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cinque ports, which took place in the reign of Edward the Confessor or William I. To each of the chief ports were attached several subordinate members, in the following series:–1. Hastings, with Seaford, Pevensey, Hidney, Rye, Winchelsea, Beakesbourne, Bulverheath, and Grange, as members.-2. Sandwich, with Fordwick, Reculver, Sarre, Walmer, Ramsgate, and Deal.—3. Dover, with Faversham, St. Margaret, Woodchurch, Goresend, Kingdown, Birchington, Margate, Ringwold, and Folkstone.—4. Romney, with Lydd, Romehill, and Ringwold.—5. Hythe, with Westmeath. Rye and Winchelsea were afterwards raised to the rank of cinque ports, with Tenterden and Excove as members of the former. The o condition on which the cinque ports held their privileges was, the furmishing a certain number of ships and mariners for military service. Under Edward I. coal mines first began to be worked in England, and so rapid was the progress, that in 1379 a duty of sixpence per ton was levied on the ships employed in the coal trade, to be applied to their o: At this same period the English traded to Italy, Spain, and Portugal, as well as to all the countries of the north, and in 1381 the principle of the act of navigation was introduced into the legislation of the kingdom, by a law declaring that “none of the king's subjects shall carry forth or bring in merchandise, but only in ships of the king's allegiance.’ This law, however, seemed to have but little effect in turning the king's subjects to the profession of commerce, and the trade continued to be o carried on in the ships of foreigners and by foreign merchants, residing in England and licensed by the kings under different denominations. Such were the German merchants chartered by Henry III. (1259); the Steelyard Company, a branch of the Hanse Association, whose privileges were confirmed b Edward IV., &c. Indeed, as we have already had occasion to notice, the carrying trade of England was almost entirely engrossed by the Hanse Association until the reign of Edward VI., when the English merchants first began to complain of the monopolies granted to foreigners, and particularly to the Steelyard Company, which in one year exported 50,000 pieces of cloth, while the English merchants exported only 1100. Edward, feeling the justice of these complaints, revoked the privileges of this company; and though foreigners again received favors from the bigoted Mary, at the instigation of her Spanish husband, they again fell into discredit under Elizabeth, from whose reign may be dated the origin of English commerce, in the iust sense of the term. The Reformation, which was only firmly established by this princess, was attended with the most happy consequences on the population and energies of the nation; for by it 150,000 persons, who had been restrained from marriage, were, if we may use the expression, put into circulation; and 50,000 others, who had been maintained in idleness by the convents, were obliged to seek a livelihood by industry. In this reign were chartered the African, EastIndia, Russia, Eastland and Turkey Companies:
and, though such institutions aregenerally allowed to be injurious in an advanced state of commerce, they must also be admitted to be the best nurses of its infancy. The threatened invasion, by the Spanish Armada, gave the first grand impulse to the marine of England by the purchase of ships from foreigners, and by the formation of national seamen; and so rapid was the progress, that, after the destruction of the Armada, a census being taken of the merchant vessels in England, it was found that Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, and Sussex, possessed 471 ships, or more than half the number in the whole kingdom thirty years before. The peaceable James I. gave great encouragement to trade and shipbuilding, and in his reign British colonisation began in America, and opened a new theatre of industry and enterprize. At this period 400 vessels were employed in the coal trade of Newcastle. , The merchant vessels of England were, however, still of small burden, and it continued customary to hire large ones from foreigners for distant voyages or extensive transactions. At length, in 1616, an order from the king and council was issued on the petition of the merchants of London, prohibiting the export of British commodities in any but British bottoms; and the effect was such, that the whole nation applied itself to the creation of a merchant marine, at the same time that the ships, being built of a larger size, were capable of long voyages, and the British merchant flag was now first seen in the Mediterranean. So great was the impulse, that from a ship of 100 tons, being a kind of prodigy at the commencement of the reign of James I., a number of ships of 300, 400, and even 500 tons, were now launched from the British docks. In 1615 there were not ten vessels above 100 tons out of London: and, in 1622, Newcastle had 100 sail, each exceeding that tonnage. During the first part of the reign of Charles I., commerce continued to flourish, when the trade to the west coast of Africa and East Indies received a great extension, and the whole commerce of Spain was in the hands of the English, who also sent a great