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Title: A history of the administration of the Royal Navy and of merchant shipping in relation to the Navy: From MDIX to MDCLX, with an introduction treating of the preceding period
Author: Oppenheim, Michael Morris
Language: English
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                            OF THE ROYAL NAVY

                                 VOLUME I


                            OF THE ROYAL NAVY
                         AND OF MERCHANT SHIPPING
                         IN RELATION TO THE NAVY

                             BY M. OPPENHEIM

                                  VOL I

                        JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD
                           LONDON AND NEW YORK


                            OF THE ROYAL NAVY
                         AND OF MERCHANT SHIPPING
                         IN RELATION TO THE NAVY
                         FROM MDIX TO MDCLX WITH
                         AN INTRODUCTION TREATING
                         OF THE PRECEDING PERIOD

                             BY M. OPPENHEIM


                        JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD
                           LONDON AND NEW YORK




  _LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS_                                             viij

  _PREFACE_                                                             ix

  _INTRODUCTION_—THE NAVY BEFORE 1509                                    1

  HENRY VIII, 1509-1547                                                 45

  EDWARD VI, 1547-1553                                                 100

  MARY AND PHILIP AND MARY, 1553-1558                                  109

  ELIZABETH, 1558-1603                                                 115

  JAMES I, 1603-1625                                                   184

  CHARLES I, 1625-1649, _PART I_—THE SEAMEN                            216

       ——               _PART II_—ROYAL AND MERCHANT SHIPPING          251

       ——               _PART III_—THE ADMINISTRATION                  279

  THE COMMONWEALTH, 1649-1660                                          302


      ——   _B_—THE MUTINY OF THE _GOLDEN LION_                         382

      ——   _C_—SIR JOHN HAWKYNS                                        392

      ——   _D_—A PRIVATEER OF 1592                                     398

  INDEX                                                                401



    (_Add. MSS._, 22047)                                     _FRONTISPIECE_

    MEDALS (BRITISH MUSEUM)                                    _TITLE PAGE_

  THE SEAL OF THE NAVY OFFICE                                         xiij

    THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY, OXFORD, (_Rawlinson MSS._, A 192, 20)        130

    MUSEUM, (_Cott. MSS._, Aug. I, i, 52)                              150


Of the following pages the Introduction and the portion dealing with the
period 1509-1558 are entirely new. The remainder originally appeared in
the _English Historical Review_, but the Elizabethan section has been
rewritten and much enlarged in the light of fresh material found since it
was first printed, and many additions and alterations have been made to
the other papers. Of the four Appendices three are new.

Sixteen years ago the _doyen_ of our English naval historians, Professor
J. K. Laughton, wrote,

    ‘Every one knows that according to the Act of Parliament, it is
    on the Navy that “under the good providence of God, the wealth,
    safety, and strength of the kingdom chiefly depend,” but there
    are probably few who have realised the full meaning of that
    grave sentence.’[1]

Since those words were penned, a more widely diffused interest in naval
matters has permeated all classes of society, and there is, happily, a
vastly increased perception of what the Navy means for England and the
Empire.[2] The greater interest taken in naval progress has caused a
new attention to be bestowed on the early history of the Navy, and there
is little apology required for the plan—however much may be needed for
the execution—of a work dealing with the civil organisation under which
the executive has toiled and fought. Whole libraries have been written
about fleets and expeditions, but there has never yet been any systematic
history of the organisation that rendered action on a large scale
possible, or of the naval administration generally, and although its
record does not appear to the writer to be a matter for national pride,
it has its importance as a corollary of—and if only as a foil to—that
of the Navy proper. This work as a whole, is therefore intended to be a
history of the later Royal Navy, and of naval administration, from the
accession of Henry VIII until the close of the Napoleonic wars, in all
the details connected with the subject except those relating to actual

The historical evolution of many of the great administrative offices of
the state, as they exist now, can be, in most cases, observed through
the centuries and the course and causes of their growth traced with
sufficient exactness. Originally a delegation of some one or more
of the functions of the monarch, they have developed from small and
obscure beginnings in the far off past and increased with the growth of
the nation. The naval administration of to-day has no such dignity of
antiquity. It will be for the readers of these volumes in their entirety
to decide whether it has earned that higher honour which comes of loyal
service performed with justice to the subordinates dependent on it,
and with honesty to the British people who have entrusted it with such
important duties.

The Board of Admiralty came into power subsequent to the period at which
this volume ends. It dates, properly from 1689, or, at the utmost,
reaches back to 1673, but its forerunner, the modern administration which
is the subject of the present volume, sprang full grown into life in 1546
when the outgrown mediæval system ended. The Admiralty Board is in the
place, and administers the duties, of the Lord Admiral, but that officer
although the titular head of the Navy never had any very active or
continuous part in administration, nor was the post itself a very ancient
one. James, Duke of York, afterwards James II, was the first Lord Admiral
who really took actual charge of domestic naval affairs and the Admiralty
succeeded him, and to his powers, thus overshadowing the Navy Board.
Between 1546 and 1618, the Navy was governed by the Principal Officers,
controlling the various branches of naval work, who constituted the Navy
Board; between 1618 and 1689 we have a transitional period when the Navy
Officers, Commissioners of the Admiralty, Parliamentary Committees, Lord
Admiral, and the King, were all at different times, and occasionally
simultaneously, ruling and directing. The Admiralty now more nearly
represents in function and composition the old Navy Board, abolished
in ignominy in 1832, than the Board of the seventeenth or eighteenth
centuries with which, except in the power still retained by the First
Lord, it has little in common but name.

Our subject then in this volume, is the Navy Board as the predominant
authority between 1546 and 1660. Although a history of the modern
administration should in exactness, therefore, begin in 1546, an academic
preciseness of date would be obtained at the expense of historical
accuracy since Henry VIII remodelled the Navy, before he touched the
administration. The year of his accession has therefore been chosen
as the starting point. But it should be borne in mind that there is
very much less difference between the great and complex administration
of to-day, and the Navy Board or—as it was then sometimes called—the
Admiralty, of 24th April 1546, than between the Board of 24th April and
what existed the day before. Within the twenty-four hours the old system
had been swept away and replaced; its successor has altered in form but
not in principle.

The sources of information are sufficiently indicated by the references.
The great majority of them being used for the first time, subsequent
inquiry may modify or alter some of the conclusions here reached. Unless
a date is given in a double form (_e.g._ 20th February 1558-9) it will be
understood to be new or present style, so far as the year is concerned.
Few attempts have been made to give the modern equivalents of the
various sums of money mentioned during so many periods when values were
continually fluctuating. With one exception all the MS. collections known
to the writer, likely to be of value, have been fully examined, but there
are also many papers not available for research in the possession of
private owners. The one exception referred to is the collection of Pepys
MSS., at Magdalene College, Cambridge. An application to examine these
was refused on the ground that a member of the university was working at
them. It is to be hoped that this ingenuous adaptation of the principles
of Protection to historical investigation will duly stimulate production.

There remains the pleasant duty of thanking those from whom I have
received assistance. To Mr S. R. Gardiner, and Professor J. K. Laughton,
I am obliged for various suggestions on historical and naval questions;
to Professor F. Elgar for information on the difficult subject of tonnage
measurement. I have to thank Mr F. J. Simmons for assistance in the task
of index compilation and proof-reading.

As this is the first opportunity I have had of publicly acknowledging my
indebtedness to Mr E. Salisbury of the Record Office, I am glad to be now
able to express my sincere gratitude to that gentleman for constant and
cordially given help in many ways during the five years this book has
been in preparation.

_September 1896._




[Sidenote: The Modern Navy.]

The creation of the modern Royal Navy has been variously attributed to
Henry VII, to Henry VIII, and to Elizabeth. Whichever sovereign may be
considered entitled to the honour, the statement, as applied to either
monarch, really means that modification of mediæval conditions, and
adoption of improvements in construction and administration, which
brought the Navy into the form familiar to us until the introduction of
steam and iron. And in that sense no one sovereign can be accredited
with its formation. The introduction of portholes in, or perhaps before
the reign of Henry VII, differentiated the man-of-war, involved radical
alterations in build and armament, and made the future line-of-battle
ship possible; the establishment of the Navy Board by Henry VIII,
made the organisation of fleets feasible and ensured a certain, if
slow, progress because henceforward cumulative and, in the long run,
independent of the energy and foresight of any one man under whom, as
under Henry V, the Navy might largely advance, to sink back at his death
into decay. Under Elizabeth the improvements in building and rigging
constituted a step longer than had yet been taken towards the modern
type, the Navy Board became an effectively working and flourishing
institution, and the wars and voyages of her reign founded the school
of successful seamanship of which was born the confidence, daring and
self-reliance still prescriptive in the royal and merchant services.

[Sidenote: The origin of the Navy:—William I.]

It is not the purpose of this work to deal with the history, of the
Navy previous to the accession of Henry VIII, but no real line of
demarcation can be drawn in naval more than in other history, and it will
be necessary to briefly sketch the conditions generally existing before
1509, and in somewhat more detail, those relating to the fifteenth
century.[3] In the widest sense the first Saxon king who possessed
galleys of his own may be said to have been the founder of the Royal
Navy; in a narrower but truer sense, the Royal Navy as an appanage of
imperial power, and an entity of steady growth, really dates from the
Norman conquest. The Saxon navy although respectable by way of number,
was essentially a coast defence force, mustered temporarily to answer
momentary needs, and lacking continuity of existence and purpose. There
is but one instance of a Saxon fleet being employed out of the four
seas, that which Canute used in the conquest of Norway, and in it the
Scandinavian element was probably larger than the Saxon. With the advent
of William I, the channel, instead of remaining a boundary, became a
means of communication between the divided dominions of one monarch, and
a comparatively permanent and reliable naval force, both for military
transport and for command of the passage between the insular and
continental possessions of the Crown, became a necessity of royal policy.
For nearly two centuries this duty was mainly performed by the men of
the Cinque Ports who, in return for certain privileges and exemptions,
were bound, at any moment, to place fifty-seven ships at the service of
the Crown for fifteen days free of cost, and for as much longer time as
the king required them at the customary rate of pay.[4] These claims,
practically constituting the Cinque Ports fleet a standing force, were
ceaselessly exercised by successive monarchs, and, at first sight, such
demands might seem to be destructive of that commercial progress which
is the primary basis of the growth or maintenance of shipping. But the
methods of warfare in those ages were more profitable than commerce, and
the decay of the Ports was not due to poverty caused by the calls made
upon their shipping for military purposes. The existence of the Cinque
Ports service was indirectly a hindrance to the growth of a crown navy,
since it was obviously cheaper for the king to order the Ports to act
than to man and equip his own vessels; it was not until ships of larger
size and stronger build than those belonging to the Ports were required,
that the royal ships came into frequent use.

[Sidenote: Results of the Conquest:—Growth of Trade and Shipping.]

As well as mobilising the Cinque Ports fleet, the sovereign was able to
issue writs to arrest the ships of private owners throughout the kingdom,
together with the necessary number of sailors, when rival fleets had to
be fought or armies to be transported. The Normans, descendants of the
Vikings, must have been better shipbuilders and better seamen than the
Saxons, and the large number of nautical words that can be traced back to
Norman French bear witness to improvements in rigging and handling due to
them. The Crusades must have reacted on the English marine by bringing
under the observation of our seamen the construction of ships belonging
to the Mediterranean powers, then far in advance of the North in the art
of shipbuilding. And during the century which followed the Conquest, the
foreign trade, which is the nursery of shipping, was steadily growing.
Under the Angevin kings the whole coast line of France, from Flanders to
Bayonne, was, with the exception of Brittany, subject to English rule,
and the inter-coast traffic that naturally followed was the greatest
stimulus to maritime enterprise this country had yet experienced. The
result was seen in the Crusade of 1190, when the fleet of Richard I
for the Mediterranean was made up of vessels drawn from the ports of
the empire, but many of them doubtless belonging to the continental
possessions of the crown; and as John certainly possessed ships of his
own, it may be inferred that Richard, and his predecessors also had some.
When a general arrest was ordered, foreign ships were seized as well
as English, and this practice continued as late as the first years of
Elizabeth. Richard I issued, in 1190, regulations for the government of
his fleet. These regulations doubtless only methodised customs already
existing, and as they dealt with offences against life and property bear
the mark of their commercial origin. Offences against discipline must
have been punished by military law and military penalties, and required
no new code.

[Sidenote: John:—The Clerk of the Ships.]

During the reign of John we meet the first sign of a naval administration
in the official action of William of Wrotham, like many of his successors
a cleric, and the first known ‘Keeper of the king’s ships.’ This
office, possibly in its original form of very much earlier date and
only reconstituted or enlarged in function by John, and now represented
in descent by the Secretaryship of the Admiralty, is the oldest
administrative employment in connection with the Navy. At first called
‘Keeper and Governor’ of the king’s ships, later, ‘Clerk of the king’s
ships,’ this official held, sometimes really and sometimes nominally,
the control of naval organisation until the formation of the Navy Board
in 1546. His duties included all those now performed by a multitude of
highly placed Admiralty officials. If a man of energy, experience, and
capacity, his name stands foremost in the maintenance of the royal fleets
during peace and their preparation for war; if, as frequently happened,
a merchant or subordinate official with no especial knowledge, he
might become a mere messenger riding from port to port, seeking runaway
sailors, or bargaining for small parcels of naval stores. Occasionally,
under such circumstances, his authority was further lessened by the
appointment of other persons, usually such as held minor personal
offices near the king, as keepers of particular ships. This was a method
of giving a small pecuniary reward to such a one, together with the
perquisites he might be able to procure from the supply of stores and
provisions necessary for the vessel and her crew.

In the course of centuries the title changed its form. In the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries the officer is called ‘clerk of marine causes,’
and ‘clerk of the navy;’ in the seventeenth century, ‘clerk of the
acts.’ Although Pepys was not the last clerk of the acts, the functions
associated with the office, which were the remains of the larger powers
once belonging to the ‘Keeper and Governor,’ were carried up by him to
the higher post of Secretary of the Admiralty.

[Sidenote: Henry III.]

With the reign of Henry III we find the royal ships large enough to
become attractive to merchants, who hired them from the king for freight,
perhaps at lower rates than could be afforded by private owners. There
is hardly a reign, down to and including that of Elizabeth, in which
men-of-war were not hired by merchants, and the earlier trading voyages
to Italy and the Levant during the last quarter of the fifteenth
century were nearly all performed by men-of-war let out for the voyage.
The Navy was mainly made up of sailing vessels even before the reign
of Henry III, and by that period many of them possessed two masts,
each carrying a single sail. The conversion of a merchantman into a
fighting-ship was accomplished by fitting it with temporary fore and
after castles, which became later the permanent forecastle and poop, the
addition of a ‘top castle’ or fighting top, and the provision of proper
armament. Doubtless the king’s own ships were more strongly built, and
better adapted by internal arrangements for their work, than the hired
merchantmen. The supreme government of the Navy in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries was in the hands of the King’s Council, who ordered,
equally, the preparation and fitting of ships and the action of the
admirals commanding. These officers, known during the greater part of
the thirteenth century as keepers or governors of the sea, were usually
knights or nobles in command of the soldiers. While holding commission
they appear to have had jurisdiction in the matter of discipline on
board their fleets, but not of law suits or maritime causes until 1360;
before that date such causes were dealt with at common law.[5] There
were usually two, one having charge of the East, the other of the South
Coast, but occasionally, an officer had a particular section placed under
his care, such as the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk. Their period of
service was commonly short and often only for a special employment. The
maintenance of a fleet was a part of the King’s Household expenses; in
the Wardrobe Accounts for 1299-1300 are the amounts paid for fifty-four
vessels and their crews hired for the conveyance of stores for the Scotch

[Sidenote: Galleys.]

Galleys, although frequently mentioned, were at no time a chief
portion of our fleets. Large fleets were mainly composed of impressed
merchantmen, and galleys are expensive and useless for trading purposes
compared with sailing ships; the natural home of the galley was the
landlocked Mediterranean, and even there its utility was limited to
the summer months, so that it was still less suitable for Northern
latitudes. But the great difficulty was in manning them. Forced labour by
captives taken in the continual warfare normal amongst the states on the
Mediterranean littoral solved that problem for them, but here the cost
of the free oarsman, to whom the drudgery was in any case distasteful,
was prohibitive. We shall see that, down to the close of the sixteenth
century, attempts were at various times made to form such a service, but
always unsuccessfully, and the supreme moment of the galley service, so
far as it ever existed here, was the reign of Edward I.[6] This king
steadily increased the strength of the Navy. In 1294 and 1295 galleys
were built by him at York, Southampton, Lynn, Newcastle and Ipswich,
of which at least two pulled 120 oars apiece. Perhaps the experiment
was conclusive for, neither as regards number or size do such ever
occur again. Although Edward III had one or two built, most of those he
employed were temporarily hired from the Genoese or from Aquitainean
ports, and the total number bore a very small proportion to the sailing
vessels in his fleets. The records of the first years of Edward II show
that the crown possessed at least eleven vessels, all sailing ships, but
the circumstances of the reign were not conducive to the growth of a
Royal Navy, although there seem to have been ten ships in 1322.

[Sidenote: Edward III:—Relative estimation of Army and Navy.]

A far-seeing statesmanship in relation to the political value of
sea-power has been attributed to Edward III on the strength of the
victories of 1340 and 1350, and of two lines of a poem, written nearly
a century later, referring to the gold noble of 1344.[7] This view
assigns to Edward a knowledge, in the modern sense, of ‘the influence of
sea-power on history’ greater than that possessed by such a statesman as
Edward I, and a policy in connection with maritime matters of which the
results, at anyrate, were directly the opposite of his intentions. The
claim to be lord of the narrow seas was not a new one, and was as much
and merely a title of dignity as any other of the sovereign’s verbal
honours, not following the actual enforcement of ownership but consequent
to the fact of the channel lying between England and Normandy.[8] And it
was a title also claimed by France. There is no sign in the policy of
the early kings of any perception of the value of a navy as a militant
instrument like an army, or any sense of the importance of a real
continuity in its maintenance and use. Society was based on a military
organisation, but there was no place in that organisation for the Navy
except as a subsidiary and dependent force. Fleets were called into being
to transport soldiery abroad, to keep open communications, or to meet
an enemy already at sea, but the real work of conquest was always held
to be the duty of the knights and archers they carried from one country
to another. There is no understanding shewn of the ceaseless pressure
a navy is capable of exercising, and the disbandment of all, or the
greater part, of the fleet was usually the first step which followed the
disembarkation of troops or a successful fleet action. In an age when
the land transit of goods was hampered by innumerable disadvantages,
the position of England, dominating the natural way of communication
between the prosperous cities of the north and their customers, was
one of splendid command had its far-reaching political possibilities
been realised. That they did not comprehend a function only understood
many generations later cannot be made a subject of censure, but it has
a distinct bearing on the question of Edward’s superiority in this
matter to his predecessors and successors. In the same way as theirs the
methods of Edward III were directed to conquests by land, and, once the
troops were transported or an opposing fleet actually in existence was
crushed, the Channel was left as bare of protection to merchantmen, and
as destitute of any power capable of enforcing the reputed sovereignty of
the narrow seas, as it remained down to the days of the Commonwealth.
Beyond the fact that in 1340 and 1350 Edward commanded in person, where
his predecessors had been represented by deputies, his action in relation
to the Royal Navy differs in no respects from theirs. The gold noble of
1344, into which so much meaning has been read, was struck in combination
with the people of Flanders for political and trading purposes, and in
connection with Edward’s intrigues to obtain their financial and military
support. It is noteworthy that in December 1339, six months before the
battle of Sluys, Flanders, Brabant, and Hainault, agreed that a common
coinage should be struck, and this, in all probability, marks the first
inception of the noble when Edward realised the purposes to which a
common coinage for England and the Low Countries might be made to work.
In 1343 the Commons petitioned for a gold coin to run equally in England
and Flanders and thus strengthened the king’s purpose. But the ship on
this coin, the noble, was obviously an afterthought since the florin, the
first issue of the same year, called in on account of its unpopularity,
bore the royal leopard on the whole and half noble and the royal crest on
the quarter one; if therefore the king meant all that is supposed to be
implied by the device it occurred to him very suddenly and subsequent to
the first, and deliberately thought out, issue.[9] All that the writer of
the _Libel of English Policie_ says is that, in 1436, the noble proves to
him four things. Further reasons, in relation to other passages of the
poem, will be adduced on a later page to show that his work is only one
more instance among the many in which individual and unofficial thinkers
have been in advance of the statesmanship of their age and whose views,
ignored by their contemporaries have become the accepted opinions of a
subsequent period.

