drawn from the seamen’s register would be only 39,947, leaving a reserve of 11,694 seamen fit for good service. In addition to this number we must reckon 21,000 men not inserted in the registers, because they have completed their period of service, or obtained exemptions. Upon the whole, allowing for every contingency, we may rely on 40,000 seamen perfectly qualified for maritime warfare, and on 20,000 men taken partly from the register and partly from the army, and able to render good service when mingled with the first class. We might no doubt go further ; but our vessels would

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for the protection of their colonies, and that they do not perform the duties of our marines. Admiral Vernnac states that the efficiency of this class of men and of the seamen in the use of small arms depends mainly on the orders of their superior officers; and he quotes Prince de Joinville as having rendered his crews very efficient in this respect. Men in the tops with the Miniè rifle can shoot with precision at 800 metres, and the weapon kills at 1500. While on this point we cannot but advert to a gross inaccuracy which fell from the gallant Admiral with reference to this subject. He stated that at the battle of Trafalgar, the ‘Redoubtable,' 74, abordé dès le début

du combat, par le vaisseau de 120 canons le “ Victory," montè par Nelson, allait grâce à la superiorité de sa mousqueterie et du jet . de ses artifices, sortir vainqueur de la lutte ; déja une partie de son équipage était maitre du pont du Victory," quand un • second vaisseau à trois ponts et un vaisseau à deux ponts vinrent • le cribler du feu de leur artillerie et le forcer, pour sa défense à ' rappeler ses hommes, qui se disposaient à amariner le vaisseau de « l'amiral Anglais.' This is of a piece with M. Thiers’ rhodomontade on the same occurrence, though one statement is inconsistent with the other. See • Consulat et Empire,' vol. vi. p. 156., where he says:- ‘Le capitaine Lucas (of the “ Redoubtable") avait porté ses • matelots devenus disponibles dans les hunes et les haubans, pour

diriger sur le pont du " Victory" un feu meurtrier de grenades et de 'mousqueterie. Pour en finir avec le Victory” il avait ordonné * l'abordage, mais son vaisseau n'étant qu'à deux ponts et le “Vic""tory" à trois il avait la hauteur d'un pont à franchir et de plus

une espèce de fossé à traverser pour passer d'un bord à l'autre, car • la forme rentrante des vaisseaux laissait un vide entr'eux quoiqu'ils

se touchassent à la ligne de flottaison. Le capitaine Lucas ordonna • sur le champ d'amener ses vergues pour établir un moyen de pas

sage entre les deux batimens,' when at this moment Lord Nelson was killed; which illustrates the use of marksmen in the yards far more effectually than the story of the boarding. It is scarcely necessary for us to add that Admiral Vernnac's statement is wholly unfounded, and has been indignantly contradicted by several of the gallant veterans who were on the deck of the · Victory' in the action. No French sailor set his foot on that deck, or attempted it. M. Thiers himself shows that boarding from deck to deck was impossible at the moment, and 'pour en finir avec le “ Victory,”' French writers had better wait at least the death of every man of her gallant crew.


lose in mechanical skill and fighting power more than they would gain in numbers. We should then relapse into the errors which led to the destruction of our fleets under the Empire; which taught us, by cruel lessons, that, by sea as well as by land, victory belongs to the army which is best organised and soonest on the scene of action.' (Vol. i. p. 249.)

