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minor lane would have to dip under- istence at an early date. Such a Board neath when crossing a major lane. will have full control of the air all
Speed appeals to the majority of over the world. At first it will be ocmankind, and flying will certainly be cupied with the Navigation Laws (as the premier sport of the world. There apart from the by-laws which any paris a peculiar fascination about it, ticular locality may enforce), with the whether we approach it by means of mail service, and, in a hesitating way, a horse or a motor, on skates, on a with the thorny subject of warfare, but, toboggan, or (nearest of all) freewheel- before long, forced on by the march of ing down hill on a cycle; and the air- events, it will be taking over the wireship will give us unchecked, unlimited less stations and the meteorological speed to handle at our will. Just service. One can imagine such a board fancy climbing upwards in a long extending its boundaries in all direcspiral, high up until the world is left tions, for the growing importance of far below, above clouds or fog or rain flying will carry it on irresistibly, and into the eternal sunshine; to hang there ultimately it may be the foundation for one delicious moment poised in the of that greater Board which will in highest heaven-and then to dive with due time arise for the purpose of world a clean clear swoop, fifty miles long: arbitration, It will give to man all that he has ever accomplished in his wildest dreams,
III. WAR. and, then indeed he will be able to sing There has been more than oue roof speed, and of his dominion over the mance written in which an airship, a air.
sort of torpedo-destroyer, has suddenly The question of tariffs will need appeared without any warning and special handling. Boats landing in a bas, forthwith, proceeded to dominate foreign country will have to report the whole world. A perfected flying themselves immediately to a custom machine of a hundred years hence station, and any omission in this re- would undoubtedly dominate the presspect will be a penal offence. One of ent-day world, just as our Dreadnought the most important points will be the would have overpowered the allied mail service. There will be postal sub- forces of the world in 1800, smashing sidies for the big liners, and special up every ship and every maritime mail boats where they are needed. fortress then in existence with the This matter, together with the tariff greatest possible ease. We may rest difficulty, will call for an International assured, however, that the perfect airBoard, to deal generally with flying ship will not rise armed from the sea The problems are so complex and the in one night. It will be the outcome, conditions so widespread, that no coun- not of a sudden inspiration, but of slow try will be able to handle the traffic arduous experiment, as all other hualone, and it will have to be settled man inventions have been. mutually by all the parties concerned. During the last fifty years there has Sea ships are dealt with easily, for been a running struggle between naval they can be detected and caught when armor and naval guns. A has inthey enter port, wherever it may be. vented a gun that will pierce any There is an elaborate system of ob- known armor. B has brought a plate servation centred at Lloyd's, which which will defy A's gun, and then C deals with this, but airships will not has appeared with an explosive that be so easily managed, and the Inter- will hurl a shell through B's armor. national Board will be forced into ex- So the battle has raged, not only be. tween gun and armor, but between and fro to get as close to his prey as all other weapons of attack and de- possible (he won't be able to hover fence, notably in the case of the tor- definitely for a long time to come), pedo, which has attained remarkable will be getting shot, smashed, and powers, following its prey with the killed in a variety of ways from bemost uncanny sagacity.
neath and from above. Until the deWe may look for a similar conflict fending fleet is destroyed there will between the airship and its opponents be aerial engagements, mostly ramfor a long time to come. Ultimately, ming. There will be a special form the former will prevail, but for the of guard-boat for defensive purposes present we may expect a race between built for hovering at great heights, attack and defence, on the accustomed probably drawing electrical power lines.
through a wire, and capable of staying The dropping of explosives from bal- aloft for an indefinite period. By day loons is prohibited. No one has been it would fire on attacking airships, able to use such a weapon to any ap- using a light gun spraying out a preciable degree at present, but, as it stream of needle bullets, and at night comes more and more into the region it would scour the horizon with powerof practical warfare, not all the con- ful searchlights. ferences in the world will prevent its There will be guns, too, tremenuse, Dor the use of any weapon as dously long quick-firing guns, fixed verpotent as this promises to be.
tically, using small time-fuse shells The aeronaut will be armed with an containing high velocity explosives. instrument, a combination of telescope, Given accurate range-finding a battery range-finder, and plumb-line, which of these should be able to land at least will enable him to drop a shell through one shell in the vicinity of the airship, a tube exactly over any desired spot. and the explosion at close quarters The barrel would be rifled to give the would wreck the vessel. shell a spin, and so prevent deviation. Similar guns would be mounted on Many things can be dropped that can- our ordinary sea ships in a sort of outnot be fired.
