Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen:—
The progress of the past century is in no instance more marked than in the development of naval architecture. In this development—as in all kindred onward efforts—the advance has not been a steady one, but mingled with many retrograde steps, which at times have seemed to endanger the attainment of its object. That object I hold to be the construction of the most effective war vessel. By a careful study of the various means taken during the past to accomplish such a result the type of ship necessary to fight the battles of the future may be discovered. While leaving this broad subject to those whose talents and energies may have fitted them to deal with it, I propose to limit myself in the following pages to the history of armor as applied to naval vessels, and to briefly discuss the important lessons which it teaches.
The history of armor may be divided into three epochs.
I. The Theoretical, which extends from the first use of artillery on board ship (1350), to the year 1842, when Ericsson gave the world a screw-man-of-war, armed with a wrought iron gun.