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Law of Law Nature

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NATURE, LAW OF. [LAW, p. 175.] NAVIGATION LAWS. [Sam.] NAVY, BRITISH. The Saxons took advantage of the rich harvest opened to all who would attack the Roman pro vinces by sea, and ravaged the coast to such an extent as to oblige the Romans to establish a fleet in the English Chan nel to repel them. After the Saxons had been long in possession of England, they lost their naval arts, and in their turn became a prey to the constant attacks of the Sea-kings and other pirates. We have no record of the size or number of the vessels which sustained so many con flicts with the Danes in the ninth century. Alfred the Great was the founder of the English navy. He first perceived the necessity of a fleet to protect the coasts from the swarms of pirates in the northern seas. A slight advantage gained by some ships of his over the Danes, in 876, in duced him to build long ships and galleys, which, as his countrymen were not com petent to manage them, he manned with such piratical foreigners as he could en gage. After he had driven out the Danes, he applied his talents to improve his ships, and built vessels higher, longer, and swifter than before, some rowing thirty pairs of oars, others more. Ethel red made a law that whoever was lord of 310 hydes of land should furnish one vessel for the service of the country.

William the Conqueror established the Cinque Ports, and gave them certain privileges on condition of their furnish ing 52 ships for 15 days in case of emer gency. King John claimed for England the sovereignty of the seas, and declared that all ships belonging to foreign nations which should refuse to strike to the British flag should be deemed fair and lawful prize. In the year 1293, an English sailor having been killed in a French port, war ensued, which it was agreed to settle by a naval action, which was fought in the middle of the Channel, and the English, being victorious, carried off above 250 sail. In 1340, when King Edward III. with 290 ships was on his voyage to Flanders, he fell in with and completelf defeated, off Slays, the French fleet of 400 sail, manned with 40,000 men. The same king blockaded Brest with 730 sail, containing 15,000 men. Many of the ships composing these fleets were Genoese and Venetian mercenaries, but they must have been very small, and the numbers of ships and men are pro bably exaggerated. The ships at this time were not royal ships. The several towns were required to furnish their con tingent. In 1338 Edward III., wanting ships for the defence of the kingdom, commanded Bristol to furnish 24 vessels, and Liverpool one small one. In 1345 Bristol contributed 22 ships and 608 mariners, and London 22 ships and 662 mariners. Henry V. had something of a navy, for we find among the records in the Tower a grant under his hand of annuities to "the maistres of certain of our owne grete shipper, carrakes, barges, and ballyngers." Henry VII., who suc ceeded in 1485, seems to have been the first king who thought of providing a naval force which might be at all times ready for the service of the state. He built the Great Harry, properly speaking the first ship of the royal navy ; she cost 15,0001., and was accidentally burnt in 1553. Henry VIII. perfected the designs of his father. He constituted the Ad

miralty and Navy Office, established the Trinity House, and the dockyards of Deptford, Woolwich, and Portsmouth ; appointed regular salaries for the ad mirals, captains, and sailors ; and made the sea service a distinct profession.

The ships of this period were high, unwieldy, and narrow ; their guns were close to the water, and they had lofty poops and prows, like Chinese junks, in somuch that Sir Walter Raleigh informs us " that the Mary Rose, a goodly ship of the largest size, by a little sway of the ship in casting about, her ports being within 16 inches of the water, was over set and sunk." This took place at Spit head in the presence of the king, and most of her officers and crew were drowned. The Henry Grace de Dieu. the .argesr ship built in the reign of Henry VIII., is said to have measured above 1000 tons. At the death of Henry VI II., the ton nage of the navy was 12,000 tons. Eliza beth increased the navy greatly. The fleet which met the Spanish Armada numbered 176 ships, manned by 14,996 men ; but these were not all "shipper royal," for she encouraged the merchants to build large ships, which on occasion were con verted into ships of war, and rated at 50 to 100 tons more than they measured. She raised the wages of seamen to 10 shillings per month. Signals were first used in this reign as a means of commu nication between ships. In 1603 the Aavy had 42 ships, measuring 17,000 tons. In the reign of James I. lived the first able and scientific naval architect, Phineas Pett, and the king had the good sense to encourage him. Pett introduced a better system of building, and relieved the ships of much of their top-hamper. Before the civil wars broke out, Charles I. built the Sovereign of the Seas, of 100 guns, and measunng 1637 tons. In this reign the navy was first divided into rates and classes. Cromwell found the navy much reduced, but his energy re stored it, and he left 154 sail, measuring 57,643 tons, of which one-third were two deckers. Cromwell first laid before par liament estimates for the support of the navy, and obtained 400,0001. per annum for that purpose. The navy flourished under Charles II., with the Duke of York at its by Samuel Pepys as secretary, until 1673, when the duke's inability to take the test oath caused his retirement, and the king's pecuniary difficulties leading him to neglect the navy, it fell into decay. The Duke of York was recalled to his post in 1684, and at his accession in the follow ing year there were 179 vessels, measur ing 103,558 tons. James II. on coming to the throne took active measures for the restoration of the navy ; he suspended the Navy Board., and appointed a new commission, with which be joined Sir Anthony Deane, the best naval architect of the time, who essentially improved the ships of the line by copying from a French model. Four hundred thousand pounds per annum were set apart for naval purposes, and so diligent were the commissioners that at the Revolution the fleet was in excellent condition, with sea stores complete for eight months fot each ship. The force was 154 vessela carrying 6930 guns and 42,000 men, whereof nine were first-rates.

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