All the competent French maritime witnesses concur in expressing their satisfaction and confidence in the results of this system. Admiral La Susse remarks: The number of registered seamen from twenty to forty years of age is now about *50,000. Adding the men to be taken from the army and the 'infanterie de marine, France, in case of maritime war, could

dispose of 90,000 men, which is sufficient to man every vessel in the fleet.' M. de Fleuriau stated that he had

compared the present situation of the French navy with what it was in former times. In 1776, at the time of the American war, the maritime inscription consisted of 76,000 men, and yet this war was glorious for the French navy, especially under Suffren, in the Indian Seas. After the American war, the Government paid great attention to the improvement of the system of the registration of seamen, and promulgated the ordinance of 1784, which took in the watermen, or population of rivers at a greater distance from the sea. In 1793 and 1794 the registration rose to 94,000 men; but this figure included not only the river population, but also the maritime population up to 60 years of age. In 1848 the maritime population, not including the men from 50 to 60, and also not including the watermen on rivers, rose to 125,000. This superiority of numbers which I point out is, however, but a small advantage compared to that resulting from the intrinsic value of the men of the present day. During the revolutionary war, very little attention was paid to the instruction of the men. Ships were sent to sea without caring what men were placed under the captain's orders, or what degree of subordination they had attained. Hence, in presence of an enemy's ship, they were discouraged by a sense of manifest inferiority. At the present time, the result of what is termed the permanent levy is, that all the seamen of the fleet taken from the maritime inscription have passed successively on board the vessels of the State, and that all have received a complete education both in respect to seamanship and gunnery. You see, then, gentlemen, that the personnel we now possess, as well officers as sailors, is a body of far greater experience in the art of navigation than we ever had before at any period of our naval history. It is a great satisfaction for the persons who have followed these improvements to reflect that, at this moment, France could put forth a maritime force superior to what she had then; and I believe I am not mistaken in these statements, which are the result of long researches and of conscientious inquiry.' (Vol.ii. p. 90.)

We have dwelt with some detail on this part of the subject, because it is incomparably the most important portion of these volumes in its practical application to ourselves; and we most


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earnestly beg to urge these incontrovertible facts on the attention of our own naval authorities and of Parliament. It is in positive evidence that the French Government disposes of a body of at least 50,000 perfectly well-trained seamen, all of them within easy reach, and immediately subject to the call of their country. In other words, it can triple the force it now has afloat in a few weeks; and in a few months it can send every ship in its ports and arsenals to sea. Let us now compare this state of things with our own position. The Committee of British Naval Officers recently appointed to investigate this subject tell us, in paragraph 140 of their Report, that they have a letter from the Registrar-General of Seamen, dated the 19th Nov. 1852, which states that, • The actual number of persons

employed in British registered ships was, in the year 1851, * 175,000; and after making various deductions therefrom, in*cluding 53,600 protected from impressment, it is stated that there remain in round numbers 80,000 men available for service; of this latter number it is estimated that not more than * 21,000 would be found in the United Kingdom at any one

time, of whom a certain portion would doubtless be found “ unfit, from physical causes. It is incumbent upon us to call

their Lordships' attention to the fact that where comparatively • so small a number of men are available for service, in a time of pressure, so large a proportion as 53,600 persons should be exempted altogether from compulsory service.'

This estimate is, we conclude, exclusive of the 45,000 men and boys now serving in Her Majesty's ships ; but it shows that we should have the greatest possible difficulty, on our present system, in doubling the naval establishments of the country, or even raising a force equal to that which France is prepared to send to sea. Of the French inscription maritime not more than 20,000 men are engaged in long voyages; of our merchant service, not more than 21,000 are to be found at any time in Britain. Moreover, the necessity of raising suddenly a great armament would at once paralyse our commercial operations ; and although it might partly assist the navy by diminishing the number of our trading vessels, yet it must be remembered that trade would pass rapidly under the neutral flag of the United States, and that our seamen would follow it. If, under such circumstances, the Government had recourse to the highly questionable expedient of taking our men out of American ships we must make up our minds to immediate hostilities with the United States, and to a great addition to the pressure on our resources. These are considerations of vital consequence to the power and security of this nation. We are not disposed to exaggerate the strength of our rivals; to draw alarming pictures

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of possible, but imaginary perils; or to depreciate the admirable state of efficiency which prevails in many branches of the British naval service. But the fundamental question for this country is, how to ensure access at all times to the real maritime resources of England. At present the Admiralty can command, with certainty and promptitude, little beyond the men and boys actually afloat; and even on grounds of economy, it might fairly be urged that an effective reserve for the navy would enable us to retain a smaller amount of men at sea.

