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retirement scheme; 500 blue-jackets, elderly men and harbour service men who were non-efficients ; 700 servants, noncombatants, for whom were substituted marines, accustomed to servants' duties on shore, and who gained “sea legs' by service afloat; and 300 boys. It thus appears that of the 5,770 men disposed of between 1868-69 and 1870-71, 3,138 were reduced by the Conservatives in one year, 700 more would have been reduced had they kept in office, and the balance is well accounted for in the above statement, taken from the Report of Mr. Childers' speech when introducing the navy estimates for 1870–71.

Equally inaccurate with this statement of reductions is the statement that on the 8th March, 1856, the First Lord took * credit for a reduction of 16 ships and 3,267 men.' The First Lord took credit for having reduced the isolated ships abroad to that extent, but the men and ships so withdrawn were formed into the flying squadron, the success of which, as a political force and as a school for seamen, has exceeded the most sanguine expectations.

One important point yet remains to be noticed. The reviewer says that Mr. Childers evaded the question put by Sir John Hay on 8th August, with reference to a statement that the

Agincourt' and Northumberland' had been prevented from going to sea in consequence of the almost total absence of

shells and ammunition at the Bull Point Magazine. The reviewer entirely omits Mr. Childers' answer, and not only brings forward a refuted charge, but goes on to moralise upon the sad falling off of Ministers in the matter of Parliamentary candour. In plain terms, the charge of evasion and the charge of neglect to supply ammunition are alike false. It seems that experience had shown that so many of the Palliser shot had burst or broken in the guns that the Admiralty resolved to have all such shot tested before shipment. It happened that though there was an ample supply of shot (there was no question at all about shell), it had not all been tested ; and, “in conse

quence, on the day when the ships sailed, out of 2,380 pro'jectiles, which was the complement of each, 180, or 8 per cent., were short in the “ Agincourt," and 119, or 5 per cent., were

short in the “ Northumberland.” These were sent out on the following day in the · Monarch. As regards the statement, borne out by facts admitted, that the Captain' and 'Monarch went to sea short of shot, the explanation is perfect. It was given by Mr. Childers at the same time he answered Sir John Hay about the • Northumberland.' • The full complement of shell is on board, and there is a sufficient supply in store of

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• shot of the old pattern ; but recently the Admiralty have • agreed with the War-Office to make shot for the 12-inch * guns of an altered pattern, and when these ships went to sea

it was thought better only to take a half supply of the new pattern than some of the old and some of the new.' Had need required, they could have shipped an ample supply of effective shot, though not shot of a special pattern. As it was, they took 80 rounds of the new.

We are not of those who deem it prudent, in the press or elsewhere, to discuss publicly the whole resources of the nation. We cannot, however, refrain from pointing out that so far from preparations for harbour defence having been neglected, the idea embodied in the Staunch' has been matured and extended in the . Plucky, and that no less than twelve of these · Snakes' and 'Scourges’ are already far advanced towards completion, while the works on the Devastation,' Thunderer,' and Fury' (the latter said by the 'Quarterly 'not to have been begun

ri the formidable turreted, mastless, ships, throwing 600-pounder shots from four guns—are so forward that they could be got ready for commission in 1871. In August last orders were given to build by contract four new coast-defence ships of this

Magdala' class, double-turret ships, carrying 21-ton guns. These will be ready by the end of 1871. We shall not minutely describe steps taken by the present Board of Admiralty to increase the numbers of particular classes of armoured and unarmoured ships; but we affirm that as a matter of fact those steps have been eminently successful, and that the British fleet is at this moment in a condition to cope not only with those who were stated by a distinguished naval Member of Parliament to be masters of the Channel,' -alas! for the French fleet!-but to hold its own against the navies of all enemies.

In conclusion, we feel assured that the liberal instalment of thorough reform long called for and long deferred, which has been contributed by the present Board of Admiralty, will be yet more thoroughly appreciated by the country, when the seed they have sown shall have borne full fruit. Even now, in spite of the discomfort and distress occasioned to individual persons and classes by necessary changes fresh in its memory, and to some extent warping its judgment, the British public is not ungrateful. And we confidently believe that in respect to the naval resources of the country, in ships, seamen, stores, and administrative control, very important improvements have been accomplished, which render the British navy at the present time fully able to perform any service that may be required of it.

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ART. VI.-1. Science et Philosophie. Par M. Aug. LAUGEL,

ancien élève de l'École Polytechnique, ex-Ingénieur des

Mines. 12mo. Paris : 1863 2. Les Problèmes de la Nature. Par AUGUSTE LAUGEL.

12mo. Paris : 1864. 3. Les Problèmes de la Vie. Par AUGUSTE LAUGEL. 12mo.

