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ship built at Chatham Dockyard, the Achilles, and is at the same time a much more formidable vessel.*
During the past year he has sent to sea four ships, each of which is of itself sufficient to signalise the year as one of marked progress in naval construction. These vessels are the Hercules and Monarch, both iron-clads; and the Inconstant and Volage, both of which are extremely fast unarmoured ships, designed and built for the protection of our commerce against the depredations of light war-ships and privateers. The Hercules is a broadside iron-clad carrying prodigious armour and guns; but, nevertheless, possessing a speed under steam in excess of every iron-clad ship of every nation that preceded her. The Monarch is the first sea-going iron-clad turret ship, with a full rig, ever sent to sea by any naval power. She carries armour not greatly inferior to that of the Hercules ; is armed with guns of even greater power than hers (each weighing twenty-fire tons); and is, nevertheless still faster then the Hercules herself, exceeding, in fact, upon the measured mile and during a long steaming cruise in the Channel, the fastest mail steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental Company. The third of these remarkable ships is the Inconstant. This vessel is without armour, but carries an extremely heavy armament, chiefly consisting of twelve-ton guns, and has a full rig, which enables her to sail at a very high speed under canvass ; while under steam she surpasses at halfpower the greatest speed ever attained at full power by the fastest unarmoured frigates that preceded her; her own speed at full-power by far exceeding that of every other war-ship, and falling short by only a fraction of a knot of the speeds of the very fleetest mail steamers in the world, viz., the Holyhead and Dublin mail packets. The fourth ship is the Volage, which may be briefly described as a small Inconstant, and which is second in point of speed to the Inconstant herself only.
During the past year in which the Chief Constructor has contributed these unique ships to H.M. Navy, he has found time to write and published two elaborate professional volumes; the first, entitled Shipbuilding in Iron and Steel, was published at the beginning of the year, and was at once adopted as the text book in the schools of Naval Architecture at home and abroad It is an elaborate practical treatise on iron ship construction, and while describing past systems, sets forth the novel method of framing and plating ships, which the author has himself introduced and perfected during the short period of his service at the Admiralty. The second work of the author, published but a few weeks before this article, is of a more popular character, and sets forth the qualities, performances, and cost of our Iron-clad Ships, comprising, also, lengthy chapters upon turret-ships and iron-clad rams. The publication of the latter work-as indeed of the
* These biographical data originally appeared in the Illustrated London News, January 6, 1866, accompanying a portrait of Mr. Reed.
former likewise-indicates the fearless spirit in which Mr. Reed fills his extremely responsible position, and shows that he is perfectly prepared to lay before the public not only full descriptions of the works upon which its money is expended, but also the very grounds upon which every ship is designed and built.
But, the most signal proof of the success with which the subject of this sketch has laboured-in spite, we are bound to say, of no little misrepresentation and detraction-is to be found in a very remarkable leading article which appeared in the Times of December 30, 1869. This article may be taken as independent evidence upon the point, because it is based upon the evidence of the Secretary to the United States Navy, who cannot be suspected of undue favour to the Navy of this country, or to its architect. The Times writes as follows:
"A certain satisfaction ought undoubtedly to be derived from the official account of the American Navy in our last impression. It is a novelty to find England exhibited to the world as a model of enterprise and success in the matter of Naval Administration. The British Admiralty has not often been complimented either at home or abroad, but here we have the American Secretary repeating, and even magnifying, the recent claims of our First Lord. Mr. Childers was at the pains of explaining last Spring that we really had got a better Fleet than either France or America. Mr. Robeson echoes his words with a will, and declares that one of our new iron-clads would drive any American squadron from its station in a single day. What we used to think of the United States the United States now think of us; what we used to confess with annoyance and vexation they now confess of themselves.
“These conclusions of the Americans are founded not so much on the weakness of their own case as the strength of ours. We, it seems, have succeeded, by our ingenuity, energy, and liberality, in constructing some beautiful specimens' of fighting ships—ships that, according to our critic's description, could go anywhere and do anything. The British cruiser is a model of strength, swiftness, and security. Our new iron-clad can sail as well as steam, and run as well as fight; they consume very little fuel, they can keep the sea under all circumstances, and they combine the power of a floating battery with the fleetness and smartness of a frigate. A single one of them would be 'a terrible foe,' whereas we are as strong in numbers as in quality. Against the forty-three vessels of the Union, England has cruising on the same seas, and with duties not more various and extended, no less than 191 ships, with her flying squadron ready to reinforce her power whenever occasion may require.' Mr. Childers, we think, ought to feel very comfortable as he reads these acknowledgments, and it must be owned that, if we have spent some time and money on our apprenticeship, we seem to have acquired a real mastery over the work at last. One consolation only can Mr. Robeson draw from the existing
state of things, and that is, that the Americans can now have the benefit of our costly experience. His department, he observes, has carefully watched our experiments, and is familiar with their details and results, and knows their strength and their weakness. It will be interesting, therefore, to see what lessons are drawn by such expert and practical authorities, and the conclusions are not a little curious.
