Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,498 pages of information and 233,940 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Captain Cowper Phipps Coles, (1819–1870), naval officer and inventor of a gun turret
1819 Born at Ditcham Park, Hampshire
1838 Passed examination for a naval commission
1846 Promoted lieutenant.
1853 Chosen by Sir Edmund Lyons, his uncle by marriage, as his flag-lieutenant on the Agamemnon in the Mediterranean, and served in the fleet's attack on the Sevastopol forts on 17 October 1854.
1855 Commanded the paddle steamer Stromboli in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
1855 While in the Sea of Azov, Coles designed and constructed a shallow-draft equipped with a heavy gun for shore bombarment. This was followed by another raft whose gun, magazine and crew were protected by a hemispherical iron shield.
Coles was ordered home to superintend the construction of similar rafts for the projected attack on Kronstadt. Eventually he developed the idea into a cylindrical shield for shipboard mounting. Because of the turret's weight, this would result in ships with low freeboard - Coles wanted to combine the turret with a full sailing rig to create a first-class battleship.
1856 Promoted captain.
1856 Married Emily Pearson with whom he had ten children. Their fourth son was Sherard Osborn Cowper Coles, who became an electrometallurgist and inventor.
Starting in 1861, HMS Trusty (1855) was fitted with an experimental gun turret (cupola) designed by Coles. See press reports below.
Drawings   show that the turret was in the form of a truncated cone. It revolved on a set of conical rollers, and was turned by hand cranks acting through reduction gearing, presumably onto a large diameter spur gear.
Early in 1862 trials were carried out on an old sloop, HMS Hazard, fitted with a Coles turret and two larger guns (110-pounders) than those used in 'Trusty' trials.. The aim was to investigate the working of the turret and its guns, and not to test its armour, so it was made of wood.
The 'truncated cone' shape had to be abandoned in favour of a parallel cylinder in order to accommodate the larger muzzle-loading guns.
Starting in spring 1862, the steam battleship Royal Sovereign was converted into a mastless turret ship. Despite successful trials in 1864, Coles continued to press for a fully rigged, first-class ship to be built.
In August 1862, Napier and Sons signed a contract with the Royal Danish Navy to build an armoured warship fitted with two Coles turrets . The Rolf Krake became, in July 1863, the first turret ship to be commissioned in Europe. In December 1862 Coles reached an agreement with Laird Brothers allowing them to fit two of his patent turrets on an armoured vessel. This was one of two being built ostensibly for Egypt (but actually for the US Confederate Navy).
1866 HMS Monarch was ordered but Coles was still dissatisfied.
Eventually he was allowed to call on private industry to design his own ship. Coles selected Laird Brothers of Birkenhead; their design was authorized on 23 July 1866, although the Controller of the Navy was concerned whether the proposed freeboard would be sufficient. The ship was named the HMS Captain. When built the freeboard was nearly 2 feet less than had been designed.
1870 The Captain was commissioned.
In a gale off Cape Finisterre on the night of 7 September 1870 the Captain capsized and sank. Almost all aboard her were drowned, including Cowper Coles.
July 1861 'Steam was got up on Saturday in her Majesty's floating battery Trusty, 14, 150 horse-power, in Woolwich basin, in order to test the efficiency of her engines, preparatory to a first trial at sea of Capt. Cowper Phipps Coles's patent shot-proof gun-shield erected on board the Trusty, already alluded to in former numbers of The Sun. One of the great advantages derived from the aid of the shield is found to be the porthole, which is entirely closed by the gun, save the small space sufficient to permit an elevation of 10 and a depression of 7 deg. The horizontal motion, or training, is effected by turning the shield itself, with the gun, crew, and platform on which they stand. The whole apparatus thus becomes, as it were, the gun-carriage, and being placed on a common turn-table is revolved to the greatest nicety of adjustment. The shield is provided with a hollow cylinder 3 feet in diameter, through which the powder is handed up from the magazine and communication obtained. A current of air is likewise kept up through the hollow pivot by means of a fan, which causes the smoke, directly it leaves the breech of the gun, to escape through the opening immediately above it. The exposed portion above the glacis of 3 feet 8 inches (the entire shield being 7 feet high) is covered with blocks of iron, and the lower part is sunk into the deck, and protected by an iron glacis. The face of the shield presents a slanting surface of 45 degrees elevation, on a solid substance of 4 1/2-inch plates of iron, backed up by 18-inch timber blocks. It is calculated that any amount of pounding from the enemy's guns would produce no injurious effect, as no horizontal fire can strike this structure above the water line, except at an angle of 40 degrees. It is completely protected against a vertical fire by its arched roof, and is supported on each side by stanchions, or fore and aft bulkheads. The experiments are looked forward to with considerable interest, as from the appearance of the shield and the benefits likely to be afforded, the circumscribed limits of the broadside gun and gunners of a man-of-war will now be rendered, it is confidently expected, under ordinary circumstances, totally shot proof. The ordinary portholes are entirely dispensed with.' 