quantity of woollen cloths to Turkey. Under the commonwealth, the English began to dispute with the Dutch the dominion of the seas, and hence arose the famous Navigation Act, by which it was prohibited to all foreign ships to trade to the English colonies, without license; and at the same time the merchandise of Asia, Africa, and America was forbidden to be imported into England, except in British bottoms, or merchandise from any part of ..p. except in vessels belonging to the country of which the merchandise was the produce or manufacture. An additional article added after the Restoration, obliging the master and three-fourths of the crews of vessels sailing under the English flag to be English subjects, completed this great monument of maritime legislation. Such were the effects of the navigation act, added to the increasing population of the American colonies, and consequent increase of their trade, that, between the Restoration and Revolution, the English merchant marine was doubled. While at the same epoch the revocation of the edict of Nantz, which ruined the manufactures of France, caused a great and rapid improvement in those of England, by the influx of the persecuted Protestants, who introduced or perfected the manufacture of silk, cotton, linen, hats, jewellery, cutlery, and clock-work, and thereby freed England from an onerous dependence on France for these objects. The Revolution, by securing liberty, gave a new impulse to every kind of industry; and the union of Scotland, by identifying the interests of the two kingdoms, proved equally ravantageous to each, and to the o in general. rom this epoch commerce continued in a constant progression, unchecked by frequent wars, or even by the eparation of those colonies, which were once thought to be the grand basis of the commercial fabric, until it reached a height that drew down on us the envy and animosity of all Europe; and in a great measure caused, while it most essentially aided us to support, those wars which have desolated Europe for the last twenty years, and to which the energies of Great Britain at length happily put an end. 2. Historical Sketch of the Progress of the British Navy.—The natural defence of Great Britain is her naval force; as necessary to secure her coasts from invasion as for the protection of her commerce. The history of the progress of the avy may be divided into three periods; the first comprehending the period previous to the reign of Henry VIII; the second ending with the Restoration; and the last from that epoch to the present time. I. Caesar only notices particularly the boats of dhe Britons, formed of withies and covered with skins, in which they crossed the English and lrish channels in summer: it seems probable, however, that they had even at this time vessels of a more stable construction, for he tells us that the Veneti of the opposite coast of Gaul obtained auxiliaries from É. against the Romans, and that the fleet of the Veneti and Britons, which engaged that of the Romans off the coast of Armorica (Britany), consisted of 230 large and strong ships, which were totally destroyed by the Romans. This defeat sufficiently accounts for the Britons being unable to resist the invasion of the Romans next year by sea. While the Romans remained masters of the island they kept up large fleets to protect the coasts and commerce, and the whole naval force was commanded by an officer styled Archigubernus Classis Britannicae, or High Admiral of the British fleet. When they abandoned the island they withdrew their ships, and those few which remained to the Britons fell an easy prey to the Frank and Saxon pirates, so that the island was again totally deprived of its natural defence. Of the confusion of the heptarchy the naval power of the country partook so largely, that it was not unt, the reign of the great Alfred that it again resumed an existence. The first fleet collected by this prince consisted only of five or six ships, with which he attacked and defeated
six Danish pirates: encouraged by this success, he incre his fleets to 120 ships, which he distributed in proper stations round the island, where they were sure to meet the Danes, either in their approach or retreat, and generally were successful. The navy did not again decline under the successors of Alfred; and Edgar, in particular, kept up a large naval force, divided into three squadrons. Some English historians make the number of vessels amount to 3,000 or 4,000; but probably, as Mr. Henry observes, there is here an error of an added cypher.
The successors of Edgar allowed the navy to decline, and the Danes again ravaged the coasts with impunity. In 1007 a fleet was raised by requisition, on the proprietors of land, of 800 vessels; but this force being either dispersed or destroyed, by the treachery and jealousy of its chiefs, the way was opened for the Danish conquest. During the period of this dominion, there being no foreign enemies to resist, both the naval and military force of the kingdom were neglected; and hence there was no adequate navy to resist the invasion of William of Normandy, which was made in 3,000 vessels, many of which, however, were doubtless only open boats, for in the short passage across the channel several vessels were lost.