[Sidenote: Edward III:—Commercial policy in relation to shipping.]

The commercial policy of Edward III was emphatically not one of
protection to English shipping, being a nearer approach to free trade
than existed for centuries after his death. During the greater part of
his reign the needs in ships for his campaigns were supplied from the
accumulations of the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, the second of
which was not necessarily disastrous to commerce. But when these were
exhausted it was found that a system which had aimed merely at obtaining
a highest possible yearly revenue for the purpose of supporting armies
had, whether or not in itself, fiscally praiseworthy resulted in the
ruin of English shipping. In 1372 and 1373, the Commons complained of
the destruction of shipping and the decay of the port towns, and it is
collateral evidence of Edward’s real lack of insight into the value of a
marine—its slow creation and its easy loss—that some of the causes to
which they attributed these circumstances were directly due to a reckless
indifference to, or ignorance of, the only conditions which could render
a merchant marine, subject to conscription, possible.[10] Vessels,
they said, were pressed long before they were really wanted, and until
actually taken into the service of the crown, ships were idle and seamen
had to be paid and supported at the expense of the owners; the effect of
royal ordinances which had driven many shipowners to other occupations,
and the decrease in the number of sailors due to these and other causes,
formed further articles of remonstrance.[11]

The year which saw the decease of the ‘Lord of the Sea,’ was marked
by the sack of Rye, Lewes, Hastings, Yarmouth, Dartmouth, Plymouth,
Folkestone, Portsmouth, and the Isle of Wight, a sufficient commentary
on the title, and an adequate illustration of the system which had left
absolutely no navy, royal or mercantile, capable of protecting the coasts.

[Sidenote: Payment of hired ships.]

In 1378 the Commons again attributed the defenceless state of the kingdom
not so much to the late king’s impressment of ships as to the losses and
poverty caused by non-payment, or delay in payment for their use, and
lack of compensation for waste of fittings and stores. Every meeting
of Parliament was signalised by fresh representations, and that of
1380 obtained a promise that owners should receive 3s 4d a ‘ton-tight’
for every three months, commencing from the day of arrival at the port
of meeting; in 1385 this allowance was reduced to two shillings, and
remained at that rate, notwithstanding frequent petitions for a return to
the older amount, for at least half a century.[12] It is not known when
the payment of 3s 4d a ton was first introduced, nor on what principle
it was calculated, but, in 1416, the Commons said that it ran ‘from
beyond the time of memory.’ The following petition, undated, but probably
belonging to one of the early years of Henry IV, shows that it was older
than the Edwards, and, incidentally, yields some interesting information:

    ‘To the very noble and very wise lords of this present
    Parliament very humbly supplicate all owners of ships in this
    kingdom. That whereas in the time of the noble King Edward
    and his predecessors, whenever any ship was commanded for
    service that the owner of such a ship took 3s 4d per ton-tight
    in the three months by way of reward for repair of the ship
    and its gear, and the fourth part of any prize made at sea,
    by which reward the shipping of this kingdom was then well
    maintained and ruled so that at that time, 150 ships of the
    Tower were available in the kingdom;[13] and since the decease
    of the noble King Edward, in the time of Richard, late King
    of England, the said reward was reduced to two shillings the
    ton-tight, and this very badly paid, so that the owners of such
    ships show no desire to keep up and maintain their ships, but
    have them lying useless; and by this cause the shipping of this
    kingdom is so diminished and deteriorated that there be not in
    all the kingdom more than 25 ships of the Tower.’[14]

They then beg a return to the old rates. We may gather from this document
that, at some time during the reign of Edward III there were one hundred
and fifty large fighting ships available, and there is some reason to
believe that, both in number and size, the fourteenth and fifteenth
century navy has been too much underrated when compared with that of the
sixteenth century. At least one merchantman of the time of Edward III was
of three hundred tons, others were of two hundred, and it will be shown
that, in the middle of the fifteenth century, the number and tonnage of
merchant vessels will compare favourably with any subsequent period up
to, and in fact later, than the accession of Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: The close of the xiv century:—The French Navy.]

While, under Richard II, the guard of the seas was maintained with
chequered success by hired ships, the French, under the able rule of
Charles V, not only possessed a navy but had founded a dockyard at Rouen
completely equipped according to the ideas of the age.[15] Thirteen
galleys and two barges are mentioned in this account, with all the tools,
fittings, and armament necessary for building, repairing, and equipment,
and constituting a complete establishment such as did not exist in
England until more than a century later. The accession of Charles VI,
and the internal dissensions which culminated in Azincourt, determined
an essay not again attempted on the Northern or Western coasts until the
ministry of Richelieu.

[Sidenote: Richard II and Henry IV.]

The first Navigation Act,[16] ‘to increase the Navy of England which is
now greatly diminished,’ by making it compulsory for English subjects to
export and import goods in English ships, with a majority of the crews
subjects of the English crown, can only be regarded as a suggestion of
future legislation. In fact, it was practically annulled by a permissive
amendment the following year. More disastrous to merchants than the
losses due to warfare were the operations of the pirates who swarmed on
the Northern Coasts of Europe during these centuries, and who appear to
have become unbearably successful during the reign of Henry IV. This
king appears to have cared little for his titular sovereignty of the
seas, ignored every petition of Parliament for redress of the especial
grievances affecting shipowners, and used such fleets as he got together,
as his predecessors had used them, simply as a means of transporting
troops to make weak and useless attacks at isolated points. Tunnage and
poundage had been first levied by an order of Council in 1347, and year
by year following, by agreement with the merchants; from 1373 it became
a parliamentary grant of two shillings on the tun of wine, and sixpence
in the pound on merchandise, for the protection of the narrow seas and
the support of the Navy.[17] The tunnage and poundage now given was, if
applied at all to naval purposes, not used with the least success. It
was then, in May 1406, together with the fourth part of a subsidy on
wools, handed over to a committee of merchants, who undertook the duty of
clearing the seas for a period of sixteen months. The arrangement between
the king and the committee was quite an amicable one, but in October
of the same year Henry withdrew from the agreement, and it is doubtful
whether the members of the committee ever received any portion of their

[Sidenote: Growth of Trade and Shipping.]

If the Norman Conquest gave the first great impulse to English over-sea
trade, the events of the close of the fourteenth and first half of the
fifteenth centuries may be held to mark the second important era in the
development of merchant shipping by the opening up of fresh markets.
Hitherto the products of the countries of the Baltic had been mainly
obtained through the agency of the merchants of the Hansa, who had their
chief factory in London, with branches at York, Lynn, and Boston. In
the same way English exports found their way to the north only through
Hansa merchants and in Hansa ships. For two centuries they had held a
monopoly of the purchase and export of the products of the north, by
virtue of treaties with, and payments made to, the northern powers, and
an unlicensed, but very effective, warfare waged on all ships which
ventured to trade through the Sound. But the war against Waldemar III of
Denmark, the depredations of the organised pirate republic known as the
Victual brothers, followed by the struggle with Eric XIII of Sweden, were
times of disorder lasting through more than half a century, from which
the Hansa emerged nominally victorious but with the loss of the prestige
and vigour that had made its monopoly possible. While it was fighting
to uphold its pretensions the Dutch and English had both seized the
opportunity of forcing their way into the Baltic, and when, in 1435, the
Hansa extorted from its antagonists a triumphant peace the real utility
of the privileges thus obtained had passed away for ever.

Coincidently with these events economic changes were taking place at
home which, by favouring the accumulation of capital, had also a direct
influence on the demand for shipping. The temporary renewal of possession
in the coast line of France was a spur to trade with it in English
bottoms. The growth of the towns, the necessity the townsmen experienced
for the profitable use of surplus capital, and the slow change,
which commenced under Edward III, in the national industry from wool
exportation to cloth manufacture, were all elements which found ultimate
expression in increased export and import in native shipping.[18]
Possibly the most important factor in the change was the commencing
manufacture of English cloth, instead of selling the wool to foreign
merchants and buying it back from them in the finished state.[19] During
the reign of Henry V, English ships were stretching down to Lisbon and
the coast of Morocco, and British fishermen were plying their industry
off Iceland. Not long afterwards the first English trader entered the
Mediterranean, and the numerous entries in the records relating to
merchant vessels show the flourishing state of trade. By example, and
doubtless by persuasion, Henry himself assisted in the renewal.

[Sidenote: Henry V:—The Royal Ships.]

Under Henry’s rule the crown navy was increased till in magnitude it
exceeded the naval power of any previous reign; the character of the
vessels, bought or built, shows that they were provided for seagoing
purposes rather than the mere escort or transport of troops which had
been the object of preceding kings, and which object would have been
equally well served by the hired merchantmen that had contented them. The
king himself hired at various times many foreign vessels, but purely for
transport purposes.

The following, compiled from the accounts of Catton and Soper,
successively keepers of the ships, is a more complete list of Henry’s
navy than has yet been printed:—[20]

  |        SHIPS                       | Built | Prize | Tons |
  | _Jesus of the Tower_               |       |       | 1000 |
  | _Holigost of the Tower_            | 1414  |       |  760 |
  | _Trinity Royal of the Tower_       | 1416  |       |  540 |
  | _Grace Dieu of the Tower_          | 1418  |       |  400 |
  | _Thomas of the Tower_[21]          | 1420  |       |  180 |
  | _Grande Marie of the Tower_        |       | 1416  |  420 |
  | _Little Marie of the Tower_        |       |       |  140 |
  | _Katrine of the Tower_             |       |       |      |
  | _Christopher Spayne of the Tower_  |       | 1417  |  600 |
  | _Marie Spayne of the Tower_        |       | 1417  |      |
  | _Holigost Spayne of the Tower_     |       | 1417  |  290 |
  | _Philip of the Tower_              |       |       |      |
  | _Little Trinity of the Tower_      |       |       |  120 |
  | _Great Gabriel of the Tower_       |       |       |      |
  | _Cog John of the Tower_            |       |       |      |
  | _Red Cog of the Tower_             |       |       |      |
  | _Margaret of the Tower_            |       |       |      |
  |        CARRACKS                    | Built | Prize | Tons |
  | _Marie Hampton_                    |       | 1416  |  500 |
  | _Marie Sandwich_                   |       | 1416  |  550 |
  | _George of the Tower_              |       | 1416  |  600 |
  | _Agase of the Tower_               |       | 1416  |      |
  | _Peter of the Tower_               |       | 1417  |      |
  | _Paul of the Tower_                |       | 1417  |      |
  | _Andrew of the Tower_              |       | 1417  |      |
  |        BARGES                      | Built | Prize | Tons |
  | _Valentine of the Tower_           |  1418 |       |  100 |
  | _Marie Bretton of the Tower_       |       |       |      |
  |        BALINGERS                   | Built | Prize | Tons |
  | _Katrine Breton of the Tower_      |       | 1416  |      |
  | _James of the Tower_               |  1417 |       |      |
  | _Ane of the Tower_                 |  1417 |       |  120 |
  | _Swan of the Tower_                |  1417 |       |   20 |
  | _Nicholas of the Tower_            |  1418 |       |  120 |
  | _George of the Tower_              |       |       |  120 |
  | _Gabriel of the Tower_             |       |       |      |
  | _Gabriel de Harfleur of the Tower_ |       |       |      |
  | _Little John of the Tower_         |       |       |      |
  | _Fawcon of the Tower_              |       |       |   80 |
  | _Roos_                             |       |       |   30 |
  | _Cracchere of the Tower_           |       |       |   56 |

It will be noticed that there is no galley in this list; one is referred
to in the accounts, but had apparently ceased to exist, her fittings
being used for other ships. Oars occur among the equipments, but probably
in most cases, for the ‘great boat’ which with a ‘cokk’ was attached
to each vessel. Few cannon were carried—if the schedules represent the
full armament—the _Holigost_ six, the _Thomas_ four, the _George_ and
_Grace Dieu_ three each, the _Katrine_ and _Andrew_ two. The inventories
of stores at this date show very little difference from the preceding
century in the character of tackle and gear, nor is there any great
alteration for some two centuries from 1350. English vessels were, on an
average, smaller at this time than either Italian, Spanish, or German.
The tomb of Simon of Utrecht, a Hansa admiral who died in 1437, has a
sculpture of a three-masted vessel; if any of Henry’s were three-masted
they were certainly the first of that class in our service. The statement
of Stow, however, that the vessels captured in 1417 ‘were of marvellous
greatnesse, yea, greater than ever were seen in those parts before that
time,’ is, if patriotic, as absurdly incorrect as some other of his naval
information. The payments for hired ships show that vessels of 400 and
450 tons, belonging to Dantzic and other ports, were taken up for the
transport of troops and, putting aside the tonnage of some of the English
ships, there is no reason to suppose that the North German traders were
the largest of their kind. The prizes of 1416 were Spanish and Genoese
carracks in French pay, captured by the Duke of Bedford in the action of
15th August off the mouth of the Seine;[22] those of 1417 by the Earl of
Huntingdon in that of 25th July.

The tonnage of the English built ships shows that there was now a well
marked tendency to increase in size, probably due to Henry’s initiative.
The usual measurement, in the fifteenth century, of a barge was about
sixty or eighty tons, and of a balinger[23] about forty. But a man-of-war
balinger might be much larger as in the _Nicholas of the Tower_, the
_George_, and the _Ane_. There is very little information as to the
conditions under which Henry’s ships were built. The _Trinity Royal_,
_Grace Dieu_, _Holigost_ and _Gabriel_ were certainly constructed at
Southampton, the two last named under the supervision of William Soper,
then merely a merchant of the town, who remained many years unpaid the
money advanced by him for that purpose; in April 1417 he was given an
annuity of twenty marks a year, doubtless by way of reward.[24] The
_Thomas of the Tower_ was rebuilt at Deptford in 1420; the _Jesus_, and
the _Gabriel Harfleur_ were rebuilt at Smalhithe, in Kent, but in years
unknown. The hulls of several of the ships were sold or given away before
the end of the reign.

At one time the king seems to have commenced building abroad. There is
a letter of 25th April 1419 from John Alcetre, his agent at Bayonne,
describing the slow progress of the work upon a ship there and the sharp
practices of the mayor and his associates who appear to have undertaken
the contract. Alcetre anticipated that four or five years would elapse
before its completion, and it is quite certain that it was never included
in the English navy. The most noteworthy points in the details given,
are the lengths over all and of the keel—respectively 186 and 112
feet—so that the fore and aft rakes, together, were 74 feet, just about
two-thirds of the keel length.

[Sidenote: Henry V:—The Grace Dieu.]

The only one of Henry’s ships of which the name is still remembered
is the _Grace Dieu_, and she was, if not the largest, probably the
best equipped ship yet built in England. She was not constructed
under the superintendence of either Catton, the official head of the
administration, or of Soper, and with two balingers, the _Fawcon_ and
the _Valentine_, and some other work cost £4917, 15s 3½d.[25] Besides
other wood 2591 oaks and 1195 beeches were used among the three vessels
and for the various details mentioned, and it is to be remarked that,
although the _Grace Dieu_ must have represented the latest improvements,
she, like the others, appears to have had only one ‘great mast’ and
one ‘mesan,’[26] but two bowsprits. These carried no sails and were
probably more of the nature of ‘bumpkins’ than spars. She was supplied
with six sails and eleven bonnets, but their position when in use is
not described, and some of them were perhaps spare ones. The order to
commence her was placed in Robert Berd’s hands in December 1416, when
Catton was still keeper and Soper was engaged in naval administration. It
would appear to be entirely subversive of discipline and responsibility
to distribute the control among three men, each of whom possessed
sufficient position and independence to ensure friction, and we can only
guess that the motive was pecuniary.

[Sidenote: The Administration.]

The first keeper of the ships under Henry V was William Catton by Letters
Patent of 18th July 1413, who from the third to the eighth year of the
reign of Henry IV had been bailiff of Winchelsea, and who subsequently
held the bailiffship of Rye conjointly with his naval office. He was
succeeded from 3rd February 1420 by the before-mentioned William Soper.
Berd’s name only occurs in connection with the _Grace Dieu_. The river
Hamble, on Southampton water, was then, and down to the close of the
century, the favourite roadstead for the royal ships lying up, and
was defended at its entrance by a tower of wood which cost £40,[27] a
storehouse with a workshop[28] was also built at Southampton, and one
existed in London near the Tower. If the vessels were not built in royal
yards or by royal workmen we may infer the control of a crown officer
from the fact of a pension of fourpence a day having been granted, when
broken down in health, to John Hoggekyns, ‘master-carpenter of the king’s
ships,’ and builder of the _Grace Dieu_, the first known of the long line
of master shipwrights reaching down to the present century.

The fittings of ships do not differ materially from those quoted by Sir
N. H. Nicolas under Edward III; we find a ‘bitakyll’[29] covered with
lead, and pumps were now in use. Cordage was chiefly from Bridport, but
occasionally from Holland, and Oleron canvas was bought abroad. Flags
were of St Marie, St Edward, Holy Trinity, St George, the Swan, Antelope,
Ostrich Feathers, and the king’s arms. The _Trinity Royal_ had a painted
wooden leopard with a crown of copper gilt, perhaps as a figure head.
The largest anchor of the _Jesus_ weighed 2224lb. The balingers, besides
being fully rigged, carried sometimes forty or fifty oars, twenty-four
feet long apiece, for use in calms or to work to windward. But even a
vessel like the _Trinity Royal_ had forty oars and a large one called
a ‘steering skull,’ to assist the rudder we may suppose. The fore and
stern stages were now becoming permanent structures. Two ‘somerhuches’
were built on the _Holigost_ and _Trinity Royal_. Somerhuche was the
summer-castle or poop of the early sixteenth century, and the cost, £4,
11s 3d, equivalent now to some £70, seems too great for a mere timber
staging.[30] Sails were sometimes decorated with the king’s arms or
badges, but probably only in the chief ships and for holiday use.

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—The Sale of the Navy.]

After the death of Henry V one of the first orders of the Council was
to direct the sale of the bulk of the Royal Navy.[31] Modern writers
who hold that the spirit of the ‘Libel of English Policie’ was that
representing the ideas of the time must explain this startling contrast
between fact and theory. The truth is that the ‘Libel’ described, not
existing conditions, but those that the writer desired should exist; the
whole poem is a lament over past glories and an exhortation to retrieve
the maritime position of the country, but the poet did not look at what
lay behind a couple of victories at sea and the capture of Calais.[32]
After the real triumphs of Henry V and the memories associated with
Edward III, the state of things in the Channel doubtless appeared very
evil, although they were hardly worse during the reign of Henry VI than
was usual, and not nearly so bad as under James I and Charles I. The poem
was really an attempt to obtain continuity in naval policy, a thing of
which the meaning is, even now, scarcely understood, and which in 1436,
when the man-at-arms was the ideal fighting unit, had as little chance
of being accepted and carried out as though it had preached religious

[Sidenote: Changed character of the Keeper’s appointment.]

By Letters Patent of 5th March 1423, William Soper, merchant of
Southampton, a collector of customs and subsidies at that port, and mayor
of the town in 1416 and 1424, was again appointed ‘Keeper and Governor’
of the King’s ships, under the control[33] of Nicholas Banastre,
comptroller of the customs there; no such clause existed in the patent of
1420. For himself and a clerk Soper was allowed £40 a year, but Banastre
was not given any salary. The appointment is noteworthy for more than one
reason. It is the first, and apparently the only, instance in which a
keeper of the ships acted under the supervision of another officer little
his superior in the official hierarchy, and it, with the previous patent
of 1420, marks the commencement of a custom frequent enough afterwards
of naming well-to-do merchants to posts in the administrative service of
the navy. Besides greater business capacity such a man was useful to the
government in that he was expected to advance money, or purchase stores,
on his own credit when the crown finance was temporarily strained.
There is little doubt that Soper’s appointment was of this character,
and that his salary, was really by way of interest on money advanced by
him for the construction of the _Holigost_ and _Gabriel_, and for other
purposes, years before. The first named ship was built in 1414, the
other perhaps later, but it was not until 1430 that he received the sum
which represented the final instalment of their cost.[34] By the will of
Henry V the whole of his personal possessions were ordered to be sold
and the proceeds handed over to his executors to pay his debts. They
received, in 1430, one thousand marks from the sale of the men-of-war,
the remainder of the money obtained from this source being retained by
Soper in settlement of his claims dating from 1414.

