At the Royal United Service Institution yesterday week, Mr.. Scott-Russell
read a paper on "Modern War Fleets," in which he made some interesting remarks on the appliances for destroy- ing the enemy's ships without the use of what are technically called "torpedoes." He said that it was quite possible to fire shells from mortars, so that they would first ascend and then fall right into the ship and there explode, and also to fire shells down into the water so as to explode under the ship ; and that both these processes might be managed simultaneously, so that while one shell fell into the ship from above, another should blow it up from beneath. That is, we suppose, true ; but of course it must yield a far less certain result, and require much finer skill to effect, especially if the ship be in motion, than the launching of a torpedo at her from a torpedo-boat. The alarm caused by the new torpedoes is not due to the fact that they can do anything which might not have been done before, but that they appear likely to do it with so much greater certainty, and by the expenditure of so much lees exceptional an amount of skill.