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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.

TOULON: A WAR PORT.

"L'EMPIRE c'est la paix," Louis Napoleon said, solemnly, to his nation, on his election as emperor; but that did not prevent him beginning the Eastern war. "L'empire c'est la paix," he repeated, when the treaty of Paris restored peace to Europe. With the same remark, he has accounted for the enormous extension he has given to his land and sea forces since his accession to the throne, as well as the colossal fortresses and ports, which reached their culminating point in Cherbourg. August, 1858, will be remembered in history as the epoch when the first rent was made in the Anglo-French alliance.

But, although Cherbourg is a marine fortress of the first class, protecting with its mighty works the entire northern coast of France, and menacing England's shores, it did not suffice for the hundreds of miles of littoral, and hence the emperor considered it necessary to create a similar place d'armes in the south, adapted to secure French supremacy in the Mediterranean, and offer the southern fleet a safe haven.

There was, probably, another motive at work, which the emperor certainly did not make known, but which is now generally recognised by naval authorities. In spite of its thousands of guns, Cherbourg is not impregnable, as we have been led to believe. Great errors have been committed in the construction of this mighty fortress, principally in the armament of the mole, and the three forts erected upon it. This mole forms the principal line of defence to the roads and harbour. It commands both these inside and outside, as well as nearly all the land forts. But this isolation in the sea, which seems to give the mole its greatest strength, can easily produce its destruction. The mole is armed with 250 guns, but the breadth of the platform is only 30 feet, and there is no space for any other troops than those serving the batteries. Two thousand men are the outside strength it can receive. In addition to this, at high water, men-of-war can lie close alongside. If, then, the attacking force is divided into three squadrons, two trying to force the entrances into the port, while the third, composed of invulnerable block-ships and gun-boats, steers straight for the mole, and boards it, with 8000 or 10,000 men, it is probable that it would fall into their hands. In that case, most of the land forts and the harbour would be exposed. The attacking ships having their rear covered, would, in union with the 250 guns of the mole, speedily annihilate all the enemy's works. As night would in all probability be selected for such an operation, it might be effected with proportionately small loss. Of course, we assume that the French fleet has been previously beaten, and cannot attack our ships in reverse. This May-VOL. CXIX. NO. CCCCLXXIII.

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