[Sidenote: The Navy a personal possession of the King.]

The transaction is interesting both as showing that the Council did not
consider the men-of-war—if compulsorily put up to auction under the
will—of sufficient importance to buy in, and as illustrating the fact
that the royal ships were personal possessions of the sovereign in which
the nation had no interest of ownership. Tunnage and poundage had been
granted for ‘the safe keeping of the sea,’ but the application of the
money was at the discretion of the king. He might use it to pay hired
merchantmen or he might build ships of his own with it, or with the
revenue of the crown estates to fulfil the same purpose; in neither case
had Parliament any voice in the employment of the money. While calling
upon the Cinque Ports to fulfil the conditions of their charters and
impressing merchant ships throughout the country, he might keep his
own navy idle; there was no national right to profit by its existence.
The tunnage and poundage grant did not interfere with the king’s title
to seize every ship in the kingdom, and was only an attempt to secure
payment to owners, and the wages and victualling of the crews; it in no
way placed upon him the responsibility of providing ships, the supply
of which was ensured by the unrestricted exercise of the prerogative,
and that prerogative was not used any less frequently because of the
existence of the tunnage and poundage. As years passed on and the power
of the trading classes increased, and the need for specialised fighting
ships grew greater, they made their ethical right to the use of the
navy for ordinary purposes felt in practice and implicitly recognised
by the crown. Hence the distinction became less and less marked but the
note of possessive separation between the ‘King’s Navy Royal’ and the
trading navy which was, legally, also the king’s and is so referred to
in sixteenth century papers, is to be traced to as late as 1649. Since
that date the title ‘Royal Navy,’ although associated with our proudest
national memories is, historically, a misnomer as applied to the navy of
the state.

[Sidenote: Piracy.]

In 1425, Parliament raised tunnage and poundage to three shillings on
the tun of wine and one shilling in the pound on merchandise, at which
rate it continued. Probably very little of it was applied to the specific
purpose for which it was given, the struggle for the crown of France
absorbing every available item of revenue for the support of armies; in
1450 one of the articles against the Duke of Suffolk was that he had
caused money given for the defence of the realm and safety of the sea
to be otherwise employed. There still remains a sufficient number of
complaints and petitions to show to what little purpose our maritime
forces were used. In 1432, the Commons formally declared that Danish
ships had plundered those of Hull, to the amount of £5000, and others
to £20,000 in one year, and requested that letters of reprisal might
be issued.[35] Such attempts to clear the Channel as the government
recognised sometimes bore a suspicious resemblance to piracy legalised
by success. In 1435, Wm. Morfote of Winchelsea petitioned for a pardon,
having been, as he euphemistically put it, ‘in Dover Castle a long time
and afterward come oute as wele as he myghte,’ and then, ‘of his gode
hertly intente,’ had been at sea with 100 men to attack the king’s
enemies. He found it difficult to obtain provisions which seems to have
been his only motive in asking for a pardon. The answer to the petition,
while granting the pardon for ‘an esy fyne,’ more plainly calls him an
escaped prisoner.[36] He was member for Winchelsea in 1428.

Although Parliament was continually complaining of foreign piracy there
can be no doubt that English seamen had nothing to learn, in that
occupation, from their rivals. ‘Your shipping you employ to make war upon
the poor merchants and to plunder and rob them of their merchandise,
and you make yourselves plunderers and pirates,’ said a contemporary
writer.[37] By a statute[38] of Henry V, the breaking of truce and safe
conduct was made high treason, and a conservator of safe conducts, who
was to be a person of position enjoying not less than £40 in land by the
year, was to be appointed in every port. Under Henry VI, safe conducts
were freely granted to neutrals to load goods in enemies’ ships, and
protests were made by the Commons about their number and that they were
not enrolled of record in the court of chancery and so led to loss and

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—Merchant Shipping.]

Notwithstanding the normal drawbacks of piracy and warfare, the over-sea
trade of the kingdom seems to have been steadily expanding. A branch
of traffic which employed many vessels, and must have been a valuable
school of preparation for the longer voyages of the next generation, was
what may be called, the pilgrim transport trade. The shrine of St James
of Compostella was then the favourite objective of English external
pilgrimage and there are innumerable licenses to shipowners to carry
passengers out and home. In 1427-8 twenty-two licenses were granted, and
in 1433-4 the number reached 65;[39] in 1445, 2100 persons were carried
there and back.[40] Some of the licenses were granted to Soper, who was
engaged in the business as well as in ordinary trade to Spain, and it
is to be remarked that they were sometimes issued during the winter
months—January, February, March,—showing that English seamanship was
outgrowing the tradition of summer voyages. In 1449 we have the first
sign of the bounty system on merchant ships of large size which, in the
next century, systematised into five shillings a ton for those of 100
tons and upwards. John Taverner of Hull, had built the _Grace Dieu_, and
in that year, was allowed certain privileges in connexion with lading the
vessel in reward for his enterprise.[41] The document seems to imply that
she was a new ship, but in 1444-5, she was exempted from the harbour dues
at Calais because drawing too much water to enter the harbour,[42] and is
probably referred to in 1442.[43]

There are two most valuable papers still existing which enable us to
form some idea of the number and size of the merchantmen available
for the service of the crown. The first of June 1439[44] is a list of
payments for ships taken up for the transport of troops to Aquitaine,
and is unfortunately mutilated in some places. Its contents may be thus

  |                |Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|
  |                | 100| 120| 140| 160| 200| 240| 260| 300| 360|
  |                +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
  | London         |    |    |  2 |    |  1 |    |  1 |  1 |    |
  | Hull           |    |  2 |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |  1 |
  | Saltash        |    |    |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |
  | Plymouth       |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |
  | Exeter         |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |
  | Fowey          |    |  1 |  1 |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Bideford       |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Bristol        |    |  2 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Penzance       |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Barnstaple     |    |    |  1 |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Southampton    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Winchelsea     |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Ipswich        |    |    |  1 |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |
  | Ash            |    |    |    |  2 |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Lynn           |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |  1 |    |    |
  | Boston         |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Teignmouth[45] |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Unknown[46]    |    |    |  1 |  2 |    |  2 |    |    |    |

Twenty-two other vessels are of eighty tons, twenty of sixty, and six are
under forty tons; in two cases the tonnage is not given, nine more are
foreign including two from Bayonne, then an English possession, and ten
entries are nearly altogether destroyed.

The next list, of 1451,[47] is also one of vessels impressed for an
expedition to Aquitaine:—

  |               |Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|
  |               | 100| 120| 140| 160| 180| 200| 220| 260| 300| 350| 400|
  |               +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
  | London        |    |    |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |  3 |  1 |    |
  | Bristol       |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |
  | Southampton   |  2 |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |  1 |  1 |    |    |
  | Dartmouth[48] |  2 |  2 |  1 |  1 |    |  2 |  1 |    |    |    |  1 |
  | Plymouth      |    |  2 |    |  2 |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Lynn          |    |    |    |    |    |  1 |  1 |  1 |    |    |    |
  | Fowey         |  1 |  1 |    |    |    |  1 |  1 |    |  1 |    |    |
  | Looe          |  1 |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Weymouth      |    |  1 |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Penzance      |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |
  | Falmouth      |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Portsmouth    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Winchelsea    |    |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Ash           |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Hoke          |    |  1 |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Calais        |  1 |    |    |    |    |  2 |    |    |    |    |    |

One vessel of one hundred and forty, one of two hundred, and one of
two hundred and twenty tons belong to places unnamed, and there are
twenty-three ships of from fifty to ninety tons.

There are, then, at least thirty-six ships in the 1439, and fifty in the
1451, list of one hundred tons and upwards. It must be remembered that
they are not schedules of the total available reserves drawn up during
a naval war, with an enemy’s fleet at sea, or under the pressure of a
threatened invasion, but merely represent the number of vessels required
to transport a certain military force, and form only a proportion—whether
large or small we know not—of the maritime strength of the country.
Certainly the numbers for Bristol did not represent the total resources
of that city, and Newcastle and Yarmouth, to name only two flourishing
ports, do not occur in either list. Assuming the method of tonnage
measurement to have been the same during the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries we have here registers which will compare favourably, both in
number and size of vessels, with those of the earlier twenty years of
the reign of Elizabeth,[49] and imply a naval force superior in extent
to anything existing during the greater part of the sixteenth century.
There is contemporary evidence from a French author, one therefore not
likely to be more than just to England, as to the flourishing condition
of the merchant marine during the reign of Henry VI.[50] The author makes
the English herald claim that his countrymen ‘are more richly and amply
provided at sea, with fine and powerful ships than any other nation of
Christendom, so that they are kings of the sea, since none can resist
them; and they who are strongest on the sea may call themselves kings.’
The answer of the French herald, too long to quote, after admitting that
‘you have a great number of fine ships,’ is only devoted to showing that
France possesses all the natural advantages which go to the formation of
maritime power, and that the French king, ‘when he pleases,’ would become
supreme at sea. Obviously down to the time of the loss of the English
conquests in France, and the outbreak of the wars of the Roses, the wave
of prosperity which commenced with the century had not altogether spent
its force.

Great or small, the progress was, at anyrate, not a bounty-fed one, since
shipowners were experiencing the usual difficulties in obtaining payment
merely for the use of their vessels. The bill for ships provided in 1450,
came to £13,000, nearly one fourth of the yearly revenue of the crown,
but the Treasury, exhausted by the ceaseless demands made upon it by the
garrisons in France could not pay.[51] The king, therefore, appealed to
his creditors and has left it on record that as £13,000 was a sum

    ‘Wyche myght not esely be perveyed at that tyme wherefore
    we comauded oure trusty and welbelovid Richard Greyle of
    London and others to labour and entrete the seyd maistres,
    possessores, and maryners for agrement of a lasse sume, the
    wych maistres, possessores, and maryners by laboar and trete
    made with hem accordyng to our seid comaundement agreed hem to
    take and reseve the sume of £6,200 in and for ful contentacyon
    of their seid dutees; and bycause the seid £6,200 myght not at
    that tyme esely be ffurnysshed in redy mony we graunted to ye
    seid maistres and possessores by oure several letters patentes
    conteynyng diveise sumys of money amountyng to the sume of
    £2,884 that they, their deputees or attornies shold have to
    reseyve in theire owne handes almaner of custumes and subsidies
    of wolle, wollefell and other merchaundises comyng into dyverse

This was perhaps all they obtained of the £13,000, and such incidents, of
which this was doubtless only one, explain the discontent of the trading
classes with the house of Lancaster. Shipowners and merchants might be
trusted, in the long run, to take care of their own interests, but the
seamen were more helpless, and it may be supposed that if employers had
to accept less than a fourth of their dues the men did not fare better
if as well. Their protests were sometimes neither tardy nor voiceless.
The murder of Bishop Adam de Moleyns at Portsmouth on July 9, 1450, is
directly attributed to an attempt to force sailors to accept a smaller
amount than they had earned, and the bias towards the house of York,
shown by the maritime population generally, may be ascribed to this cause.

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—The Royal Ships hired out.]

Henry V had not considered it beneath the dignity of the crown to hire
out his ships to merchants for voyages to Bordeaux and elsewhere when
they were not required for service; the Council of Regency, therefore
did not hesitate to follow the same course. In 1423 the _Holigost_ was
lent to some Lombard merchants for a journey to Zealand and back for
£20; and the _Valentine_ from Southampton to Calais for £10.[53] As the
_Holigost_ was of 760 tons a rate of £300, in modern values, or about
eight shillings a ton for a voyage probably occupying nearly two months,
cannot be considered excessive, and does not imply any great fear of sea
risks, whether from man or the elements.

[Sidenote: And sold.]

In the meantime, in virtue of the Council order of March 3, 1423, the
destruction of a navy progressed merrily. During 1423 the following
vessels were sold to merchants of London, Dartmouth, Bristol,
Southampton, and Plymouth, and, from the prices, many of them must have
been in good condition[54]:—

    _George_ (Carrack),           £133   6  8
    _George_ (Balinger),            20   0  0
    _Christopher_,                 166  13  4
    _Katrine Breton_ (Balinger),    20   0  0
    _Thomas_,                      133   6  8
    _Grande Marie_,                200   0  0
    _Holigost_ (Spayne),           200   0  0
    _Nicholas_,                     76  13  4
    _Swan_,                         18   0  0
    _Cracchere_,                    26  13  4
    _Fawcon_,                       50   0  0

Anchors and other stores were sold and, in 1424, the storehouse and
forge at Southampton went for £66, 13s 4d; if there were to be no ships
there was certainly no reason to keep up any establishment for their
repairs. In the same year eight other vessels, mostly described as
worn out, followed their sisters. They were sold for very low prices
and the description of their state may be exact, although two at least
were nearly new, and what we know of administrative methods in later
times does not warrant an implicit faith, especially under a Council of
Regency. When a 550 ton ship, like the _Marie Sandwich_, brought only
£13, it must be assumed that she was almost worthless even for breaking
up, or that the proceedings were not devoid of collusion.

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—Subsequent Naval Administration.]

We have no record of the expenditure for the first years of Henry’s reign
but, from 31st August 1427 to 31st August 1433, the sum of £809, 10s 2d
was spent by Soper for naval purposes, being an average of £134, 18s 4d
a year.[55] The _Trinity Royal_, _Holigost_, _Grace Dieu_, and _Jesus_
were still in existence, but dismantled and unrigged at Bursledon.
Apparently there were no officers attached to them, or at Southampton,
of sufficient experience to assume responsibility, since Peter Johnson,
master mariner of Sandwich, was paid for coming to superintend the
removal of the masts of the _Grace Dieu_. The _Trinity Royal_ was so far
unseaworthy and useless as to be imbedded in the mud of the river Hamble,
and fifteen Genoese and other foreign master mariners were employed about
dismasting her. There seems at this time to have been some purpose of
rebuilding the _Jesus_, because she was taken to a dock lately prepared
at Southampton, and, of the whole amount before mentioned, £165, 6s 10d
was laid out in unrigging her, towing to Southampton, expenses of dock,
etc. As the sails and stores of the vessels sold in 1423-4 were still
under Soper’s care, a new storehouse, 160 feet long and 14 feet broad,
was built at Southampton. That at London had not been closed in 1423,
possibly because it may have been within the precincts of the Tower, and
much of the equipment of the four great ships still remaining was kept in

During the four years ending with the 31st August 1437, £96, 0s 2½d was
received from the Exchequer and £72, 1s 6d from the sale of cordage,
etc., belonging to the ships;[56] the expenditure was £143, 6s 5¾d. For
the two years ending 31st August 1439, the outlay on the Royal Navy was
£8, 9s 7d. The ‘Libel of English Policie,’ which is now held to have
represented the views of the governing statesmen was therefore given to
the world when the estimates for the crown navy averaged £4, 4s 6½d a

Economy had been further exercised by the discharge of the shipkeepers
as superfluous, and possibly one of the results of this careful thrift
was the destruction of the _Grace Dieu_ by fire, while lying on the mud
at Bursledon, during the night of the 7th January 1439.[57] Some loose
fittings were saved and 15,400lbs. of iron recovered from the burnt
wreck. Soper’s next account, from 31st August 1439, ends on 7th April
1442, during which time he received £3, 10s from the Exchequer and £3, 0s
11¾d for 1222lbs. of lead from the ships. The disbursements were £4, 16s
4d, chiefly incurred in breaking up the cabins[58] on the _Trinity Royal_
and _Holigost_ and taking away the timber; the _Jesus_ appears to have
been too far perished to experience even this fate.[59]

From 7th April 1442, Soper was succeeded by Richard Clyvedon, a yeoman
of the crown[60] by Letters Patent, dated 26th March 1442, but at the
smaller fee of one shilling a day which had been received by Soper’s
predecessors. In all probability Soper’s salary was very irregularly, if
at all paid, and an official outlay which averaged some £1, 10s a year,
offered few opportunities in the way of perquisites to a prosperous
merchant. For five years and ninety days, from 7th April 1442 until 6th
July 1447, the receipts were £61, 2s 7d, all from the sale of stores
originally belonging to the vessels sold in 1423-4; no expenses of any
sort had to be met since the bare hulks of the _Jesus_, _Trinity_, and
_Holigost_, still existing were left to take care of themselves.[61] The
next and last accounts continue for the following four years and nine
months to the 7th April 1452, when they cease. The amount received was
£73, 11s 4½d, again altogether from the sale of stores; the expenditure
was £16, 12s 10d, mostly referable to the cost of a chain fixed across
the Hamble.[62] As only the rotting hulls of the _Trinity_ and _Holigost_
now remained, it is difficult to estimate its value so far as they were
concerned, but for the first time for nearly forty years, there were now
fears of French reprisals.

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—The Substitutes of the Navy.]

It must not, however, be supposed that because the Royal Navy was not
kept up, no measures were taken to protect maritime interests. The
predecessors of Henry V had employed a combination of royal and impressed
ships; Henry V apparently intended to increase the crown navy until
it was powerful enough to enable him to rely on it for every purpose
but that of transport. Rightly or wrongly the Protector and Council
adopted a different system and one which was continued through all the
political changes of the reign. Instead of keeping up a royal force, or
of pressing ships and placing them under the crown officers, indentures
were entered into now and again with certain persons supposed to be
competent to provide under their own command an agreed number of ships
and men to keep the sea for a specified time. In favour of this plan it
was perhaps argued that it was cheaper than any other, and that it should
prove sufficiently effective as the coast of France was either in English
occupation or belonged to a neutral or ally in the Duke of Brittany,
and that an expensive Royal Navy was unnecessary when a French navy was
impossible and only the ordinary rovers of the sea had to be met and
destroyed. Against it might be urged that, besides the delay inevitable
to the process of collecting merchantmen at a given _rendezvous_, it was
the object of the persons undertaking the work to make a profit on the
bargain and that they would probably minimise effort, time, and expense,
as much as practicable. So far as the scanty evidence enables us to judge
it is possible that, until the loss of the French coastline, the plan,
had it been carried on under the authoritative supervision of an able
and honest crown official, might have worked successfully. Doubtless the
economy promised was the final argument because, once the Royal Navy
had been suffered to perish, there was never throughout the reign any
financial possibility of restoring it. By 1433 the royal expenses were
nearly double the revenue; and the Lord Treasurer, Cromwell, told the
King, ‘nowe daily many warrantis come to me of paiementes ... of moche
more than all youre revenus wold come to thowe they wer not assigned
afore; whereas hit aperith by your bokes of record which have been
showed that they have been assigned nygh for this eleven yeere next

As many of the debts of Henry V for hire of ships and men’s wages were
still unpaid, the conditions were evidently not favourable to the direct
action of the crown either in replacing its own navy or taking ships into
pay. An intermediary of recognised position to whom a payment was usually
at once made on account, doubtless inspired more confidence in owners and
men. Although not the first in point of time, the commission of Sir John
Speke by an agreement of 2nd May 1440, is noticeable in that the service
was apparently the first in which the men were paid and victualled at a
weekly rate, one and sixpence a week wages and the same for victuals.[64]
For at least two centuries the rate had been threepence a day, with
usually an additional sixpence a week ‘reward,’ and this reduction of
pay seems to imply that there were plenty of men to be obtained. In
1442 the Commons themselves arranged the period—2nd February to 11th
November—during which a fleet was to be at sea, and even designated the
ships which were to serve, together with the allowances to officers and
men.[65] There were to be eight ships, all merchantmen, manned by 1200
men, and each of the eight was to be attended by a barge and balinger
having respectively 80 and 40 men apiece. There were also four pinnaces.
One of the ships is the _Nicholas of the Tower_ of Bristol. ‘Of the
Tower’ was the man-of-war mark, and this is the only one found in the
lists of merchantmen of the century. The _Nicholas of the Tower_ of Henry
V was sold to some purchasers belonging to Dartmouth, but may have passed
into Bristol ownership. It was the crew of this vessel, usually described
as a man-of-war, who seized and executed the Duke of Suffolk on his
passage to Flanders when exiled in 1450.

