in the struggles within the declining empire it rose again at times. The contest of the Vandal Genseric with Majorian and the African expedition of Belisarius—not to mention others—were largely influenced by the naval operations.[24]

[Footnote 22: Schmitz, _Hist._Rome_, p. 256.]

[Footnote 23: C. Torr, _Rhodes_in_Ancient_Times_, p. 40.]

[Footnote 24: Gibbon, Dec.andFall, chaps. xxxvi. xli]

SEA-POWER IN THE MIDDLE AGES

A decisive event, the Mohammedan conquest of Northern Africa from Egypt westwards, is unintelligible until it is seen how great a part sea-power played in effecting it. Purely land expeditions, or expeditions but slightly supported from the sea, had ended in failure. The emperor at Constantinople still had at his disposal a fleet capable of keeping open the communications with his African province. It took the Saracens half a century (647-698 A.D.) to win 'their way along the coast of Africa as far as the Pillars of Hercules';[25] and, as Gibbon tells us, it was not till the Commander of the Faithful had prepared a great expedition, this time by sea as well as by land, that the Saracenic dominion was definitely established. It has been generally assumed that the Arabian conquerors who, within a few years of his death, spread the faith of Mohammed over vast regions, belonged to an essentially non-maritime race; and little or no stress has been laid on the extent to which they relied on naval support in prosecuting their conquests. In parts of Arabia, however, maritime enterprise was far from non-existent; and when the Mohammedan empire had extended outwards from Mecca and Medina till it embraced the coasts of various seas, the consequences to the neighbouring states were as serious as the rule above mentioned would lead us to expect that they would be. 'With the conquest of Syria and Egypt a long stretch of sea-board had come into the Saracenic power; and the creation and maintenance of a navy for the protection of the maritime ports as well as for meeting the enemy became a matter of vital importance. Great attention was paid to the manning and equipment of the fleet.'[26] At first the fleet was manned by sailors drawn from the Phoenician towns where nautical energy was not yet quite extinct; and later the crews were recruited from Syria, Egypt, and the coasts of Asia Minor. Ships were built at most of the Syrian and Egyptian ports, and also at Obolla and Bushire on the Persian Gulf,' whilst the mercantile marine and maritime trade were fostered and encouraged. The sea-power thus created was largely artificial. It drooped—as in similar cases—when the special encouragement was withdrawn. 'In the days of Arabian energy,' says Hallam, 'Constantinople was twice, in 668 and 716, attacked by great naval armaments.' The same authority believes that the abandonment of such maritime enterprises by the Saracens may be attributed to the removal of the capital from Damascus to Bagdad. The removal indicated a lessened interest in the affairs of the Mediterranean Sea, which was now left by the administration far behind. 'The Greeks in their turn determined to dispute the command of the sea,' with the result that in the middle of the tenth century their empire was far more secure from its enemies than under the first successors of Heraclius. Not only was the fall of the empire, by a rational reliance on sea-power, postponed for centuries, but also much that had been lost was regained. 'At the close of the tenth century the emperors of Constantinople possessed the best and greatest part' of Southern Italy, part of Sicily, the whole of what is now called the Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, with some parts of Syria and Armenia.[27]

[Footnote 25: Hallam, _Mid._Ages_, chap. vi.]

[Footnote 26: Ameer Ali, Syed, ShortHist.Saracens, p. 442]

[Footnote 27: Hallam, chap. vi.; Gibbon, chap. li.]

Neglect of sea-power by those who can be reached by sea brings its own punishment. Whether neglected or not, if it is an artificial creation it is nearly sure to disappoint those who wield it when it encounters a rival power of natural growth. How was it possible for the Crusaders, in their various expeditions, to achieve even the transient success that occasionally crowned their efforts? How did the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem contrive to exist for more than three-quarters of a century? Why did the Crusades more and more become maritime expeditions? The answer to these questions is to be found in the decline of the Mohammedan naval defences and the rising enterprise of the seafaring people of the West. Venetians, Pisans, and Genoese transported crusading forces, kept open the communications of the places held by the Christians, and hampered the operations of the infidels. Even the great Saladin failed to discern the important alteration of conditions. This is evident when we look at the efforts of the Christians to regain the lost kingdom. Saladin 'forgot that the safety of Phoenicia lay in immunity from naval incursions, and that no victory on land could ensure him against an influx from beyond the sea.'[28] Not only were the Crusaders helped by the fleets of the maritime republics of Italy, they also received reinforcements by sea from western Europe and England, on the 'arrival of _Malik_Ankiltar_ (Richard Coeur de Lion) with twenty shiploads of fighting men and munitions of war.'

[Footnote 28: Ameer Ali, Syed, pp. 359, 360.]

Participation in the Crusades was not a solitary proof of the importance of the naval states of Italy. That they had been able to act effectively in the Levant may have been in some measure due to the weakening of the Mohammedans by the disintegration of the Seljukian power, the movements of the Moguls, and the confusion consequent on the rise of the Ottomans. However that may have been, the naval strength of those Italian states was great absolutely as well as relatively. Sismondi, speaking of Venice, Pisa, and Genoa, towards the end of the eleventh century, says 'these three cities had more vessels on the Mediterranean than the whole of Christendom besides.'[29] Dealing with a period two centuries later, he declares it 'difficult to comprehend how two simple cities could put to sea such prodigious fleets as those of Pisa and Genoa.' The difficulty disappears when we have Mahan's explanation. The maritime republics of Italy—like Athens and Rhodes in ancient, Catalonia in mediaeval, and England and the Netherlands in more modern times—were 'peculiarly well fitted, by situation and resources, for the control of the sea by both war and commerce.' As far as the western Mediterranean was concerned, Genoa and Pisa had given early proofs of their maritime energy, and fixed themselves, in succession to the Saracens, in the Balearic Isles, Sardinia, and Corsica. Sea-power was the Themistoclean instrument with which they made a small state into a great one.

[Footnote 29: _Ital._Republics_, English ed., p. 29.]

