The steam ram question.
We return our thanks to the editor of the Dispatch
for his attempt to correct a mistake which he attributes to us. We still doubt, however, whether it is not true, as stated by us, that ‘"Bonaparte
, when England
had destroyed his navy,
had too much good sense to begin building up another"’ It is a wise maxim of the law ‘"that things not appearing are presumed not to exist."’ The learned editor informs us that ‘"Bonaparte
reigned nine years after the battle of Trafalgar
,"’ and as no French navy was heard of in that time, it is fair to presume none existed.
Indeed, the editor tells us ‘"Napoleon
was prevented from perfecting and using his navy for the want of ships and sailors."’ We did not assert that he built no ships
after the battle of Trafalgar
, but only that he did not attempt to improvise a navy
--to build one all of a sudden in time of war, sufficient to cope with that of England We think the curious research of the learned editor fully establishes the truth of our position.
But we prefer to admit that we were mistaken, and that Bonaparte
was guilty of the folly of attempting to build up of a sudden an entire new navy in time of war, and, after nine years, had nothing to show for it. If so, let us profit by his folly and his failure, and not try to improvise a great naval power in nine months, which he failed to build up, with all We tern and Southern Europe
at his command, in nine years. Let us no longer imitate the ‘ "prodigious energy with which Napoleon
pushed his naval preparations long after the battle of Trafalgar
had destroyed the French
marine,"’ (as the editor informs us,) for already our ‘"prodigious energies"’ in the same line have brought about nothing but disaster.
Either we or the learned editor are right.
was wise, as we suppose, and therefore did not attempt to create a navy all of a sudden, let us profit by his wisdom, and follow his example.
If he were weak, as the editor assumes, and under took an absurd, chimerical, and hopeless project, let us take warning from his misspent ‘"prodigious energies" ’ and signal failure, and avoid the perpetration of a like folly.
We again thank the editor for his curious and valuable historical researches and citations.