The seamen’s pay, two shillings a month, if not an error of entry,
can only be explained by the expectation of a liberal division of
prize-money, one half of which was to be shared among masters,
quartermasters, soldiers and sailors. The other half was divided
into thirds, of which two went to the owners and one to the captains
and under-captains. The victualling was now one and twopence a week.
The captains and under-captains were military officers; there was no
ship-captain in the modern sense although the master, whose pay was
sixpence a day, was his nearest equivalent. The conditions were beginning
to slowly change during this century, but hitherto the fighting had been
done on board ship by the soldiers embarked for the purpose. The duty
of the sailors, whether officers or men, was only to handle the vessel
at sea or in action. The fleet does not appear to have put to sea till
August, although the undertakers, Sir William Ewe, Miles Stapylton, and
John Heron, were receiving money for its preparation in June.[66] In 1445
the charges for the passage of Margaret of Anjou when she came to share
the crown do not show the same tendency to lower wages; masters were
still paid sixpence a day, but the men received one and ninepence a week
and their sixpence ‘reward,’ and pages (boys) one and three halfpence
a week.[67] During the winter of 1444-5 a Cinque Ports squadron was
in commission from September to the following April, and this must be
almost the last instance of the performance of the ancient service of the
ports in a complete manner. Twenty-six vessels were provided—four from
Hastings, seven from Winchelsea, four from Rye, Lydd, and Romney, two
from Hythe, three from Dover, five from Sandwich, and one from Faversham,
numbers which perhaps indicate the relative importance of the towns at
this time. The whole cost of the fleet was only £672, 9s 1½d, while
Margaret’s journey was considered worth £1810, 9s 7½d.[68] The tonnage
of the Cinque Ports vessels is not given, but that they were of no great
size may be inferred from the small number of men in each.

In 1449 Alexander Eden and Gervays Clifton, afterwards Treasurer of
Calais, were entrusted with the care of the Channel and, although their
deeds have left no mark in history, they were considered so satisfactory
at the time that, in the following year, Clifton was granted a special
reward of four hundred marks for his good service. In 1450 Clifton and
Eden were again performing the same duty and, in 1452, Clifton and
Sir Edward Hull. Certainly there was now every reason for redoubled
vigilance. Between 1449 and 1451 the English Conquests in France had
gone like a dream; only Calais was left, and that was considered to be
imminently threatened. Notwithstanding loans, mortgages of revenues, and
money obtained by pawning the crown jewels, the government owed £372,000,
while the receipts from the crown estates were not more than £5000 a
year, and the yearly charge of the household alone was £23,000. If we
add to these facts a saintly king, and an inefficient government, the
first mutterings of the storm of civil war, and a foe, exhausted it is
true, but eager for vengeance, we are able to partly picture the extent
of the losses in honour and prosperity which made one of the first acts
of the Duke of York, when created Protector on 27th March 1454, the
appointment of a fresh commission to guard the seas. On the following
3rd April, the tunnage and poundage for three years was assigned to the
Earls of Salisbury, Shrewsbury, Wiltshire, Worcester, and Oxford, the
Lords Stourton and Fitzwalter, and Sir Robert Vere, for that purpose.[69]
That immediate action might be taken a loan of £1000 was raised in the
proportions of London £300, Bristol £150, Southampton £100, Norwich and
Yarmouth £100, Ipswich, Colchester and Malden £100, York and Hull £100,
New Sarum, Poole and Weymouth £50, Lynn £50, Boston £30, and Newcastle
£20, to be repaid out of the tunnage and poundage.[70]

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—The Civil War.]

In 1455, the first battle of St Albans was fought and there was no
further question of naval matters until Edward IV was on the throne.
Naval power appears to have had but little influence on the result of
the wars of the Roses, nor, except at one moment, is the command of the
sea shown to be a factor of any great importance in the struggle. Such
as it was the Yorkists possessed it, as owners and seamen both affected
the white Rose, but the Lancastrians seem never to have experienced
any difficulty in obtaining necessary shipping, when in power on land,
during the years of war. In 1459, however, when York fled to Ireland,
and Warwick to Calais, the attachment the seamen generally felt for
the latter enabled him to hold his own there and in the Channel, which
perhaps had no inconsiderable influence on the final issue. The naval
weakness of the Lancastrians compelled them, instead of protecting the
English coasts off the French ports, to issue commissions to array the
_posse comitatus_ in the maritime counties to repel invasion, and the
sack of Sandwich in 1457, by the Seneschal de Brézé was an outcome of the
changed conditions. But Warwick’s fight on 29th May 1458, with a fleet of
Spanish ships of more than double his strength, and his capture of six
of them, though little better than open piracy, was a sharp reminder that
English seamen had not lost the spirit which animated their fathers, and,
under the right conditions could still emulate their deeds.[71]

Unless the merchant marine had degenerated very rapidly there must have
still been plenty of seagoing ships available in English ports, but
the subjoined Treasury warrant perhaps indicates the difficulty the
Lancastrians experienced in chartering ships and obtaining men. On 5th
April 1460, Henry was once more king and his adversaries in exile, and an
order of that date directs the officials of the Exchequer that ‘of suche
money as is lent unto us by oure trewe subgittes for keping of the see
and othire causes ye do paye to Julyan Cope capitaigne of a carake of
Venise nowe beinge in the Tamyse £100 for a moneth, and to Julyan Ffeso
capitayne of a nother carrake of Jeane[72] being at Sandwich £105 for a
moneth the which two carrakes be entretid to doo us service.’ This is
of course not conclusive because foreign vessels were at times hired by
all our kings although English ships were available. But in June 1460
the Lancastrian Duke of Exeter, with a superior force, met Warwick at
sea, but did not venture to attack him, being unable to trust his men.
If, therefore, the men were not reliable there was good reason for the
employment of foreigners.

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—Results of the Contract System.]

Administering the navy by contract had been tried and found wanting; it
had never been resorted to before and was never used again. It had proved
expensive and ineffective. There can be little doubt that had one half
the money wasted in spasmodic efforts been devoted to the maintenance of
a small but efficient royal force, always ready for action, the results,
if less profitable to the intermediaries, would have been better for the
nation. But before all and above all, whatever plan was adopted, there
was necessary the hand to control and the brain to govern. The military
organisation had been systematised for centuries and would go on working
more or less easily whatever the personal qualities of the ruler. The
Navy was not yet to the same extent an organised and permanent force, and
its strength in any reign was still dependent on the initiative of the
sovereign. Henry obtained canonisation at the expense of the lives and
prosperity of his subjects, of his followers, and of his son. It had been
better for them if he had possessed more of the sinful strength of a man
and less of the flaccid virtue of a saint.

[Sidenote: Henry VI:—Docks, etc.]

There is nothing known positively of any improvements in the form or
equipments of ships during this reign. There are no inventories in detail
between the time of Henry V and the first years of Henry VII. But while
in the first quarter of the fifteenth century we find that men-of-war
possess, at the most, two masts and two sails, carry three or four guns,
and one or two rudimentary bowsprits, at the close of the same century
they are three or four masters with topmasts and topsails, bowsprit and
spritsail, and conforming to the characteristics and type which remained
generally constant for more than two centuries. It is quite certain that
no sudden transition occurred; the changes came slowly with the passing
years, but they have left no traces in the records. Whether docks were
used in England before the fifteenth century may be doubtful, but the
word is in common use in the reign of Henry V, although it did not denote
what we now understand by such a structure. Its derivation from the Low
Latin _Diga_ a ditch, more exactly indicates its character, but the word
was employed in more than one sense, and even after the construction
of the first dry dock at Portsmouth in 1496, we find in the sixteenth
century an arrangement of timber round a ship in the Thames, to protect
her from the ice, called a dock. The _Nomenclator Navalis_ of 1625
describes a wet dock as ‘any creek or place where we may cast in a ship
out of the tideway in the ooze, and then when a ship hath made herself
(as it were) a place to lie in we say the ship hath docked herself,’ a
description which much more nearly portrays the dock of the fifteenth
century than the dry dock of to-day. The following details of a dock for
the _Grace Dieu_ in July 1434 are perhaps the fullest to be found, and
are taken from Soper’s accounts for that year:—[73]

    ‘And in money paid Thomas at Hythe, and 29 men labourers, for
    working about, making and constructing anew[74] of a fence
    called a hedge,[75] by the advice and ordinance of discreet and
    wise mariners, that is to say on the Wose,[76] near Brisselden
    aforesaid for the safe keeping and government of the King’s
    ship, and to the putting out and drying up of the sea water
    strongly running from the said King’s ship because the same
    is weak: and also that the said King’s ship may be kept more
    safely and easily in its said bed[77] called dok within the
    said enclosure; taking for this work made and built by the
    said ——[78] by agreement with him made in gross for the King’s
    advantage the said month of July 12th year xxviiiˢ viᵈ. And
    in money paid John Osmond, mariner, working about towing and
    bringing timber and branches with his two boats for the service
    of the same fence called an hegge[79] and there about the same
    employed iiˢ. And in money paid to the said Thomas at Hythe
    and to 29 other men his fellows for labouring and watching in
    the said ship of the King’s about towing and conducting the
    same from the same Brisselden where first she was in mooring
    and in rode to the said enclosure called Dok, and there to the
    placing, directing and guarding of the said ship of the King’s
    within its bed called Dok, and to the attending on the safe
    custody and superintendence of the same for three days, working
    day and night, besides expenses of victualling, taking for this
    work and occupation for the time aforesaid by agreement with
    him in that cause made in the King’s service in gross the month
    and year aforesaid xˢ.’

It may be inferred from this that the ship was brought to a suitable spot
at a spring tide, possibly hauled still further aground by mechanical
means, and when she had bedded herself, surrounded by timber and
brushwood, perhaps puddled with clay. It will be seen[80] that in 1496
a drydock, the first known to have been made in England was constructed
at Portsmouth, but we are without knowledge of the intermediate steps,
or whether there were no intervening improvements, and the dock at
Portsmouth copied in its completeness from one already existing abroad.

[Sidenote: Measurement of Tonnage.]

It has been pointed out that the value of the comparison between
fifteenth and sixteenth century ships depends greatly on the method of
measuring tonnage, and on that subject we have unfortunately but little
information. The Bordeaux wine trade was the earliest, and for two
centuries one of the most important branches of English maritime traffic;
ships were therefore measured by their carrying capacity in Bordeaux
cask. The first arithmetical rule for calculating a ship’s tonnage was
devised in 1582, and that rule made the net or cask tonnage nearly the
same as the average cargo. The unit of measurement was therefore the
tun of wine in two butts of 252 gallons which in 1626 were estimated to
occupy 60 cubic feet of space. The ancient wine gallon occupies 231 cubic
inches and a tun measures strictly therefore only 33¹¹⁄₁₆ cubic feet,
but the reckoning is by butts, and much waste of space must be allowed
for in view of the usual shape of a cask. In 1626 certain experiments
described on a later page were carried out on the _Adventure_ of Ipswich,
and it was found that while her burden in Bordeaux cask was 207 tons net,
and 276 gross,[81] her tonnage by the Elizabethan rule was again almost
exactly the same. If, in the fifteenth century, the shipper allowed 60
cubic feet for two butts of wine, and the allowance of 1626 was doubtless
the outcome of long experience, there could have been but little
difference between the ship of Henry VI, and indeed of earlier reigns,
and that of the period of Elizabeth.

[Sidenote: Edward IV:—General Policy.]

There is even less material for the naval history of the reigns of Edward
IV and Richard III than for that of Henry VI; if, as is probable, a naval
administration existed, no records have come down to us. Edward seized
the crown on 4th March 1461, but it was not until after the battle of
Tewkesbury in 1471 that he could consider himself really and indubitably
king. The uncertainty of his position during the intervening ten years
must have prevented the systematic organisation of a naval department,
but he was not remiss in, so far as was possible, holding the command
of the Channel. Doubtless his experience with Warwick at Calais in 1459
had taught him its importance. Not long after Towton, an English fleet
under the command of the Earls of Essex and Kent ravaged the coast of
Brittany in revenge for the sympathy shown to Margaret by the reigning
Duke. In 1462 another fleet was at sea, but we have no details of its
action, although it was no doubt fitted for service to anticipate or deal
with Margaret’s landing at Bamborough in October. An agreement dated 1st
February 1462, placed naval affairs under the control of the Earl of
Warwick for three years, the Earl’s salary being £1000 a year.[82] If
Edward’s experience in 1459 had instructed him in the significance of
the command of Calais and the fleet, he may not have willingly appointed
his powerful subject to a position which made the latter practically
independent of the crown; it may be, however, that he had little choice,
and that Warwick’s power in the country, and his popularity with the
seamen made his nomination almost a matter of necessity.

Notwithstanding this indenture made with Warwick we find that in
July 1463 the Earl of Worcester was in charge of naval matters, and,
in August, that nobleman is described as ‘captain and keeper of the
sea.’[83] Warwick may have resigned or may have constituted Worcester
his deputy. A later paper[84] tells us that Worcester acted by Letters
Patent of 30th June 1463. This would not clear Warwick’s term of office
but in any case these appointments of Warwick, or of Worcester, or of
both, appear to have been the last survivals of the custom of putting the
safeguard of the seas out to contract. And the survival was more due to
political conditions than to any intention or desire of renewing the old
system. The name of Richard Clyvedon, who succeeded Soper as clerk of the
ships in 1442, disappears after a few years; as no payments were made
even for his salary, it may be assumed that he either died, resigned, or
was dismissed, and the post was not filled up. Under the circumstances
there was no use for a clerk of the ships as the contractors who engaged
to provide ships and men would prefer to employ their own servants to
manage the details. In 1465 Piers Bowman is referred to as ‘clerk of our
shippes,’ but his patent is not to be found nor any payments by way of
salary, and the document in question[85] is the only one in which his
occupancy of the office is mentioned. Three years later, in 1468, Sir
John Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, was entrusted with the payments
due for the passage of Edward’s sister Margaret on her marriage with
Charles of Burgundy. Howard possessed ships of his own, and on 27th
August 1470, received twenty marks on account of the victualling of two
ships which he had equipped ‘to take certaine rovers that lie in the
Tamyse mouth or there aboute, and robbe bothe the kinges subgittes and
frendes.’ This was little more than a fortnight before Warwick landed at
Dartmouth and shows how little Edward feared the Earl, for he made no
preparation to intercept his passage, and his care, even in his uncertain
position, of the commercial interests of his subjects.[86] All through
the second civil war, Warwick retained the command of the Channel, nor
does Edward, whether from indifference or inability, appear to have
made any attempt to wrest it from him. He relied for assistance chiefly
on the Burgundian navy, of which Philip de Comines says that it was so
powerful that ‘no man durst stir in the narrow seas for fear of it.’ By
a navy, however, De Comines must be understood as meaning the general
shipping strength of the state. Even after Tewkesbury Edward was once
more reminded that supremacy on land was only possible to the ruler who
controlled the sea. The bastard of Fauconberg,[87] Warwick’s subordinate
and in command of his fleet, seized the Thames and raised Kent and Essex;
had there been any Lancastrian power able to support him Edward’s newly
regained crown would have been once more in jeopardy.

[Sidenote: Edward IV:—The Keeper of the Ships.]

By Letters Patent of 12th December 1480, the office of clerk of the
ships was once more reconstituted in the person of Thomas Rogers, with
a salary of one shilling and sixpence a day for himself and a clerk,
and two shillings a day for travelling expenses, when employed on the
king’s service. In later patents Rogers is described as a citizen and
fishmonger, and as a merchant of London, and as having been purser of
a king’s ship. He so successfully trimmed his opinions to the varying
political currents, as to retain his office during the reigns of Richard
III and Henry VII, until his death in 1488.

[Sidenote: The Royal Ships.]

The re-appointment of a keeper of the ships was the natural corollary of
the new formation of a crown navy which was going on slowly throughout
the reign. As early as July 1461 the _Margaret_ of Orwell, or of Ipswich,
is spoken of as ‘our great ship,’ and was doubtless a merchantman bought
by the crown. Without collateral evidence, however, the expression
‘our ship’ does not always prove crown ownership; the phrase seems to
have been often used in writing of ships pressed for special service.
The _Margaret’s_ equipment included 200 bows at eighteenpence apiece,
600 sheaves of arrows at eighteenpence the sheaf, bow strings at five
shillings a gross, 200 spears at sixteenpence each and 1000 darts £5. As
it also comprised 600 ‘gunstones’[88] at ten shillings the hundred and
1000 lbs. of powder at fivepence a lb., she must have carried cannon as
well as the more primitive weapons.[89] In 1463, a caravel of Salcombe
was bought for £80, and the shares of the _John Evangelist_ of Dartmouth
purchased from the joint owners in that and the following year.[90] In
1468 the _Mary of Grace_ was bought from Sir Henry Waver[91] and in July
1470 250 marks were given for a Portuguese ship, the _Garse_, obtained
from John de Poinct of Portingale.[92] An order on the Exchequer did not
however necessarily mean prompt payment unless money was plentiful, and
just a year later another warrant was made out for John de Poinct as he
was still unpaid; not long after there is mention made of the _St Peter_,
a Spanish ship bought for £50 which sum had also long been owing.

In 1473 the _Grace Dieu_ once more occurs among the names of men-of-war.
Marcus Symonson of Causere was paid £62, 8s 2d for pitch, tar, masts,
and other necessaries supplied by him for the ‘new making of our
shippe called the _Grace Dieu_.’[93] Unless she was one of the vessels
previously bought rebuilt and renamed, she must have been a new ship
but there are no other particulars concerning her. In 1472 there is a
grant of an annuity of £20 a year to this Mark Symonson, owner of the
_Antony_ of Causere,[94] for the good services he had done and would
do; this large reward, equal to at least £200 a year now, points to the
possibility of his having been captain and owner of the vessel which
brought Edward over to Ravenspurn in 1471. Another Spanish ship, the
_Carycon_ was purchased in 1478 for £100 and in the same year William
Combresale, who afterwards succeeded Rogers as clerk of the ships, is
referred to as master of the king’s ship _Trinity_, another new name.
Carycon or Carraquon was simply old French for a large carrack, and the
ship, shortly afterwards, became the _Mary of the Tower_.[95] With the
_Carycon_ and the _Trinity_ there is found, ‘the king’s ship called the
_Fawcon_,’ and in 1483 Rogers was ordered ‘to repaire and make of the
newe our shippe the _Mary Ashe_,’ possibly the older _Mary of Grace_. The
last purchase is at the close of the reign in January 1483, when 100
marks was paid to Roger Kelsale, collector of customs at Southampton for
his share in a bark of Southampton lately bought.

[Sidenote: Edward IV:—Naval and Commercial Policy.]

It is obvious from this list that Edward had set himself to reverse the
practice of the preceding forty years, and had determined to restore the
Navy. He must have taken a certain pride in it and in the appearance of
the men, since, for the first time, we find a payment on one occasion for
‘jackettes’ for the sailors.[96] His interest in the men did not extend,
however, to arresting the tendency to lower wages which were now one
shilling and threepence a week, while the victualling was reckoned at one
shilling and a halfpenny.[97] He had been granted in 1465, tunnage and
poundage for life and therefore always had at command money to be devoted
to naval purposes. Nor was he indifferent to the commercial interests
of the kingdom. In 1464 a navigation act, the first consented to by the
Crown since the reign of Richard II came into force, and although it
was allowed to lapse at the end of three years was an earnest of future
and more effective legislation. He is said to have himself engaged in
trade, and the commercial treaties with Burgundy, Brittany and Castile,
show that he understood the sources of national wealth. Some of Edward’s
business transactions were with the Italian cities, and that the field
of trade was generally enlarging is shown by the appointment in 1484 of
a consul at Florence, because ‘certain merchants and others from England
intend to frequent foreign parts, and chiefly Italy with their ships and
merchandise.’ The old custom of hiring out men-of-war for trading voyages
was soon revived and, shortly before Bosworth field, the _Grace Dieu_ was
lent to two London merchants for a Mediterranean journey but was finally
kept back for the protection of the coasts.