September 1861 'At length, after many months of patient labour, and at an outlay of much expense and skill, we have been brought face to face with the first result of one of those great national experiments, which, originally springing from a little germ-thought in the brain of an active and clever officer - has ripened into maturity under the sunny auspices of many other enlightened men, who well foresaw and understood the value of the seed they kindly nurtured in the early stages of its growth. In the broad field of science another battle has been fought between those mighty rivals Destruction and Resistance, and on this occasion there has been no drawn battle, no dubious victory which the partisans of either side might claim as their own. After many disastrous overthrows, the latter, calling in the scientific aid of Deflection, as represented by Captain Cowper Coles's cupola shield, again challenged the formidable and redoubtable adversary; the greatest interest as to the result of the engagement has been lately manifested among the officers ot both Services; and the vast changes which may flow in from the practical evidence now obtained in the re-construction of our iron Navy, induce us to enter at some length into this important subject.
'Nearly seven years have glided away since Captain Coles, in the height of the Russian war. constructed, during the operations in the Sea of Azof, a raft, christened "The Lady Nancy", carrying a 32-pounder gun, and which was used upon the enemy with immediate effect. Finding that a single gun upon a steady platform could do so much execution, he turned his attention to the effective protection of the crew, gun, and magazine; and constructed a design of another raft, which was provided with hemispherical iron shield over 95-cwt. gun. So struck was Admiral Lord Lyons with the invention, that he ordered a board of officers at once to assemble and report upon it. The board sat under the presidency of Rear-Admiral Sir Houston Stewart, K.C.B., and so favourable was the report which they sent in, that Lord Lyons at once ordered Captain Coles to England, to lay the matter before the Admiralty, in the full belief that the secret for a successful attack in the shallow waters of Cronstadt was about to be solved. At this juncture peace with Russia was proclaimed, and Captain Coles, having received much attention at the hands of the Admiralty, resolved to perfect his models, and adapt the principles which he advocated for use on board our ships of war. The result was the present design of the cupola iron shield, which after due consideration Government determined to try; and with that object ordered one, after the models of the inventor, to be built on the deck of the Trusty at Woolwich. Captain Coles was placed on full pay as additional to the Fisgard, in order personally to superintend the arrangements; and we are happy that the authorities have acted in no mean and unenlightened spirit in this matter; but where there appeared to exist good solid grounds for encouragement, have cheerfully aided in clearing away the numberless obstructions which ceaselessly beset the daily path of all who step out of the good old beaten track.
'In the reconstruction of our Navy from wooden to iron vessels, the perfect practical invulnerability of the latter can never be secured so long as the portholes present an area of 13 square feet entirely exposed to shot and shell, immediately in rear of which space are grouped the guns, and the crews which fight them. The smaller port-holes of the Warrior were designed in great measure to remedy this, but Captain Coles, foreseeing this disadvantage the casualties from this very cause which the French floating batteries received at Kinburn, conceived the idea of remedying it by a manner entirely novel. After immense labour, time, and expense in perfecting his models, he submitted to the Admiralty his proposals for constructing on a deck or a battery a cone-formed iron-coated shield for the protection of one or two guns working beneath it. The port-hole is entirely closed by the gun, save the small space sufficient to permit an elevation of 10, and depression of 7 degrees. The horizontal motion or turn-table is effected by turning the shield itself with the gun, crew, and platform on which they stand. The whole becomes thus, it were, the gun-carriage; and being placed on a common turn-table is revolved to the greatest nicety of adjustment by means of winches, or of levers at the pivot. This pivot is a hollow cylinder of 3 feet diameter, through which powder is handed up from the magazine. The whole exposed upper portion of this arched dome is covered with 4 1/2-inch. iron and the other part is sunk in deck and protected by an iron glacis. No horizontal fire can strike this structure above the water-line except at an angle of 40 degrees. The height of the dome inside is seven feet, and its diameter 16 feet, hardly sufficient for the comfortable working of a 40-pounder, and which the next shield will remedy. Upon these general data the Admiralty ordered the first shield to be constructed in Woolwich Dockyard, on board the Trusty, and as soon as completed, about a month ago, the ship was ordered down to Shoeburyncss, for Capt. Coles’s new principle to receive there the severest testing. Lieut. Liddell an experienced gunnery officer of the Excellent, from Portsmouth, with a party of trained seamen-gunners, were ordered up for this duty, and the whole business, owing to the pressure of work in Captain Hewlett's hands, was placed under the critical and impartial eye of Captain ashmore Powell, C.B., of H.M.’s new iron frigate Defence. 