A fertile source of dispute between states is the acquisition of territory beyond sea. As others have done before and since, the maritime republics of Italy quarrelled over this. Sea-power seemed, like Saturn, to devour its own children. In 1284, in a great sea-fight off Meloria, the Pisans were defeated by the Genoese with heavy loss, which, as Sismondi states, 'ruined the maritime power' of the former. From that time Genoa, transferring her activity to the Levant, became the rival of Venice, The fleets of the two cities in 1298 met near Cyprus in an encounter, said to be accidental, that began 'a terrible war which for seven years stained the Mediterranean with blood and consumed immense wealth.' In the next century the two republics, 'irritated by commercial quarrels'—like the English and Dutch afterwards—were again at war in the Levant. Sometimes one side, sometimes the other was victorious; but the contest was exhausting to both, and especially to Venice. Within a quarter of a century they were at war again. Hostilities lasted till the Genoese met with the crushing defeat of Chioggia. 'From this time,' says Hallam, 'Genoa never commanded the ocean with such navies as before; her commerce gradually went into decay; and the fifteenth century, the most splendid in the annals of Venice, is till recent times the most ignominious in those of Genoa.' Venice seemed now to have no naval rival, and had no fear that anyone could forbid the ceremony in which the Doge, standing in the bows of the _Bucentaur_, cast a ring into the Adriatic with the words, _Desponsamus_te,_Mare,_in_signum_veri_perpetuique_dominii_. The result of the combats at Chioggia, though fatal to it in the long-run, did not at once destroy the naval importance of Genoa. A remarkable characteristic of sea-power is the delusive manner in which it appears to revive after a great defeat. The Persian navy occasionally made a brave show afterwards; but in reality it had received at Salamis a mortal wound. Athens seemed strong enough on the sea after the catastrophe of Syracuse; but, as already stated, her naval power had been given there a check from which it never completely recovered. The navy of Carthage had had similar experience; and, in later ages, the power of the Turks was broken at Lepanto and that of Spain at Gravelines notwithstanding deceptive appearances afterwards. Venice was soon confronted on the sea by a new rival. The Turkish naval historian, Haji Khalifeh,[30] tells us that, 'After the taking of Constantinople, when they [the Ottomans] spread their conquests over land and sea, it became necessary to build ships and make armaments in order to subdue the fortresses and castles on the Rumelian and Anatolian shores, and in the islands of the Mediterranean.' Mohammed II established a great naval arsenal at Constantinople. In 1470 the Turks, 'for the first time, equipped a fleet with which they drove that of the Venetians out of the Grecian seas.'[31] The Turkish wars of Venice lasted a long time. In that which ended in 1503 the decline of the Venetians' naval power was obvious. 'The Mussulmans had made progress in naval discipline; the Venetian fleet could no longer cope with theirs.' Henceforward it was as an allied contingent of other navies that that of Venice was regarded as important. Dyer[32] quotes a striking passage from a letter of AEneas Sylvius, afterwards Pope Pius II, in which the writer affirms that, if the Venetians are defeated, Christendom will not control the sea any longer; for neither the Catalans nor the Genoese, without the Venetians, are equal to the Turks.

[Footnote 30: MaritimeWarsoftheTurks, Mitchell's trans., p. 12.]

[Footnote 31: Sismondi, p. 256.]

[Footnote 32: _Hist._Europe_, i. p. 85.]

SEA-POWER IN THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES

The last-named people, indeed, exemplified once more the rule that a military state expanding to the sea and absorbing older maritime populations becomes a serious menace to its neighbours. Even in the fifteenth century Mohammed II had made an attack on Southern Italy; but his sea-power was not equal to the undertaking. Suleyman the Magnificent directed the Ottoman forces towards the West. With admirable strategic insight he conquered Rhodes, and thus freed himself from the danger of a hostile force on his flank. 'The centenary of the conquest of Constantinople was past, and the Turk had developed a great naval power besides annexing Egypt and Syria.'[33] The Turkish fleets, under such leaders as Khair-ad-din (Barbarossa), Piale, and Dragut, seemed to command the Mediterranean including its western basin; but the repulse at Malta in 1565 was a serious check, and the defeat at Lepanto in 1571 virtually put an end to the prospect of Turkish maritime dominion. The predominance of Portugal in the Indian Ocean in the early part of the sixteenth century had seriously diminished the Ottoman resources. The wealth derived from the trade in that ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea, had supplied the Mohammedans with the sinews of war, and had enabled them to contend with success against the Christians in Europe. 'The main artery had been cut when the Portuguese took up the challenge of the Mohammedan merchants of Calicut, and swept their ships from the ocean.'[34] The sea-power of Portugal wisely employed had exercised a great, though unperceived, influence. Though enfeebled and diminishing, the Turkish navy was still able to act with some effect in the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, the sea-power of the Turks ceased to count as a factor of importance in the relations between great states.

[Footnote 33: Seeley, _British_Policy_, i. p. 143.]

[Footnote 34: Whiteway, p. 2.]

In the meantime the state which had a leading share in winning the victory of Lepanto had been growing up in the West. Before the union of its crown with that of Castile and the formation of the Spanish monarchy, Aragon had been expanding till it reached the sea. It was united with Catalonia in the twelfth century, and it conquered Valencia in the thirteenth. Its long line of coast opened the way to an extensive and flourishing commerce; and an enterprising navy indemnified the nation for the scantiness of its territory at home by the important foreign conquests of Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and the Balearic Isles. Amongst the maritime states of the Mediterranean Catalonia had been conspicuous. She was to the Iberian Peninsula much what Phoenicia had been to Syria. The Catalan navy had disputed the empire of the Mediterranean with the fleets of Pisa and Genoa. The incorporation of Catalonia with Aragon added greatly to the strength of that kingdom. The Aragonese kings were wise enough to understand and liberal enough to foster the maritime interests of their new possessions.[35] Their French and Italian neighbours were to feel, before long, the effect of this policy; and when the Spanish monarchy had been consolidated, it was felt not only by them, but by others also. The more Spanish dominion was extended in Italy, the more were the naval resources at the command of Spain augmented. Genoa became 'Spain's water-gate to Italy.... Henceforth the Spanish crown found in the Dorias its admirals; their squadron was permanently hired to the kings of Spain.' Spanish supremacy at sea was established at the expense of France.[36] The acquisition of a vast domain in the New World had greatly developed the maritime activity of Castile, and Spain was as formidable on the ocean as in the Mediterranean. After Portugal had been annexed the naval vessels of that country were added to the Spanish, and the great port of Lisbon became available as a place of equipment and as an additional base of operations for oceanic campaigns. The fusion of Spain and Portugal, says Seeley, 'produced a single state of unlimited maritime dominion.... Henceforth the whole New World belonged exclusively to Spain.' The story of the tremendous catastrophe—the defeat of the Armada—by which the decline of this dominion was heralded is well known. It is memorable, not only because of the harm it did to Spain, but also because it revealed the rise of another claimant to maritime pre-eminence—the English nation. The effects of the catastrophe were not at once visible. Spain still continued to look like the greatest power in the world; and, though the English seamen were seen to be something better than adventurous pirates—a character suggested by some of their recent exploits—few could have comprehended that they were engaged in building up what was to be a sea-power greater than any known to history.