The short and troubled reign of Richard III did not allow that monarch
much time for naval development, but the crown service was not allowed
to retrogress and some fresh ships were purchased. In January 1485 the
_Nicholas_ of London was bought from Thos. Grafton, a London merchant,
for 100 marks, and the _Governor_ from Thos. Grafton and two others
for £600.[98] There seems to have been no attempt during the reigns of
Richard and his brother, to form any centre for naval equipment and for
stores, such as had existed at Southampton and Bursledon under Henry
V, and at other places in the preceding centuries. Ships were fitted
at Erith, or in the Orwell, or wherever they happened to be lying when
required for service.

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—The Royal Ships.]

In popular belief Henry VII shares with his son and grand-daughter,
the credit of founding the modern navy. This view is so far unfounded,
that, although its strength did not recede during his reign, and he
prepared the way for further progress, he did not increase the force and
reorganise the administration as did Henry VIII, nor use it with effect
as did Elizabeth. Henry VII still relied on hired merchantmen to form the
bulk of his fleets, an assistance his son almost succeeded in renouncing
for squadrons of the same strength. In 1590 out of eighteen vessels at
sea only two were men-of-war. There are no accounts extant for the whole
reign of the expenditure on the navy, but the amount for the first three
years was £1077,[99] and for 1495-8 £2060[100] exclusive of the cost of
the two large ships, the _Regent_ and _Sovereign_, built by his orders.
At any rate these sums represent a much more acute appreciation of the
necessity for sea power than that shown by his immediate predecessors.

The following is an attempt, perhaps imperfect, at the navy list of this

  _Grace Dieu_
  _Mary of the Tower_
  _Martin Garsya_
  _Le Prise_ or _Margaret_ of Dieppe
  _Mary Fortune_
  _Carvel of Ewe_

Of these the _Grace Dieu_, _Mary of the Tower_, _Governor_, _Martin
Garsya_, _Fawcon_, and _Trinity_ were obtained with the crown, the
_Margaret_ was captured in 1490. Only the _Regent_, _Sovereign_, _Carvel
of Ewe_, _Sweepstake_ and _Mary Fortune_ were new, the two latter being
small vessels built at a charge of £231.[101] The _Carvel of Ewe_,[102]
after having been in the royal service by hire, was bought at some
period of the reign. The name of the _Bonaventure_ only occurs once as
‘our ship called the _Bonaventure_ ... William Nashe, yeoman of our
crown hath in his rule and governance,’[103] a reference which appears
to point unmistakeably to a royal ship; she may have been the bark of
Southampton bought by Edward IV, or one of Richard’s purchases. The
_Martin Garsya_ was given to Sir Richard Guldeford in December 1485,
the _Governor_ disappears after 1488, and the _Mary of the Tower_ after
1496; the _Fawcon_, _Trinity_, and _Margaret_, after 1503. In 1486 Henry
commissioned a trusted officer, Sir Richard Guldeford, Master of the
Ordnance, to superintend the construction of a large ship, afterwards
called the _Regent_, at Reding on the river Rother, in Kent.[104] An
Exchequer warrant of 15th April 1487 directs the Treasurer to pay the
money necessary ‘for the building of a ship of which he[105] has the
oversight in the county of Kent of 600 tons, like unto a ship called
the _Columbe_ of France.’ Nothing is now known of the _Columbe_, which
Henry had perhaps seen when at Rouen, and which had evidently impressed
him. Payments on account of the _Regent_ to the amount of £951, 7s 10d
can still be traced, but this sum doubtless does not represent the
whole cost. While the _Regent_ was on the stocks the _Grace Dieu_ was
delivered to Sir Reginald Bray to be broken up and the material employed
in building a new vessel, the _Sovereign_.[106] In neither instance had
Rogers, the official head of the administration, anything to do with the
construction of these ships. Both Guldeford and Bray were men of rank
and credit near the king’s person, and the work may have been assigned
to them as a mark of confidence and as a cheap way of conferring some
pecuniary advantages on them.

The chronicler Stow says, under the year 1503, ‘the same King Henry made
a ship named the _Great Harry_, which ship with the furniture cost him
much.’ Naval historians have successively accepted this statement, but
all that can be said is that there is no trace of such a ship in the
State Papers. Stow’s naval details are frequently more than doubtful.
Under 1512 he writes of ‘the _Regent_ or _Sovereign_’ of England; the
_Regent_ was never called the _Sovereign_ which has an individual
existence down to 1525, but he may have meant the sovereign, or greatest

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—The Clerk of the Ships.]

When Rogers died in 1488, he was a man of substance and a landed
proprietor in Hertfordshire. He was succeeded by William Comersall or
Cumbresale, of whom we know nothing except that he had held executive
rank at sea during the reign of Edward IV, as master of the _Trinity_.
He appears to have been content with a position of minor importance,
and during his term of office payments in connection with the _Regent_
and the _Sovereign_ were frequently made through other persons. From
19th May 1495, Robert Brygandine was appointed, and while held by this
man, practically, although not nominally the last of the mediæval clerks
or keepers, the post regained some of its former dignity. Brygandine
was a ‘yeoman of the crown,’ that is to say in the personal service
of the sovereign, and, on one occasion, mentions that he had received
certain orders from the king _vivâ voce_. In 1490 he had been granted an
annuity of £10 a year, besides other favours, and altogether seems to
have belonged to a higher class socially than his predecessors, and was
therefore better able to maintain the independence of his office.

[Sidenote: General Policy—The Bounty.]

Although Henry VII, during a reign of twenty-four years, added only five
or six vessels to the navy, it cannot be said that he was indifferent
to the maritime strength of the country, or to that of the navy proper.
The political conditions did not require fleets at sea as they had done
in the fourteenth, and again did in the succeeding century. The objects
sought by Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Louis XII did not necessitate
strength at sea, at anyrate in the Channel, and when Henry VII did act
abroad English ships were only engaged in the unopposed transport of
troops. The existence, however, of a Royal Navy did not prevent Perkin
Warbeck’s attempted landing in Kent, nor impede his sailing about the
narrow seas, subsequently, unmolested and apparently at his own pleasure.
Nevertheless Henry recognised that, as fleets were then constituted,
the naval strength of the crown was, in the end, dependent on that of
the country generally, and acted upon that view in a way that was new
in English history. He commenced giving the bounty on the construction
of large ships which remained customary for a century and a half, and
which did much to encourage the production of vessels fit for war
service. Perhaps some similar reward may have been given by earlier kings
although the instance of Taverner’s _Grace Dieu_, previously noticed, is
the only one which supports that view. If such rewards had been given
they could have been only occasional but Henry made the encouragement
much more frequent and a part of his policy. On the other hand the plan
may have been copied from the usage of a foreign power, and if so that
power was Spain. We know the reverential admiration Henry felt for the
Spanish monarchs and their methods; in 1494, 1495, and 1498 Ferdinand
and Isabella issued ordinances which promised large rewards of 60,000
to 100,000 maravedis, to the builders of ships of from 600 to 1000
tons.[107] These were probably not the first of such regulations, and
the service they did may well have been forced on Henry’s notice when an
exile. Certainly the Spanish marine at this time was in a flourishing
condition. The fleet of 1496, which carried Dona Juana to Middleburgh
consisted of 120 seagoing vessels, and in the same year a royal order
directed the preparation of two ships each of 1000 tons, two of 500, two
of 400, six of 300, four of 200, and four caravels.[108]

The first warrant for the payment of a bounty is dated in 1488,[109] and
orders £26, 13s 4d to be allowed to Nicholas Browne of Bristol on the
customs of the first voyage, made by a new ship of 140 tons built by
him. This is nearly three shillings and tenpence a ton. The next of 16th
May 1491,[110] is again in favour of three Bristol men who have built
a 400 ton ship, and, ‘we calling to our remembrance the great cost and
charge they have sustained about the same ... to encourage them and such
others,’ allow five shillings a ton on the customs. Although 400 tons was
not an unknown tonnage in the merchant marine, it was as yet exceptional,
and when the bounty, a century later, was most vigorously worked, its
tendency was to induce the construction of medium ships, somewhat over or
under 200 tons, rather than especially large ones. Sir William Fenkyll,
an alderman of London, had 100 marks conceded him in the same way as the
others, ‘for the encoragyng of othr our true subgetts the rather to apply
themself to the makyng of shippes.’[111] By a warrant of 7th January
1502, Robert and William Thorne and Hugh Elyot of Bristol, having bought
a French ship of 120 tons and as ‘with the same ship the said merchants
offre to doo unto us service at all tymes at our commaundement,’ had
£20 allowed them. The sovereign by whose directions these expressions
were used was neither ignorant of the importance, nor indifferent to the
growth, of the merchant marine although he may have seen no reason for
departing from his native prudence in matters of action.

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—Hire of English and Foreign Ships.]

Henry’s caution seems to have calculated on the possibility of his
future dependence on a foreign fleet, and he was anxious to make a good
impression among shipowners abroad. There is a curiously worded order in
1486[112] for the payment of three hired Spanish vessels ‘withoute any
part deteyning or abbrigging as that they may have cause to make goode
reporte of our deling with them in these parties and as they may be
encouraged and welewilled to serve us semblably hereafter.’ As a matter
of fact the king frequently hired Spaniards while the royal ships were
unemployed, and when the services demanded certainly threw no strain
on native resources; he may have seen in such a course a minor way of
knitting more closely the mercantile and other ties which were connecting
Spain and England. These Spanish ships were hired at two shillings a
ton per month, a rate which was double that obtained by English owners.
Sometimes Henry tried to buy a Spanish vessel, but with little success,
for Ferdinand and Isabella were making stringent regulations against the
sale abroad of vessels owned by their subjects.

One reason explaining Henry’s propensity for foreign ships may perhaps
be found in a hint we have of difficulties about the rate of hire of
English ones. In 1487 special sums were granted to some English owners,
‘to the entent that noe president shall be taken by us for the waging of
the same aftre the portage of every tonne.’[113] According to this they
desired to be paid a fixed sum and not hired by the ton, perhaps because
the crown estimate of a ship’s tonnage may have differed considerably
from the owner’s. If this were so it is the only suggestion we have of
dissatisfaction with the normal way of payment, and it was a contention
in which the crown soon and finally gained the victory.

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—Portsmouth Dock.]

If Henry VII built few ships he laid the foundation of a permanent
establishment for building and repairs in a way hitherto unknown. We
have seen that Henry V had storehouses at London and Southampton, and a
workshop in the last named town, and that a dock in the fifteenth century
meant only a temporary arrangement by which a ship was laid ashore at
a suitable place. Such primitive appliances were the completest yet
attained. Henry proceeded much further, and in June 1495, Brygandine was
ordered to superintend the construction of a dry dock at Portsmouth, the
first known to have been built in England. If one existed previously no
reference to it has survived, and we may suppose that the new departure
was the result of foreign superiority in such matters rather than of
native enterprise. No foreigner however was employed in the work, and
Brygandine, so far as we know, had had no training as an engineer. The
undertaking was completed without accident and without any delay caused
by unforeseen difficulties. The total cost was £193, 0s 6¾d; it was
built of wood except the dockhead, which was ‘fortifyed’ with stone and
gravel, of which 664 tons were used, and although it is not so stated,
it may be assumed that the timber walls were backed with stone. During
1495-7 forty-six weeks were spent in the work, operations being suspended
between November 1495 and February 1496, and between April of the latter
year and July 1497. When the _Sovereign_ came out of this dock twenty
men were at work for twenty-nine days ‘at every tide both day and night
weying up of the piles and shorys and digging of ye clay and other
rubbish between the gates.’ From this it may be conjectured that the
gates did not meet in closing, but that the structure was of this form
[Illustration] an arrangement doubtless due to fear of the pressure of
the water outside when the one ‘ingyn’ employed for the purpose had
succeeded in emptying the dock. The expression ‘as well for ye inner as
ye uttermost gate,’ also bears out this view. The dock itself occupied
twenty-four weeks, the gates and dockhead twenty-two weeks, the number
of men paid each week varying between twenty-eight and sixty. Carpenters
received from fourpence to sixpence a day, sawyers fourpence and
labourers threepence. Four tons of iron at £3 14s and £4 a ton were used,
besides large quantities of nails, spikes and other iron work.[114]

From 1485 a storehouse was hired at Greenwich for the use of the ships
lying in the river, at a yearly rental of £5, but down to 1550-60
Portsmouth, in virtue of its dock and the subsidiary establishments
which grew up round it, remained the predominant naval port. Few of the
townspeople, however, seem to have been able to supply any necessaries,
stores having to be sent from London or bought at Southampton; wood was
the only thing obtained plentifully in the neighbourhood. When Deptford,
Woolwich, and Chatham were founded its one advantage of lying in the
Channel did not serve it against the greater facilities they offered in
other respects.

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—Character of Shipping.]

The ships of Henry VII are found to resemble in equipment and fittings
those of his successors rather than the mediæval type, but that may be
because we have no inventories of the time of Edward IV and the later
years of Henry VI. Improvement must have been continuous although there
is no trace of the successive steps. The _Regent_ and the _Sovereign_
were respectively four- and three-masters, with fore and main topmasts;
although the topmasts were separate spars it is probable that they were
fixed and that a method of striking them had not yet been introduced.
These two ships must have differed much less in appearance from a sailing
ship of 1785 than from one of 1385 or even of 1425. They were fitted
with a forecastle, poop, and poop royal, with a bowsprit and spritsail,
and the fixed and running gear were, generally, much the same as now.
As a detailed inventory of the _Henry Grace à Dieu_ of not many years
later, and varying but little in type, is given in this volume it is not
necessary to describe them in detail.[115]

The introduction of portholes is usually attributed to Decharges, a
French inventor of Brest and the date given is 1501. They were certainly
known long before[116] but their adaptation to the purpose of broadside
fire was doubtless one of the improvements of the sixteenth century.
Still the date of their general acceptation must be before 1501 and
earlier than is generally supposed, since the _Regent_ and _Sovereign_
have their poops and forecastles pierced for broadsides, and there is no
suggestion that there was anything novel in such a plan. It need hardly
be pointed out that the presence of a large number of guns along the
sides brought about a complete alteration in shipbuilding. Not only had
vessels to be more strongly built to meet the greater weight and strain,
but the ‘tumble home’ tendency of the topsides was increased to bring the
ordnance nearer the keel line.

The _Mary Fortune_ and the _Sweepstake_ were much smaller vessels but
were also three-masters, with a main topmast and sixty and eighty
oars respectively for use on board. Vessels of this type, which were
frequently called galleys by those who used them, have been erroneously
supposed by later writers to denote the real galley, to which they bore
not the least resemblance, or to represent a modified type peculiar to
the English service. They were ordinary ships differing in no respect
but size from their larger sisters, but small enough to permit the use
of sweeps when necessary. The serpentine weighing, without any carriage,
about 250 lbs. was the usual ship gun, and the _Regent_ carried 151 of
these in iron and 29 in brass in 1501.[117] Of course bows and arrows
and all the older armament were still carried. The ships’ sides were
lined with pavesses or wooden shields painted in various colours and
glittering with coats of arms and devices. For painting the _Regent_
and _Mary Fortune_, and doubtless other ships, vermillion, fine gold,
russet, bice,[118] red lead, white lead, brown, Spanish white, verdigris,
and aneral[119] were employed.[120] The favourite Tudor colours, white
and green, with the cross of St George, flew out in the standards and
streamers which were of ‘linen cloth’ or of say.[121]

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—Officers and Men.]

The pay of the men was one shilling a week as shipkeeper in harbour,
and one shilling and threepence when on active service. Victualling at
first cost one shilling and a halfpenny a week, but subsequently rose
to one shilling and twopence, and shipwrights, sawyers, labourers, and
all others employed about the ships received food as well as pay. The
jackets noticed under Edward IV, which perhaps signified some sort of
uniform, were still provided. One hundred, at one shilling and fourpence
apiece, were bought for the same number of men sent from Cornwall to
Berwick to join the fleet acting in conjunction with Surrey’s army
against Scotland in 1497.[122] The sea captain was still non-existent,
that rank being confined to the leadership of the soldiers on board; the
master, the highest executive naval officer, received three shillings and
fourpence a week, the purser and boatswain one shilling and eightpence,
quartermasters one shilling and sixpence, the steward and cook one
shilling and threepence.[123] These were harbour rates; at sea the pay
appears to have been much higher. When the _Sovereign_ was brought from
the Thames to Portsmouth, a voyage which occupied thirty-one days, the
master obtained £2 10s, the purser 14s 8d, the quartermasters 10s each,
the boatswain 16s 8d, the steward 8s, and the cook 10s.[124]

Of the condition, habits, and manner of thought among the men we know
nothing. Ferdinand’s ambassador, De Puebla wrote to him that, ‘the
English sailors are generally savages,’ but he was not the last envoy
whose delicate diplomatic sense they have outraged by plain speaking.
This sensitive gentleman lodged, however, in a house of ill-fame in
London from motives of economy.

[Sidenote: Henry VII:—Commercial Policy.]

In commercial matters Henry followed those methods dictated by the
political economy of his age, which seemed likely to increase the trade
and shipping of the country. A navigation act of the first year of his
reign, and this time meant seriously, forbade the importation of foreign
wines in any but English, Irish, or Welsh owned ships. Three years later
it was enacted[125]

    ‘That where great minishing and decay hath been of late time of
    the navy of this realme of England and idleness of the mariners
    within the same, by the which this noble realm within short
    space of time, without reformation be had therein shall not be
    of ability, nor of strength and power to defend itself.’

No wines or Toulouse woad were to be imported except in ships owned by
English subjects and, ‘most part’ manned by native crews. The punishment
for disobedience was the forfeiture of one half the cargo to the king,
and one half to the informer; under the same penalty exportation of goods
in foreign vessels was forbidden if English ships could be obtained.
Yet notwithstanding the desponding tone of this preamble, trade was
now travelling far afield. The consul at Florence of 1484 had now an
associate at Pisa, and a treaty of commerce in 1490 with Denmark shows
that we possessed establishments there and in Norway and Sweden, and that
the trade was carried on in English bottoms. The king frequently let out
his men-of-war on hire for distant voyages, and if merchants found it
profitable to take a ship of the size of the _Sovereign_ for a voyage
to the Levant the Mediterranean trade must have been already of some

Edward IV, by a commercial treaty of 1467 with Burgundy, granted free
fishing round the English coasts to the subjects of that power. This
was confirmed by the treaties of 1496 and 1499 but withdrawn by that
of 1506, called therefore by the Flemish the _Intercursus Malus_. It
is possible that Henry recognised the value of the fishing industry as
a nursery of seamen, but more probable that he was impelled by purely
political motives.

[Sidenote: The New Discoveries.]

The discovery of America and the passage round the Cape of Good Hope
must have impressed the king intellectually even though his imagination
was untouched by the wonders daily opened to the old world, but there is
little evidence that he wished England to join directly in the search
for new sources of wealth. The half-hearted assistance given to the
Cabots, and the licences without assistance granted to Elliot, Ashurst,
and others of Bristol, were not aids of a nature to win success in new
and doubtful undertakings. This course of action is usually ascribed to
Henry’s parsimony, but it may well be that he feared to be brought into
political antagonism with Spain and Portugal, and that he was dubious
of the ability of his subjects to keep up profitable communication
between countries separated by vast distances of sea. England possessed
comparatively little floating capital, and capital is as essential to
colonisation as to smaller businesses. We know that intercourse with the
West completely changed the character of the Spanish marine in causing
it to be replaced by ships of a larger and more commodious type, a
change which alone postulates the waste and subsequent investment of a
relatively enormous sum. But Spain, even before the voyage of Columbus,
was a much wealthier country than England, and it seems that if any
profitable discoveries had been due at this time to English explorers
they would soon have been found to have been made for the benefit of
stronger and wealthier powers. Moreover the political risk was not an
imaginary one and might have induced the condition of things existing
under Elizabeth when the country was much less able to hold its own.
There is an illustration of this in the orders given by the Spanish
monarchs in 1501 to Alonso de Hojeda to impede the progress of English
discoveries on the transatlantic coast.[126]

That Henry had not forgotten the traditions of the past and realised the
value of a national marine is shown by his maintenance of the navy, by
the formation of a royal dockyard, by his navigation acts, and, above
all, by the inauguration of the bounty system on ocean-going ships. In
this, as in other things, he moved slowly, but the progress in the end
was none the less complete because in the beginning it had not been
unduly stimulated by encouragements not warranted by either the needs
or capabilities of the country. The crown, instead of being controlled
by nobles indifferent to, or despising commerce, was now influenced by
the commercial classes and found its profit in aiding their development.
These classes were now replacing the capital destroyed in the wars of
the fifteenth century, eager for fresh markets, and with no maritime
adversary to fear. For the moment English mercantile effort took a
direction that did not bring it into conflict with larger interests, but
when the natural expansion of trade and shipping brought the country
into collision with other powers the struggles of centuries, which had
shaped and hardened a skilful and dauntless maritime population, bore
their natural fruit in a school of seamen able to use and direct the
instruments which the increasing wealth and ambition of the nation placed
in their hands.



