The iron-clad navy of England.
is putting forth gigantic efforts to build and equip her new navy of iron-clads.
The rapid strides of the French
and the remarkable combats of iron vessels in American waters, have stirred the Admiralty
from its sloth and infused new vigor into the naval government.
Our last foreign advices bring intelligence of the trial trip of the Black Prince
and information of new movements in British dockyards, with the commencement of new experiments with iron plates and new programmes for the construction of formidable ships.
The trial of the Black Prince
began on the 26th of August, for the purpose of testing her speed and seaworthiness.
She left Portsmouth
in fighting trim and with a full head of steam, but was found to make only twelve knots an hour, whereas the Warrior
The Warrior herself was a disappointment, but the Black Prince
was worse, and the Times
reports that ‘"the result was so unsatisfactory that it was resolved to abandon any further trial of speed,"’ and to recommend to the Admiralty
that the ship be taken into the harbor and overhauled.
further says that ‘"there is certainly a vast difference in the speed of the two ships (the Warrior
and the Black Prince
) which is not accounted for by a foul bottom or the increased draft of water."’ In other words, reducing the question to plain English
, the Black Prince
is a comparative failure by the side even of the Warrior
, and a total failure in comparison with Napoleon
's new frigates.
This is not a pleasant thing for England
to hear of its last iron-clad, and it accounts for the renewed activity in experiments at the dockyards and foundries.
The old rivalry between England
centres upon the question of iron ships
, and it is evident that no means will be left untried to insure the restoration of British supremacy at sea.
Among the experimental movements now in progress, we find frequent mention of improved iron plates.
"No question is invested at present with a greater degree of interest than the one relating to the production of plate armor for ships of war. That the Lords
of the Treasury and the Admiralty
are fully alive to the vast importance of the subject, has long been evident.
Scientific committees, assisted by the first metallurgists of the day, have been employed to conduct all kinds of experiments and report upon them.
A vast fund of information must also have been forwarded by Capt. R. S. Hewitt
, C. B., regarding the experimental firing at Portsmouth
, and testing ‘"sample"’ plates still proceeds there as fast as they can be attached to the target ships.
In testing these sample plates the knowledge gamed of the structure of different kinds of iron has been very great.
"Some of the plates, on being struck by several 68-pounder shot in nearly the same place, so as to compel a fracture, have exhibited a peculiar silvery appearance in the separated parts of the metal, which have at the same time shown an extraordinary length of fibre.
This was particularly the case with the rolled plates made at the Parkgate Works
for the experimental angulated target of Mr. Josiah Jones
, of Liverpool
In these plates, however, as in most other rolled plates manufactured at that time, the greatest injury by the shot was found to be inflicted on the reverse side of the plate, next the timber backing, where, the layers of the metal being opened by the sudden shock of the 60 pound shot, they spread out with radiating cracks, and penetrated the timber to an average depth of from four inches to five inches.
"The Atlas Works rolled plates were equally faulty with the Parkgate plates, but constant manufacture and the constant practice at sample plates from both works on the sides of the target ship in Dorchester creek
, which are witnessed by a representative from the firms, have supplied such an amount of valuable data to the manufacturer, that they have recovered for rolled armor plates
the prestige they at first had in their competition with hammered plates.
It has now become a mooted point which kind can be manufactured that shell to a certainty possess greater shot resisting powers than the other."
The relative advantages of puddled and scraping for ship-plates are warmly discussed in England
, and in order to test the two kinds in the most thorough way, the smithery of Portsmouth
dockyard is now manufacturing two plates, one under each process, ‘"expressly to settle this question for the present,"’ as the Times
When completed, they will be tested in the usual manner by 68 pound, shot, in Dorchester creek
We notice also that a huge floating battery is reported as under good headway at Woolwich
, to carry several 100-pound.
guns, for the purpose of experiments at sea. The floating battery Trusty, fitted with Capt. Coles
's cupola, and destined for experiments with the 200 pounder Armstrong gun, to fire a 150 pounder cylinder, still remains in the basin at Woolwich
, under a protest of Capt. Coles
, as not having been fitted in accordance with his design, nor under his supervision.
A new iron-clad, built upon what is claimed to be an improved pattern, is also noticed.
It is the invention of Mr. Farmer
, master shipwright at the Woolwich dockyard, and carries a single cupola which requires no time-table or other machinery, and contains twenty-six guns capable of using fired at any required point or deflection, with sufficient space for the gunners.
The vessels is to be two hundred and thirty feet in length, ten feet in depth, and fifty feet in breadth, and the armor-proof plates will be applied by a patent invention of Mr. Turner
's, requiring neither grooves nor tongues, and will be movable singly in case of fracture or damage, and also easily replaced.
The Board of Admiralty, who recently inspected the model on their visit to the pack yard, have called on Mr. Turnor
to furnish specifications of his method for their consideration.
Prince Adalbert, Admiral
of the Prussian fleet, has also ordered drafts of the model to be transmitted to him for the of his own country.
These facts prove that England
or not yet upon the best method for constructing her new navy, and that die feels the pressure necessity of adopting any new improvement to either in the struggle for supplement with her growing neighbor over the element.