It is our strange and perilous position, that our gigantic commerce is the successful rival of that navy which is most essential for its own protection; and even if it were possible to enlist suddenly on the Queen's ships the British merchant seamen, who are to be found in every part of the globe, they are, for the most part, utterly destitute of the instruction of the company of a man-ofwar. We have few good sailors beyond those who have been trained and attached to the service, and of these the boys who have grown up under Her Majesty's colours are by far the most valuable. The Report to which we have alluded and the Order in Council of the 1st of April last, have commenced an improvement of the system; and we trust that at whatever cost, the Government will take measures to provide against this real and alarming deficiency.

Tht French Commission was made perfectly aware of this state of things in this country. M. de Montaignac stated in his evidence:

*The merchant service of England, in the opinion of many British officers, is no great resource to the Royal navy, even in time of war. It seems strange to us that a service which comprises about 200,000 auxiliaries should be no great resource, but it is true; and all the British officers who have attended to the subject are of opinion that the system of manning the navy is very inadequate, and that a good organisation in France might render us superior in respect to our personnel

. That is solely the result of our maritime inscription. In England they have no maritime conscription, and they cannot establish it in the state of liberty in which men live in that country. As for impressment, you are aware that in 1793 and 1795

very formidable mutinies took place in the fleet, which were the result of it, and British officers are persuaded it could not be used, and at best it furnishes very indifferent men-of-war's men. So that the English, like the Americans, would be obliged, in case of war, to treat for separate engagements with every seaman in the fleet. This leads me to believe that if France had ships of the line enough to send to sea a very powerful fleet at the outset of a war, say 27 or 30 sail of the line, we should have, with a good arrangement of our forces, a considerable advantage over England; because I do not think, and this is also the opinion of her own officers, that she could, on the outbreak of hostilities, send 30 line-of-battle ships to sea.' (Vol. ii. p. 180.)

Our limits forbid us to enter upon several other topics of equal importance, but of a more technical character; such as the organisation of the department of the French Admiralty, the numbers of its officers and system of promotion, and the armament of vessels; but on all these points the volumes before us supply, to those whom it may concern, the most valuable and, we will add, impressive information. It is impossible to doubt, with such evidence before our eyes, collected with the utmost calmness and deliberation by men like M. Dufaure and his associates, for a period of two years, that the object of augmenting the maritime power of France, especially against the ascendancy of this country, is steadily pursued by all who have taken a part in the direction of her naval affairs. Their eyes are fixed, not on the disastrous and decisive actions of the last war, which, in ten years, swept their fleet from the seas, but on the less unequal struggles carried on by the French navy under the reigns of Louis XV. and Louis XVI., down to the close of the American War. They hope to restore that state of things by a complete change in maritime warfare; and being already in possession of something like equality in the personnel of the service, on which our vaunted superiority has hitherto been supposed mainly to rest, they are prepared to recommend and to undertake the extensive works required to give far greater efficiency to the material strength of the fleet. These are facts to which we most earnestly call the attention of the people of England, and of those in authority over them. We urge them the more, because they constitute an answer to the reckless agitation of men who have sought to play their game of popularity at the expense of the safety and independence of their country. The danger is the greater, because it is, in all probability, not immediate; and every year enables our neighbours to advance in the prosecution of their vast designs, until they shall have the confidence and the opportunity to try their fortune against us. We, on the other hand, have one paramount duty, and one resource within our reach to render the British navy the most attractive and advantageous service to which the seafaring population of this country can devote themselves; to train up large numbers of boys for the service, who have always produced the best class of permanent seamen; and to retain them for life, by converting the navy into a permanent service from the first instruction of youth to the last provision for old age.

No. CC. will be published in October.

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