Our fleet to-day and its development during the last half-century

In this book when written nearly ten years ago the Author sought to review the changes which had taken place in the principal fleets 'of the world during the last half-century. The navy of our own country naturally took the most prominent position in such a work. On approaching the task of revising and bringing the volume up to date, it became evident that, owing to the great advances made by other nations, as well as ourselves, during the interval, such a subject could not be satisfactorily compressed within the limits originally assigned to it. All nations are adding to their maritime strength. A new navy has arisen in the East, while in the West a fleet neglected for many years has now attained to considerable dimensions. To adequately describe all these efforts abroad’ would now require a separate volume.

It has therefore been considered advisable to eliminate the chapters on Foreign Navies in this Edition, and restrict it to a history of the development of our Fleet from 1840 to the present day; a period which includes the vast changes from sail to steam, wood to iron, and smooth bore guns to rifled ordnance, quick- fire guns and torpedoes. We thus get a full account of our Fleet to-day, and the weapons with which it is equipped. By this course, moreover, it becomes possible to give further examples of torpedo attack, and an account of the wars between China and Japan, and the United States and Spain, from which several important lessons as regards modern naval warfare can be derived and are pointed out. I desire to repeat here my obligations to those who rendered valuable assistance when this book was first published.