15 MARCH 1873, Page 11



[TO TER EDITOR OF TER"SPECTATOR."] Sin,—It has been stated in your impression of the 8th inst., under the head of "The Quarterly on Admiralty Administration," that at page 95 of the January number of the Quarterly Review, the writer has misquoted Mr. Childers' speech of the let of August, 1870, by using the word " including," instead of " excluding," which was what Mr. Childers actually- said ; the article proceeds to say that this misquotation was either a " gross blunder " or a " grave unfairness," and that " the passage is evidently not a mere misprint or slip of the pen,. for the writer's argument is altogether based upon it." Mr. Childers used the word " excluding,"and the word" including "in the Quarterly Review is a misprint. I should have thought this was so clear from the context as to have been self- evident, for only eight lines further back, at page 94, I show that Mr. Childers makes the number of French ironclad; the nature of which he describes, and from which the floating batteries are excluded, to be thirty-one, and at page 96 I give the numbers and names of these ships as thirty, " excluding" these floating batteries, or, as I prefer to call them, gunboats. My argument is that Mr. Childers did represent inaccurately the comparative strength of the two Navies by " excluding " these floating batteries from the strength of France, while including inferior ships in enumerating the forces of England (see pp. 98-101), and I cannot but think that it is unusual to find in a paper like the Spectator charges of grave unfairness brought against a writer, when any attention to the context would have shown that a misprint, and nothing else, had been committed. I should feel obliged, there- fore, if you will be so good as to find a place in your next impres- sion for this explanation.—I am, Sir, &c.,


[Considering the terms of the discussion between Sir John Hay and Mr. Childers, which, as the readers of our article may remem- ber, altogether revolved round the question whether the French floating batteries were included in or excluded from Sir John Hay's calculation, there certainly never was a misprint more cal- culated to mislead than that of the writer of the article in the Quarterly. We willingly withdraw the alternative imputation of

"unfairness," but under all the circumstance must adhere to the opinion that it was a somewhat gross blunder.—En. Spectator.]