7 JUNE 1873, Page 3

Admiral Pothuan, lately French Minister of Marine, recently issued a

circular warning insurance agents that an American was trying to sell a machine, a small torpedo. for destroying over- insured ships with impunity. It looks like a block of coal of about six inches by three, and could be put into the coal-bunkers without the slightest suspicion. Once there, it would, when once thrown into the furnace, explode after a fixed time, thus enabling the captain and crew to get away, or might be exploded as it lay. Of course the story was denounced as a " sensation intended to help Plimsoll," but unfortunately, the Birmingham Daily Post has received one of these infernal machines, which will, it alleges, perform the duties required of it. Government should get a few ; they might make useful shells; and at any rate, keep a sharp eye on an invention by which a foreign sailor in war time might destroy his ship.