[Sidenote: The New Policy and its Causes.]

Henry VII had been chiefly occupied in securing the permanence of his
dynasty, and although sometimes drawn into action abroad, had avoided any
serious entanglement in continental politics. His son’s policy was the
reverse of this, and his reign presents a series of unsuccessful attempts
to make England the centre round which European politics were to revolve.
These views necessitated the maintenance and employment of an armed
force, and although the army was still considered the effective weapon of
offence the growing opinion that the navy was essentially the national
arm ensured a proper solicitude being bestowed upon it, although its real
predominance was not yet recognised; ‘when we would enlarge ourselves let
it be that way we can and to which it seems the eternal Providence hath
destined us,’ was, we are told, the argument of those who were opposed
to an invasion of France by land.[127] The use of such reasoning as this
shows that the epoch of maritime expansion was not far distant.

But besides deduction from past experience there were other causes
working to induce a natural and, it may be said, almost automatic
increase in the navy of the crown. In the past centuries ‘our ancient
adversary’ of France had been the only enemy really within touch, and no
systematic attack by sea from France had been practicable for more than a
hundred years. But the consolidation of that kingdom, and the accession
of Francis I, a monarch by no means indifferent to the supremacy of
the sea, one of whose first acts was to order the construction and
fortification of the Port of Havre in 1516-17, and who built ships and
brought round fleets from the Mediterranean to contest the command of
the channel, necessarily compelled a corresponding activity on the
English side. Another circumstance enforcing increased naval strength
was the union of Brittany with the French crown. This event was regarded
by contemporary Englishmen somewhat in the light that we should now
look upon the domination of the coastlines of Holland and Belgium by
Germany and France. The marriage of Anne of Brittany to Charles VIII,
in December 1491, gave France its most valuable arsenals and ports, and
the command of a race of fine seamen. Henry VII, perhaps recognising
that the subjection of the province could only at most be deferred and
not prevented, made but perfunctory efforts, either by war or diplomacy,
to hinder it. Hitherto, except for the customary practice of piracy,
the Breton ports had been neutral or friendly, and the Breton seamen
indifferent to the dynastic or national quarrels of the two great powers.
In the future the ports were to be the chief source of danger to English
maritime supremacy, and the men the mainstay of the navy which carried on
a prolonged and doubtful contest with England for more than a century.

With Spain, notwithstanding isolated ship and fleet actions occasionally
occurring, warfare had never been serious or continuous, nor had the
political interests of the two countries been of such a nature as
to bring them into conflict. The union, however, under the sway of
Charles V, of the Empire, of Spain, and of the Netherlands, altered,
in view of the new attitude assumed by Henry VIII, the pre-existing
situation, and here again, besides the Imperial troops, Spanish fleets
had to be reckoned with. Although those fleets were never in reality so
powerful as they appeared to contemporary observers, the necessities of
Trans-Atlantic voyages and the practice of ocean navigation had given
experience to officers and men and improved the build of the ships,
so far at anyrate as size and apparent power were concerned.[128]
Accommodation had to be supplied for larger crews and for numerous
passengers, but the science of shipbuilding was not sufficiently advanced
to meet these requirements except by methods which gave bigness at the
expense of seaworthiness. But whatever the actual combatant value of the
Spanish navy, or its power of mobilisation at any required moment and
place, it was a factor to be considered in the counsels of the Emperor’s
possible enemies and was another reason for the strengthening of the
English navy. That that navy occupied a strategically advantageous
position on the line of communication between the peninsular and northern
possessions of the Empire was a fact not likely to be forgotten by the
advisers of either Henry or Charles.

In the north a comparatively long peace with Scotland, and the
distractions caused by the Wars of the Roses, had enabled that power to
extend its commerce and obtain a prosperity reflected in the existence
of a navy, for the first and only time strong enough to attract the
attention of foreign observers. In 1512 James IV had three agents in
France especially retained to arrange a supply of naval stores and
ships,[129] and Lord Darcy informed Henry that the king of Scotland, who
spent much of his time on board the ships, possessed some sixteen or
twenty men-of-war. The _Great Michael_ recently built, and perhaps the
actual instigation of the _Henry Grace à Dieu_, was one of the wonders
of the country and reputed to be the largest and strongest vessel yet
launched in northern latitudes. That ‘Jack Tarrett, a Frenchman,’ was her
shipwright pointed to the ever present danger of the old alliance between
France and Scotland, a danger much intensified if Scotland was to take a
place as a naval power.

Without, therefore, attributing to Henry VIII an exceptional
foresight, the conditions were such as to compel an increase in the
navy commensurate with the larger aims of the royal policy and the
wider duties the execution of such a policy involved. The navy was not
relatively larger than it had been under some of the preceding kings,
notably Henry V, the main distinction being that under Henry VIII it was
slowly tending towards its future position as a principal instrument
of offence instead of acting as a mere auxiliary. This, again, was as
much, or more, due to the changed circumstances of land warfare as to
any definite intention. The English army was still a militia; the troops
of France and the Empire were now standing armies, highly trained and
veterans in war. For most of the western countries the age of feudal
levies was over, but England had not yet clearly acknowledged the new
era. The troops sent under the Marquis of Dorset in 1512 to invade
Guienne, in conjunction with Ferdinand’s Spaniards, returned home _en
masse_ in defiance of their commander’s and of Henry’s orders and
threats. ‘The world was breathless with astonishment at such a flagrant
act of insubordination.’[130] An English army was not yet composed
of ragged losels pressed from the gutter, but the ancient feudal tie
which knit together knight and retainer was almost destroyed. Armies of
this type could not possibly match themselves against the professional
continental soldiers. But the country could not have afforded nor would
it have permitted a permanent military force, therefore either its claims
to exercise a powerful mediatory position were to be forsaken or that
peculiar genius for the sea, which had hitherto been of secondary use
but which had always been implicitly recognised as the especial heritage
of the race, was to replace the mere ability to fight it shared with
many other nations. But for the singular skill of the English archer
the change would have come long before; improvements in artillery and
musketry at last compelled it. The effects were not plainly seen till the
reign of Elizabeth, but the militant history of Henry VIII is a series
of steps—whether due to a sagacious recognition of the altered situation
or to a mechanical compliance with it—towards an increase in the power
and use of the Navy, and improvements in its administration, although, as
the traditions of centuries are not lightly set aside, armies were still
levied to fulfil their ancient _rôle_ in France.

There was also another and personal element which doubtless had its
influence. Henry was, if not a born sailor, at least something more than
a yachtsman. He was continually inquiring about the merits of new ships,
and requiring reports on their sailing qualities in a way that implied
some technical knowledge, and showed a real interest beyond the political
one in sea affairs. He is said to have been himself the designer of a new
model. Sometimes he acted as an amateur master or pilot and dressed the
character, of course in cloth of gold. On one occasion when present at
the launch of a vessel he wore vest and breeches of cloth of gold, and
scarlet hose, with a gold chain and whistle.[131] This was a factor which
helped the progress of events, but which could have had little influence
had the royal inclination been contrary to the tendency of the time.

[Sidenote: Royal Navy List.]

The following list of the men-of-war of the reign, has for convenience
been thrown into a tabular form, which, however, gives it a fuller and
more final appearance than it is intended to claim. The records are not
sufficiently complete or detailed to enable the inquirer to be certain in
all cases of the exact year of building, rebuilding or purchase, and a
further element of uncertainty is introduced by the changes of name which
occurred, and continuity of name in what may be supposed to be new ships,
but of whose building there is no distinct evidence. The dates printed in
heavier type may be taken as exact; the others can only be regarded as
likely to be correct, and the tonnage varies at different times in nearly
every ship. From the preceding reign came the _Regent_, _Sovereign_,
_Mary and John_, (or _Carvel of Ewe_), _Sweepstake_ and _Mary Fortune_.

  |                           |Built |Bought|Rebuilt|Prize |Tonnage|
  |                           +------+------+-------+------+-------+
  |_Sovereign_[132]           |      |      |=1509= |      |  600  |
  |_Peter Pomegranate_[133]   |=1509=|      | 1536  |      |  450  |
  |_Mary Rose_[134]           |=1509=|      | 1536  |      |  500  |
  |_Gabriel Royal_[135]       |      | 1509 |       |      |  700  |
  |_Mary James_[136]          |      | 1509 | 1524  |      |  300  |
  |_Mary George_[137]         |      | 1510 |       |      |  300  |
  |_Lion_[138]                |      |      |       |=1511=|  120  |
  |_Jennet Pyrwin_[139]       |      |      |       |=1511=|   70  |
  |_John Baptist_[140]        |      |=1512=|       |      |  400  |
  |_Great Nicholas_[141]      |      |=1512=|       |      |  400  |
  |_Anne Gallant_[142]        |      | 1512 |       |      |  140  |
  |_Dragon_[143]              | 1512 |      |       |      |  100  |
  |_Christ_[144]              |      | 1512 |       |      |  300  |
  |_Lizard_[145]              |=1512=|      |       |      |  120  |
  |_Swallow_                  |=1512=|      | 1524  |      |   80  |
  |_Kateryn Fortileza_[146]   |      |=1512=|       |      |  700  |
  |_Great Bark_[147]          | 1512 |      |       |      |  400  |
  |_Less Bark_[148]           | 1512 |      |       |      |  160  |
  |_Kateryn Galley_[149]      |=1512=|      |       |      |   80  |
  |_Rose Galley_[150]         |=1512=|      |       |      |       |
  |_Henry Galley_[151]        |=1512=|      |       |      |       |
  |_Lesser Barbara_[152]      |      | 1512 |       |      |  160  |
  |_Great Barbara_[153]       |      | 1513 |       |      |  400  |
  |_Black Bark_[154]          |      | 1513 |       |      |       |
  |_Henry of Hampton_[155]    |      | 1513 |       |      |  120  |
  |_Great Elizabeth_[156]     |      |=1514=|       |      |  900  |
  |_Henry Grace à Dieu_[157]  |=1514=|      | 1540  |      | 1000  |
  |_Mary Imperial_[158]       | 1515 |      | 1523  |      |  120  |
  |_Mary Gloria_[159]         |      |=1517=|       |      |  300  |
  |_Kateryn Plesaunce_[160]   |=1518=|      |       |      |  100  |
  |_Trinity Henry_[161]       |=1519=|      |       |      |   80  |
  |_Mary and John_[162]       |      | 1521 |       |      |       |
  |_Mawdelyn of Deptford_[163]| 1522 |      |       |      |  120  |
  |_Great Zabra_[164]         | 1522 |      |       |      |   50  |
  |_Lesser Zabra_[165]        | 1522 |      |       |      |   40  |
  |_Fortune or Hulk_[166]     | 1522 |      |       |      |  160  |
  |_Bark of Morlaix_[167]     |      |      |       | 1522 |   60  |
  |_Mary Grace_[168]          |      |      |       | 1522 |       |
  |_Bark of Boulogne_[169]    |      |      |       | 1522 |   80  |
  |_Primrose_[170]            |=1523=|      | 1536  |      |  160  |
  |_Minion_[171]              |=1523=|      |       |      |  180  |
  |_New Bark_[172]            |=1523=|      |       |      |  200  |
  |_Sweepstake_[173]          | 1523 |      |       |      |   65  |
  |_John of Greenwich_[174]   |      |      |       | 1523 |   50  |
  |_Mary Guildford_[175]      | 1524 |      |       |      |  160  |
  |_Lion_[176]                | 1536 |      |       |      |  160  |
  |_Mary Willoby_[177]        | 1536 |      |       |      |  160  |
  |_Jennet_[178]              | 1539 |      |       |      |  200  |
  |_Mathew_[179]              |      | 1539 |       |      |  600  |
  |_Sweepstake_[180]          | 1539 |      |       |      |  300  |
  |_Less Galley_              |      | 1539 |       |      |  400  |
  |_Great Galley_[181]        |      | 1539 |       |      |  500  |
  |_Salamander_               |      |      |       |=1544=|  300  |
  |_Unicorn_[182]             |      |      |       |=1544=|  240  |
  |_Pauncye_[183]             | 1544 |      |       |      |  450  |
  |_Mary Hambro_[184]         |      | 1544 |       |      |  400  |
  |_Jesus of Lubeck_[185]     |      | 1544 |       |      |  600  |
  |_Struse of Dawske_[186]    |      | 1544 |       |      |  400  |
  |_L’Artique_[187]           |      | 1544 |       |      |  100  |
  |_Swallow_[188]             | 1544 |      |       |      |  240  |
  |_Dragon_[189]              | 1544 |      |       |      |  140  |
  |_Fawcon_[190]              | 1544 |      |       |      |  100  |
  |_Galley Subtylle_[191]     |=1544=|      |       |      |  300  |
  |_Marlion_[192]             |      |      |       | 1545 |   70  |
  |_Mary Thomas_[193]         |      |      |       | 1545 |  100  |
  |_Mary James_[194]          |      |      |       | 1545 |  120  |
  |_Mary Odierne_[195]        |      |      |       | 1545 |   70  |
  |_Hind_[196]                | 1545 |      |       |      |   80  |
  |_Grand Mistress_[197]      | 1545 |      |       |      |  450  |
  |_Anne Gallant_[198]        | 1545 |      |       |      |  400  |
  |_Greyhound_[199]           | 1545 |      |       |      |  200  |
  |_Saker_[200]               | 1545 |      |       |      |   60  |
  |_Brigandine_[201]          | 1545 |      |       |      |   40  |
  |_Less Pinnace_[202]        | 1545 |      |       |      |   60  |
  |_Hare_[203]                | 1545 |      |       |      |   30  |
  |_Roo_[204]                 | 1545 |      |       |      |   80  |
  |_Morian_[205]              |      | 1545 |       |      |  400  |
  |_Galley Blancherd_[206]    |      |      |       |=1546=|       |
  |_Christopher_[207]         |      | 1546 |       |      |  400  |
  |_George_[208]              |      | 1546 |       |      |   60  |
  |_Phœnix_                   |      | 1546 |       |      |   40  |
  |_Antelope_[209]            | 1546 |      |       |      |  300  |
  |_Tiger_                    | 1546 |      |       |      |  200  |
  |_Bull_                     | 1546 |      |       |      |  200  |
  |_Hart_                     | 1546 |      |       |      |  300  |
  |_13 Rowbarges_[210]        | 1546 |      |       |      |   20  |

We are accustomed to the general statement that Henry VIII enlarged the
navy, but the foregoing list shows a much more extensive increase than
is implied by a general expression and, if so far as number is concerned
it errs at all, it errs on the side of omission. A little indulgence in
admitting names could have extended it considerably. No foreign purchased
merchantman has been inserted without the authority of a definite
statement, or unless it appears in lists later than the reign under
consideration; but there are foreign ships omitted as only temporarily
hired which may really have belonged to the crown. Other vessels which
occur in almost indistinguishable fashion among men-of-war have been
left out in view of the custom which frequently obtained of describing
hired ships as king’s ships while they were in the royal service, and
in some cases it has been found impossible to satisfactorily trace
particular vessels. For instance, during the first half of the reign a
‘great galley’ of 600 or 800 tons, flits in a most puzzling way through
some, but not the most reliable, of the papers. I take it to have been an
indefinite designation applied at various times to various ships,[211]
but that opinion may be altogether wrong and it may be the actual name
of a large vessel which has left no other indication of its existence.
Again, the Earl of Southampton, for four years Admiral of England,
bequeathed Henry his ‘great ship’ by his will dated September 1542. The
Earl died in 1543, but which is the ship in question, or whether it
appears at all in the foregoing list, cannot be determined.

[Sidenote: Activity in Construction and Purchase of Ships.]

Exclusive of the thirteen rowbarges, there are eighty-five vessels,
and of these forty-six were built, twenty-six purchased, and thirteen
were prizes. The periods of greatest activity synchronise with war with
France 1512-14, war with France and Scotland 1522-5, with the possibility
in 1539 of a general alliance on religious grounds against England,
and with war against France and Scotland in 1544-6. But allowing for
uncertainty of dates, possibility of omissions, and our almost entire
ignorance of the repairs and rebuildings which must have been progressing
uninterruptedly, there is no cessation of vigorous action throughout the
reign. The existing dockyards could have hardly been equal to the demands
on them for repairs alone, and this is doubtless one reason for the large
number of ships purchased, a course which was also probably cheaper for
the moment. All Henry’s foreign purchases seem to have been Italian or
Hanseatic. During 1511-14 he hired several Spaniards and tried to buy
some, but his desires were vain in face of the strict Spanish navigation
laws. In 1513 the Spanish envoy, de Quiros, was instructed to inform the
king that the sale of Spanish ships abroad was forbidden under heavy
penalties, and that his government could not permit them to be sold even
to Henry.[212] In fact we find from another source that the sale of ships
was forbidden to foreigners even though they were naturalised Spanish
subjects, and as, from October 1502, a bounty of 100 maravedis a ton was
given up to 1500 tons it is hardly surprising that their sale to aliens
was sternly interdicted.[213] In 1513 Knight wrote to Henry that the
whole of a Spaniard’s goods had been confiscated for selling a carrack to
him. Under these circumstances the king had to buy in the North German
ports, and, judging from the small number of years most of them remained
in the effective, many must have been built for the purpose of sale to

[Sidenote: Royal Ships:—Build and Rigging.]

The vessel which has the chief place in popular memory is the _Henry
Grace à Dieu_, but she probably differed little in size, form, or
equipment, from others nearly as large. Her total cost, with the three
small barques built with her, was £8708 5s 3d, but out of the 3739 tons
of timber used 1987 cost nothing being presented by several peers,
private persons, and religious bodies. According to the accounts she
was constructed under the supervision of William Bond, but if a nearly
contemporary letter may be trusted Brygandine, the clerk of the ships
designed and built her.[214] Bond’s connection with her may have been
merely financial and confined to payments of money. Fifty-six tons of
iron, 565 stones of oakum and 1711 lbs of flax were other items. She
was a four-master and possibly a two-decker with fore, main and mizen
top-gallant sails, but with only two sails on the other masts, and
with two tops on each of the three principal masts.[215] All ships but
the very smallest had four masts, the two after ones being called,
respectively, the main and bonaventure mizens. There was nothing
exceptional in the _Henry’s_ fittings, top-gallant sails being known to
have been used in the previous reign, and, as at that time, the topmasts
were not arranged for lowering. An equivalent to the ease given a
labouring ship by striking the topmasts was obtained by lowering the fore
and main yards to the level of the bulwarks. As most of the guns were
carried in the poop and forecastle ships must have been ‘built loftie’
on the Spanish model and presented a squat and ungainly appearance.
Vessels were now mostly carvel built, and those clench, or clinker,
built, were regarded as too weak to stand the shock of collision when
boarding was intended. Speaking of some foreign ships brought into
Portsmouth, Suffolk wrote that some of them were ‘clenchers, both feeble,
olde, and out of fashion,’ and therefore not to be taken up for service
with the fleet.[216]

Spritsails were now coming into more common use and, with the spanker on
the bonaventure mizen or fourth mast and sometimes with another on the
main mizen, served the purpose of the later fore-and-aft sails. Vessels
were now, although still slowly and clumsily, able to work more closely
to windward. There is one entry which runs ‘eight small masts at 6s 8d
the pece ymploied in the _Great Bark_ and other the Kynges shipps for
steddying saills.’[217] It can only be said that there is no mention in
the inventories, or any sign in the drawings of ships of this century, of
what are now called studding sails.