[Footnote 35: Prescott, FerdinandandIsabella, Introd. sects. i. ii.]

[Footnote 36: G. W. Prothero, in M. Hume's Spain, 1479-1788, p. 65.]

They were carrying forward, not beginning the building of this. 'England,' says Sir J. K. Laughton, 'had always believed in her naval power, had always claimed the sovereignty of the Narrow Seas; and more than two hundred years before Elizabeth came to the throne, Edward III had testified to his sense of its importance by ordering a gold coinage bearing a device showing the armed strength and sovereignty of England based on the sea.'[37] It is impossible to make intelligible the course of the many wars which the English waged with the French in the Middle Ages unless the true naval position of the former is rightly appreciated. Why were Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt—not to mention other combats—fought, not on English, but on continental soil? Why during the so-called 'Hundred Years' War' was England in reality the invader and not the invaded? We of the present generation are at last aware of the significance of naval defence, and know that, if properly utilised, it is the best security against invasion that a sea-surrounded state can enjoy. It is not, however, commonly remembered that the same condition of security existed and was properly valued in mediaeval times. The battle of Sluys in 1340 rendered invasion of England as impracticable as did that of La Hogue in 1692, that of Quiberon Bay in 1759, and that of Trafalgar in 1805; and it permitted, as did those battles, the transport of troops to the continent to support our allies in wars which, had we not been strong at sea, would have been waged on the soil of our own country. Our early continental wars, therefore, are proofs of the long-established efficiency of our naval defences. Notwithstanding the greater attention paid, within the last dozen years or so, to naval affairs, it is doubtful if the country generally even yet recognises the extent to which its security depends upon a good fleet as fully as our ancestors did nearly seven centuries ago. The narrative of our pre-Elizabethan campaigns is interesting merely as a story; and, when told—as for instance D. Hannay has told it in the introductory chapters of his 'Short History of the Royal Navy'—it will be found instructive and worthy of careful study at the present day. Each of the principal events in our early naval campaigns may be taken as an illustration of the idea conveyed by the term 'sea-power,' and of the accuracy with which its meaning was apprehended at the time. To take a very early case, we may cite the defeat of Eustace the Monk by Hubert de Burgh in 1217. Reinforcements and supplies had been collected at Calais for conveyance to the army of Prince Louis of France and the rebel barons who had been defeated at Lincoln. The reinforcements tried to cross the Channel under the escort of a fleet commanded by Eustace. Hubert de Burgh, who had stoutly held Dover for King John, and was faithful to the young Henry III, heard of the enemy's movements. 'If these people land,' said he, 'England is lost; let us therefore boldly meet them.' He reasoned in almost the same words as Raleigh about four centuries afterwards, and undoubtedly 'had grasped the true principles of the defence of England.' He put to sea and defeated his opponent. The fleet on which Prince Louis and the rebellious barons had counted was destroyed; and with it their enterprise. 'No more admirably planned, no more fruitful battle has been fought by Englishmen on water.'[38] As introductory to a long series of naval operations undertaken with a like object, it has deserved detailed mention here.

[Footnote 37: Armada, Introd. (Navy Records Society).]

[Footnote 38: Hannay, p. 7.]

The sixteenth century was marked by a decided advance in both the development and the application of sea-power. Previously its operation had been confined to the Mediterranean or to coast waters outside it. Spanish or Basque seamen—by their proceedings in the English Channel—had proved the practicability of, rather than been engaged in, ocean warfare. The English, who withstood them, were accustomed to seas so rough, to seasons so uncertain, and to weather so boisterous, that the ocean had few terrors for them. All that was wanting was a sufficient inducement to seek distant fields of action and a development of the naval art that would permit them to be reached. The discovery of the New World supplied the first; the consequently increased length of voyages and of absence from the coast led to the second. The world had been moving onwards in other things as well as in navigation. Intercommunication was becoming more and more frequent. What was done by one people was soon known to others. It is a mistake to suppose that, because the English had been behindhand in the exploration of remote regions, they were wanting in maritime enterprise. The career of the Cabots would of itself suffice to render such a supposition doubtful. The English had two good reasons for postponing voyages to and settlement in far-off lands. They had their hands full nearer home; and they thoroughly, and as it were by instinct, understood the conditions on which permanent expansion must rest. They wanted to make sure of the line of communication first. To effect this a sea-going marine of both war and commerce and, for further expansion, stations on the way were essential. The chart of the world furnishes evidence of the wisdom and the thoroughness of their procedure. Taught by the experience of the Spaniards and the Portuguese, when unimpeded by the political circumstances of the time, and provided with suitable equipment, the English displayed their energy in distant seas. It now became simply a question of the efficiency of sea-power. If this was not a quality of that of the English, then their efforts were bound to fail; and, more than this, the position of their country, challenging as it did what was believed to be the greatest of maritime states, would have been altogether precarious. The principal expeditions now undertaken were distinguished by a characteristic peculiar to the people, and not to be found in connection with the exploring or colonising activity of most other great nations even down to our own time. They were really unofficial speculations in which, if the Government took part at all, it was for the sake of the profit expected and almost, if not exactly, like any private adventurer. The participation of the Government, nevertheless, had an aspect which it is worth while to note. It conveyed a hint—and quite consciously—to all whom it might concern that the speculations were 'under-written' by the whole sea-power of England. The forces of more than one state had been used to protect its maritime trade from the assaults of enemies in the Mediterranean or in the Narrow Seas. They had been used to ward off invasion and to keep open communications across not very extensive areas of water. In the sixteenth century they were first relied upon to support distant commerce, whether carried on in a peaceful fashion or under aggressive forms. This, naturally enough, led to collisions. The contention waxed hot, and was virtually decided when the Armada shaped course to the northward after the fight off Gravelines.

