Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
554
SEA-POWER


the limitations of sea-power. It became evident, and it was made still more evident in the next century, that for a great country to be strong it must not rely upon a navy alone. It must also have an adequate and properly ons of po, ,, e, organized mobile army. N otwithstandmg the number of times that this lesson has been repeated Great Britain has been slow to learn it. It is doubtful if she has learned it even yet. English seamen in all ages seem to have mastered it fully; for they have always demanded-at any rate for upwards of three centuries-that expeditions against foreign territory oversea should be accompanied by a proper number of land troops. On the other hand, the necessity of organizing the army of a maritime insular state and of training it with the object of rendering effective aid in operations of the kind in question, has rarely been perceived and acted upon by others. The result has been a long series of inglorious or disastrous affairs, like the West Indies voyage of 1 SQ 5-r 596, the Cadiz expedition of 1625 and that to the lle de Ré of 1627. Additions might be made to the list. The failures of joint expeditions have often been explained by alleging differences or quarrels between the naval and the military commanders. This way of explaining them, however, is nothing but the inveterate critical method of the streets by which cause is taken for effect and effect for cause. The differences and quarrels arose, no doubt; but they generally sprang out of the recriminations consequent on, not producing, the want of success. Another manifestation of the way in which sea-power works was first observed in the 17th century. It suggested the adoption of, and furnished the instrument for, carrying out a distinct maritime policy. What was practically APN” a standing navy had come into existence. As regards ance of England this phenomenon was now of respectable 5111141118 age. Long voyages and cruises of several ships in """”° company had been frequent during the latter half of the 16th century and the early part of the 17th. Even the grandfathers of the men who sailed with Blake and Penn in 16 52 could not have known a time when ships had never crossed the ocean, and squadrons kept together for months had never cruised. However imperfect it may have been, a system of provisioning ships and supplying them with stores, and of preserving discipline among their crews, had been developed, and had proved fairly satisfactory. The parliament and the Protector in turn found it necessary to keep a considerable number of ships in commission, and make them cruise and operate in company. It was not till well on in the reign of Queen Victoria that the man-of-war's man was finally differentiated from the merchant seaman; but, two centuries before, some of the distinctive marks of the former had already begun to be noticeable. There were seamen in the time of the Commonwealth who rarely, perhaps some who never, served afloat except in a man-of-war. Some of the interesting naval families which were settled at Portsmouth and the eastern ports, and which-from father to son helped to recruit the ranks of bluejackets till a date later than that of the launch of the first ironclad, could carry back their professional genealogy to at least the days of Charles II., when, in all probability, it did not first start. Though landsmen continued even after the Civil War to be given naval appointments, and though a permanent corps, through the ranks of which every one must pass, had not been formally established, a body of real naval officers-men who could handle their ships, supervise the working of the armament and exercise military command ~had been formed. A navy, accordingly, was now a sea-power weapon of undoubted keenness, capable of very effective and terri-

terlalex- use by any one who knew how to wield it. Having lxlnsffjgfn tasted the sweets of intercourse with the Indies, W; M fW whether in the occupation of Portugal or oi Spain, both English and Dutch were desirous of getting a larger share of them. English maritime commerce had increased and needed naval protection. If England was to maintain the international position to which, as no one denied, she was entitled, that commerce must be permitted to expand. The minds of men in western Europe, moreover, were set upon obtaining for their country territories in the New World, the amenities of which were now known. From the reign of James I. the Dutch had shown great jealousy of English maritime enterprise. Where it was possible, as in the East Indian Archipelago, they had destroyed it. Their naval resources were great enough to let them hold English shipping at their mercy, unless a grand effort were made to protect it. The Dutch conducted the carrying trade of most of the world, and the monopoly of this they were resolved to keep, while the English were resolved to share in it. The exclusion of the English from every trade route, except such as ran by their own coast or crossed the Narrow Seas, seemed a by no means impossible contingency. There seemed also to be but one way of preventing it, viz. by war. The supposed unfriendliness of the Dutch, or at least of an important party amongst them, to the regicide government in England helped to force the conflict. The Navigation Act of 1651 was passed and regarded as a covert declaration of hostilities. So the first Dutch war began. It established England's claim to compete for the position of a great maritime commercial power.

The rise of the sea-power of the Dutch, and the magnitude which it attained in a short time, and in the most adverse circumstances, have no parallel in history. The case of Athens was different, because the Athenian power ff;'l;;'°W” had not so much been unconsciously developed out D, , t, ,, of a great maritime trade, as based on a military marine deliberately and persistently fostered during many years. Thirlwall believes that it was Solon who “ laid the foundations of the Attic navy ” (Hist. Greece, ii. p. 52), century before Salamis. The great achievement of Themistocles was to convince his fellow-Citizens that their navy ought to be increased. Perhaps the nearest parallel with the power of the Dutch was presented by that of Rhodes, which rested largely on a carrying trade. The Rhodian undertakings, however, were by comparison small-and restricted in extent. Morley declares of the Seven United Provinces that they “ commanded the ocean” (United Netherlands, 132), and that it would be difficult to exaggerate the naval power of the young Commonwealth. Even in the days of Spain's greatness English seamen positively declined to admit that she was stronger than England on the sea; and the story of the Armada justified their view. The first two Dutch wars were, therefore, contests between the two foremost naval states of the World for what was primarily a maritime object. The identity of the cause of the first and of the second war will be discerned by any one who compares what has been said about the circumstances leading to the former, with Monk's remark as to the latter. He said that the English wanted a larger share of the trade enjoyed by the Dutch. It was quite in accordance with the spirit of the age that the Dutch should try to prevent, by force, this want from being satisfied. Anything like free and open competition was repugnant to the general feeling. The highroad to both individual wealth and national prosperity was believed to lie in securing a monopoly. Merchants or manufacturers who called for the abolition of monopolies granted to particular courtiers and favourites, had not the smallest intention, on gaining their object, of throwing open to the enterprise of all what had been monopolized. It was to be kept for the exclusive benefit of some privileged or chartered company. It was the same in greater affairs. As Mahan says, “ To secure to one's own people a disproportionate share of the benefits of sea commerce every effort was made to exclude others, either by the peaceful legislative methods of monopoly or prohibitory regulations, or, when these failed, by direct violence.” The apparent wealth of Spain was' believed to be due to the rigorous manner in which foreigners were excluded from trading with the Spanish oversea territories. The skill and enterprise of the Dutch having enabled them toforce themselves into this trade, they were determined to keep it to themselves. The Dutch East India Company was a powerful body, and largely dictated the maritime policy of the country. We have thus come to an interesting point in the historical consideration of sea-power. The Elizabethan conflict with

Spain had -practically settled the question whether or not the