October 1861 'COLES’ CUPOLA SHIELDS.
'Recently the Army and Navy Gazette gave an account of the experiment with the cupola shields invented by Captain Coles for the decks of men-ofwar, and of their great success, the gunners inside being able to fire with greater rapidity than those at one of the common deck guns. The same paper has since given the following account of the attempt to smash one by firing heavy shot at it: —
'We may well imagine the feelings of the gallant inventor at seeing the formidable array of 40, 68, and 100-pounder gun brought down to bear on the labour of so many months, preparing to do their worst to smash it utterly, and consign it therewith to oblivion. At very short range, and closing in to 150 yards, there rained upon the little cupola a fearful hurricane of pitiless missiles. Nor was this storm directed promiscuously, as might be likely to happen in the rapid and half-unseen firing on an engagement ; but the dome of the cupola was deliberately faced round at consecutive shots, which were quietly levelled against its weakest parts. One slice, and one only, of the iron covering cracked from defective plate, the remainder of the bombarding shots, sixty-two in number, glanced off instantly in striking, and, shattered into mitraille and tenpenny nails by the terrific impact, flew in showers high over the opposite side. Calmly, even at the crack, which took place at the twenty-eighth round, stood the inventor, and as calmly he said, "You may pierce it, you may crack it, but I am satisfied you will not able to stop its working." And so it was; when projectiles, far more in number than would be likely strike any place of equal area in action, had taken etfect upon it, the shield was found still practically invulnerable and, what is of far more importance, the working and revolving apparatus was perfectly efficient. Captain Coles was prepared, the moment the old 9-pounder gun (whoso nozzle had been knocked off) was removed, to open fire instanter on his enemy. Even more than this was done; for Capt. Powell, anxious to ascertain how far the proof of its efficiency could be carried after such a hammering as it had just received, directed sixty men to mount like bees upon it,and even with this great additional weight revolved as surely as Galileo’s world upon its unseen axis — bearing out completely the bold words of the originator, which we have just quoted. True that by this time any of our ships rigged after the present fashion would have become completely demoralized up aloft, in their shrouds, stays, sails, and rigging, from the glancing of the broken shot upwards; but it must bo remembered that splinters even of iron do very little damage to wooden, still less to iron masts; and are informed that by a novel arrangement in masting not yet brought forward, Captain Coles will able to secure his upper works from the damage to which they are exposed by the deflection of the shot upwards. There remains but to test the working of the turn-table in a seaway ; but the whole affair is perfectly balanced, no difficulty on this point is apprehended.