The expeditions against the Spanish Indies and, still more, those against Philip II's peninsular territory, had helped to define the limitations of sea-power. It became evident, and it was made still more evident in the next century, that for a great country to be strong it must not rely upon a navy alone. It must also have an adequate and properly organised mobile army. Notwithstanding the number of times that this lesson has been repeated, we have been slow to learn it. It is doubtful if we have learned it even yet. English seamen in all ages seem to have mastered it fully; for they have always demanded—at any rate for upwards of three centuries—that expeditions against foreign territory over-sea should be accompanied by a proper number of land-troops. On the other hand, the necessity of organising the army of a maritime insular state, and of training it with the object of rendering effective aid in operations of the kind in question, has rarely been perceived and acted upon by others. The result has been a long series of inglorious or disastrous affairs like the West Indies voyage of 1595-96, the Cadiz expedition of 1625, and that to the Ile de Re of 1627. Additions might be made to the list. The failures of joint expeditions have often been explained by alleging differences or quarrels between the naval and the military commanders. This way of explaining them, however, is nothing but the inveterate critical method of the streets by which cause is taken for effect and effect for cause. The differences and quarrels arose, no doubt; but they generally sprang out of the recriminations consequent on, not producing, the want of success. Another manifestation of the way in which sea-power works was first observed in the seventeenth century. It suggested the adoption of, and furnished the instrument for carrying out a distinct maritime policy. What was practically a standing navy had come into existence. As regards England this phenomenon was now of respectable age. Long voyages and cruises of several ships in company had been frequent during the latter half of the sixteenth century and the early part of the seventeenth. Even the grandfathers of the men who sailed with Blake and Penn in 1652 could not have known a time when ships had never crossed the ocean, and squadrons kept together for months had never cruised. However imperfect it may have been, a system of provisioning ships and supplying them with stores, and of preserving discipline amongst their crews, had been developed, and had proved fairly satisfactory. The Parliament and the Protector in turn found it necessary to keep a considerable number of ships in commission, and make them cruise and operate in company. It was not till well on in the reign of Queen Victoria that the man-of-war's man was finally differentiated from the merchant seaman; but two centuries before some of the distinctive marks of the former had already begun to be noticeable. There were seamen in the time of the Commonwealth who rarely, perhaps some who never, served afloat except in a man-of-war. Some of the interesting naval families which were settled at Portsmouth and the eastern ports, and which—from father to son—helped to recruit the ranks of our bluejackets till a date later than that of the launch of the first ironclad, could carry back their professional genealogy to at least the days of Charles II, when, in all probability, it did not first start. Though landsmen continued even after the civil war to be given naval appointments, and though a permanent corps, through the ranks of which everyone must pass, had not been formally established, a body of real naval officers—men who could handle their ships, supervise the working of the armament, and exercise military command—had been formed. A navy, accordingly, was now a weapon of undoubted keenness, capable of very effective use by anyone who knew how to wield it. Having tasted the sweets of intercourse with the Indies, whether in the occupation of Portugal or of Spain, both English and Dutch were desirous of getting a larger share of them. English maritime commerce had increased and needed naval protection. If England was to maintain the international position to which, as no one denied, she was entitled, that commerce must be permitted to expand. The minds of men in western Europe, moreover, were set upon obtaining for their country territories in the New World, the amenities of which were now known. From the reign of James I the Dutch had shown great jealousy of English maritime enterprise. Where it was possible, as in the East Indian Archipelago, they had destroyed it. Their naval resources were great enough to let them hold English shipping at their mercy, unless a vigorous effort were made to protect it. The Dutch conducted the carrying trade of a great part of the world, and the monopoly of this they were resolved to keep, while the English were resolved to share in it. The exclusion of the English from every trade-route, except such as ran by their own coast or crossed the Narrow Seas, seemed a by no means impossible contingency. There seemed also to be but one way of preventing it, viz. by war. The supposed unfriendliness of the Dutch, or at least of an important party amongst them, to the regicide Government in England helped to force the conflict. The Navigation Act of 1651 was passed and regarded as a covert declaration of hostilities. So the first Dutch war began. It established our claim to compete for the position of a great maritime commercial power.

The rise of the sea-power of the Dutch, and the magnitude which it attained in a short time and in the most adverse circumstances, have no parallel in history. The case of Athens was different, because the Athenian power had not so much been unconsciously developed out of a great maritime trade, as based on a military marine deliberately and persistently fostered during many years. Thirlwall believes that it was Solon who 'laid the foundations of the Attic navy,'[39] a century before Salamis. The great achievement of Themistocles was to convince his fellow-citizens that their navy ought to be increased. Perhaps the nearest parallel with the power of the Dutch was presented by that of Rhodes, which rested largely on a carrying trade. The Rhodian undertakings, however, were by comparison small and restricted in extent. Motley declares of the Seven United Provinces that they 'commanded the ocean,'[40] and that it would be difficult to exaggerate the naval power of the young Commonwealth. Even in the days of Spain's greatness English seamen positively declined to admit that she was stronger than England on the sea; and the story of the Armada justified their view. Our first two Dutch wars were, therefore, contests between the two foremost naval states of the world for what was primarily a maritime object. The identity of the cause of the first and of the second war will be discerned by anyone who compares what has been said about the circumstances leading to the former, with Monk's remark as to the latter. He said that the English wanted a larger share of the trade enjoyed by the Dutch. It was quite in accordance with the spirit of the age that the Dutch should try to prevent, by force, this want from being satisfied. Anything like free and open competition was repugnant to the general feeling. The high road to both individual wealth and national prosperity was believed to lie in securing a monopoly. Merchants or manufacturers who called for the abolition of monopolies granted to particular courtiers and favourites had not the smallest intention, on gaining their object, of throwing open to the enterprise of all what had been monopolised. It was to be kept for the exclusive benefit of some privileged or chartered company. It was the same in greater affairs. As Mahan says, 'To secure to one's own people a disproportionate share of the benefits of sea commerce every effort was made to exclude others, either by the peaceful legislative methods of monopoly or prohibitory regulations, or, when these failed, by direct violence.' The apparent wealth of Spain was believed to be due to the rigorous manner in which foreigners were excluded from trading with the Spanish over-sea territories. The skill and enterprise of the Dutch having enabled them to force themselves into this trade, they were determined to keep it to themselves. The Dutch East India Company was a powerful body, and largely dictated the maritime policy of the country. We have thus come to an interesting point in the historical consideration of sea-power. The Elizabethan conflict with Spain had practically settled the question whether or not the expanding nations were to be allowed to extend their activities to territories in the New World. The first two Dutch wars were to settle the question whether or not the ocean trade of the world was to be open to any people qualified to engage in it. We can see how largely these were maritime questions, how much depended on the solution found for them, and how plain it was that they must be settled by naval means.

