Anonymous (1871) The Battle of the Ironclads

ironclad 1871Anonymous (1871) The Battle of the Ironclads, or England and her foes

In this patriotic forecast of our naval future a hale sea-captain of 1893 is supposed to recount what was England’s luck when, fourteen years before, “she met with and overcame the united powers of Germany, America, and Russia.” A reaction is supposed to have set in against the Liberals in 1874, and a Conservative Ministry to have looked to our military and naval defences, in bare time to meet the Sclavo-Germanian confederacy’s preparations. But for three or four years it was only distant thunder that preluded the great collision. In 1878 Russia and Turkey fell to in earnest, Hobart Pasha having, in an Englishman’s spirit, answered the intentional insult of a Russian fire from the port of Odessa with a broadside from his nine-inch Woolwich guns.

How Great Britain stood by Turkey against Russia, how Austria cast in her lot with England, and Germany, to keep the balance of power, stood by Russia ; how the United States Government found this fitting Occasion to fall foul of Canada, and so Congress became involved in war with the old mother country,” and through what a series of trials, discouragements, hard and late lessons, and hair-breadth escapes, Great Britain eventually recovers her influence in the great gathering of nations, the adverse confederacy having been induced to sue for peace, and to submit to divers measures of restitution at the Congress of London in 1880—is it not all written in this, we would fain hope, veritable anticipation of history? We wish it may prove a prophetic forecast, and that Our navy may soon recover its prestige and prowess.   [Book review: The Illustrated Review, 1871]