rigger construction, one or more pairs There will be all sorts of novel on each side of the vessel. The chemical compounds, fierce explosives, lower part of the gun, protected by a and mixtures for suffocating, burning. (over, would be in the water when pulverizing and annihilating the vic- in use, and when travelling it would tini. The airship will devastate our be slung up alongside. A vast cities, arsenals, and dockyards. She amount of ingenuity will be expended will smash up our forts, camps, and in devising new weapons. There is in battleships, and will threaten alike our use at the present time in the vine. protected ports and our most sheltered yards of California a machine, known inland towns. As soon as this is fairly as the "hailstorm gun." It has a funrealized there will be a hurrying to nel for its barrel, and in a chamber and fro for means of defence, whilst at the bottom a charge of powder is all the time the airship will go ahead, fired and an air-ring ejected, resembeing tested, altered and improved, bling the smoke ring familiar to everytirst taking part in one war and then body. another, and advancing towards per. This vortex ring spinning round at fection by hard-won steps..
high speed keeps its shape, and makes The attacking aeronaut, struggling directly for the threatening storm against the wind, and manapuvring to cloud, which it strikes and disperses. One could imagine a modification of detail, the attention to commissariat this weapon, to fire a vortex air spiral or ammunition, and the actual strategy that would tear the attacking aero- of the battlefield have changed hardly plane wing from wing. Giant re- at all in essence. They have changed flectors, or electrical rays, may be so little, indeed, that Hannibal or turned on the aeronaut, to paralyze Julius Cæsar might, with a little prehim, or to render useless his batteries, liminary coaching, have conducted our or set fire to his store of explosives. South African campaign, and with Probably, however, the quick-firing somewhat different results! On the yun keeping up a stream of shells will sea to-day the leading power of the prove the most effective weapon of all. moment reigns supreme, but on land Certainly the navigator will have to everyone is king in his own castle, keep a weather eye open in his earlier more so now than ever, thanks to campaigns.
smokeless powder and improved methAs the struggle develops, there will ods of defence. be a halt in the construction of other Just imagine what a startling change classes of armament, the Powers ceas- there will be when the conditions of ing to lay down ironclads, or to build naval warfare establish themselves forts; for it will be evident that any over the land. What a difference it sudden improvement in aeronautics would have made in the Manchurian may give a decisive advantage to the War! attack over the defence, and all atten. After the first night attack of the tion will be turned towards these ex- Japanese had disabled the Russian periments.
fleet, Port Arthur might have held out Up to the present time the race be- one day, but two days would have tween defence and attack has been been the farthest limit. Again, what wonderfully balanced, and further, an alteration there would have been any revolutionary weapon such as the in South Africa! In the midst of that quick-firing gun, or the torpedo, has weary time, the appearance of Adbeen shared by all the Powers; but miral Fisher, with a score of aeroin aeronautics a small advance may at planes, would have wound it up in any moment place an enormous about a fortnight, without our colonels amount of power in a hitherto weak or major-generals troubling their brains band.
any more about the matter, Nowhere has the mechanical prog- It means bringing the ironclad Pes of the last century been more ashore, and that is a revolution indeed, notable than on the sea. Naval power both in spirit and in fact. The aerial has become a scientific affair, the fleet battle will decide the campaign, and, of to-day combining in itself the best even as the first sea power of today work of the engineer, the designer and rules the waves, so then the first aerial the chemist. Our sailor is now a power will be indisputably the ruler trained mechanic, and he tends stead of the whole world. ily to become more so and less of a At the present moment there is a fighter. On land there has been little revival of the Channel Tunnel scheme, real change since the battle of Agin- and our military authorities are rushcourt. The problems that confront the ing into print with arguments against modern general are almost identical the idea, The English Commander-inwith those for instance that awaited Chief declares that Great Britain can Napoleon. The marshalling of huge no longer hold up her head as an inbodies of men, the arrangement of dependent Power if the tunnel is per
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXXV. 1831
mitted to pierce the defences of that of a beleaguered city, and consequently Sea Wall that for so long has been her we may look for a growing reluctance salvation!
to war and a general diminution of This, we may take it, is the common patriotic ardor. It will be the most sense view of our naturally conserva- potent argument for peace possible, tive countrymen. If the Channel Tun- and even as the first instalment of fly. nel alarms them now, what will our ing will give pause to our armaments, War Office say to the aeroplane? And so its advance will cry halt to war itwhat will the War Offices of other self and later, I believe, will aid powcountries say to it?
erfully in its total abolition. They will say nothing, which is all they are capable of saying to any
THE WIDER VIEW. question that calls for a little fore- Beginning with the sixteenth centsight.
