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builder of Chatham yard, who may be said to have established a new era in naval architecture.

It is not easy to ascertain, with any degree of precision, the actual consumption of oak timber; but the demand for naval purposes only is by no means so great as is generally supposed, from an erroneous idea of the quantity of naval tonnage, which, if we mistake not, has been estimated at 800,000 tons. The whole navy may perhaps amount to so much, but that part of it in actual service, or in commission, does not exceed one half, and it is upon this only that the average consumption should be reckoned. We know, with sufficient accuracy, the tonnage employed in the merchant service, and in that of the East India Company; but we have no means whatever of ascertaining the consumption of oak timber for internal purposes; the demand, however, for those purposes has increased in a greater proportion than that for ship-building: nor will this appear extraordinary when we consider the vast quantity of oak employed in mill-work, and all kinds of machinery; in the inland navigations with their barges, bridges, wharfs, locks and sluices; in docks and basins, with their huge gates, piers and buttresses, &c. far exceeding the demands made on the forests and woodlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when it was the fashion to build almost entirely with oak; and when the finest and choicest trees were sought for roofs and beams, floors, stair-cases and wainscotting. We pretend not therefore to furnish an accurate statement of the expenditure of oak, though the following, we think, will come pretty near it.

The navy employs

The East India Company's service
The merchant service.

Buildings, canals, machinery, docks, and
other internal demands may be taken at

Making in the whole

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400,000 tons. 115,000 2,500,000

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It will follow then, that the navy requires only one tenth part of the whole consumption of the country; and consequently that any saving in this service will be of little avail, unless coercive measures be taken to restrain the consumption in other departments. We are aware how ungracious any act of the legislature would be that should interfere with the disposition of private property; but the salvation of the empire is a paramount consideration: and, possessing as we do, so cheap and durable a substitute as that of iron, of which we have an inexhaustible store, excellently adapted to many purposes to which oak timber is now applied, we think, that without much individual hardship, some restrictions might be imposed on the consumption of the latter article. In 1772, the legislature interfered to prevent


the East India Company from building ships in England until the amount of their tonnage should be reduced to 45,000 tons. With so many resources in their Indian possessions, where the finest, cheapest, and most durable ships in the world are built for the use of private merchants, it is difficult to conceive why the shipping interest of London should continue to have the preference. By building in India for the Company's trade, from 15,000 to 20,000 loads of oak timber would be annually saved to the country—our concern, however, is with the navy alone. We shall endeavour to show what are its demands, and what are our resources. This inquiry is the more important, as the first and great object of the enemy is that of crippling our naval supplies. His unprovoked attack on Russia had this principally in view, and his intrigues with the American president are directed to the same end.

Assuming 400,000 tons as the amount of tonnage to be kept in commission, and the average duration of a ship of war at the moderate period of 123 years, there would be required an annual supply of tonnage, to preserve the navy in its present effective state, of 32,000 tons: and as a load and a half of timber is employed for every ton, the annual demand will be 48,000 loads. The building of a 74 gun ship consumes about 2000 oak trees, or 3000 loads of timber, so that 48,000 loads will build 8 sail of the line and 16 frigates. Allowing one fourth part more for casualties, the annual consumption will be about 60,000 loads, or 40,000 full grown trees; of which 35 will stand upon an acre of ground. The quantity of timber therefore necessary for the construction of a 74 gun ship will occupy 57 acres of land; and the annual demand will be the produce of 1140 acres. Allowing only 90 years for the oak to arrive at perfection, there ought to be now standing, 102,600 acres of oak plantations, and an annual felling and planting in perpetual rotation of 1140 acres to meet the consumption of the navy alone: large as this may seem, it is little more than 21 acres for each county of England and Wales; which is not equal to the belt which surrounds the park and pleasure grounds of many estates.

The quantity of oak consumed by the navy we have already shewn to be but a tenth part of the consumption of the country. We shall now point out the means by which this small demand may be still farther reduced.

1. By building all ships of the same rate on the same plan, and of the same dimensions, as recommended by the Board of Revision, and practised in France. The timber might then be cut into proper forms in the place where it grows, by which a saving in the carriage would be effected. In the present mode of heaping timber in huge piles in the dock-yards, it is deemed better to cut away a


larger piece of timber than is wanted near the top of the pile, than to be at the labour of drawing out a smaller and more suitable piece from the bottom. When ships are broken up, every serviceable piece would immediately find its appropriate place, instead of rotting in the yards as it now does, from there being no ship of the same draught to which it can be applied.

2. By discontinuing the ceiling or inside lining of ships, substitu ting diagonal trusses, and filling up the intermediate spaces between the timbers with old wood not applicable to any other purpose. The Tremendous was built in this way by Mr. Seppings; she was launched without breaking or hogging, as it is sometimes called, the-tenth part of an inch; she sails better than most ships of her class, is perfectly dry, betrays no signs of weakness, and is in every respect what may be called a crack ship. The saving of time and timber by scarphing, and other methods, we have already noticed. 3. By the abolition of treenails, which are hewn out of the choicest pieces of oak, free from knots.

4. By the substitution of iron knees, and the new mode of binding the sides and beams by knees constructed of straight pieces of timber.

5. By the substitution of iron tanks for casks, the former of which in a 74 gun ship will stow 40 tons more water than the latter in the ground tier alone, and serve as so much ballast: the water remains pure and clear; it is let out by a simple contrivance, if necessary; the tanks are easily filled without removing, and the bruises and broken limbs prevented which constantly take place in moving the heavy butts of wood; and they will outlast the best built ship.

