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قراءة كتاب The Great Round World and What Is Going On In It, Vol. 1, No. 48, October 7, 1897 A Weekly Magazine for Boys and Girls
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The Great Round World and What Is Going On In It, Vol. 1, No. 48, October 7, 1897 A Weekly Magazine for Boys and Girls
water, that they make good hiding-places.
When everything was in readiness the Dauntless went down to the key, and one after the other took off her three loads. The hiding-place was so well chosen that no one knows exactly where it is, and if the Cubans keep their secret they will be able to send other expeditions in the same way.
General Weyler has other anxieties on his mind just now. He is expecting the arrival of a new floating dock which has been built for him in England, at a cost of $900,000.
This great dock is intended to be used as a dry-dock; that is to say, it is so made that ships can be lifted clear out of the water by it, so that they can be repaired, cleaned, or painted.
There is no dry-dock in Cuban harbors, and it is very necessary to have one. Ships that cruise long in tropical waters are very apt to get their hulls covered with barnacles and sea-weed. These growths after a while prevent the ship from cutting easily through the water, and decrease her speed. All ships that are long in these southern seas have to have their hulls scraped every now and then. Many of the war-vessels that are now in Cuban waters have been a year without this necessary cleaning, and to make it possible to do the work in Cuba, without the loss of time necessary to go back to the Spanish navy yards, the Government has gone to the expense of building the floating dock.
There have been no end of difficulties about the dock. When it was finished it was so big and heavy that it was very doubtful if any ship could safely tow it across the Atlantic. The shipbuilders added a false bow and stem to the dock, to make it cut its way through the water a little, and in this fashion it is now being brought to Cuba; but the gravest doubts are entertained as to the possibility of its ever reaching its destination. It is feared that in case of a severe storm the hawser, or strong rope by which it is towed, will part, and the costly floating dock be left drifting about the ocean, a danger to mariners.
But this is not the half of the trouble over the dock.
The greatest annoyance in regard to it is that it was built without properly considering the amount of water it would draw; that is to say, the depth of water necessary to float it.
Now that the dock is on its way to Cuba, it is found that it draws too much water for the bay of Havana, and cannot be brought in and used there.
When this unpleasant news was communicated to General Weyler, he cabled to his agent in New York, asking him to send a dredging-machine over to Havana immediately. To the General's mind the whole affair was simple enough: he would get a dredging-machine, scoop out a channel, and have the dock in place in no time.
He was therefore much angered to receive a reply that there were several kinds of dredging-machines, and that to send him a machine that would do the work properly it would be necessary to know the nature of the soil of the bottom of the bay.
Now no one has ever dredged Havana Bay since the city was first founded in the sixteenth century, and there are no means at hand of obtaining the desired information. There will therefore be some delay before the required investigation can be made.
Added to this, the New York firm sent him word that a special machine will have to be constructed to dredge to the depth required by the floating-dock, that it will take six months to build such a machine, and another six months to dredge the bay. This makes one year before the $900,000 floating dock now on its way to Cuba can be of any use to Spain.
It seems a cruel waste of money at an hour when Spain is so poor.
The election of Señor Domingo Mendez Capote as President of the Republic of Cuba has been confirmed. Bartolome Maso was made Vice-President, and Cisneros, the ex-president, was made leader of the Congress.
General Gomez was appointed Minister of War, and General Garcia Commander-in-Chief of the army.
The report says that at the commencement of the election it seemed as if there would be some trouble between the various candidates for office. Realizing that it would be fatal to the cause to have any bad feeling among the leaders, General Gomez proposed Señor Capote as a man who would be acceptable to all parties. Every one saw the wisdom of Gomez's suggestion, and Capote was elected.
It is said that the new President has done a great deal to get the laws of Cuba in proper shape.
All the Cubans seem to be satisfied with the result of the election.
The British have met with serious reverses in their frontier war.
They were successful in relieving the forts in the Samana Hills that were attacked by the tribesmen, but two days after this work had been done they were forced to retreat.
They were attacked by a large body of natives, who surrounded them, and but for a timely charge of cavalry would have routed them. As it was, the British retreat was orderly, and they lost none of their guns or baggage.
The natives are delighted at their success, and especially because the troops they attacked were a portion of the force sent out to punish them for their rebellion.
The Government in England is much distressed that the check should have occurred. For the sake of England's position in India it is necessary that the British should sweep all before them, and show the tribes that they are not to be trifled with. That the punishing expedition should have been beaten and forced to retreat will make the work England has to do in India still harder for her.
The tribesmen are alive to the value of their victory, and have continued to attack the troops with the utmost persistence.
The Haddah Mullah, the priest who has been so active in raising the rebellion, is again leading the tribes, and has roused his followers to such a pitch of enthusiasm that they do not show the slightest fear, and perform the most daring feats.
On one occasion the British were drawn up in battle array, and had formed into the square, which is considered an invincible method of receiving an enemy. The Haddah Mullah and his followers attacked three sides of the square at the same time. The rebels were repulsed, but their wonderful courage was commented on by the British, who, after the engagement was over, found their bodies within a few yards of the muzzles of the guns. Such people are hard to defeat.
It may interest you to know something about the square.
This formation of troops is considered the strongest. It is used principally to repel cavalry or to resist a larger force. It has been in use since the sixteenth century.
To form a square the troops are drawn up into a quadrangle, or square, the soldiers all standing so that they face outward. By this means each side of the square presents a solid front to the enemy, and it is wellnigh impossible for an attacking force to break through.
In the sixteenth century the square was composed of a solid body of men; at the present time it is a hollow formation. The soldiers stand in ranks four or five deep, the officers, colors, and baggage being in the centre.
The English are particularly partial to this formation, and it has long been the boast of the commanders that a British square has never been broken.
The force of insurgents led by the Haddah Mullah attacked the English camp soon after nightfall. The soldiers were at once formed into a square around their baggage, and though, as we have said, the attack was fiercely made on three sides at once, the famous square stood firm, and the tribesmen were forced to retire.
Ten batteries of artillery and eight regiments of cavalry have been ordered out from England to help suppress the insurrection in India.
It is reported from the Soudan that a treaty of peace is about to be made between the Mahdi and Great Britain.
The terms of the