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IF departed spirits are really cognisant of events that transpire on the earth, and if they are susceptible of wonder or surprises, the shades of Nelson and Napoleon may well be imagined to have experienced recently consider- able emotion. An English fleet lately took up its quarters in the harbour of Cherbourg, while a French fleet now occupies the roadstead and harbour of Portsmouth! In each case entrance was effected in face of the rival fleet and forti- fications; but not a shot was fired on either side. Truly, the fifty years that have elapsed since the battle of Waterloo closed the last long and desperate war between the two countries must have brought about strange changes for such events as these to be not only possible, but accomplished facts. No formal celebration of the jubilee of peace between England and France has been observed, or could well have been proposed. It is pro- verbially unsafe to rejoice too heartily over propitious circumstances, which an accident at any time may cloud. But, although this interchange of visits between the French and English fleets was not professedly designed to commemorate the fiftieth year passed by the two countries in friendly relations, it will have the effect of marking that epoch in the history of the world. It is worthy of the nineteenth century, and proof that the progress of modern civilisation is something more than an empty boast, that the warlike forces of two countries, which for centuries have been engaged in strife, should now lie peacefully side by side, ex- changing friendly greetings in each other's ports. The people on both sides of the Channel have every reason to congratulate themselves on this happy state of affairs, while the states- men by whose judicious policy it has been brought about may be excused if they regard the result with complacency and pride. But, although it be not the object of these mutual visits to celebrate a jubilee, they have an object, and an important one. France and England have long been engaged in rivalry of a peculiar description-at nrst sight inconsis- tent with the pacific relations to which we have alluded. Each country has been enr deavouring to excel the other in the construc- tions of those new and formidable engines of war—iron-clad ships and floating batteries. But being on the best terms with each other, and declaring themselves before all the world as friends and allies, this reconstruction of the navies has proceeded without cause for mistrust or alarm on either side, but has been felt to be an exigency of the time. One most impor- tant incident in the American war was the demonstration, in the conflict between the Merrimac and the Cumberland, the wooden p are incapable of resisting the attack of properly constructed iron vessels of far inferior armanent. In this one incident was found sufficient justification for the immediate and active measure adopted both in England and France, to strengthen the fleets by the addition of such a number of iron ships as should be a match for any naval force likely to be called into existence. No doubt, in each country the determination was. made not to be outdone by the other. The announcement of a new iron- clad in process of construction at Sheerness or Devonport, was followed by the notice that one had been placed on the stocks at Toulon or Brest. But it was by no means necessary to conclude that either party .was affected by the desire to overmatch the other, and to obtain a superior armament for offensive pur- poses. England and France have both to qualify themselves to hold their own, if necessity should unfortunately arise, against any other Powers who may take action either separately or in combination. It was therefore a natural consequence of their position as first- rate States, that they should pursue the course recently adopted. But, besides this, they have before now been called upon, in their connec- tion as allies, to array their mutual forces, and to count the resources either could muster for warlike operations. Tha desire not to be left at a disadvantage, if such an emergency should again arise, has no doubt had its influence in both countries in producing the emulation we have seen. Now, on both sides of the Channel a recon- struction of the fleet has been accomplished; the scientific shipbuilders of each nation having taken an independent course, and also acted quite without regard to the methods pursued and the details adopted by their fellow- KojaYiiyitlcmxurai-gHTueas, ao LJJJj.Db VJJ,) labourers across the water. Nothing could be more natural than that the two countries should desire to compare results--nothing more judicious than that they should carefully do so. The advantage may lie with us, or it may be with our neighbours. They may have a better return for their money, or we may have hit upon a more scientific and effective method of going to work. In either case it is desirable that the facts should be ascertained, that in future we may be able to act upon ex- perience thus acquired. So, in the face of the highest and most critical, naval authorities of each nation, the fleet of the other passes in review. Improvements are seen and defects are noticed; hints are given and taken on either side; and, if the opinions generally expressed in our own country by those most competent to judge may be taken ab unprejudiced and reliable, the comparison has certainly not been to the disadvantage of those powerful but costly vessels for which the English public have lately had the privilege of parting with their cash. But we cannot set this down as the only good result achieved by the visit of the fleets. Such intercourse, and the friendly proceedings with which it has been accompanied, must have a most beneficial effect in producing those feelings of mutual knowledge and respect, which go far to render war unnecessary, and even impossible. Even the sailors before the mast have felt this kindly influence. Jack, when he meets Jacques on the quay at Cher- bourg, finds that, "barring his lingo," he is a very good sort of fellow after all, and is right glad to give him a welcome at Portsmouth in return. This, in fact, is the kind of meeting that was required to cement more thoroughly a real friendship, the foundations of which were laid when the two fleets encountered side by side the perils privations of the cruise in the Black Sea, Let us hope that they may never again be destined to lay broadside to broad- side and try strength against strength, but that the only fire exchanged between them may henceforth be the ready but harmless blaze of mutual "salutes."

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