[Sidenote: Royal Ships:—Armament.]

An ordinary vessel appears to have been armed along the waist, in her
forecastle of two or three tiers, and in her summer castle or poop,
also divided into decks. For some of these ships we still have the

  |                           |Single Serpentines                      |
  |                           |     |Double Serpentines[219]           |
  |  _Great Elizabeth_[224]   |     |     |Slings[220]                 |
  |                           |     |     |     |Half Slings           |
  |                           |     |     |     |     |Stone Guns[221] |
  |                           |     |     |     |     |     |Murderers |
  |                           |     |     |     |     |     |  [222]   |
  |          { Upper Deck[223]|     |     |     |     |     |    2     |
  |Fo’c’stle { Middle Deck    | 16  |     |     |     |     |          |
  |          { Nether Deck    | 12  |     |     |     |  8  |          |
  |            Waist          |     |     |     |     |     |          |
  |            Stern          |     |     |     |  2  |  1  |          |
  |          { Upper Deck     | 12  |     |     |  2  |     |          |
  |     Poop { Middle Deck    | 41  |     |     |     |     |          |
  |          { Nether Deck    |  3  |     |     |  2  | 16  |    6     |

  |                       |Falcons                                      |
  |                       |     |Single Serpentines                     |
  |                       |     |     |Double Serpentines               |
  |   _Great Barbara_     |     |     |     |Slings                     |
  |                       |     |     |     |     |Half Slings          |
  |                       |     |     |     |     |     |Stone Guns     |
  |                       |     |     |     |     |     |     |Murderers|
  |          { Upper Deck |     |  7  |     |     |     |     |    2    |
  |Fo’c’stle { Middle Deck|     |     |     |     |     |     |         |
  |          { Nether Deck|     |  7  |     |     |     |     |    2    |
  |            Waist      |     |  6  |     |     |     |  2  |         |
  |            Stern      |     |     |     |     |     |     |         |
  |          { Upper Deck |  6  |     |     |     |     |     |         |
  |     Poop { Middle Deck|  2  |     |     |     |     |     |    2    |
  |          { Nether Deck|     |     |     |     |     |     |    4    |

Ships like the _Henry_, _Sovereign_, and _Mary Rose_ carried also
heavier pieces than these, the commencement of the change to fewer but
more powerful guns, which progressed rapidly during the middle of the
century. The _Mary Rose_ had 79 guns (besides six in her tops), of which
33 were serpentines, 26 stone guns, and 10 murderers, but she also
had five brass curtalls and five brass falcons.[225] The _Sovereign_,
when rebuilt in 1509, was given four whole and three half curtalls of
brass, three culverins, two falcons, and eleven heavy iron guns among
her 71 guns.[226] The curtall, or curtow, was a heavy gun of some 3000
lbs., hitherto only used as a siege piece on land, and its transference
to maritime use marks a revolution in ship armament which deserves
attention. The _Mary Rose_ and _Sovereign_ were in 1509, the two most
powerfully armed ships which had yet existed in the English navy, perhaps
the most powerfully armed ships afloat anywhere that year, and it is
curious to notice that the _Peter Pomegranate_ built with them was fitted
in the old style, with innumerable serpentines which could have been of
little more effect than toy guns, appearing almost as though the contrast
was an intentional experiment. At any rate with the heavier armaments
of the _Sovereign_ and _Mary Rose_, commences the long struggle between
the attack and defence still going on, for hitherto there had been
practically no attack so far as a ship’s sides were concerned.

The system was extended as the reign progressed, and in 1546, we find
comparatively small ships like the _Grand Mistress_ carrying two demi
cannons and five culverins, the _Swallow_ one demi cannon and two demi
culverins, out of a total of eight heavy guns; the _Anne Gallant_
four culverins, one curtall, and two demi culverins; the _Greyhound_
one culverin, one demi culverin, and two cannons petro,[227] besides
their other smaller pieces.[228] Even the _Roo_ of 80 tons has two
demi culverins and three cannons petro. To measure the full extent of
the change we must compare these vessels with the _Henry_, of three or
four times their tonnage, which in 1514, carried only one bombard, two
culverins, six falcons and one curtow, in addition to 126 serpentines and
47 other guns of various but probably light weights, seeing that most of
them were used with chambers.

To whom was this innovation due? It commenced with Henry’s accession, and
if not owing to his direct initiative, he has the merit of recognising
its value and persistently putting it into execution. But we know from
other non-naval documents that he had some knowledge of artillery and
took an active personal interest in such matters, and it may very well be
that the improvement was his own. In any case it was one in which England
took and kept the lead, and which gave the country an incalculable
advantage in the contest with Spain during the close of the century.

[Sidenote: Royal Ships:—Ordnance Stores.]

From other papers we can ascertain with sufficient completeness the
character of the weapons and stores for offensive purposes carried on
board. There is a state paper of July 1513, coincident with the invasion
of France which gives the following details[229]:—

  |                         |        |       |       |    |       |Sheaves|
  |                         |        |       |       |    | Bow-  |  of   |
  |                         |Soldiers|Sailors|Gunners|Bows|strings|Arrows |
  |                         +--------+-------+-------+----+-------+-------+
  |_Henry Grace à Dieu_[232]|  400   |  260  |   40  |2000|  5000 |  4000 |
  |_Gabriel Royal_          |  350   |  230  |   20  | 500|  1500 |  1200 |
  |_Mary Rose_              |  200   |  180  |   20  | 350|   700 |   700 |
  |_Sovereign_              |  400   |  260  |   40  | 500|  1500 |  1200 |
  |_Kateryn Fortileza_      |  300   |  210  |   40  | 350|   700 |   700 |
  |_Peter Pomegranate_      |  150   |  130  |   20  | 300|   600 |   600 |
  |_Great Nicholas_         |        |  135  |   15  | 250|   500 |   500 |
  |_Mary James_             |  150   |   85  |   15  | 200|   500 |   400 |
  |_Mary and John_          |  100   |  100  |       | 200|   500 |   400 |
  |_Great Bark_             |  150   |   88  |   12  | 200|   500 |   500 |
  |_John Baptist_           |  150   |  135  |   15  | 250|   500 |   500 |
  |_Lizard_                 |   60   |   32  |    8  |  80|   200 |   160 |
  |_Jennet_                 |   10   |   44  |    6  |  60|   150 |   120 |
  |_Swallow_                |   20   |   46  |    4  |  60|   150 |   120 |
  |_Sweepstake_             |        |   66  |    4  |  60|   150 |   120 |

  |                         |     |           |      |         |       |
  |                         |     |           |Stakes|         |Harness|
  |                         |Bills|Morrispikes|[230] |Gunpowder| [231] |
  |                         +-----+-----------+------+---------+-------+
  |_Henry Grace à Dieu_[232]| 1500|    1500   | 2000 | 5 lasts |  500  |
  |_Gabriel Royal_          |  500|     500   |  400 | 2   ”   |  300  |
  |_Mary Rose_              |  300|     300   |  200 | 3   ”   |  220  |
  |_Sovereign_              |  500|     500   |  500 | 2   ”   |  300  |
  |_Kateryn Fortileza_      |  300|     300   |  200 | 3½  ”   |  220  |
  |_Peter Pomegranate_      |  250|     250   |  200 | 8 brls  |  180  |
  |_Great Nicholas_         |  200|     200   |  160 | 6   ”   |  160  |
  |_Mary James_             |  160|     160   |  160 | 6   ”   |  130  |
  |_Mary and John_          |  160|     160   |  160 | 6   ”   |   90  |
  |_Great Bark_             |  200|     200   |  160 | 6   ”   |  130  |
  |_John Baptist_           |  200|     200   |  160 | 6   ”   |  160  |
  |_Lizard_                 |   60|      60   |   50 | 3   ”   |   50  |
  |_Jennet_                 |   50|      50   |   50 | 3   ”   |   35  |
  |_Swallow_                |   50|      50   |   40 | 3   ”   |   35  |
  |_Sweepstake_             |   50|      50   |   40 | 3   ”   |   35  |

The reader will remark the small number of gunners allowed. The
_Sovereign_ had 70 or 80 pieces and the proportion here does not allow
even one gunner to a piece on a broadside. Perhaps the soldiers manned
the guns, but it is more likely that the seamen were beginning to take a
combatant part instead of confining themselves to working the ship. Bows
and arrows still formed an important part of the equipment, but although
we have no similar list for shot the amount of powder shows the reliance
now placed on artillery and musket fire. Incidentally, among remains of
stores, we find ‘200 harquebus shot,’ 900 serpentine shot, 1350 iron
‘dyse,’ 8 darts for wildfire, to set the sails of an enemy’s ship on
fire, and two chests of wildfire with quarrels.[233] Also ‘300 small and
grete dyse of iern,’ 420 stone and 1000 leaden shot, 120 shot of iron
‘with cross bars,’ 22 ‘pecks for to hew gonstones’[234] and 74 arrows of

[Sidenote: Ships, Galleys and Galleasses.]

The well known picture of the embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover, on his
way to the interview with Francis I in 1520, represents the _Henry Grace
à Dieu_ as the chief ship in the fleet. This was inherently improbable as
the _Henry_ drew too much water to enter either Dover or Calais harbours,
but it can be proved to be incorrect from documentary evidence. The
squadron consisted of the _Great Bark_, _Less Bark_, _Kateryn Plesaunce_,
_Mary and John_, and two rowbarges.[236] The interview was originally
proposed for 1519 and a year previously on 22nd May 1518, the _Kateryn
Plesaunce_ was commenced for the express purpose of carrying the King
and Queen across the Channel.[237] She cost £323, 13s 9d, including
the victualling and lodging expenses of the men working upon her, and
required 80 tons of ballast.[238] In none of the accounts relating to
men-of-war are there any details of extrinsic decoration, if it existed,
and even in the _Kateryn_, intended for a royal pleasure trip there is
only one charge of ten shillings for painting and gilding the ‘collere.’
House carpenters were employed for ‘the makynge of cabons and embowynge
of wyndows,’ and although the chief cabin was wainscoted and lighted by
112 feet of glass, the Queen’s own cabin was cheaply furnished with a
dozen ‘joined stools’ at tenpence apiece.

The _Kateryn_ was sometimes called a bark and sometimes a galley and this
leads us to the question of the classification of the royal vessels. If
we accept without inquiry that of the list of 5th January 1548,[239] we
find ships like the _Anne Gallant_, _Unicorn_, _Salamander_, _Tiger_,
_Hart_, _Antelope_, _Lion_, _Dragon_, _Jennet_, _Bull_ and _Greyhound_,
described as galleys. But in Anthony’s list of 1546 the same vessels
are called galleasses; obviously therefore the two words did not define
particular types as rigidly as they do among naval archæologists to-day,
or even as they did towards the end of the sixteenth century. The
_Kateryn_ galley of 1512 was a three masted vessel with bowsprit and
fore and main topmasts, as was also the _Rose_ another ‘galley’ of the
early years of the reign.[240] Both were supplied with oars—thirty—as
was usual with small vessels long after this date when the name galley
had fallen into disuse. Another, the _Sweepstake_ (of Henry VII), had a
mizen mast,[241] and a sprit mast on the bowsprit,[242] so that it may
be assumed that she also was a three-master although elsewhere she is
described as ‘the king’s rowbarge called the _Sweepstake_.’[243]

In 1546 the _Hart_, _Antelope_, _Tiger_, and _Bull_ are four-masted
flush-decked ships, apparently pierced on a lower gun deck for nine
pieces a side; the _Anne Gallant_ and _Grand Mistress_ four-masters,
of 450 tons, with forecastle and poop, carrying guns on the upper and
on a lower deck; the _Greyhound_, _Lion_, _Jennett_, and _Dragon_, are
similar well-decked vessels with the addition of great stern and quarter
galleries extending nearly the whole length of the poop and nearly
one-third of the length of the vessel. The contradictions we have to
face can be best exemplified by one example, the _Greyhound_, which in
the 1548 list is called a galley, in a 1546 list said to be a copy of
Anthony’s,[244] a galleass, and in that portion of Anthony’s manuscript
remaining in the Museum, a ship.[245] This last authority, a series
of original drawings, calls only the _Greyhound_, _Lion_, _Jennett_,
and _Dragon_, ‘ships’ and the only point in which they seem to differ
from the ordinary type is in the possession of the stern and quarter
galleries. If these drawings are accurate, and they so far differ from
each other as to lead us to suppose that they were intended to portray
individual ships, it is impossible that any one of them can have been
impelled by oars, although sweeps may have been occasionally and
temporarily used for a particular purpose. They may have been worked from
the gun-ports, in which case the _Grand Mistress_ could only have used
eight a side. The conclusion therefore is that the term galley did not
imply an oared vessel of the Mediterranean type, such as we now associate
with the word, but was applied first to light ships small enough to
use sweeps when necessary, and later to an improved model, possibly
built on finer lines than the heavy, slow moving hulks of the beginning
of the reign, and expected to bear, to the ponderous 600 or 1000 ton
battle ship, the same relation in speed that the real galley bore to a
mediæval sailing vessel. A fleet formation of 1545 was of course based
on that customary in an army and we have Van, Battle or main body, and
Wing, arranged for. In that year some of the vessels just mentioned were
not yet afloat, but the _Salamander_, _Swallow_, _Unicorn_, _Jennett_,
_Dragon_, and _Lion_ were included in the Battle. The Wing, composed of
‘galliasses and ships with ores,’ comprised among others, the _Grand
Mistress_, _Anne Gallant_, and _Greyhound_. That they should have been
classed with ‘the ships with ores,’ does not show that they were of the
same order, but only that they were supposed to be sufficiently handy
under sail to act with them.

There was therefore a certain number of ships, large and small, vaguely
and uncertainly called galleys, possessing certain modifications on the
normal type, and there is some reason to believe that the innovation,
whatever may have been the particular change in form or structure, was
due to Henry himself. He sometimes appears to have had his own designs
carried out; a prize was to be altered ‘so as she now shall be made in
every point as your Grace devised.’[246] In 1541 Chapuys wrote to the

    ‘The King has likewise sent to Italy for three shipwrights
    experienced in the art of constructing galleys, but I fancy
    that he will not make much use of their science as for some
    time back he has been building ships with oars according to a
    model of which he himself was the inventor.’[247]

Chapuys must have been referring to the earlier _Rose_, _Kateryn_, and
_Swallow_ type, and possibly to others not now to be traced; but to the
presence of the Italian shipwrights was undoubtedly owing the launch of
the _Galley Subtylle_ in 1544. ‘Subtylle’ was not an especial name, but
was applied to a class more lightly built and quicker in movement than
the ordinary galley. This was the only real galley built by him since
it differed in no respect from the standard Mediterranean pattern, but
in 1546 thirteen ‘rowbarges’ of twenty tons apiece were added to the
Navy. These were rowing vessels, and unless intended for scouting or
for towing and to give general assistance, it is difficult to see their
utility as they were too small to engage with any chance of success. In
the result they were sold within a year or two of Henry’s death. The
sixteenth century galley service, such as it was, was forced on the
English government by the action of Francis I in bringing his own and
hired galleys round from the Mediterranean. It was always repugnant to
the national temperament and soon languished when the exciting cause was
removed. Although three or four galleys were carried on the navy list
until 1629 the last years in which any served at sea were 1563 and 1586.

These various attempts at evolving a new type, which should combine
the best points of the galley and the sailing vessel, show that Henry
recognised at least some of the faults of the man-of-war of his day. He
failed because the solution was not within the scientific knowledge of
his time, and perhaps also because the work of the galley benches must
have been abhorrent to the hereditary instincts and traditions of the
English sailor. But he was the first English king who gave the Navy some
of that forethought and effort at improvement that had hitherto been
devoted wholly to the army. His experiments left so little visible trace
in the one direction that in 1551 Barbaro could write to the Seigniory,
‘They do not use galleys by reason of the very great strength of the
tides,’[248] but, in another, the drawings of the last ships launched,
the four of 1546, one of which, the _Tiger_, is reproduced in the
frontispiece—comparatively low in the water, little top-hamper, neat and
workmanlike in appearance—show a very great advance on anything before
afloat, and indicate a steady progression towards the modern type.

[Sidenote: Royal Ships:—Decoration and sailing qualities.]

If we are to judge of the decoration of ships by the references to
ornament in the naval accounts, we should have to conclude that it was
entirely absent. Unquestionably it was to a certain extent present, since
its absence would have been contrary to the instincts of humanity and the
customs of every nation that has had a navy. But it could not have been
as extensive as it afterwards became, nor have taken any very expensive
form. The hulls were doubtless painted as in the previous reign, but the
bows and stern seem to have been quite devoid of carving or gilding. The
tops, which were large enough to hold heavy guns, were ornamented with
‘top-armours’ of red, yellow, green, or white kersies lined with canvas.
The _Sovereign_ had copper and gilt ornaments on the end of the bowsprit,
and gilt crowns for the mast heads had been an embellishment used for
centuries. The _Unicorn_ and _Salamander_ have representative figures on
their beakheads,[249] but as they were prizes no deduction can be drawn
as to English custom. The English built ships have no figurehead, but the
beakhead sometimes ends in a spur, implying the idea of ramming. This
spur, however, points upward and is much too high to have been of any use
for that purpose. The ships’ sides were still surrounded with pavesses,
now only light wooden shields and decorations, but which were survivals
of the real shields of knights and men-at-arms in ancient vessels, ranged
round the sides of the ship until needed for fighting. A hundred years
later the cloth weather protection round the oarsmen of a Mediterranean
galley was still called the _pavesade_. These pavesses seem to have
sometimes taken the place of bulwarks, not always present. In 1513 Sir
Edward Echyngham, captain of a ship then at sea wrote that he had fallen
in with three Frenchmen,

    ‘Then I comforted my folk and made them to harness, and because
    I had no rails upon my deck I coiled a cable round about the
    deck breast high, and likewise in the waist, and so hanged upon
    the cable mattresses, dagswayns,[250] and such bedding as I had
    within board.’[251]

The form of expression suggests that the absence of rails was unusual.

Of the rate of sailing attained by these ships and their weatherly
qualities we know hardly anything. On 22nd March 1513 Sir Edward Howard
wrote to Henry, evidently in answer to a royal command to make a report
on the subject, describing the merits of the squadron he had been trying,
apparently between the Girdler and the North Foreland.[252] The _Kateryn
Fortileza_ sails very well; the _Mary Rose_ is ‘your good ship, the
flower I trow of all ships that ever sailed;’ the _Sovereign_, ‘the
noblest ship of sail is this great ship at this hour that I trow be in
Christendom.’ Some time, but not long, before 1525 the _Sovereign_ was
in very bad condition, and her repair was urged because ‘the form of
which ship is so marvellously goodly that great pity it were she should
die.’[253] Her name however does not subsequently occur and she was
probably broken up. In 1522 Sir William Fitzwilliam related in a letter
to the king that the _Henry_ sailed as well or better than any ship in
the fleet, that she could weather them all except the _Mary Rose_, and
that she did not strain at her anchors when it was blowing hard.[254] It
seems rather late in the day for a trial of a vessel afloat in 1514, but
some alterations may have been previously made rendering it advisable.
Even when ill and near his end Henry evinced the same interest in the
seagoing qualities of his ships, since we learn from a letter of 1546
that he had required to be informed whether ‘the new shalupe was hable to
broke the sees.’

[Sidenote: Flags and Signals.]