"The Army and Navy Gazette gives the following description of the cupola:- "After immense labour, time, and expense perfecting his models, he submitted to the Admiralty his proposals for constructing on a deck or a battery a cone-formed iron-coated shield for the protection of one or two guns working beneath it. The port-hole is entirely closed by the gun, save the small space sufficient to permit an elevation of 10, and depression of 7, degrees. The horizontal motion of turn table is effected by turning the shield itself with the gun, crew, and platform on which they stand. The whole apparatus becomes thus, as it were, the guncarriage ; and being placed on a common turntable can be revolved to the greatest nicety of adjustment by means of winches, or levers at the pivot. This pivot is a hollow cylinder of feet diameter, through which the powder is handed up from the magazine. The whole exposed upper portion of this arched dome is covered with 4 1/2-inch iron, and the other part is sunk in deck and protected by an iron glacis. No horizontal fire can strike this structure above the water line except at an angle of 40 degrees. The height of the dome inside seven feet, and its diameter 17 feet, sufficient for the comfortable working 40-pounder, and which the next shield will remedy. In the preliminary trial some light inconvenience was experienced from the vibration or concussion of the shock in firing; this was practically remedied by cutting a hole above the vent-piece in the centre of the dome, where, indeed, it was always intended that it should have been; and the suggestion made to use a little cotton in their cars put the gunners quite at ease on that score. The next difficulty was to manage the self-acting recoil sliding-carriage, in order to ensure after the recoil that the gun should run out again to the same spot exactly. This was managed, and so well were the little modifications arranged, that in ninety-eight rounds the breechings were never shifted at all; a tremendous test for any gun-carriage to pass through; and the immense labour saved by securing a good self-acting gun-carriage will be at once appreciated hy all our professional readers. These minor but important matters rectified, the trial began in earnest, by putting the shield 40 pounder gun against another 40-pounder gun worked on the main deck ot the Trusty. Every sort of comparison between the two guns was most carefully made, day after day, resulting in the superiority of the shield gun, worked with far less number of men. In rapidity of fire the gain of the shield gun was about ten seconds per round, the gun deck taking forty seconds to load and fire correctly, while the former fired two rounds per minute easily. This advantage was partly secured by the sights fixed on the top of the shield training while the gun is being loaded, and the moment the sights are brought on the object the member with the trigger line in his hand fires; whereas the gun on the deck has first to load, and then with 'muzzle right, muzzle left, elevate,' repeated till the object is covered, does very excellent work in firing correctly in forty seconds, albeit an inferiority with its rival in the shield. These sights on the shield, in fact, perform the same office as the small 'finder’ of a large telescope, the shield being, as were, the carriage of the gun, and the two always retaining the same relative position. Targets at various angles, and between 600 to 1,200 yards distant, were now placed out in order to test the relative value of rapidity of fire in turning the shield round as compared with the common training of the service. The winches worked admirably and in this trial the shield gun made an advantage over the deck gun as compared by the numbers 6 to 4; though the gain must in some measure be attributed to the fact that the smoke hung in front of the perpendicular sides of the Trusty, but could obtain no hold against the deflected exterior sides of the cone, but flew away and scattered at once; a point of the very utmost importance, and one which Captain Coles and other officers have urged, but hitherto in vain, against the construction of the forts on the Spit Shoals. Indeed, in one of these trials, from this cause tho shield gun fired at a target seven rounds, while her blinded dock adversary could only secure one round." '
1862 'CAPTAIN COLES’S CUPOLA.
In the House of Commons on Monday evening, Admiral Walcott asked the Secretary of the Admiralty whether the cupola, fitted on board the Trusty floating battery, had not been altered from the condition in which it was used in the practice firing when it sustained the shots of a 110 and 68-pounder gun, as it was now proposed to submit it to the fire of 150-pounder gun ; and whether Captain Coles, of the Royal Navy, the inventor, had been consulted on the propriety of using such a severe test in the present state of the cupola. Lord C. Paget replied that the Admiralty had communicated with Capt. Coles, so that that officer might prepare his shield ship as he might wish for the test which was to be applied to it.
The following letter on the subject, appeared in the Times of Tuesday:-
"Sir,— I observed in your impression of Saturday some remarks relative to the Royal Sovereign with which my name was coupled, as it also was with the experiments said to about to take place against a shield fitted in the Trusty.
"The erroneous impressions which I find to be entertained by my own profession and the country at large relative to my responsibility in these matters, induce me to hope you will allow me, through your columns, an opportunity of explaining how I am situated with respect to them. So far from being in any way responsible in either case I have not even been consulted; and as regards the Prince Albert, now being built by Mr. Samuda, my part is now apparently limited in her construction to preparing the drawings for her shields.
"It therefore becomes evident that any deficiencies or shortcomings which may occur cannot be laid to my charge.
"I made certain statements in your columns in March and April last relative to vessels on my plan. I repeat what I then said;— "I am ready to stand or fall my assertions," were I allowed to carry out my views.
"The shield now fitted in the Trusty has been put together without my knowledge, and it was only throngh the press that I learnt it was being done. I have not been allowed to superintend it, and, from all that I can learn, I fear it cannot be considered to represent my invention. Such being the case, I cannot in any way be answerable for the results of the experiments which I now understand are to be made with Sir William Armstrong’s 150-pounder.
