The most extraordinary changes have been introduced of late in the construction of fighting vessels.
Up to a recent period, a vast addition had been made to the destructive power of vessels-of-war, but none whatever to their capacity of resistance.
Whilst guns have been introduced a single broadside from which would sink a ship-of-the-line, the ships themselves are no stronger than they were fifty years ago. The inventive genius of Napoleon
has supplied this deficiency, in constructing ships with iron plates, which are able to resist any amount of hammering from other vessels, and even to compete with forts.
are imitating the French
example, and both nations are remodelling their navies, at immense cost.
The French frigate Gloire,
the first experiment of the French
on a large scale, is a wooden ship, with iron armor-plates, whilst the English ships, the Warrior
and Black Prince,
are iron ships
, with timber introduced into certain parts.
Ships entirely of iron are by some believed preferable to those of wood, with iron plates; but the French
have not the same command of the metal as the English
The English vessels, Warrfor
and Black Prince,
are, with the exception of the Great Eastern,
the largest ships afloat.
from the bottom up to about five feet below the water line, is wholly of iron.
From this point to the level of the upper deck, it is fortified by armor-plates, bolted upon blocks of teak.--The plates are four and a half inches thick, and the teak inside eighteen inches. The bulwarks are of wood.
The head and stern are unprotected by iron to the length of one hundred and twenty feet, the iron amidships being three hundred feet. There are, however, fore and aft, bulkheads or partitions fortified with the iron plates.
The sills of the main deck ports, as she lies, are eight feet above the water line.
She is expected, or hoped, to make fourteen knots.
The deck ports, however, have an opening of twelve square feet!
It is necessary, of course, not only to protect the vessel, but to make her sufficiently light, buoyant and sea- worthy.
The cost is expected to be one million seven hundred thousand dollars. This is not quite double the cost of a first-class steam-frigate of the old fashion, half a dozen
of which could scarcely cope with such a vessel as the Gloire, Warrior or Prince.