ePub 版
[blocks in formation]

In the reign of William III. the rates of all men-of-war exhibit much higher corresponding weight of metal than in the preceding reigns. His first-raters were from 100 guns upwards; the second-raters from 90 guns; the third-raters from 60 guns. The great fault of his ships seems to have been their excessive number of guns in proportion to their tonnage, and the lower-deck ports were much too near the water. In 1702, the year of King William's death, his navy numbered 272 vessels, and their aggregate tonnage was 159,020. The navy estimates in the same year amounted to £1,056,915, or just double the expense of Charles II.'s navy. The number of men employed was about 50,000. Improvements in the build and equipment of the ships were very slow, but steady.

The most eminent naval heroes of Queen Anne's reign were sturdy old Benbow, who fought on his stumps; Sir George Rooke, who won for us Gibraltar, by one of the most daring and brilliant coups-de-main on record; and Sir Cloudesly Shovel, who, from a cabin-boy, rose by dint of merit to be an admiral and commander-inchief, and finally perished with the crew of his ship, and those of several other men-of-war, by running on the Scilly rocks in the year 1707. One saying of Sir Cloudesly Shovel has been deemed both witty and wise: "I mightily esteem short lower-masts; for the shorter they are, the longer they will stand.” At the death of Queen Anne, in 1704, her navy numbered 247 ships, and their aggregate tonnage was 167,219.

About this period foreign nations, particularly the Spaniards, the French,

As re

and the Swedes, made more decided progress in the art of the naval architecture than the English, and built their ships on scientific principles. It is noteworthy, also, that they retained their superiority in these respects even down to the first quarter of the present century; and the finest ships in the British Navy up to the death of George III. were either captured from the enemy, or built in our dockyards from their models. It was a familiar (and very true) saying that the French and Spaniards built ships for the English to capture. gards men-of-war in the time of Aune, Mr. James says that the foreigners "allowed a greater width to the portholes and to the spaces between them. This, in a given number of portholes and spaces, necessarily added to the length of the vessel; and as that increased length required a proportionate breadth, a general increase of bulk, and thence of tonnage, became the consequence. The ship was thus rendered more buoyant, and her lower battery stood higher from the water; advantages which were sensibly felt by the British in almost every encounter attended by a rough sea, or a wind fresher than common. In the form of the lower body of their ships, the French greatly surpassed the English; but, in point of materials and workmanship, the advantage was, and is to this day, on the side of the latter. To the British, however, is certainly due the merit of having been the first to introduce the curved form to that part of the stern against which the sea beats: on the other hand, they were among the last to abandon the immoderate contraction of the upper decks of their ships, and the consequent low position of their chain-plates. The Spaniards appear to have taken the lead, even of the French, in the proportion between the size and the numerical force of their ships. As a sense of pride had induced Spain to build her ships higher, a sense of safety had impelled her to build them broader than those of any other nation." This last sentence of Mr. James is exceedingly piquant.

We must now rapidly glance at the naval progression manifest during the Hanoverian dynasty. In the reign of George I., the navy, in 1724, com: prised 233 vessels, their tonnage being 170,862. At his death, in 1727, the

ships of size in the navy were only 178, and were divided into six classes, as follows:

First-rates, from 100 guns upwards, burdens about 1,900 tons.

Second-rates, from 90, and below 100 guns, burdens about 1,600 tons. Third-rates, from 70 to 90 guns, burdens about 1,200 to 1,400 tons. Fourth-rates, from 50 to 70 guns, burdens about 800 to 1,000 tons. Fifth-rates, from 30 to 50 guns, burdens about 400 to 800 tons. Sixth-rates, from 20 to 30 guns, burdens about 374 to 400 tons.

We are reminded of a curious anecdote we have met with, concerning George I. and one of his ships of war which brought him over from Hanover to England, and was nearly lost on the passage. Subsequently he sold her, and she became (sic transit gloria mundi!) a Newcastle collier! Whereupon a Jacobite wag of the day wickedly wrote

Mark the sad change in all sublunary things,

Coal she exports that once imported kings!

In the reign of George II., in 1753, the navy comprised 291 ships, their aggregate tonnage being 234,924. In this reign some important innovations took place. In 1757, two new, and subsequently famous, classes of ships were added to the navy, viz. : -32 and 36-gun ships, both genuine frigates, and of a class which, in the succeeding reign, proved eminently valuable and successful, as our naval annals testify. In the previous year, the Admiralty wisely decreed that the poor old 50-gun two-decker should no longer rank as a line-of-battle ship, and although thus razeel, as sailors say, on paper, she was not degraded to class with frigates, but called simply a 50-gun ship. A few years previous to this, the Government (in what we must charitably suppose was a fit of hallucination) actually caused 29 new 44-gun two-deckers to be added to the navy, miserable cranky tubs, neither frigates nor liners, nor fit for pleasure nor for war, as they could not sail and could not fight.


