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navy of which he was the chief ornament had become an object of derision to every third-rate power in Europe and South America. The elderly monitors and wooden steamers, with their old-fashioned smooth-bore guns, would have been as incompetent to face the modern ships of the period as the Congress and the Cumberland were to face the Merrimac. Our men were as brave as ever, but in war their courage would have been of no more avail than the splendid valor of the men who sank with their guns firing and flags flying when the great Confederate ironclad came out to Hampton Roads.
At last the nation awoke from its lethargy. In 1883, under the Administration of President Arthur, when Secretary Chandler was in the Navy Department, the work was begun. The first step taken was the refusal to repair the more antiquated wooden ships, and the building of new steel ships to replace them. One of the ships thus laid down was the Boston, which was in Dewey's fleet. It is therefore merely the literal truth to say that the preparations which made Dewey's victory possible began just fifteen years before the famous day when he steamed into Manila Bay. Every Senator and Congạessman who voted an appropriation which enabled Secretary Chandler to begin the upbuilding of the new navy, the President who advised the course, the Secretary who had the direct management of it, the
shipbuilder in whose yard the ship was constructed, the skilled experts who planned her hull, engine, and guns, and the skilled workmen who worked out these plans, all alike are entitled to their share in the credit of the great Manila victory.
The majority of the men can never be known by name, but the fact that they did well their part in the deed is of vastly more importance than the obtaining of any reward for it, whether by way of recognition or otherwise; and this fact will always remain. Nevertheless, it is important for our own future that, so far as possible, we should recognize the men who did well. This is peculiarly important in the case of Congress, whose action has been the indispensable prerequisite for every effort to build up the navy, as Congress provided the means for each step.
As there was always a division in Congress, while in the popular mind the whole body is apt to be held accountable for any deed, good or ill, done by the majority, it is much to be wished, in the interest of justice, that some special historian of the navy would take out from the records the votes, and here and there the speeches, for and against the successive measures by which the navy was built up. Every man who by yote and voice from time to time took part in adding to our fleet, in buying the armor, in preparing the gun-factories, in increasing the personnel and enabling it to practice, deserves well of the whole nation, and a record of his action should be kept, that his children may feel proud of him. No less clearly should we understand that throughout these fifteen years the men who, whether from honest but misguided motives, from short-sightedness, from lack of patriotism, or from demagogy, opposed the building up of the navy, have deserved ill of the nation, exactly as did those men who recently prevented the purchase of armor for the battleships, or, under the lead of Senator Gorman, prevented the establishment of our army on the footing necessary for our national needs. If disaster comes through lack of preparedness, the fault necessarily lies far less with the men under whom the disaster actually occurs than with those to whose wrongheadedness or short-sighted indifference in time past the lack of preparedness is due.
The mistakes, the blunders, and the shortcomings in the army management during the summer of 1898 should be credited mainly, not to any one in office in 1898, but to the public servants of the people, and therefore to the people themselves, who permitted the army to rust since the Civil War with a wholly faulty administration, and with no chance whatever to perfect itself by practice, as the navy was perfected. In like manner, any trouble that may come upon the army, and therefore upon the nation, in
the next few years, will be due to the failure to provide for a thoroughly reorganized regular army of adequate size in 1898; and for this failure the members in the Senate and the House who took the lead against increasing the regular army, and reorganizing it, will be primarily responsible. On them will rest the blame of any check to the national arms, and the honor that will undoubtedly be won for the flag by our army will have been won in spite of their sinister opposition.
In May, 1898, when our battleships were lying off Havana and the Spanish torpedo-boat destroyers were crossing the ocean, our best commanders felt justifiable anxiety because we had no destroyers to guard our fleet against the Spanish destroyers. Thanks to the blunders and lack of initiative of the Spaniards, they made no good use whatever of their formidable boats, sending them against our ships in daylight, when it was hopeless to expect anything from them.
But in war it is unsafe to trust to the blunders of the adversary to offset our own blunders. Many a naval officer, when with improvised craft of small real worth he was trying to guard our battleships against the terrible possibilities of an attack by torpedo-boat destroyers in the darkness, must have thought with bitterness how a year before, when Senator Lodge and those who thought like him were striving to secure an adequate support of large, highclass torpedo-boats, the majority of the Senate followed the lead of Senator Gorman in opposition. So in the future, if what we all most earnestly hope will not happen does happen, and we are engaged in war with some formidable sea power, any failure of our arms resulting from an inadequate number of battleships, or imperfectly prepared battleships, will have to be credited to those members of Congress who opposed increasing the number of ships, or opposed giving them proper armament, for no matter what reason. On the other hand, the national consciousness of capacity to vindicate national honor must be due mainly to the action of those Congressmen who have in fact built up our fleet.
Secretary Chandler was succeeded by a line of men, each of whom, however he might differ from the others politically and personally, sincerely desired and strove hard for the upbuilding of the navy. Under Messrs. Whitney, Tracy, Herbert, and Long the work has gone steadily forward, thanks, of course, to the fact that successive Congresses, Democratic and Republican alike, have permitted it to go forward.
But the appropriation of money and the building of ships were not enough. We must keep steadily in mind that not only was it necessary to build the