We have noticed the establishment of the cinque ports, and their being obliged to furnish ships for the public service; this force consisted of fifty-seven ships, each with twenty-seven mea and boys, and the following was the proportion furnished by each:—
Hastings and its members . . . . 21
Dover and its members . . . . . 21
And each of the other three ports and their members . . . . - - 5
This long continued to be the only standing navy of England; and, when necessary to increase it, ships were hired or pressed from the merchants, and armed by the crown. From the epoch of the Norman Conquest the shipping of England, increased both in number and in size; and the fleet that conveyed Richard I. to the Holy Land is described, by contemporary historians, as excelling every thing before seen in the number, magnitude, and beauty of the ships. It was composed of thirteen of the largest class of vessels, named dromones, 150 of the second class, called busse, fifty-three row galleys, and a great number of tenders. In the great battle between the English and French fleets, in the reign of John and Philip II., the English fleet consisted of 500 ships; and at this same epoch William of Malmesbury describes the English seamen as “excelling all others both in the art of navigation and in fighting.” Nevertheless the ships of war still continued of very small dimensions, the largest in 1304 carrying only forty men. It will not then appear extraordinary that Henry III. should require 1000 such vessels for his expedition to Gascony, nor that Edward III. should have 700 English vessels, and thirty-eight foreign, at the siege of Calais, the average crews of this fleet being but twenty men. In 1353, when Edward again invaded France with 1100 vessels, it is probable this was the whole shipping of England pressed for the occasion into the king's service. Henry IV. maintained the dominion of the narrow seas, and chastised the French and Flemings, who had presumed to insult the coasts, and interrupt the trade:–under his successors the navy lost nothing of its renown. Henry V. was victorious by sea and land, and seems to be the first prince who had any ships his own property. In his first invasion of France he had “two large and beautiful ships, with purple sails, called the King's Chamber and King's Hall.' During the disastrous reign of Henry VI. the naval and military strength of England declined, and the French insulted the coasts, and burned the town of Sandwich. The dominion of the narrow seas was however regained by the great earl of Warwick, who was declared lord high admiral. Edward IV. paid great attention to the navy; and, in 1475, invaded France with a large fleet. This prince had also several ships of his own, which he employed both in war and commerce on his own account. Henry VII. patronised the navy, and, though the kingdom enjoyed peace, a fleet was always kept ready to act. The first ship of war, in the proper sense of the term, expressly built for the public service, seems to have been in the reign of this prince, and was called the “Harry Grâce de Dieu:' she was 1000 tons burden, cost £14,000, and was probably the first two-decked ship, as well as the first with more than two masts, and she had four. II. The second period of our naval history commences with the reign of Henry VIII., when the sea service first became a distinct profession, and during which the Admiralty and Navy Boards, and the dock yards of Deptford, Woolwich, and Portsmouth, were established. This prince also brought shipwrights from Italy to instruct his subjects in the art of construction, and the rules drawn up by his order, for the civil regulation of the navy, form the basis of its present government. The ships belonging to the crown, however, still formed but a very insignificant portion of the naval force; at the death of Henry the royal tonnage being but 12,000. During the reign of his successor, Edward VI., it continued nearly stationary; the amount being at the death of this prince fifty-three king's ships, of which twenty-eight only were above eighty tons, and the total tonnage 11,000. During the unhappy reign of Mary the fleet declined, and at her death consisted of but twenty-seven vessels, and from 6000 to 7000 tons, and 3565 men. Its expenses at this epoch were estimated at + 10,000 per annum. Elizabeth, soon began to increase the navy, both by the building of ships expressly for it, as well as by encouraging merchants to build large ships, proper on occasion to serve as ships of war; she also brought foreign ship-builders into the kingdom, filled the arsenals with naval stores, cast iron and brass ordnance, manufactured gunwder, and in short acquired the title of The storer of Naval Power, and the Sovereign of the Northern Seas.