does James say of them-"A few individuals remained to attend convoys; but, although a provoking durability, common to the class, continued

them for years in the service, they lost the appellation of frigates, and took that of the old two-decked 44gun ship; a name, the very mention of which raises a smile among modern men-of-war's-men." The chief naval worthies of this reign were Admirals Vernon, Boscawen, Anson, Howe, Osborne, and poor murdered Byng, whose last words were indeed prophetically true. "Justice," said he, "will be done to my reputation hereafter; the manner and cause of raising and keeping up the popular clamour and prejudice against me will be seen through; I shall be considered, as I now perceive myself, a victim destined to divert the indignation of an injured people." Yes, the judicial murder of Admiral Byng will ever remain an indelible blot on the ministry and the sovereign of the day.

On the whole, the reign of the second George was much more remarkable for commercial enterprise, and voyages of discovery, and settlement of colonies, than for naval glory. The colonies prospered, and commerce to both East and West Indies, to America, and to foreign countries generally, became so considerable that the poet Thomson could say of the port of London

[blocks in formation]

To bear the British thunder, black and bold, The roaring vessel rushed into the main.

The British navy earned its highest reputation in the succeeding reign, our fleets having been actively employed against various enemies during fourfifths of the long period whilst George III. was sovereign. What an exciting era of the history of our navy is that under consideration! What marvellous exploits did our seamen perform, and what great and glorious victories did they achieve ! A host of proud and spirit-stirring reminiscences are excited by the mere mention of the great sea-captains who won imperish able renown within the space of half a century. There was Rodney, and Hood, and Howe, and Nelson, and St. Vincent, and Duncan, and Bridport, and Hyde Parker, and Collingwood, and Saumarez, and Exmouth, and many others less known to fame, but whose names and exploits will

navy was then 401, exclusive of vessels building, &c. Of these, 108 were ships of the line. The first-raters then ranged from 100 to 120 guns; but there was only a single 120-gun ship (of 2747 tons), and she was not in commission at the time. For the year in question (1793) the supplies voted were as follows:-For 45,000 seamen and marines, £2,340,000; for the ordinary, including half-pay, £669,205; extraordinaries, £387,710; ordnance not provided for in 1791, £32,068; towards paying the navy debt, £575,000; total £4,003,948. At that date the flag officers were 64; post captains, 431; masters and commanders, 163; lieutenants, 1,429. So prodigiously did the exigencies of the times compel the increase of the navy, that only two years later, in 1795, the number of seamen was 85,000, and marines, 15,000; the total supplies for the sea-service, exclusive of ordnance, amounting to £6,315,523. In 1801, sixteen millions were voted for supplies of the navy; and in 1814, when nearly a thousand vessels of war, of all kinds, were actually in commission (177 being liners) the estimates for the expenses of this enormous force amounted to £18,786,509! In the thirteen years ending in 1814, no less than 83 of the enemy's lineof-battle ships were captured and destroyed; and 569 enemy's ships of all

not be forgotten by posterity. And of vessels belonging to the British think of the long roll of battles which these old-service heroes fought and won! Rodney's great and repeated victories; Howe's triumph of the first of June; Cape St. Vincent; Camperdown; the Nile; Copenhagen; and-crown of all-Trafalgar! What memories and proud associations do those names conjure! The pride of every maritime nation was humbled by these and scores of minor victories. Britain defeated and destroyed the combined navies of nearly all Europe, and almost annihilated her enemies' commerce. Some of them, as Spain, Holland, and Denmark, never recovered the stunning blows they received; they irrecoverably lost their former prestige as naval powers; their resources were crippled, and their naval spirit broken; and never since have they effectively replaced the fleets they then lost. Looking at these results, bearing in mind also that England owed her own safety from invasion and the security of her enormous colonial dependencies in every quarter of the globe and the existence of her commerce solely to the power of her flee's and the transcendant skill, daring, and pluck of her matchless seamen,-can we marvel that our countrymen were at that period excited to a pitch of naval enthusiasm infinitely exceeding that evoked by the dubious and eminently unsatisfactory operations of the two campaigns of the war just concluded. Can we help asking what Nelson, or St. Vincent, or Duncan, would have performed, had they possessed such fleets as were sent to the Baltic and Black Sea?

When George III. ascended the throne in 1760 the number of H.M. ships was 412; their tonnage was 321,104; and 70,000 men were voted to man them; the estimates of expenses being £3,227,143. Subsequently the rate of increase was prodigious. In 1783 the ships numbered 617; their tonnage being 500,781. The commencement of what is called by historians the First French Revolutionary War was a most interesting and momentous epoch in the history of our navy. The French and the Spaniards had very powerful fleets at that period, and the Dutch, the Danes and Swedes, and the Russians, had also each a considerable navy. The grand total

rates met the same fate.