ury and greatly accelerated during the That colossal system of frontier for- pineteenth, the tendency of our Westtification that has arisen throughout ern nations has been towards cosmoEurope will, with our "sea wall,” or politanism, a spreading abroad of genthe “mountain walls" of Thibet, van- eral ideas and sentiments, accomish before the coming of the aeroplane, plished by means of steamships, railand be heard of no more.
ways, and all that we know as modern These changes will not come in one civilization. Whether this will tend to day however; the struggle between the the ultimate good of the world is a airship above and the defences below highly debatable point-whether, inwill continue for a long period, the deed, it is to the welfare of the white advantage tending now in one direc- man at all, readers of Lafcadio Hearn tion and then in another. As, how will seriously question-but most soever, inventions and improvements cial reformers will agree that it will multiply, as the airship gets steadier be better when one tongue is known in her flight, more controllable and by all nations and one law is recogable to rise to greater heights, so the nized everywhere, as is the case todefender will toil under increasing dis- day, for instance, throughout the Rusadvantages until ultimately the aero- sian and the British Empires. plane will be indisputably supreme. When that day comes the field of
When that time comes there will be operations will be clearly marked out. several awkward questions to face, and all those problems with which the However powerful, for instance, the politician locally and the Socialist on English aerofleet, there will be noth- a human scale are attempting to graping to prevent a determined enemy ple will be cornered and taken in making a night raid on London, a dis- hand. To-day that is an impossibility, aster too horrible even to contemplate. conditions vary so widely and change It will bring home to the most sheltered so rapidly. Our best efforts tend to the grim realities of war. One can im- ignore the Irish voter, or the Chinese agine our well-fed English citizen, free laborer, or whatever other outside facfrom conscription and ignorant of in- tors we can possibly shut our eyes to. vasion, pausing a moment in his bel- But the next attempted Utopia will licose agitation and glancing appre- have to be a World State, and this is hensively upwards at a passing already recognized by many of our best shadow. By day and by night he will thinkers. be in danger. The whole countryside Flying will enormously accelerate will experience the agonizing suspense the spread of universal ideas. At present there are vast portions of the ple. Another hundred years along the world untouched. We have only skirted same lines would see the goal much the fringe of our mineral and agricul- nearer. tural riches, and enormous wealth Already electricity and steam have awaits the pioneer in every direc: brought the world into a possible comtion.
pass. People are just beginning to reWe are attacking to-day such places alize the fact that war is a ruinous busias South America, Asia, and Africa ness for all, alike to the victor, the vanin a more or less hesitating fashion. quished, and the spectator. They are Some one discovers a mineral deposit dimly grasping the fact that several rich enough to warrant a railway, bundred million pounds blown into Then come ships, a port, and finally smoke in Africa, or Manchuria, rep. a settlement with police and daily resents a dead loss to the parties conpapers, and agricultural operations are cerned, and further, as a depletion or set on foot, after which that part is the floating wealth of the world, a supposed to be civilized. This is a loss to all; and it is the growth of this very slow process however. Once we idea that will prepare the way for the fiy, and white man (or yellow) will be abolition of war. This is one of the all over the show immediately. When ideals of the future. Another century it is possible to get from any one point would, I believe, see this attained, toto any other point of the planet, say in gether with much else that at present twenty four hours, things will move we regard as dreams. That century as they have never moved before. will be, however, a time of strife and of
Then will begin such a time as the great transvaluation of Powers, and if. world has never known or imagined. during these coming changes, such a
Mankind has watched with stupe revolutionary weapon as the airship faction the opening up of the United should be available, it is impossible to States. Its rise from an unknown foresee the result. It might upset, or wilderness to the wealthiest of na- wholly destroy, our present civilization, tions in a couple of generations it may put back the clock of progress gives one some idea of what is for a long time to come, and it will before us. What has happened on the most certainly prove a vastly disturb. prairies and in the mines of the Ameri- ing element. cas will take place all over at once. The airship is here--not perhaps There will be a universal boom, and commercially at once, but from the a sudden rising in the total wealth of military point of view it is immedithe world.
ately upon us, and the other will folWhat problems such a change may low. It is imperative, therefore, that bring one cannot foresee, nor does it attention should be drawn towards the concern us here, but it will mean a questions that flying will bring in its casting loose of all the stable bonds train. and a shifting of all our ancient land- It may or may not be a great boon, marks--it will be a universal revolu- we are quite unable to say which, but tion.
that will depend in a large measure on At times I am doubtful whether the the way in which these questions are airship has not come a century too soon. handled. This present tendency of things is To England it is a question of paratowards a growing understanding mount importance. Our colossal fleet amongst the nations, and more im- of ships, our world-wide commerce, portant still, amongst the common peo- and our far-reaching Empire, rest on a