The greater part of the naval force, however, still continued to be hired on the spur of the occasion from merchants; and of the fleet that destroyed the Spanish armada, consisting of 176 ships, 31,985 tons, and 15,000 men, there only belonged to the crown, thirty-four ships, 12,590 tons, and 6279 men. The largest of these vessels was 1100 tons, and mounted sixty or sixtyfive guns. At the death of Elizabeth the royal ships were forty-two, the tonnage 17,055, and 8346 men, and the expense of the fleet had increased to £30,000 per annum. A contemporary writer, thus describes her navy in 1577. “The queen's highness hath at this presentalready made and furnished to the number of one and twenty great ships, which lie for the most part in Gillingham Road. Besides these her grace hath others in hand also. She hath likewise three notable galleys, with the sight whereof, and the rest of the navy royal, it is incredible to sa how marvellously her grace is delighted. I add, to the end that all men should understand somewhat of the great masses of treasure daily employed upon our navy, how there are few merchant ships of the first and second sort, that being apparelled and made ready to sail, are not worthy one thousand pounds at the least, if they should presently be sold. What then shall we think of the navy royal, of which some one vessel is worth two of the other, as the shipwrights have often told me."—Harrison's Description of Britain, 1577. In the American war Liverpool alone sent more tonnage to sea in privateers, than the whole royal navy of England contained at this memorable epoch; the number of privateers being 120, the tonnage 30,787, guns 1986, and men 8754. The defeat of the Spanish armada transferred the sceptre of the sea to the Dutch, for France and England, occupied solely by the humiliation of the House of Austria, considered without jealousy the maritime superiority of the republic; and, there being no occupation for a fleet during the peaceable reign of James I., the navy, though it was not neglected, was not much augmented; indeed the number of ships decreased, but their size was considerably increased, the fleet at the death of James being composed of thirty-two or three ships of nearly 20,000 tons. “In my own time,’ says Sir Walter Raleigh, “the shape of our English ships hath been greatly bettered. It is not long since the striking of the topmast hath been devised. Together with the chain-pump, we have lately added the bonnet and drabbler. To the courses we have devised studdingsails, top-gallant-sails, sprit-sails, and top-sails. The weighing of anchors by the capstan is also new. Charles I. paid considerable attention to the navy in the early part of his reign, particularly in the increase of size; and in 1637 was launched from Woolwich, the ‘Sovereign of the Seas,' the first three-decker constructed in England; and in this reign ships were first classed in rates. This ship was 128 feet keel, and forty-eight feet beam; length over all 232 feet. She had five lanterns, the biggest of which would carry ten people upright; had three flush decks, a forecastle, half deck, quarter deck, and round-house. Her lower tier had thirty ports for cannon and demi-cannon. Middle tier, thirty for culverins and demi-culverins. Third tier, twenty-six for other ordnance. Forecastle, twelve; and the two half decks had thirteen or fourteen more ports within board for murdering pieces, besides ten pieces of chase ordnance forward, and ten right aft, and many loop-holes in the cabins for musquet shot. She had eleven anchors, one of 4100 lb. She was of the burden of 1637 tons. At the breaking out of the Rebellion the navy consisted of forty-two ships of 22,411 tons. The civil wars which deluged the kingdom with blood, and brought her misguided monarch to the block, caused a temporary neglect of the navy, and it was also o; reduced by prince Rupert's carrying off twenty-five ships in 1648. The measures of Cromwell, however, soon relaced this loss, and in five years his navy was increased to 150 ships, of which more than the third were two and three deckers. The Dutch now feeling that to divide the empire of the seas was to lose it, opposed their maritime }. to those of the English, and continued to dispute this empire during a bloody war, which, though for some time indecisive, terminated in their being obliged to give up the contest, and sue for peace, which was granted on the express condition of their acknowledging the superiority of the British flag in the British Seas. This war greatly added to the number of the navy by o: tures from the enemy, and also improved the skill of the seamen. Hitherto the naval commanders were chiefly noblemen, but little acquainted with the profession, and who, content with the honors of command, left the management of the vessels to the pilots. . During the commonwealth, few nobles were found in the public service, and the ships of war were generally commanded by persons bred in the merchant service, who, however they might fall short in polished education, were expert seamen. Cromwell raised the pay of seamen from nineteen to twenty-four shillings a month; and at his death the fleet consisted of three first rates of 100, eighty, and seventy guns; five second rates of sixty-six to fifty-two guns; four third rates of fifty-two to forty-four guns; eight fourth rates of forty to twenty-eight; ten aft rates of thirtyfour to sixteen; and nine sixth rates of sixteen to two.—Total 157 ships, 4390 guns, and 21,910