[Footnote 39: _Hist._Greece_, ii. p. 52.]

[Footnote 40: _United_Netherlands_, ii. p. 132.]

Mahan's great survey of sea-power opens in 1660, midway between the first and second Dutch wars. 'The sailing-ship era, with its distinctive features,' he tells us, 'had fairly begun.' The art of war by sea, in its more important details, had been settled by the first war. From the beginning of the second the general features of ship design, the classification of ships, the armament of ships, and the handling of fleets, were to remain without essential alteration until the date of Navarino. Even the tactical methods, except where improved on occasions by individual genius, altered little. The great thing was to bring the whole broadside force to bear on an enemy. Whether this was to be impartially distributed throughout the hostile line or concentrated on one part of it depended on the character of particular admirals. It would have been strange if a period so long and so rich in incidents had afforded no materials for forming a judgment on the real significance of sea-power. The text, so to speak, chosen by Mahan is that, notwithstanding the changes wrought in naval materiel during the last half-century, we can find in the history of the past instructive illustrations of the general principles of maritime war. These illustrations will prove of value not only 'in those wider operations which embrace a whole theatre of war,' but also, if rightly applied, 'in the tactical use of the ships and weapons' of our own day. By a remarkable coincidence the same doctrine was being preached at the same time and quite independently by the late Vice-Admiral Philip Colomb in his work on 'Naval Warfare.' As a prelude to the second Dutch war we find a repetition of a process which had been adopted somewhat earlier. That was the permanent conquest of trans-oceanic territory. Until the seventeenth century had well begun, naval, or combined naval and military, operations against the distant possessions of an enemy had been practically restricted to raiding or plundering attacks on commercial centres. The Portuguese territory in South America having come under Spanish dominion in consequence of the annexation of Portugal to Spain, the Dutch—as the power of the latter country declined—attempted to reduce part of that territory into permanent possession. This improvement on the practice of Drake and others was soon seen to be a game at which more than one could play. An expedition sent by Cromwell to the West Indies seized the Spanish island of Jamaica, which has remained in the hands of its conquerors to this day. In 1664 an English force occupied the Dutch North American settlements on the Hudson. Though the dispossessed rulers were not quite in a position to throw stones at sinners, this was rather a raid than an operation of recognised warfare, because it preceded the formal outbreak of hostilities. The conquered territory remained in English hands for more than a century, and thus testified to the efficacy of a sea-power which Europe had scarcely begun to recognise. Neither the second nor the third Dutch war can be counted amongst the occurrences to which Englishmen may look back with unalloyed satisfaction; but they, unquestionably, disclosed some interesting manifestations of sea-power. Much indignation has been expressed concerning the corruption and inefficiency of the English Government of the day, and its failure to take proper measures for keeping up the navy as it should have been kept up. Some, perhaps a good deal, of this indignation was deserved; but it would have been nearly as well deserved by every other government of the day. Even in those homes of political virtue where the administrative machinery was worked by or in the interest of speculating capitalists and privileged companies, the accumulating evidence of late years has proved that everything was not considered to be, and as a matter of fact was not, exactly as it ought to have been. Charles II and his brother, the Duke of York, have been held up to obloquy because they thought that the coast of England could be defended against a naval enemy better by fortifications than by a good fleet and, as Pepys noted, were 'not ashamed of it.' The truth is that neither the king nor the duke believed in the power of a navy to ward off attack from an island. This may have been due to want of intellectual capacity; but it would be going a long way to put it down to personal wickedness. They have had many imitators, some in our own day. The huge forts which stud the coast of the United Kingdom, and have been erected within the memory of the present generation, are monuments, likely to last for many years, of the inability of people, whom no one could accuse of being vicious, to rate sea-power at its proper value. It is much more likely that it was owing to a reluctance to study questions of naval defence as industriously as they deserved, and to that moral timidity which so often tempts even men of proved physical courage to undertake the impossible task of making themselves absolutely safe against hostile efforts at every point.

Charles II has also been charged with indifference to the interests of his country, or worse, because during a great naval war he adopted the plan of trying to weaken the enemy by destroying his commerce. The king 'took a fatal resolution of laying up his great ships and keeping only a few frigates on the cruise.' It is expressly related that this was not Charles's own idea, but that it was urged upon him by advisers whose opinion probably seemed at the time as well worth listening to as that of others. Anyhow, if the king erred, as he undoubtedly did, he erred in good company. Fourteen hundred years earlier the statesmen who conducted the great war against Carthage, and whose astuteness has been the theme of innumerable panegyrics since, took the same 'fatal resolution.' In the midst of the great struggle they 'did away with the fleet. At the most they encouraged privateering; and with that view placed the war-vessels of the State at the disposal of captains who were ready to undertake a corsair warfare on their own account.'[41] In much later times this method has had many and respectable defenders. Mahan's works are, in a sense, a formal warning to his fellow-citizens not to adopt it. In France, within the last years of the nineteenth century, it found, and appears still to find, adherents enough to form a school. The reappearance of belief in demonstrated impossibilities is a recognised incident in human history; but it is usually confined to the emotional or the vulgar. It is serious and filled with menaces of disaster when it is held by men thought fit to administer the affairs of a nation or advise concerning its defence. The third Dutch war may not have settled directly the position of England in the maritime world; but it helped to place that country above all other maritime states,—in the position, in fact, which Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the British Empire, whichever name may be given it, has retained up to the present. It also manifested in a very striking form the efficacy of sea-power. The United Provinces, though attacked by two of the greatest monarchies in the world, France and England, were not destroyed. Indeed, they preserved much of their political importance in the State system of Europe. The Republic 'owed this astonishing result partly to the skill of one or two men, but mainly to its sea-power.' The effort, however, had undermined its strength and helped forward its decline.

[Footnote 41: Mommsen, ii. p. 52.]

The war which was ended by the Peace of Ryswick in 1697 presents two features of exceptional interest: one was the havoc wrought on English commerce by the enemy; the other was Torrington's conduct at and after the engagement off Beachy Head. Mahan discusses the former with his usual lucidity. At no time has war against commerce been conducted on a larger scale and with greater results than during this period. We suffered 'infinitely more than in any former war.' Many of our merchants were ruined; and it is affirmed that the English shipping was reduced to the necessity of sailing under the Swedish and Danish flags. The explanation is that Louis XIV made great efforts to keep up powerful fleets. Our navy was so fully occupied in watching these that no ships could be spared to protect our maritime trade. This is only another way of saying that our commerce had increased so largely that the navy was not strong enough to look after it as well as oppose the enemy's main force. Notwithstanding our losses we were on the winning side in the conflict. Much misery and ruin had been caused, but not enough to affect the issue of the war.

