22 APRIL 1882, Page 13



Sin, —The letter of your correspondent in last week's Spectator is more ingenious than convincing. It is surely useless to say that the protest made in the Nineteenth Century, and now lying for signature at Messrs. Kegan Paul and Co.'s, is unworthy of the traditional valour and of the inbred self-respect of the English people. That valour and that self-respect had a solid foundation. We were brave, because we were strong; we had self-respect, which sometimes grew to arrogance, because we were respected and feared. "J. G. F." says that, in spite of steam and ironclads, the position of England relatively to other nations has not altered. Is this true? At the beginning of the century, the English Navy was ready to light, single-handed, the Navies of the Continent. In 1882 it has been a grave matter of discussion whether our Navy is superior—some authorities doubt whether it is equal —to that of France alone. But grant that we are relatively as strong now as in the days of Nelson, what then ? Are Englishmen quietly to promote or sanction what your corre- spondent allows to be "one additional means of invasion, and that a peculiarly risky one," because it is "reasonable to ex- pect" that with it will be devised "powers of defence corre- sponding to powers of aggression ?" This argument is more likely to confirm the opponents of the Channel Tunnel in their opposition than to convince the gainsayers. Indeed, it happens that the arguments used by the strongest advocates of the scheme—Sir Edward Watkin, Lord Sherborne, and Sir Wilfrid Lawson, for example—have hitherto done the most to prove the weakness of their cause.

I doubt no more than "J. G. F." that our successors in the *twentieth century will be able to " hold their owu," but I greatly doubt the wisdom of adding to the risks and the panics from which, while the Continent is armed to the teeth, this country can scarcely hope to escape. The promoters of the Company laugh at the suggestion of danger, and talk about the Tunnel promoting the comity of nations ; but this can hardly be the case, if the Tunnel makes us more suspicions of our neighbours. That this will be the result is allowed, or why is it universally admitted that additional fortifications will be needed at Dover? Every day, indeed, strengthens the arguments of

those who object to this commercial project. In the Militiir-Wochenblait, of Berlin, published last week, a writer who has passed a long time in the Navy not only en- tirely agrees with the opinion of Sir Garnet Wolseley, but observes that the existence of the Tunnel would intzoduce another perplexing factor into the problem of the defence of the Island, and might, under circumstances, utterly paralyse the action of the English Navy. Englishmen probably will not agree with him, when he adds, " The French, once in Dover, all would be over ;" nor will they agree in the assertions that no military man who has travelled in England will doubt the pos- sibility of a coup de main, and that the Tunnel might easily prove the downfall of England, as did the wooden horse of Troy,

but they ought to see the worth of the argument, urged with striking force by the Spectator, that the commercial advantages of the Tannel would be purchased at a ruinous price, "first, in the shape of positive danger, and secondly, of recurrent panics about that danger."—I am, Sir, &c., J. D.