Published Resources Details Journal Article

The relations between local fortifications and a moving navy
The Engineer
vol. 67, 29 March 1889, p. 269

Accession No.2879


In a famous pamphlet, the great master of logic, Archbishop Whately, proved that there were no rational grounds for believing that Napoleon Bonaparte ever existed. By a similar process of reasoning or unreasoning, Admiral P. H. Colomb sought to convince an audience at the Royal United Service Institution that the existence of a perfect system of defensive works around the coasts of the United Kingdom would be practically useless in the event of war, and that powerful fortifications would be positively detrimental to the interests of the United Kingdom's foreign possessions, such places as Malta and Gibraltar being a source of weakness and not of strength, the danger attaching to their existence increasing in the same ratio as the works themselves progressed towards completion. Admiral Colomb was seriously propounding a genuine conclusion when he finished a paragraph in his paper with the following statement: - "I conceive we have established the fact that before a country can employ such fortifications at all, she must have surrendered the command of the sea, and if such command has been necessary to her empire, she must have abandoned empire." The italics were those of the editor of The Engineer.

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The relations between local fortifications and a moving navy