your place advocate it with all the earnestness and zeal with which you are wont to press measures upon which heart is set.
First, then, let it be understood that this little Virginia navy is not intended for the high seas, but only for the smooth and tranquil waters of our own bays, creeks, and rivers; that it is no part of the plan for it to cruise outside of the capers or even to keep the open bay in rough weather. These conditions will be fulfilled if we can make the vessels of this navy siffuciently strong for smooth-water navigation and sufficiently stout to bear the armament we wish to put upon them. Thus you observe that, as far as I have yet developed my plan, a comparatively inexpensive class of vessels will satisfy all the conditions of the problem before us. Permit me to make another step on the ladder of navy psotulates up which I am endeavoring to lead you. It is a self-evident proposition that a rifled cannon will send as far and hit as hard when fired from the smallest boat as it will when fired from the largest ship; whence follows this corollary which brings us up to another round on the ladder:
Any number of rifled cannon distributed among a given number of small vessels, having strength and stability sufficient to carry each its piece and bear its discharge, will be at least as effective in a sea fight as the same guns would be if all were carried by one large vessel. Indeed, a fight between the large vessel on one side and the small ones on the other, each side bringing into play gun for gun of the same metal, the advntage would be on the side of the samll v essels, and for these reasons: 1. The large vessel is easier to hit. 2. She is as vital as the small ones; indeed, more so, for experiments have shown that a modern shell loaded and lodged in the side of a sevety-four is capable of rending and tearing her I such a manner as to make it impossible for her to keep the sea and live. The French experiments and othes have shown this to be so. 3. The bulwarks of small vessels, like those proposed, are, on the other hand, so thin and frail that they would scarce afford lodgment for a heavy shell. In case they were struck by one of these missiles it would pass through and through. Failing to explode in her side, it w ould do no more damage than a solid shot. Thus the small vessel may rob the shells from the large one of their sting, making them practically no more destructive than solidt shot. And so one of our frail-sided little vessels may fight one of Lincoln's leviathans with shot or shell, as she likes, while she can be fought back practically only with solid shot or unexploded shells, their equivalent. 4. The small vessel having but one or two guns, and they in the open air, is not bothered by the smoke; she can take aim as fast as the men can load. But in the large ship, with the guns between decks and a great many of them, the smoke, after the first broadside or two, becomes so thick as to obstruct the sight and prevent anything like aim; therefore in a brisk action the small vessel may always fire with aim, which wind, weather, and other circumstancxes often prevent the large ship from doing; consequently the little vessel may always fight with her eyes open, while the eother is ocasionally blinded. 5. When a large ship is atacked by a number of small ones, her crew is grouped into a small space; theirs are dispersed around in small groups over a large space; consequently one shot fired into the large vessel may kill many more men than one shot fired into a small one can do. 6. Mioreover, as is sea fights more men are killed and wounded by splinters than by cannon-balls, and as a large ship will yield more splinters from her thicks sides than one of the proposed frail vessels for smooth water will