Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/163

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157
THE PERIL OF APATHY

duce a scare and send insurance and freight rates soaring. Moreover, the submarine is exceedingly difficult to attack: it presents a very tiny mark to gunfire, and when it sights a hostile ship capable of attacking it, it can always seek safety by submerging. But, when all is said and done, the number of German submarines, given all the good fortune they could wish, is quite inadequate seriously to threaten the main body of either our commerce or pur Navy.

We are told, and quite properly, nothing of the methods which the Admiralty are adopting to deal with German pirates. But it will not have escaped the public attention that the submarines have scored no great success against British warships since the Hawke was sunk in the Channel. I think we may fairly conclude, therefore, that our Admiralty have succeeded in devising new means of defence against the new means of attack. We know that at the time of writing two enemy submarines have been sunk by the Navy, and it seems fairly certain that another was rammed and destroyed in the Channel by the steamer Thordis. Whatever, therefore, may be our views on the general subject of the war, it seems clear that we can safely treat the submarine menace as the product of the superheated Teutonic imagination.

We know of, and can guard against, the risks we run of any armed attack from Germany. But there is another peril which will face us when the war is over—a renewal of the commercial invasion which we have seen in progress on a gigantic scale for years past.

We know how the British market has, for years, been flooded with shoddy German imitations of British goods to the grave detriment of our home