Torrington's proceedings in July 1690 were at the time the subject of much angry debate. The debate, still meriting the epithet angry, has been renewed within the last few years. The matter has to be noticed here, because it involves the consideration of a question of naval strategy which must be understood by those who wish to know the real meaning of the term sea-power, and who ought to learn that it is not a thing to be idly risked or thrown away at the bidding of the ignorant and the irresponsible. Arthur Herbert, Earl of Torrington—the later peerage is a viscounty held by the Byng family—was in command of the allied English and Dutch fleet in the Channel. 'The disparity of force,' says Mahan, 'was still in favour of France in 1690, but it was not so great as the year before.' We can measure the ability of the then English Government for conducting a great war, when we know that, in its wisdom, it had still further weakened our fleet by dividing it (Vice-Admiral Killigrew having been sent to the Mediterranean with a squadron), and had neglected, and indeed refused when urged, to take the necessary steps to repair this error. The Government having omitted, as even British Governments sometimes do, to gain any trustworthy intelligence of the strength or movements of the enemy, Torrington suddenly found himself confronted by a considerably superior French fleet under Tourville, one of the greatest of French sea-officers. Of late years the intentions of the French have been questioned; but it is beyond dispute that in England at the time Tourville's movements were believed to be preliminary to invasion. Whether Tourville deliberately meant his movement to cover an invasion or not, invasion would almost certainly have followed complete success on his part; otherwise his victory would have been without any valuable result. Torrington saw that as long as he could keep his own fleet intact, he could, though much weaker than his opponent, prevent him from doing serious harm. Though personally not a believer in the imminence of invasion, the English admiral knew that 'most men were in fear that the French would invade.' His own view was, 'that whilst we had a fleet in being they would not dare to make an attempt.' Of late years controversy has raged round this phrase, 'a fleet in being,' and the strategic principle which it expresses. Most seamen were at the time, have been since, and still are in agreement with Torrington. This might be supposed enough to settle the question. It has not been allowed, however, to remain one of purely naval strategy. It was made at the time a matter of party politics. This is why it is so necessary that in a notice of sea-power it should be discussed. Both as a strategist and as a tactician Torrington was immeasurably ahead of his contemporaries. The only English admirals who can be placed above him are Hawke and Nelson. He paid the penalty of his pre-eminence: he could not make ignorant men and dull men see the meaning or the advantages of his proceedings. Mahan, who is specially qualified to do him full justice, does not devote much space in his work to a consideration of Torrington's case, evidently because he had no sufficient materials before him on which to form a judgment. The admiral's character had been taken away already by Macaulay, who did have ample evidence before him. William III, with all his fine qualities, did not possess a military genius quite equal to that of Napoleon; and Napoleon, in naval strategy, was often wrong. William III understood that subject even less than the French emperor did; and his favourites were still less capable of understanding it. Consequently Torrington's action has been put down to jealousy of the Dutch. There have been people who accused Nelson of being jealous of the naval reputation of Caracciolo! The explanation of Torrington's conduct is this:— He had a fleet so much weaker than Tourville's that he could not fight a general action with the latter without a practical certainty of getting a crushing defeat. Such a result would have laid the kingdom open: a defeat of the allied fleet, says Mahan, 'if sufficiently severe, might involve the fall of William's throne in England.' Given certain movements of the French fleet, Torrington might have manoeuvred to slip past it to the westward and join his force with that under Killigrew, which would make him strong enough to hazard a battle. This proved impracticable. There was then one course left. To retire before the French, but not to keep far from them. He knew that, though not strong enough to engage their whole otherwise unemployed fleet with any hope of success, he would be quite strong enough to fight and most likely beat it, when a part of it was trying either to deal with our ships to the westward or to cover the disembarkation of an invading army. He, therefore, proposed to keep his fleet 'in being' in order to fall on the enemy when the latter would have two affairs at the same time on his hands. The late Vice-Admiral Colomb rose to a greater height than was usual even with him in his criticism of this campaign. What Torrington did was merely to reproduce on the sea what has been noticed dozens of times on shore, viz. the menace by the flanking enemy. In land warfare this is held to give exceptional opportunities for the display of good generalship, but, to quote Mahan over again, a navy 'acts on an element strange to most writers, its members have been from time immemorial a strange race apart, without prophets of their own, neither themselves nor their calling understood.' Whilst Torrington has had the support of seamen, his opponents have been landsmen. For the crime of being a good strategist he was brought before a court-martial, but acquitted. His sovereign, who had been given the crowns of three kingdoms to defend our laws, showed his respect for them by flouting a legally constituted tribunal and disregarding its solemn finding. The admiral who had saved his country was forced into retirement. Still, the principle of the 'fleet in being' lies at the bottom of all sound strategy.

Admiral Colomb has pointed out a great change of plan in the later naval campaigns of the seventeenth century. Improvements in naval architecture, in the methods of preserving food, and in the arrangements for keeping the crews healthy, permitted fleets to be employed at a distance from their home ports for long continuous periods. The Dutch, when allies of the Spaniards, kept a fleet in the Mediterranean for many months. The great De Ruyter was mortally wounded in one of the battles there fought. In the war of the Spanish Succession the Anglo-Dutch fleet found its principal scene of action eastward of Gibraltar. This, as it were, set the fashion for future wars. It became a kind of tacitly accepted rule that the operation of British sea-power was to be felt in the enemy's rather than in our own waters. The hostile coast was regarded strategically as the British frontier, and the sea was looked upon as territory which the enemy must be prevented from invading. Acceptance of this principle led in time to the so-called 'blockades' of Brest and Toulon. The name was misleading. As Nelson took care to explain, there was no desire to keep the enemy's fleet in; what was desired was to be near enough to attack it if it came out. The wisdom of the plan is undoubted. The hostile navy could be more easily watched and more easily followed if it put to sea. To carry out this plan a navy stronger in number of ships or in general efficiency than that of the enemy was necessary to us. With the exception of that of American Independence, which will therefore require special notice, our subsequent great wars were conducted in accordance with the rule.