"However, were I allowed, I am quite ready to put together even this wreck of my former shield (which underwent such a severe test in October, 1861, under Captain A. Powell, C.B , and officers from Her Majesty's ship Excellent), and would then guarantee, at all events, that some reliable and valuable data should be gained from whatever experiments it might be deemed advisable to submit it to.
"I can now only leave it to the impartial judgment of others whether this shield, put together without my knowledge or superintendence (or even that of the leading man formerly employed on it), can he considered a fair experiment, or be productive of any reliable results in connection with the great question of offence and defence question upon the right solution of which much in the present day depends.
Your obedient servant,
COWPER P. COLES.
2, Clarence-parade, Southsea, May 12."
'In the House of Commons on Tuesday evening Lord R. Montagu inquired, of the noble Lord Secretary of the Admiralty whether his reply of the previous day was correct, that Captain Coles had the entire management of putting up the shield upon which experiments were to made, and whether the statement made by that officer in a letter which had appeared in the leading journal of that day were correct.— Admiral Walcot also thought it important that an explanation should be given.— Lord C. Paget.— I am much obliged to the noble lord and the gallant admiral for putting this question. I read the letter in the Times of to-day with considerable regret, I have a high personal regard for Captain Coles. The facts are that Captain Cole’s shield underwent severe trial some months ago by firing at it from various guns, notably from a 100-pounder Armstrong gun, and was considerably shaken. The Duke of Somerset thought it would be interesting that further trial of the shield should be made with a still heavier gun, — viz., the 150-pounder gun recently tried, and he ordered that the shield should be repaired and put in order with a view to this further trial. Captain Coles came to me at the Admiralty I think on Saturday last, and I believe also had communication with other members of the Admiralty, and represented that unless he should he go down to inspect the repairs of this shield he thought it might not be sufficiently strengthened to afford a fair test of its ability to resist the fire of a 150-pounder gun. The moment it was told him, the Duke of Somerset said, "By all means let Captain Coles go and himself inspect the shield, and suggest any further strengthening that it may require." I think Captain Coles has very injudiciously and without reflection penned that letter to the Times, in which he makes complaint that the trials with his shield are being carried on without consultation with him. I am very sorry he has done so. Captain Coles writes in the Times to say that he is not responsible for the cupola shield ship which is now being constructed, and that he is not responsible for the Royal Sovereign three-decker, which has been cut down. Let me state distinctly that Captain Coles is not responsible for any of these ships. Captain Coles is simply responsible for his shield. He made proposals to the Admiralty to construct ships; but Captain Coles is not a shipbuilder, and his plans not at all available for the public service. His shields were available for the public service. The Admiralty adopted them. They consulted Captain Coles; they desire to consult him, and to give him every opportunity for making the best shields he can. But I do deprecate an officer on full pay writing letters to the newspapers when is employed under the orders of the Admiralty in an important matter. (Hear, hear.) I sincerely trust that my friend Captain Coles will not repeat this act. (Hear.)