men. The annual grant for the service of the fleet during the protectorate was £400,000. The duke of York, on the Restoration, was apro to the post of lord high admiral; and by is knowledge of naval affairs, and his partiality to the service, the marine was considerably improved, and increased in efficient force by the greater size of the vessels. On the removal of this prince from the naval administration, in 1673, the fleet was again neglected, and the profligate Charles dissipated the money voted for its sup|. on his pleasures, so that on the duke of York's eing again placed at the head of the navy, in 1684, only twenty-two ships were fit for sea, the rest being totally out of repair or rotten, and the arsenals empty of the materials for their refitting. The exertions of this prince after his resuming the administration, and also after his accession to the crown, being found incapable of restoring the fleet by the ordinary course, he suspended the navy board and created a commission of naval affairs, by whose exertions the fleet was soon restored; and from a state of absolute impotency the fleet at the Revolution consisted of iT3 setviceable vessels of 101,892 tons, 6903 guns, and 42,003 men. The arsenals were at the same time abundantly stored. William III., in his war with France, found it necessary to increase the fleet of England. A number of line of battle ships were accordingly built, and at the close of the war the navy was composed of 323 ships and vessels, of which five were three deckers. In 1700 half pay was established for the classes of commissioned officers. During the reigns of Anne and George I. the number of vessels decreased; but they were built of larger dimensions, and the tonnage considerably increased. At the death of the former the ships were 247, and the tonnage 167,219; and, at the death of the latter, ships 233, and tonnage 170,862. The wars with Spain and France, during the reign of George II, necessitated an increased marine; and, at the accession of the late king, the number of vessels was 412, and the tonnage 321,104. The following Table will enable the reader to inspect the further progress of the navy, which in modern times has often had to cope with the maritime strength of almost all other civilised nations.
Tabulan View of the PRoc Ressive INcrease of the Royal Navy. Year. Ships. Tons. Men voted. : W o - - 1521 16 7,260 - - 1548 53 11,268 7,731 - 1578 24 10,506 6,570 - 1603 42 17,055 8,346 30,000 1624 33 19,400 - - 1641 42 • 22,411 - - 1658 157. 57,000 21,910 - 1675 151 70,587 30,260 - - 1688 173 101,892 42,003 - 1702 272 159,020 40,000 129,314 1714 || 247 167,219 10,000 245,700 1727 233 170,862 20,000 200,000 1753 291 234,924 10,000 280,206 1760 412 321,104 70,000 432,629 364,000 1783 617 500,781 110,000 1,763,832 5,406,000 1789* 452 413,667 20,000 1,288,570 1,040,000 1793 498 433,226 45,000 1,056,915 2,304,000 1801 - - 135,000 1,371,318 9,450,000 1806 - - 120,000 3,026,183 14,113,000 1813 - - 145,000 3,021,721 11,534,687
* In 1789 the peace establishment of ships in commission was two second rates, fifteen thirdrates, one fourth-rate, five fifty-gun ships, six two-decked forty-fours, thirty-one frigates of thirty
six to twenty guns, and one sloop, besides cutters.
In the ordinary estimates of the navy are included the expenses of the Admiralty, Navy, and Victualling offices, the half-pay, superannuation, and pensions to naval officers, superannuation to civil officers, buildings, repairs and building of ships. In the estimate of the expenses of ships in commission are included wages, wear and tear of ships, victuals, and ordnance. 3. Light-houses being of the greatest utility, both to commercial and naval enterprise, the coasting trade in particular, have been multiplied on all the coasts of the British islands, and their construction successively improved, until nothing is left to wish for. K. first they were coal, or wood fires, entirely exposed to the weather, and consequently very defective. Towers, with glass casements, were afterwards erected, but the smoke of the fuel soon dimmed the windows and rendered them almost useless. At length, in 1763, oil lamps and reflectors were introduced, which have been brought to the highest perfection. The light-houses and buoys on shoals are generally under the inspection of the Trinity-House of London, a corporation established in the reign of Henry VIII. by the title of The Master, Warden, and Jurats of the Guild, of the most glorious and undivided Trinity of St. Clement and of Deptford Strond. The Thames river pilots are also within the supervisorship of this corporation. . The Dover and Deal pilots form two chartered corporations. The light houses on the coasts of the British islands are as follows:–
Pentland Skerries, two
Copland Island, Belfast. |Loophead, so 2