Paris : 1867. The volumes we have placed at the head of this article are THE

connected, not solely as works of the same author, but as containing, in their series and several subjects, a general view of the physical science of our time, in the most advanced stages of its progress. The position of M. Laugel as private secretary to the Duc d'Aumale—a prince whose learning and many accomplishments, even more than his birth, have given him merited reputation in the country of his exilemay be recognised as favourable in various ways to a work of this nature. A Frenchman, and intimate with all that is best in the science and literature of France, his quiet residence at Richmond and familiarity with English institutions, have afforded M. Laugel facilities for portraying modern science in its largest aspects, and under those connexions which now more than ever tend to give it unity as a whole. He is not, we believe, himself a practical labourer in the field. If this be a disadvantage, there is some compensation for it in the larger and more impartial scope given to that intelligence, which seeks to combine elements of knowledge, separate in their earlier growth, but now claiming to be blended by higher generalisations. Our author stands fully on a level with the scientific acquirements of his time, as well as with those doctrines and speculations which have recently grown out of them. In truth, he everywhere shows himself disposed to adopt the latter in their extremest form. Whether from natural temperament of mind (a powerful agent even in the acceptance of scientific evidence), or from other causes, he boldly confronts, and handles without reserve, all older and more orthodox opinions on the great questions he approaches. The volumes before us, small in size as books, while thus large and bold in scope, are necessarily wanting in many of those details and illustrations which novel opinions require for their justification.

This gives an aspect of dogmatism to M. Laugel's writings ; not, indeed, without some reality, from the evident bias of mind to which we have just alluded. He often ex

VOL. CXXXIII. NO. CCLXXI.

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presses as established truths things which are still matter of doubt and controversy.

Apart from this comment, we can give unequivocal praise to the style of these volumes. M. Laugel has an epigrammatic felicity of expression, frequent in French writers even on the most abstruse topics. He is occasionally somewhat too florid in phrase, but there is no scientific pedantry about him. He comes at once to his subject without parade of preface, and puts what he has to say fairly in front. Whatever be thought of his doctrines, they are at least honestly and clearly pronounced. If expressed sometimes too dogmatically, you see that they are really his opinions, and reached by study and earnest thought on the several subjects before him.

In our review of these volumes, we do not think it necessary to follow M. Laugel's course through all the topics with which he deals; but shall rather seek to select such as may best illustrate those methods and attainments of physical science which so strikingly characterise the age in which we are living. A summary view of the progress and state of this vast department of human knowledge we gave in an article some twelve years ago. Since that time the steps in advance have been not less gigantic than those we then described ; rendering the present century, still not near its end, the most remarkable in the history of mankind. Happy would it be could we record commensurate change and progress in the moral conditions of human existence, of men and of nations of men! Such golden age is yet a Utopian dream of the future. The narrative of the year just expired tells nothing of it; save in the solitary hope that the horrors of warfare, thus augmented by the new weapons which science has furnished, may check at least, if not annul, the repetition of such calamities to the civilised world.

The first and second of M. Laugel's volumes, entitled Science et Philosophie' and · Problèmes de la Nature, discuss, in the spirit and style we have just denoted, the general principles, aims, and methods of modern science. His mind readily embarks in those bolder enterprises of speculation which formerly could only be deemed the vagaries of thought; but have now been sanctioned by deeper research into the mysterious laws of nature--more wonderful in their reality than any imaginations of untutored genius or of the wildest fancy. With the new licence, however, thus obtained, there is still need of much control over this modern spirit of phi

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losophy. Hypothesis-in many cases an admirable minister to
the discovery of truth---is often stretched too far, and into
regions inaccessible to human research. The interlopers and
dabblers in science-those who, to take Lord Bacon's words,
“will not wait the harvest, but attempt to mow the moss and
reap
the
green corn

-are most at fault here; but these are many and active in their generation. The phraseology of true science is easily caught up and easily misapplied ; and the genuine coin becomes discredited by the base. This evil partially remedies itself through the wonted incongruity of all such naked hypotheses. In physics nothing that is unproved can ever find permanent place.

On this general topic, however, we must carry our remarks a step further. That truth is the sole legitimate object of human inquiry is easily and familiarly said ; but in seeking for truth it is useful, and even needful, to recognise in the outset that there are things which man troweth not-things which, though realities in themselves, cannot be compassed by thought, and lie therefore beyond the scope of human research. In every inquiry we are bound to regard primarily what has been done, and what yet remains to be done. But also it is well to know and ever hold in mind the existence of these unknowable realities -- a caution happily expressed by Malebranche, the most eminent disciple of Descartes : il * est bon de comprendre clairement qu'il y a des choses qui sont * absolument incompréhensibles. It is into their unfathomable depths that the metaphysical mind loves to dive; bringing back little more than a new coinage of words and phrases, more fitted to entangle and delude the understanding than to enlighten it. Speculations and reveries of this kind indeed are most prone to grow up where science has not yet begun to work by experimental research. The ancient philosophers, Greek and Roman, entertained them as a sort of intellectual luxury; those of mediæval time as a cloister occupation and refuge from the barbarism surrounding them. Even the most savage races of men cling to such questions, in rude expression of their wonder at those mysterious changes and convulsions of the material world to which they, in common with the philosopher, are unceasingly subjected.

We dwell the rather upon this point because the physical science of our day is marked especially by its close approach to these insoluble questions. Modern discovery, whether dealing with the infinitely great or the infinitesimally small, whether with stars or atoms, has been emboldened by its own success, and presents problems to us for future solution which

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