5 SEPTEMBER 1840, Page 14


Loan MELBOURNE, after having got through all the labours of the session, and parried or evaded the attacks made on him in Par- liament for neglecting the interests of his countrymen, is now exposed to attacks for neglecting to provide for the destruction of his country's foes. The Times returns to the charge against the Premier for not having secured the benefit of discoveries in the means of destruction which involve the safety of the nation : and truly, if the account of the invention noticed by the Times can be relied on, it would settle all foreign disputes in a much quicker mode than the protocolling warfare of the Foreign Secretary. In confirmation of the charge against Lord MEsnomese, the Times publishes the following extract from the report of the naval officer appointed by his Lordship to inspect the new inventions- " In my opinion, the merits of these inventions are so extraordinary as to vest the absolute sovereignty of the seas in the hands of the first power that shall adopt them ; for I am fully convinced that it is impossible for any thing that floats to resist them, either at close quarters or any given distance, even to a range of live or six miles. The strongest fortifications in Europe could not withstand these extraordinary powers for a single hour ; in river-ways and against stockades, as in India, the largest armies would be annihilated without a chance of escape ; and the most difficult mountain-passes would be utterly untenable against their operation. The country might by their application be rendered impregnable : for 100 sail of the line might be easily destroyed by /5 single small $hip constructed on the principles I have had explained to me; and wherever it might he necessary to call this power into action, its Abets would be attained at a (riding expense, and upon the shortest notice."

It is fortunate for Lord IllErAntwasE, it' not al,o for the coun- try, that when his measures are viewed from a distance they assume greater importance than when exposed to the micro- scopic gaze of spectators at home. Some of the foreign journals seens to entertain a great dread of the preparations our Govern- ment are snaking in case of war ; and they give credit to the Eng- lish :Ministers for the very measures which they are charged with having neglected. We find in a Brussels paper, the Feud, an account of a most terrific engine which is said to be secretly pre- paring at Chatham for the destructions of all the fleets that come within its reach. The Penal says that the steam-ship Infernal, which is made proof against ball, fire, or water, is fitted up with four high-pressure engines, which will throw jets of liquid inextin- guishable wild-lire to a distance of some hundred feet : with that single ship, we are informed, a whole fleet may be destroyed in half an hour.

It might appear from this account, that Lord INIEr.notatNE has actually adopted the plan recommended by the naval officer ; as the efficts to be produced seem nearly similar. At all events, with the Infernal at command, his Lordship may "laugh to scorn the powers of man," and feel himself independent of all other resources.

Since the attention of the public was first directed to this sub- ject, time Times has received " sundry letters" from individuals, each of whom had proposed plans somewhat similar—each of whom

had received uncertain answers from the Admiralty, and con-

ceived his own invention was the one alluded to. This circum- stance, whilst it affords some palliation of Lord MELBOURNE'S

neglect, by showing the number of applications that are made to Government by inventors, to which it would be impossible to at- tend, at the same time exhibits a strange carelessness in not pro-

viding some department of Government by which the products of inventive genius could be carefully examined and their merits decided on without delay. The system of creating fidse expecta- tions by giving illusive promises, which are rh.lver intended to bc kept, is infinitely worse than a direct refusal.