SEA-POWER IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY AND EARLY PART OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

In the early part of the eighteenth century there was a remarkable manifestation of sea-power in the Baltic. Peter the Great, having created an efficient army, drove the Swedes from the coast provinces south of the Gulf of Finland. Like the earlier monarchies of which we have spoken, Russia, in the Baltic at least, now became a naval state. A large fleet was built, and, indeed, a considerable navy established. It was a purely artificial creation, and showed the merits and defects of its character. At first, and when under the eye of its creator, it was strong; when Peter was no more it dwindled away and, when needed again, had to be created afresh. It enabled Peter the Great to conquer the neighbouring portion of Finland, to secure his coast territories, and to dominate the Baltic. In this he was assisted by the exhaustion of Sweden consequent on her endeavours to retain, what was no longer possible, the position of a quasi great power which she had held since the days of Gustavus Adolphus. Sweden had been further weakened, especially as a naval state, by almost incessant wars with Denmark, which prevented all hope of Scandinavian predominance in the Baltic, the control of which sea has in our own days passed into the hands of another state possessing a quickly created navy—the modern German empire.

The war of the Spanish Succession left Great Britain a Mediterranean power, a position which, in spite of twice losing Minorca, she still holds. In the war of the Austrian Succession, 'France was forced to give up her conquests for want of a navy, and England saved her position by her sea-power, though she had failed to use it to the best advantage.'[42] This shows, as we shall find that a later war showed more plainly, that even the Government of a thoroughly maritime country is not always sure of conducting its naval affairs wisely. The Seven Years' war included some brilliant displays of the efficacy of sea-power. It was this which put the British in possession of Canada, decided which European race was to rule in India, and led to a British occupation of Havannah in one hemisphere and of Manila in the other. In the same war we learned how, by a feeble use of sea-power, a valuable possession like Minorca may be lost. At the same time our maritime trade and the general prosperity of the kingdom increased enormously. The result of the conflict made plain to all the paramount importance of having in the principal posts in the Government men capable of understanding what war is and how it ought to be conducted.

[Footnote 42: Mahan, Inf.onHist. p. 280.]

This lesson, as the sequel demonstrated, had not been learned when Great Britain became involved in a war with the insurgent colonies in North America. Mahan's comment is striking: 'The magnificence of sea-power and its value had perhaps been more clearly shown by the uncontrolled sway and consequent exaltation of one belligerent; but the lesson thus given, if more striking, is less vividly interesting than the spectacle of that sea-power meeting a foe worthy of its steel, and excited to exertion by a strife which endangered not only its most valuable colonies, but even its own shores.'[43] We were, in fact, drawing too largely on the prestige acquired during the Seven Years' war; and we were governed by men who did not understand the first principles of naval warfare, and would not listen to those who did. They quite ignored the teaching of the then comparatively recent wars which has been alluded to already—that we should look upon the enemy's coast as our frontier. A century and a half earlier the Dutchman Grotius had written—

Quae meta Britannis Litora sunt aliis.

[Footnote 43: InfluenceonHist. p. 338.]

Though ordinary prudence would have suggested ample preparation, British ministers allowed their country to remain unprepared. Instead of concentrating their efforts on the main objective, they frittered away force in attempts to relieve two beleaguered garrisons under the pretext of yielding to popular pressure, which is the official term for acting on the advice of irresponsible and uninstructed busybodies. 'Depuis le debut de la crise,' says Captain Chevalier, 'les ministres de la Grande Bretagne s'etaient montres inferieurs a leur tache.' An impressive result of this was the repeated appearance of powerful and indeed numerically superior hostile fleets in the English Channel. The war—notwithstanding that, perhaps because, land operations constituted an important part of it, and in the end settled the issue—was essentially oceanic. Captain Mahan says it was 'purely maritime.' It may be true that, whatever the belligerent result, the political result, as regards the status of the insurgent colonies, would have been the same. It is in the highest degree probable, indeed it closely approaches to certainty, that a proper use of the British sea-power would have prevented independence from being conquered, as it were, at the point of the bayonet. There can be no surprise in store for the student acquainted with the vagaries of strategists who are influenced in war by political in preference to military requirements. Still, it is difficult to repress an emotion of astonishment on finding that a British Government intentionally permitted De Grasse's fleet and the French army in its convoy to cross the Atlantic unmolested, for fear of postponing for a time the revictualling of the garrison beleaguered at Gibraltar. Washington's opinion as to the importance of the naval factor has been quoted already; and Mahan does not put the case too strongly when he declares that the success of the Americans was due to 'sea-power being in the hands of the French and its improper distribution by the English authorities.' Our navy, misdirected as it was, made a good fight of it, never allowed itself to be decisively beaten in a considerable battle, and won at least one great victory. At the point of contact with the enemy, however, it was not in general so conspicuously successful as it was in the Seven Years' war, or as it was to be in the great conflict with the French republic and empire. The truth is that its opponent, the French navy, was never so thoroughly a sea-going force as it was in the war of American Independence; and never so closely approached our own in real sea-experience as it did during that period. We met antagonists who were very nearly, but, fortunately for us, not quite as familiar with the sea as we were ourselves; and we never found it so hard to beat them, or even to avoid being beaten by them. An Englishman would, naturally enough, start at the conclusion confronting him, if he were to speculate as to the result of more than one battle had the great Suffren's captains and crews been quite up to the level of those commanded by stout old Sir Edward Hughes. Suffren, it should be said, before going to the East Indies, had 'thirty-eight years of almost uninterrupted sea-service.'[44] A glance at a chart of the world, with the scenes of the general actions of the war dotted on it, will show how notably oceanic the campaigns were. The hostile fleets met over and over again on the far side of the Atlantic and in distant Indian seas. The French navy had penetrated into the ocean as readily and as far as we could do ourselves. Besides this, it should be remembered that it was not until the 12th April 1782. when Rodney in one hemisphere and Suffren in the other showed them the way, that our officers were able to escape from the fetters imposed on them by the Fighting Instructions,—a fact worth remembering in days in which it is sometimes proposed, by establishing schools of naval tactics on shore, to revive the pedantry which made a decisive success in battle nearly impossible.

[Footnote 44: Laughton, _Studies_in_Naval_Hist._ p. 103.]