What the British navy is at the present day it would be superfluous to detail. We may, however, mention that this year (1856) the supplies voted for the naval estimates were 76,000 men (including 16,000 marines, and 10,000 classed as "boys"). The number voted in 1855 was 70,000, and the large increase is to provide men for the new gun and mortar boats, at the estimated cost of nearly half a million sterling, for pay and victualling. But as peace is now declared, probably from ten to twenty thousand men will be discharged, and the navy reduced to its usual peace establishment.

After our discursive (yet, we trust, entertaining and instructive) gossip about the fighting-ships of past generations, it will not be out of place, partly by way of contrast, to conclude by some brief details concerning our modern first-raters-the latest exemplars of our progress in the art

of marine architecture in the shape of men-o'-war. We shall select the three most magnificent ships of our present navy-the "Duke of Wellington," the "Royal Albert," and the "Marlborough."

The "Duke" was originally built for a 120-gun sailing ship, but was sawn in twain on the stocks, lengthened a score of feet, and fitted with a screw-propeller. She also was originally christened the "Windsor Castle;" but on the death of the great Duke, his name was given to her in memoriam. The following are her dimensions :-Length over all, 278 feet, 6 inches; length between perpendiculars, 240 feet, 6 inches; extreme breadth, 60 feet; depth of hold, 24 feet, 8 inches; height from keel to taffrail, 65 feet; burthen, 3,759 tons, old measurement, or 3,153 tons, new measurement; draught of water, 25 feet; weight of hull, 3,000 tons; weight of hull and all materiel, ready for sea, 5,500 tons; engines, 750 horse-power (nominally). Her armament comprises 32-pounders, 82-pounders, 8inch guns, and one 68-pounder ;—altogether she can throw a broadside weight of metal of 4,030lbs.-and, it is said, can repeat this six times in four minutes! What a tremendous battery! We can better appreciate its terrific magnitude and power, when we recollect that Nelson's celebrated old " Victory," of 104 guns, only fired 900lbs. of cold iron at a single broadside; and the "Caledonia,” of 120 guns (long reckoned the greatest and noblest ship ever built), 1,772lbs. the broadside. Her complement is 1,100 men, all told. Probably nothing will give our landsmen readers a more vivid conception of the mighty proportions of this floating leviathan, than some details of her stores, which we shall condense (from the account before us) in a single suggestive paragraph. Her anchors weigh 22 tons, 12 cwt.; her twelve boats (two launches, one pinnace, three cutters, three gigs, and a dingey), 12 tons, 8 cwt.; gunner's stores, 22 tons, 15 cwt.; Loatswain's and carpenter's stores, 97 tons, 8 cwt.; coals, 642 tons; guns, 368 tons, 17 cwt.; 11,560 round-shot, 158 tons, 13 cwt.; 1,100 shells, 19 tons, 12 cwt.; grape and canister, 11 tons, 3 cwt.; powder, 63 tons, 17 cwt.; small arms (342

muskets, 50 rifles, 90 Colt's revolvers, 20 tomahawks, used in boarding an enemy's vessel, to ascend the side, cut away the boarding nettings, &c., 150 boarding pikes, and 550 cutlasses), 12 tons, 5 cwt.; bread, salt-beef and pork, sugar, tea, coffee, flour, peas, vinegar, rum, suet, mustard, pepper, tobacco, soap, candles, and wearing apparel, in the aggregate, 142 tons, 8 cwt.; water, 263 tons, 1 cwt.; captain's stores, 3 tons; wardroom stores, 4 tons; midshipmen's stores, 4 tons ; holy stones and sand, 6 tons; marines' stores, 15 cwt.; medical stores, 10 cwt.; officers', seamen's, marines', and boys' bags and beds, 137 tons, 10 cwt.; masts, in all, 128 tons, 15 cwt. ; iron cables, 56 tons, 11 cwt. ; rope cables [we suppose hawsers, &c., are meant by this phrase], 7 tons, 18 cwt.; standing rigging, 38 tons; running rigging, 46 tous; blocks, 9 tons; sails, 15 tons, 1 cwt.; engines and boilers, when filled with water, 623 tons, 12 cwt.; the fan of the screw, 8 tons, 14 cwt.; engineers' stores, 17 tons, 5 cwt., 51 lbs.

