uit de pers.
because I never anticipated that your correspondents or readers would for one instant seriously consider the imraediate abandonment of the battleship for the building of a large number of submarines. Nor can I yet believe that anyone who possesses intimate knowledge of sea conditions would undertake the responsibility of seriously advocating such a step.
Since, however, a vast number of your readers have no sea experience or occurate knowledge of the functions and limitatious of either the battleship or submarine, I feel it advisable to write as shortly as I can to counsel a profound reserve in accepting the personal opinions of individuals before hearing the considered verdict of the Admiralty, who alone are competent to give authoritative views on so vast and intricate a subject.
The real knowledge of the peace capacity of the submarine is in this country possessed by few, if any, outside the Admiralty. Such knowledge is confidential, and therefore cannot be used in a discussion of this kind. It is therefore rather astonishing to find Sir percy Scott rushing boldly into print and publishing views with an authoritativeness which could only be justified by an accuracy of kwowledge which it is difficult to see that he has at his disposal.
Personal opinions are of small importance compared with hard facts. Their value is solely the combination of two factors—accuracy of information and sound judgment. Acknowledged ability in a man in one capacity may lead people to value his personal opinions on other subjects, because from his ability he is credited with sound judgment, whereas the information he may possess on which to base an opinion may be far from accurate or complete. Conversely a person possessing unique knowledge of a subject, usually termed an expert, may be lacking of that extraordinary gift of judgment which enables him to assess the value and make allowance for the failure in the general theatre of war of the very weapons of the use of which in peace his knowledge may be unique.
It requires an intimate knowledge of the practical use and handling of submarines even to attempt to discuss the general fighting value of the boats in all classes of weather, sea condition, and endurance, and when possessed this information must be re-read in the light of war conditions.
Lord Sydenham seems, in his letter, to deny to the expert, called by him "The Engineer," the probability that he is also a student of naval history. I am confident that he