'On Wednesday, the Times spoke with no uncertain sound on behalf of the gallant captain:—
'Lord Clarence Paget last night expressed the displeasure of the Admiralty at the letter which Captain Coles addressed to us, complaining of the treatment which he has received from the Admiralty. With every wish to do justice to a great public department, we must say that the objections of the Secretary to the complaints of Captain Coles are not such as will find sympathy with the public. The only complaint, as far as we can see, is that Captain Coles, being an officer on full pay, has written a letter complaining of the course which the Admiralty has thought fit to adopt. It will perhaps now be necessary that the whole matter should become the subject of inquiry. In justice to an ingenious man who has rendered great service to naval science, as well as for the sake of the national interests, we must demand that there shall be fair play between the inventor and his judges, and that neither prejudice nor routine shall affect their treatment of him. Of course, in these things there is a great deal to be said, and a great deal is sure to be said, on both sides. But in the case of Captain Coles's invention the Admiralty does not stand before the country in a very favourable light. From what we know for certain, we can say that the naval authorities have been apathetic, narrow, and perverse, and there is therefore reason to presume that in any differences that may now arise they will not be faultless. The history of the invention, in fact, is a satire on the Admiralty such as the imagination of a novelist could hardly exceed. Seven years ago, Captain Coles, then employed in the Black Sea, submitted his invention to the service, and obtained a favourable report from a board of officers. Since that time the subject of naval defences and of the best form and material for ships of war has been discussed without cessation, and the British navy has been once, if not twice, reconstructed. The Admiralty has shared in any panics which may have taken possession of the public; it has professed to consider our capital, our seaports, our arsenals, our colonies all at the mercy of an enemy stronger than ourselves at sea. It has followed, with imitation almost servile, the improvements that have been made abroad in the construction of vessels, and propounded theories with respect to the proportion that the naval forces of France should be allowed to bear to ours. All this time the plans of Captain Coles have been fully detailed, and the favourable opinion which many able officers had formed concerning them has been well-known at Whitehall. Nor has the inventor himself been inactive. He has, we believe, done his best to obtain the adoption of his plans by the Admiralty, and a description, with drawings, of a projected shield frigate appeared in Blackwood's Magazine nearly 18 months ago. It was probably from this and similar publications that the idea of the Monitor, constructed during the present year, was taken by the Americans. That those people will for ever claim the merit of the invention, and declare that the British navy was remodelled after the little vessel that fought in Hampton Roads, is, of course, to be expected. We are not much in the habit of caring for these assertions of national pre-eminence, but if there be any value in a character for fertility of invention it is our Admiralty which is to blame for having given the Americans an unmerited victory on the present occasion.
'No sooner is the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac described in Europe than the Admiralty, of course, puts on all of its energy. The country is to be saved, the navy is to be reconstructed. England must always be at the head of maritime Powers; our supremacy on the ocean must be preserved at all hazards. The Monitor was a cupola ship; let us have cupola ships - ten, twenty, a hundred, five hundred. He must be a traitor who would refuse any amount of taxes for cupola ships. What was neglected for nearly seven long years, is now declared at once a most astonishing and importent discovery. The consequence is that ships after the plans of Captain Coles are being rapidly constructed and, if they prove success, a great part of the British navy will be eventually converted. But for which can understand as little as Captain Coles, the inventor is debarred from any practical supervision of the works which are to test the merits of his theory. In his letter to us Captain Coles says that in the construction of the Prince Albert, now being built by Mr. Samuda, his part is limited to preparing the drawings for her shields, and that any deficiencies or shortcomings that may occur cannot be laid to his charge. And, although Lord C. Paget says, very truly, that Captain Coles is not responsible for the ships, yet, as he is responsible for the shields, he ought certainly to superintend the construction of them. With respect to the experiments to be made against a shield constructed by Captain Coles in 1859, there is no doubt that it was made to resist much smaller ordnance than that now use, that it has suffered much since it was constructed, and that it by no means represents the resisting power which shields now constructed might be made to possess. With a sense of justice particularly their own, the authorities have resolved to test a man’s invention without asking his cooperation or even giving him notice. "The shield now fitted in the Trusty," says Captain Coles, has been put together without my knowledge, and it was only through the press that I knew it was being done. I have not been allowed to superintend it, and from all that I can learn I fear it cannot be considered to represent my invention."
'Such proceedings as this are certainly neither courteous to a distinguished officer nor just to the nation. What right has an official Board to adopt a man’s invention, and then give it to be carried out by others, who are only half acquainted with it, and are possibly rivals of the originator ? It is plain that if Captain Coles’s scheme is a good one, he is the fittest man to be intrusted with the material realization of it, inasmuch as there must occur in the execution many details of difficulty which will be best managed by one who has the whole conception in his mind. On the other hand, if the theory be faulty, and experiment proves its weakness, it will be far from satisfactory to the public to hear it asserted that the trial was made without the co-operation of the inventor, and that the scheme has been condemned on partial evidence. The Admiralty, which has received its full share of praise for the promptness with which it worked during the American difficulty, seems now disposed to return to its old ways, and the display of obstructiveness or professional jealousy to regain its bad character with both seamen and landsmen. We know that it persisted in giving us sailing ships long after it was plain to every one that steam was necessary and that it kept the paddle-wheels until every one else adopted the screw and that it reconstructed the navy in wood just as the Gloire was being launched by our neighbours. A fleet of Coles's shield vessels in the construction of which Captain Coles shall be the only naval person prohibited from interfering would be a fitting sequel for these triumphs of official wisdom.'