It would be an insult to the intelligence of our readers were we to make any comment on the above startling items: the bare enumeration speaks for itself. We may, however, here mention the present rate of allowance of food per man per diem in the navy. Biscuit, 1 lb., or soft bread, 1 lbs.; spirits, gill; fresh meat, 1 lb.; vegetables, lb. ; sugar, 14 ounces; chocolate, 1 ounce; tea, ounce. Or, instead of fresh meat and vegetables, salt pork, 1lb.; peas, pint, every alternate day; and salt beef, 1 lb.; flour, 9 ounces; suet, 3 ounces; currants or raisins, 13 ounces, every alternate day. Also, regularly once a week, oatmeal, pint; mustard, ounce; pepper, ounce; vinegar, pint. We think her Majesty's Hearts of Oak may well thrive on this dietary. How nobly it contrasts with the abominably insufficient allowance to the seamen of the navy fifty or sixty years ago!

Another stupendous first-rate is the "Royal Albert," constructed by the late Oliver Lang, master-shipwright at Woolwich. The extreme length of this imperial ship is 276 feet; on the lower deck, 220 feet; extreme breadth, 60 feet, 10 inches; length of keel, 180 feet; depth of hold, 25 feet;

height from keel to taffrail, 63 feet ; burthen, 3,462 tons. She was pierced

for 140 guns, but mounts 121. We have before us two lists of her armament, but they vary considerably, and in giving the following, we do not vouch for its accuracy


sixty-eight pounders on her lower deck, each gun weighing 65 cwt., and measuring 9 feet long; 34 thirty-two pounders on her middle-deck; 34 thirty-two pounders on her main-deck; and on the quarter-deck, 16 thirtytwo pounders. The forecastle is furnished with 14 thirty-two pounders, and one large gun, weighing 95 cwt., and measuring 10 feet in length, on a traversing carriage, shifting on fighting centres, and throwing a shot of 68 pounds." (This gives 131 guns, but only 121 are mounted, we believe). Total weight of metal per broadside, 4,000 lbs. To these statistics of the Royal Albert we may add that her engines are nominally of 400 horse-power, but can be worked up to 1,200. Her main-mast is 124 feet, 8 inches long, and 3 feet, 4 inches in diameter; maintopmast, 75 feet, 6 inches long; and maintopgallant, 55 feet. Her main-yard is 111 feet in length. She can spread nearly 11,000 yards of canvass !


[ocr errors]

Our last (and greatest) Monster of the Deep is the Marlborough," launched a few months ago, but not yet ready for sea. From the newspaper accounts we gather the following items relative to this latest specimen of John Bull's screw threedeckers-Her length between perpendiculars is 245 feet, 6 inches; length of keel for tonnage, 206 feet, 3 inches; breadth extreme, 61 feet, 24 inches; breadth for tonnage, 60 feet, 43 inches; breadth moulded, 59 feet, 64 inches; depth in hold, 25 feet, 10 inches; burthen in tons, 4,00036-94; load draught of water forward, 25 feet; ditto aft, 26 feet; height of taffrail above load-waterline, 39 feet, 10 inches; height of main-truck, 213 feet, 4 inches: length of main-yard, 111 feet; weight of main-mast, 23 tons; ditto main-yard, 6 tons; ditto anchors, 23 tons; ditto rigging, 93 tons; ditto sails (square feet, 38,974), 15 tons; ditto guns and carriages, 369 tons; ditto shot, 170 tons; do. powder, 64 tons; ditto machinery (two engines, six boilers, &c.), 600 tons; weight of water in boilers, 100 tons; power of engines, 800 horses. Her armament of 131 guns is reported to be as follows:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


Weight. 65 cwt. 32-pounders. 56 cwt.

32-pounders. 56 cwt. 8-inch

65 ewt. 32-pounders. 42 cwt. 32-pounders. 25 cwt. 68-pounder. 95 cwt.

It may be interesting to those of our readers who are unfamiliar with the names and positions of the interior divisions of modern ships-of-war, to give here a brief description of the manner in which the huge hull of a first-rate screw three-decker is divided and sub-divided. We will begin with the Upper Deck. The Poop is the elevated deck, extending from the stern to the companion-ladder: next comes the Quarter-deck (and, by-the-bye, whenever you-unless you are a civilian--set foot on the quarter-deck, you must touch your hat, as the Sovereign is supposed to be present), which ranges from the break of the poop to the main-mast: the Gangways and Waist are between the main and foremast; and the Fore

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

castle is the deck from the foremast to the bows. The captain's cabin is beneath the poop. The Main Deck is the principal fighting deck, and is also appropriated to various uses. Thus, the stern portion is occupied by the grand cabin, the admiral's private cabins, &c. Forward of the cabins is the half-deck; and near the foremast is the Galley, where the provisions are cooked. Beneath the inain deck is the Middle Deck, at the after part of which the Ward-room (or mess-room) of the officers is situated, and also their private cabins: The capstan is on this deck, and also the great pumps. Here the marines are berthed; and in the bows is the Sick Bay, or hospital of the ship. We next descend to the Lower, or

« 上一頁繼續 »