" The Americans appear to have given up the turret principle -their own favourite invention-just as we have succeeded in turning it to account. Mr. Robeson condemns the Monitor system altogether, and reiterates with emphasis his preference of the broadside. It is now plainly stated that even the best of the Monitors are but steam-batteries, not sea-going cruisers. The utmost that can be said of them is that they may possibly be capable of performing a sea voyage under favourable circumstances ;' but even then they require several vessels to accompany them, and, being entirely without sailing power, must be towed as soon as their coal is exhausted ; they would always be dangerous to health in tropical seas, and with broken or disordered machinery they would be helpless in mid-ocean. The old popular model, therefore, is finally discarded, and Mr. Robeson circumstantially describes its proposed successor. This is to be a broadside vessel, carrying heavy guns, and impervious herself to the heaviest ordnance afloat.”
These sentences from the leading journal, and from the American Secretary, although making no personal mention of Mr. Reed, are the most satisfactory evidence of his remarkable success that could well be afforded. They show that througlı all detraction and opposition he has been building up a most powerful fleet, and one which has already become the admiration of rival powers. It now proves to be a most fortunate circumstance for the country that no agitation-not even the speeches of influential members of Parliament themselves —have succeeded in diverting him from this steady pursuit, or prevailed upon him to enter upon the production of these Monitor ships which are now admitted to be useless for sea-going purposes, and the defects of which are set forth at length in Mr. Reed's lastpublished book. Nor is the present prestige of our Navy the only advantage gained by the adherence of the Chief Constructor to sound principles of construction combined with rapid progress in guns and armour. The money saving to the country has been enormous, for a very few errors in the design of iron-clad ships would involve us in the loss of millions sterling.
A high career is, in all probability, open to Mr. Reed. Although less than forty years of age, he has effected a complete transformation of the Navy of England. Before the production of his most recent and most important ships, he received the honour of a Civil Companionship of the Bath from the Crown, as a mark of the appreciation in which his services were held; and there is obviously great scope for further distinction in such an office
as that which he holds, and which he is filling so successfully.
made to Mr. Reed with the view of inducing him to seek a
The accompanying portrait of Mr. Reed is from a photograph
YEAR-BOOK OF FACTS.
Mechanical and Useful Arts.
THE HOLBORN VALLEY VIADUCT..
(See the Vignette.) This great public improvement has been opened for traffic, though in an incomplete state. It is generally described in the Year Book of Facts, 1869, pp. 15-16; so that we shall but briefly (by aid of the Illustrated London News) describe the work as executed.
The foundation stone was laid June 3, 1867. The Viaduct itself is 1,400 feet long from end to end, and a little over 80 feet wide, i.e., 50 feet roadway and 15 feet each of the two footways. It forms a gentle curve from the western end of Newgate-street, and is then continued in a straight line to the western side of Farringdon-street, occupying nearly the whole space of Skinnerstreet and a small portion of St Sepulchre's churchyard. From Farringdon-street westward it is carried by a gentle curre to the end of Hatton Garden, occupying the sites of the houses on the south side of Holborn Hill, the old roadway, and a large part of the churchyard of St. Andrew's.
The Viaduct is built on a double system of arches; those for the roadway are plain, solid, double archways of 24 feet span; and for the footway double cellular arches, 10 feet in diameter; and rising from one to three tiers, according to the dip of the incline. These arches are to be used as cellars to the warehouses built up by the side of the Viaduct.
In front of the cellars, and between them, and beneath the main road on each side, runs a subway along the whole length of the Viaduct. This subway has three rows of brackets for gaspipes, water-pipes, and telegraphic wires. The sewage is similarly provided for along the centre of the roadway. The brickwork is very massive, in some parts the rings of the arches being eight bricks thick; whereas the Board of Trade exact only five rings of brickwork for a railway arch. The foundations for the masonry were taken down to the London clay and bedded in 4 feet of solid concrete. In some cases more than 30 feet had to be excavated before the clay was reached. The Viaduct is pronounced to be a specimen of engineering skill and good workmanship. But, after all, it is a hidden marvel. What will the world see of it when the houses are built up, except a street above and a bridge or two below ?
The Viaduct crosses Farringdon-street obliquely, as did the old line of roadway. Consequently we have a skew bridge, deviating 36 deg. from a right angle. In addition, the raising of