The Fielding Star, OROUA & KIWITEA COUNTIES GAZETTE Published Daily. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1900. FRANCE AND ENGLAND.
Tjiere are large numbers of wellinformed people in England wh > firmly believe that a war with France is enevitable at no distant date. Such belief is, naturally enough, maintained by th ; ofc repeated assertions to the same effect of newspaper correspondents resident in Paris and other importaun cities in France. For example the i herbourg correspondent ot the London Daily Express in a recent telegram said " I am able to give you thti rough d -tails ol a plan which I have every reason to believe h:"s been devised by the French Government i case of tbe, in their mind, most probable outbreak of war with England iv November, Some d»»ve before the declaration of war a number of ships, to be known as ' Tbe Black Fleet,' will be despatched from various French ports to sweep the seas of all British men-o'-war. "The Black Fleet," will be broken up into groups of three or four vessel and any British ship of war that they might meet would be thus hopelessly outnumbered, even if, as would be extremely improbable, she were prepared for action at the time. The consequent confusion and disorganisa* \ tion that would be caused in our scheme cf mobilisation would be ' utilised as a means for landing two army corps on our Southern Coast" Commenting on the above the Express saVB : <• Xt is difficult to believe that a scheme so contrary to the code of honour among civilised nations could be entertained even for a moment by our neighbours. Eyen if it were determined upon, and w^re/o inpet with partial success, it could scarcely be of advantage to France in the long run, • forinthewarthatwouldfollowtheeympathies of the civilised world would be turned strongly against her. At the same time our Admiralty should be on their guard. France would be fully aware that her struggle with us would be to the death, and, if determined on war, might shrink from no means that might possibly lead to breaking through our first line of defence — the gr&vsh Navy." The Spectator, in this coßoecthjo, does not agree with the alarmist writers in the press who think England is in danger of being inyaded by the French in November, nor does our contemporary
in the least believe in the existence of any definite project for invasion at the time named— though from some points of view it cannot be altogether sorry that there should be a certain amount of uneasiness in the public mind on the question of national de* fence. The Pall Mall Gazette points out that November is a particularly bad time for the French army to make England a surprise visit, for the regiments have ju6t lost their trained men aod are full of recruits. No serious person imagines that the present French Government would venture upon any such mad project, but it is argued that as soon as the Exhibition closes early in November the present Government will fall, the military party will come into power, and oither by a coup d'etat or by other means drive President Loubet from office and possess themselves of complete control of France. Some of the wisest minds in Europe regard this as likely. But the question is, after all : Could France destroy our Fleet ? We do not believe it could, and until that happens England is safe.