The mighty conflict which raged between Great Britain on one side and France and her allies on the other, with little intermission, for more than twenty years, presents a different aspect from that of the war last mentioned. The victories which the British fleet was to gain were generally to be overwhelming; if not, they were looked upon as almost defeats. Whether the fleet opposed to ours was, or was not, the more numerous, the result was generally the same—our enemy was beaten. That there was a reason for this which can be discovered is certain. A great deal has been made of the disorganisation in the French navy consequent on the confusion of the Revolution. That there was disorganisation is undoubted; that it did impair discipline and, consequently, general efficiency will not be disputed; but that it was considerable enough to account by itself for the French naval defeats is altogether inadmissible. Revolutionary disorder had invaded the land-forces to a greater degree than it had invaded the sea-forces. The supersession, flight, or guillotining of army officers had been beyond measure more frequent than was the case with the naval officers. In spite of all this the French armies were on the whole—even in the early days of the Revolution—extraordinarily successful. In 1792 'the most formidable invasion that ever threatened France,' as Alison calls it, was repelled, though the invaders were the highly disciplined and veteran armies of Prussia and Austria. It was nearly two years later that the French and English fleets came into serious conflict. The first great battle, which we call 'The Glorious First of June,' though a tactical victory for us, was a strategical defeat. Villaret-Joyeuse manoeuvred so as to cover the arrival in France of a fleet of merchant vessels carrying sorely needed supplies of food, and in this he was completely successful. His plan involved the probability, almost the necessity, of fighting a general action which he was not at all sure of winning. He was beaten, it is true; but the French made so good a fight of it that their defeat was not nearly so disastrous as the later defeats of the Nile or Trafalgar, and—at the most—not more disastrous than that of Dominica. Yet no one even alleges that there was disorder or disorganisation in the French fleet at the date of anyone of those affairs. Indeed, if the French navy was really disorganised in 1794, it would have been better for France—judging from the events of 1798 and 1805—if the disorganisation had been allowed to continue. In point of organisation the British Navy was inferior, and in point of discipline not much superior to the French at the earliest date; at the later dates, and especially at the latest, owing to the all-pervading energy of Napoleon, the British was far behind its rival in organisation, in 'science,' and in every branch of training that can be imparted without going to sea. We had the immense advantage of counting amongst our officers some very able men. Nelson, of course, stands so high that he holds a place entirely by himself. The other British chiefs, good as they were, were not conspicuously superior to the Hawkes and Rodneys of an earlier day. Howe was a great commander, but he did little more than just appear on the scene in the war. Almost the same may be said of Hood, of whom Nelson wrote, 'He is the greatest sea-officer I ever knew.'[45] There must have been something, therefore, beyond the meritorious qualities of our principal officers which helped us so consistently to victory. The many triumphs won could not have been due in every case to the individual superiority of the British admiral or captain to his opponent. There must have been bad as well as good amongst the hundreds on our lists; and we cannot suppose that Providence had so arranged it that in every action in which a British officer of inferior ability commanded a still inferior French commander was opposed to him. The explanation of our nearly unbroken success is, that the British was a thoroughly sea-going navy, and became more and more so every month; whilst the French, since the close of the American war, had lost to a great extent its sea-going character and, because we shut it up in its ports, became less and less sea-going as hostilities continued. The war had been for us, in the words of Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, 'a continuous course of victory won mainly by seamanship.' Our navy, as regards sea-experience, especially of the officers, was immensely superior to the French. This enabled the British Government to carry into execution sound strategic plans, in accordance with which the coasts of France and its dependent or allied countries were regarded as the English frontier to be watched or patrolled by our fleets.

[Footnote 45: Laughton, _Nelson's_Lett._and_Desp._ p. 71.]

Before the long European war had been brought to a formal ending we received some rude rebuffs from another opponent of unsuspected vigour. In the quarrel with the United States, the so-called 'War of 1812,' the great sea-power of the British in the end asserted its influence, and our antagonists suffered much more severely, even absolutely, than ourselves. At the same time we might have learned, for the Americans did their best to teach us, that over-confidence in numerical strength and narrow professional self-satisfaction are nearly sure to lead to reverses in war, and not unlikely to end in grave disasters. We had now to meet the elite of one of the finest communities of seamen ever known. Even in 1776 the Americans had a great maritime commerce, which, as Mahan informs us, 'had come to be the wonder of the statesmen of the mother country.' In the six-and-thirty years which had elapsed since then this commerce had further increased. There was no finer nursery of seamen than the then states of the American Union. Roosevelt says that 'there was no better seaman in the world' than the American, who 'had been bred to his work from infancy.' A large proportion of the population 'was engaged in sea-going pursuits of a nature strongly tending to develop a resolute and hardy character in the men that followed them.'[46] Having little or no naval protection, the American seaman had to defend himself in many circumstances, and was compelled to familiarise himself with the use of arms. The men who passed through this practical, and therefore supremely excellent, training school were numerous. Very many had been trained in English men-of-war, and some in French ships. The state navy which they were called on to man was small; and therefore its personnel, though without any regular or avowed selection, was virtually and in the highest sense a picked body. The lesson of the war of 1812 should be learned by Englishmen of the present day, when a long naval peace has generated a confidence in numerical superiority, in the mere possession of heavier materiel, and in the merits of a rigidly uniform system of training, which confidence, as experience has shown, is too often the forerunner of misfortune. It is neither patriotic nor intelligent to minimise the American successes. Certainly they have been exaggerated by Americans and even by ourselves. To take the frigate actions alone, as being those which properly attracted most attention, we see that the captures in action amounted to three on each side, the proportionate loss to our opponents, considering the smallness of their fleet, being immensely greater than ours. We also see that no British frigate was taken after the first seven months of a war which lasted two and a half years, and that no British frigate succumbed except to admittedly superior force. Attempts have been made to spread a belief that our reverses were due to nothing but the greater size and heavier guns of our enemy's ships. It is now established that the superiority in these details, which the Americans certainly enjoyed, was not great, and not of itself enough to account for their victories. Of course, if superiority in mere materiel, beyond a certain well-understood amount, is possessed by one of two combatants, his antagonist can hardly escape defeat; but it was never alleged that size of ship or calibre of guns—greater within reasonable limits than we had—necessarily led to the defeat of British ships by the French or Spaniards. In the words of Admiral Jurien de la Graviere, 'The ships of the United States constantly fought with the chances in their favour.' All this is indisputable. Nevertheless we ought to see to it that in any future war our sea-power, great as it may be, does not receive shocks like those that it unquestionably did receive in 1812.

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