6. By a new mode of construction in the masts, yards, bowsprits, &c. While Riga masts and spars could be procured, our prejudices in favour of them were so great that they bore three times the price of those of equal quality from Canada and other parts of America; but when the treaty of Tilsit had shut the Russian ports against us, we then discovered that American spars could be used in the navy. It is a possible, though not a very probable event, that this channel of supply may some time or other be stopped-fortunately we have still a resource within ourselves. Mr. Smart, an ingenious mechanic, has invented a mode of making hollow masts from small timber, which may be procured in any quantity, and which, uniting strength with lightness, have advantages which solid ones do not possess. This is easily demonstrable from natural, as well as mathematical principles. On the present occasion, however, there is no need of recurring to either; for these hollow spars have stood the test of experience in all kinds of weather, both in the merchant and the king's service: the only objection to them which




has reached us is, that if struck by a shot they would be rendered useless we doubt whether a solid mast, with a shot hole through it, would be in a much better plight.

We have long been wholly dependent on foreign nations for a supply of hemp; a failure in this article, however, is not so alarming as that of timber. It requires no length of time to recover it; in the same year that the seed is put into the ground, the material is fit for use. It is a plant congenial to our climate: at one period, indeed, every cottage had its hemp land, as it now has its potatoe garden; but the growing prosperity of the country, and a more cheap and comfortable substitute for clothing drove it out of cultivation. In the boggy parts of Ireland it is said to grow with great luxuriance, and some encouragement has been held out by government to promote the culture of it in that country, but not sufficient to warrant any sanguine hope of success. It is, however, to be had in most of the Greek islands, in Sicily, in the Morea, in Spain, in South America, and in Canada. The recent interruption of our intercourse with Russia, from which our supplies were chiefly drawn, has encouraged the cultivation of a plant, (the crotularia juncea) in Bengal and the coast of Malabar, which produces the Sunne hemp, not inferior, when properly managed, to that of Riga; and which can be delivered in the Thames at £60 per ton, being 40 per cent. lower than the present price of Russia hemp.

Good canvas is also now manufactured at Calcutta. But a considerable saving in the consumption of this article is likely to be effected by a recent improvement in the home manufacture, and by abolishing the use of size or paste with which it was usually glossed over in order to fill up the interstices between the threads: a most pernicious practice! Sails are frequently furled when wet; the size then ferments, mildew forms, and the canvas rots; all this is avoided by the new manufacture.

If we neither want the aid of Russia nor America for hemp, canvas or spars, still less have we occasion to resort to them for pitch and tar. The want of these might be supplied by preparations of paint and other substances; but, in the island of Trinidad, there is a lake of asphaltum, or mineral pitch, which furnishes an inexhaustible supply of this article. When this substance exsudes from the ground, it is in the state of liquid tar. The Spaniards found it to answer so well when laid on boiling hot, and mixed with tallow or oil, in the proportion of about four pounds to every hundred pounds of pitch, or with the resin of a tree (hippomenes biglandulosa), that Admiral Apodaca, in 1797, when the island fell into our possession, had received orders to form an establishment for the preparation of this pitch for the use of the navy. It is said to


possess the valuable qualities of resisting the worm which abounds in the gulph of Paria, and of preserving iron. But there appears to be a prejudice against it, of which we know not the foundation.

Trinidad contains about one million and a half of English acres, two thirds of which, at least, are covered with wood, and wholly the property of the Crown. The Spanish peo, or labourers, are extremely dexterous at felling and squaring timber; and work at a cheap rate. The gulph of Paria, from its depth and smoothness of water, and from the absence of hurricanes, is one large extended harbour, in which all the navies of the world may ride in perfect security. It commands the Oronooka, which is the key to all South America. The gulph abounds with fish, and salt is found in abundance. The herds of cattle on the opposite continent are so numerous as to be worth little more than the trouble of catching them. The value of Trinidad is greatly enhanced by its position to the windward of all the West India islands, and of the Spanish continental possessions on the gulph of Mexico. These advantages, combined with the vast quantity of naval timber upon the island, and on all Spanish Guiana, more especially on the banks of the Oronooka and the numerous rivers falling into it, had determined that government to establish a naval arsenal and a port for building ships at Chaguramos, on the east side of the island. It has now been in our possession 16 years, and it is ten years since it was ceded to us by treaty; yet we doubt exceedingly whether it has in all that time furnished a load of timber, or a single barrel of pitch for the use of the navy.

There is in India a sort of resin called dammer, which, when mixed with sulphur, is an excellent substitute for pitch. It is produced from a tree which grows abundantly on Prince of Wales's island, and in the neighbourhood of the Straits of Malacca. In the upper parts of India the Sulla pine produces such quantities of kota, or pure turpentine, that the whole consumption of Europe might be supplied from these districts. In fact, there are few materials which we have been in the habit of drawing from other countries, that India does not, or would not afford.

It is almost unnecessary to observe that in Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, we possess immense forests abounding with oak for ship-building, and pines for masts and spars. With all these colonial resources, then, added to our domestic supplies, it is surely our own fault if we continue to place a precarious dependance on foreign powers. Experience should teach us that such dependance is almost sure to fail us in time of need. In 1805 General Bentham was sent to Russia to build ships in the ports of the Baltic for the British navy. The scheme was encouraged by the Russian minister here; but met with a very cool reception at Petersburgh:

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