If carving, gilding, and painting were scant on these ships they shone
bravely with flags and streamers. Those of the _Peter Pomegranate_ were
banners of St Katherine, St Edward, and St Peter, six of the arms of
England in metal;[255] of a Red Lion; four of the Rose and Pomegranate;
two of ‘the castle,’ and eight streamers of St George.[256] The _Henry
Grace à Dieu_ was furnished with two streamers for the main mast
respectively 40 and 51 yards long, one for the foremast of 36 yards, and
one for the mizen of 28 yards; there were also ten banners 3½ yards long,
eighteen more 3 yards long, wrought with gold and silver and fringed with
silk, ten flags of St George’s Cross, and seven banners of buckram, at a
total cost of £67, 2s 8d.[257] Banners mentioned in other papers were,
of England, of Cornwall, of a rose of white and green, of a Dragon, of a
Greyhound, of the Portcullis, of St George and the Dragon, of St Anne, of
‘white and green with the rose of gold crowned,’ of ‘murrey and blue with
half rose and half pomegranate, with a crown of gold,’ and of ‘blue tewke
with three crowns of gold.’[258] White and green were now the recognised
Tudor colours, and there is some indication of their use in that sense
in the reign of Henry VII; the Greyhound was the badge of that king,
the Dragon of his son. The Portcullis referred to the control of the
straits of Dover, the Pomegranate to Catherine of Aragon and Spain; the
constant recurrence of the Rose as a badge and as a ship’s name needs no
explanation. The banner with the representation of a saint upon it was a
survival of the custom existing in earlier times, by which every ship was
dedicated to a saint, under whose protection it was placed and whose name
it usually bore.

Besides ornament flags had long served the more prosaic purpose of
signalling. Even among merchantmen there seem to have been some
recognised signals, as in 1517 the _Mary of Penmark_, driven into Calais
by bad weather, hoisted ‘a flag in the top,’ for a pilot.[259] This
signal must therefore have long been common to at least two seafaring
peoples. So far as the Royal Navy was concerned, we can only say that
a flag ‘on the starboard buttock’ of the admiral’s ship called his
captains to a council.[260] But a system of day and night signalling had
long been in existence in the Spanish service, and in view of the close
connection between the two countries commercially, and the employment of
Spanish ships and seamen by the crown, it would have been extraordinary
had it not been known and used here. According to Fernandez de
Navarrete[261] a scheme of signals for day and night use was practised in
1430. In 1517 a flag half way up the main mast called the captains to the
flagship; sight of land was announced by a flag in the maintop; a strange
ship by one half way up the shrouds, and more than one strange sail by
two flags placed vertically. A ship requiring assistance fired three
guns, and sent a man to wave a flag in her top, while if the admiral’s
ship showed a flag on her poop, every captain was to send a boat for
orders. A code with guns and lights made the corresponding signals during
darkness and fog.[262]

[Sidenote: Fleet Regulations.]

The earliest set of regulations for the government of a fleet in this
reign is contained in an undated paper entitled ‘A Book of Orders for the
War by Se and Land,’ prepared by Thomas Audley by command of Henry.[263]
The articles relating to sea matters, and dealing with the management of
a fleet may be thus summarised:—

    1. No Captain shall go to windward of his Admiral. 2.
    Disobedient captains shall be put ashore. 3. No ship to ride in
    the wake of another. 4. If the enemy be met the weather-gage
    is to be obtained; only the Admiral shall engage the enemy’s
    Admiral, and every ship is, as nearly as possible to attack an
    opponent of equal strength. 5. Boarding not to be undertaken
    in the smoke, nor until the enemy’s deck had been cleared
    with small shot. 6. If a captured ship could not be held the
    principal officers were to be taken out of her, the vessel
    ‘boulged,’ and ‘the rest committed to the bottome of the sea
    for els they will turne upon you to your confusion.’ 7. When
    going into action the Admiral is to wear a flag at his fore and
    main, and the other ships at the mizen. 8. The Admiral shall
    not enter an enemy’s harbour, nor land men without calling a

From the last regulation it would appear that only limited authority
was left to the admiral, and it was perhaps due to Sir Edward Howard’s
actions of 1512 and 1513, the last of which, an attempt to cut out
galleys, was a defeat, and cost Howard his life. From the second it seems
that little disciplinary power was left in the admiral’s hands, and from
the seventh that it was not customary to fly the colours at sea. It will
be observed, from the methodical way in which the captains were directed
to go into action, that the tendency was still strong to handle a fleet
as troops and companies were handled ashore.[264]

The next fleet orders show little alteration.[265]

    1. Every ship shall retain its place in the Van, Battle, and
    Wing, and every captain take his orders from the commander of
    his own division. 2. In action the Van shall attack the French
    Van, Admiral engage Admiral, and every captain a Frenchman of
    equal size. 3. The Wing shall always be to windward so that it
    may ‘the better beate off the gallies from the great ships.’ 4.
    The watchword at night to be ‘God save King Henry,’ when the
    other shall answer ‘Long to raigne over us.’

This fleet is the first recorded to have been opened into divisions, each
section being distinguished by the position of a flag. The Lord Admiral
flew the royal arms in the main top and the St George’s cross at the
fore, while the other ships of the ‘battaill’ carried the St George at
the main. The admiral commanding the Van wore the St George’s cross at
the fore and main, and the rest of his command the same flag at the fore.
The officer commanding the Wing flew the St George in both mizen tops and
those under him in one.

[Sidenote: The Lords Admirals.]

The hour of the professional seamen had not yet come for either admirals
or captains. Like most of Henry’s executive or administrative officers
they were taken from among the men he saw daily round him at court. It
would be unfair to suppose this the cause that the Navy did little during
his reign, for the very existence of a powerful fleet is often reason
enough why its services should not be needed. It was not until 1545 that
the French made any real attempt to contest the command of the sea. In
that year John Dudley, Lord Lisle, afterwards Duke of Northumberland,
commanded the English forces, and, in a position where some of Sir
Edward Howard’s bull like tactics might have been judicious, he failed
to come _aux prises_ with his adversary.[266] If we may believe his own
confessions he distrusted his powers and recognised his incapacity, but
in after years, when the aggrandisement of his family was concerned, he
showed no such hesitating modesty. On one occasion he wrote to Henry
admitting his want of experience but expressing a hope that ‘the goodness
of God’ would serve instead.[267] On another, he said, ‘I do thynck I
shuld have doon his Maiestie better service in some meaner office wherein
to be directed and not to be a director.’[268] If honestly felt this
frame of mind was hardly calculated to inspirit his subordinates.

Although the office of admiral as a commander of a fleet dates from
the thirteenth century it was for long only a temporary appointment,
obtaining its chief importance from the character of the person holding
it. When several fleets were at sea and the principal command was vested
in one person he became for the time, Admiral of England, laying down
his title with his command. From the beginning of the fifteenth century
this office of ‘Great Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine’ became a
permanent one, carrying with it the control of all the maritime strength
of the crown, and being usually bestowed on a relative of the sovereign.
The first of such patents is of 23rd Dec. 1406, and bears a resemblance,
in the powers and privileges it confers, to the similar ones of the
Admiralship of Castile, that can hardly be accidental.[269] But as far as
the navy was concerned his duties were purely militant, and there is no
trace of his interference in administration.

The ‘Great Admiral’ also possessed jurisdictive functions, trying, by his
deputy, all maritime causes, civil and criminal. The fees and perquisites
attached to the exercise of these duties made the post valuable in the
fifteenth century, but it does not appear to have ensured any especial
political power to its holder during that troubled time.

Frequently it became a mere court title of honour; the Earl of Oxford
was Great Admiral during the whole reign of Henry VII, but his name
never occurs in naval affairs. In many instances, during the fifteenth
century, the Admiral of England did not command at sea at all, but during
the reign of Henry VIII the post became one of actual executive control,
and, later, of administrative responsibility. The Lords Admirals of this
reign were mostly men who, before or afterwards, held other important
State or Household appointments and who had no expert knowledge of their
duties. The Earl of Oxford was succeeded by Sir Edward Howard by Letters
Patent of 15th August 1512; his brother, Lord Thomas Howard, son of the
victor of Flodden, was appointed 4th May 1513; Henry, Duke of Richmond,
illegitimate son of the King, 16th July 1525; William Fitzwilliam, Earl
of Southampton, 16th August 1536; John, Lord Russell, 18th July 1540; and
John Dudley, Lord Lisle, 27th January 1543. That most of these men had no
experience whatever of the sea was not considered detrimental to their

[Sidenote: Royal Ships lost.]

There were not many men-of-war lost during Henry’s reign, but both
absolutely and relatively, seeing the little active service undergone
by the Navy, the number is much larger than under Elizabeth. The
_Regent_ was burnt in action in 1512. In 1513 a ship commanded by Arthur
Plantagenet, an illegitimate son of Edward IV, sank after striking on
a rock in Bertheaume Bay, near Brest, but we are ignorant whether she
was a man-of-war or a hired merchantman, probably, however, the latter.
Sometime in or before 1514, a small vessel, name unknown, was wrecked at
Rye,[270] but a more important loss was that of the _Great Elizabeth_, in
September 1514, at Sandgate, west of Calais, during the passage of the
Princess Mary to France when 400 men were drowned.[271] The _Christ_,
freighted to the Mediterranean for trade, was, in 1515, captured by
Barbary corsairs and all but thirty of those on board killed. Letters
patent were issued, authorising a national subscription for their ransom.
The next was that of the _Anne Gallant_, in August 1518, on the coast of
Galicia while chartered by some London merchants on a trading voyage.

In 1545 several foreign hired fighting ships were wrecked by stress
of weather, but the most remarkable loss of the reign was that of the
_Mary Rose_ which capsized off Brading on 20th July 1545, when getting
under way. Ralegh says that her ports were only sixteen inches above the
water line, and attributes the disaster to this circumstance. Beyond the
fact that most of Ralegh’s observations on maritime matters, where not
doubtful or unintelligible, can be shown to be incorrect,[272] there is
the great improbability that after at least fifty years’ experience of
gun-ports they should have been cut so low since she had been rebuilt
in or before 1536. Moreover Anthony’s drawings show them to have been
pierced very much higher in other vessels. A contemporary writer, who
obtained his account from an eye-witness, ascribed it to a different
cause and makes no mention of the ports.[273]

By the 1st August measures had been taken towards raising her and the
persons who had undertaken the work desired,

    ‘Ffyrst ii of the gretest hulkes that may be gotten, more the
    hulk that rydeth withyn the havyn, Item iiii of the gretest
    hoys withyn the havyn, Item v of the gretest cables that
    may be had, Item x grete hawsers, Item x new capsteynes with
    xxᵗⁱ pulleyes, Item l pulleyes[274] bownde with irone Item v
    doseyn balast basketts, Item xl lb of talowe, Item xxx Venyzian
    maryners and one Venyziane carpenter, Item lx Inglysshe
    maryners to attend upon them, Item a greate quantitie of
    cordage of all sortes, Item Symonds patrone and maister in the
    ffoyst doth aggree that all thynges must be had for the purpose

It appears from this that cables were to be passed through her ports, or
made fast to her, and that by means of the hulks she was to be bodily
hauled up, a course from which rapid success was anticipated. On the 5th
August, her yards and sails had been removed and ‘to her mastes there is
tyed three cables with other ingens to wey her upp and on every side of
her a hulk to sett her uppright.’[276] Two days later the officers at
Portsmouth fully expected that she would be weighed within twenty-four
hours,[277] but on the 9th

    ‘Thitalians which had the doying for the wayeing of the _Mary
    Roos_ have been with my Lord Chamberlayn and me to signifie
    unto us that after this sourt which they have followed,
    hithierto, they can by no meanes recover her for they have
    alredye broken her foremast ... and nowe they desyer to prove
    another waye which is to dragg her as she lyeth untill she come
    into shallowe ground and so to set her upright, and to this
    they axe vi days’ proof.’[278]

The second way proved as fruitless as the first, but we read that 22 tuns
of beer were consumed during the work, which must have made it appear an
enjoyable summer outing to the men.[279] Up to 30th June 1547, the whole
amount expended in the various attempts was £402, 6s 8d[280] and this may
have included £57, 11s 5d to Peter Paul, an Italian, for the recovery
of some of her guns, which was paid within the time for which the total
was made up but appears in other papers.[281] The last reference to the
unfortunate ship is another payment of £50 to Peter Paul for recovering
ordnance and then, after four years of effort, any further hope was

[Sidenote: Royal Ships hired by Merchants.]

During the greater part of his reign, Henry like his predecessors,
allowed merchants to charter men-of-war for trading voyages. In 1511,
£200 was paid for the _Mary and John_ by two merchants who hired her
to go to the Baltic, a five months’ voyage, but out of this sum the
king paid the wages of the crew and supplied flags and doubtless other
stores.[283] One reason for putting royal officers and men on board may
have been to prevent the ship being used for piratical purposes. In the
same year the _Anne Gallant_ also went to the Baltic,[284] and from there
to Bordeaux before returning to London, and the _Peter Pomegranate_ to
Zealand; in 1515 Richard Gresham freighted the _Mary George_, and Richard
Fermor the _Christ_, to the Mediterranean. For the _Anne Gallant_ the
crown received £300, and for the crew of the _Peter_ 100 ‘jorgnets’ were
provided.[285] When the _Anne Gallant_ was wrecked in 1518 the loss seems
to have been submitted to arbitration, ‘for the copyinge of the byll
of the grosse averies of the same _Anne Gallant_ and the warde of the
arbetrers theruppon made iiˢ,’ but there is no trace of the result.[286]
In 1524, the _Minion_ and _Mary Guildford_ were at Bordeaux, and in 1533,
two other vessels. After that year there is no further instance known of
Henry permitting his ships to be hired by private persons.

[Sidenote: Convoys.]

Convoys were provided by the government during war time. In 1513, the
Royal Navy being fully occupied on service, £55 was paid to the owner of
the _Mawdelin_ of Hull for escorting a wool fleet to Calais, and there
are other similar agreements.[287] In the preceding year there was a
guard of the herring fleet afloat, although we have no knowledge of its
strength.[288] In 1522 we have the first sign of an attempt to patrol
the four seas, four vessels were stationed between the Thames and Rye,
four others between Rye and the Channel Islands, and three are assigned
to the somewhat unintelligible location of between the Channel Islands
and the Tweed.[289] Doubtless it was only a temporary measure, but it is
important as showing that it was now understood that the Navy had a more
continuous purpose than mere attack or defence in fleets.

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Portsmouth.]

Portsmouth dockyard, with the storehouses and workshops attached to it,
and said to have been situated at that portion of the present yard known
as the King’s Stairs, was the only one existing in 1509. The enlargement
of the Navy necessitated a corresponding increase in the accommodation
for building and repairs, and naturally the first references are to
Portsmouth. In the first year of the reign there are payments for ‘the
breaking up of the dockhead where the _Regent_ lay—having put the said
ship afloat out of the same dock into the haven of Portsmouth—making
a scaffold with great masts for the sure setting on end of her main
mast,’[290] and £1175, 14s 2d was expended there on the _Sovereign_.[291]
During the first war with France, additions were made to the
establishment,[292] and from a later paper we learn that five of these
were brewhouses, the Lion, Rose, Dragon, White Hart and Anchor,[293]
while some ‘reparrynge and tylinge of the houses att the dokke,’ was also
executed. In other respects the town was cared for, since in 1526, 675
pieces of ordnance were on the walls and in store, and in the same year
£20 was spent on repairing the dock.

In 1523, however, the existing dock must have been much enlarged in view
of the charges ‘for making a dock at Portsmouth for the king’s ship
royal,’ the _Henry Grace à Dieu_.[294] She was brought into the dock with
much ceremony,

    ‘the same day that the King’s Ship Royal the _Henry Grace à
    Dieu_ was had and brought into the dock at Portsmouth of and
    with gentlemen and yeomen dwelling about the country there
    which did their diligence and labour there in the helping of
    the said ship, and also with mariners and other labourers in
    all to the number by estimation of 1000 persons.’[295]

These assistants consumed during their arduous labours through the
day eight quarters of beef, forty-two dozen loaves of bread and four
tuns of beer. The method of construction was still the same as under
Henry VII, as there are payments for ‘digging of clay for the stopping
up of the same dock head,’ and for breaking up these solid fabrics.
The next event connected with the Portsmouth yard was the purchase of
nine acres of land, in 1527, at twenty shillings an acre; this ground
was surrounded by a ditch and hedge with gates at intervals.[296] The
dockyard however gradually sank in consideration during this reign.
Woolwich and Deptford soon disputed supremacy with it, and the gradual
formation of Chatham yard between 1560 and 1570 completed its decay. Its
last year of importance was 1545, when the fleet collected there, and
when its approaching neglect was so little anticipated that the chain
across the mouth of the harbour was renewed and fresh improvements were
contemplated. But from that year until the era of the Commonwealth it
almost disappears from naval history.

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Woolwich.]

Woolwich, commonly but erroneously called the Mother Dock, grew up round
the _Henry Grace à Dieu_. The accounts[297] show various amounts expended
in the hire of houses and grounds there for purposes associated with the
ship, and some of these were converted into permanent purchases. One such
occurred in 1518 when the king bought a wharf and houses from Nicholas
Partriche, an alderman of London, for £100,[298] but the Longhouse,
and perhaps others had been built in 1512. In 1546 the yard was again
enlarged by the addition of docks and land belonging to Sir Edward
Boughton, which were obtained by means of an exchange of property; these
docks had been leased by the crown for at least seven years previously at
£6, 13s 4d a year.[299]

In connection with Woolwich we find a description of the office
formalities necessary when a ship was moved from one place to another. In
1518 the _Henry Grace à Dieu_ and the _Gabriel Royal_ were brought from
Barking creek, the first to Erith, and the second to Woolwich, and among
the expenses incurred were payments

    ‘To John Dende scryvenor in Lombarde Strette for certen
    wrytyngs and bylls made by hym for the Kyngs lysences to my
    office, belongynge, that is to seye, for one warraunte made
    to Master Comely, the Kinges attorney, xiiᵈ, and for a letter
    to rygge the schippes viiiᵈ, and for a warraunte to have the
    schippes owt of Barkyn Creke, viiiᵈ, and for ii comyssions made
    to provide all things concernynge the same schippes, iiˢ, and
    for divers copyes of the same xviᵈ.’[300]

It is doubtful however whether a dry dock existed at Woolwich at this
time. In this particular instance there is a payment to John Barton,
‘marshman,’ for the making ‘of the _Gabriel Rialls_ docke the sixteenth
daye of Marche anno dicto in grett when the seid shipp most be browght
apon blokks xxxˡⁱ’.[301] Seventeen men were at work and this cannot refer
to a dry dock which would have required more men and much more money;
it seems to have been a graving place in which the vessel was shored
upon blocks. But when the _Henry_ was being built the charges include
the travelling expenses of men from Southampton and Portsmouth ‘for the
makynge of the dokkehede,’ and ‘to break up the dokhede.’

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Deptford.]

The formation of Deptford is usually assigned to 1517, when John Hopton,
comptroller of the ships, undertook, for 600 marks, to ‘make and cast a
pond’ in a meadow adjoining the storehouse, and to build

    ‘A good hable and suffycient hed for the same pond and also
    certyn hable sleysis through the which the water may have entre
    and course into the foresaid ponde as well at spryng tydes as
    at nepetydes.’[302]

It was to be of sufficient size to take the _Great Galley_, _Mary Rose_,
_Great Bark_, _Less Bark_, and _Peter Pomegranate_. There is some
evidence that a pond with an inlet communicating with the river, was in
existence in the thirteenth century, in which case Hopton only adapted
and improved it. The storehouse can be traced back to 1513,[303] but it
is possible that the building hired at ‘Greenwich’ in 1485, by Henry VII
was really at Deptford, seeing that Deptford Strand was sometimes called
West Greenwich; if so its beginnings are older than Portsmouth. Even in
1513 there is a reference to ‘the howse at the dockhede,’ but in 1518,
when the _Great Nicholas_ was brought to Deptford for repair, there are
charges for putting her into the dock, for ‘making the same dockhed,’
‘for pylinge of the dockhede,’ and for ‘scouring out the dokk at the este
ende of the Kyngis storehouse.’ There was also made ‘a myghty hegge of
grete tesarde and tenets[304] along the seid dockside and the retorne
of the same;’ in the same year a wharf and two sheds were built.[305]
The use made of Deptford grew steadily until by the end of the reign it
had become the most important yard. In 1546-7 more storehouses had to be
hired at a cost of £17, 18s 8d for the year, while £1, 6s 8d covered the
extra payments for the same purpose at Woolwich, and no such temporary
augmentation was required at Portsmouth.[306]

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Erith.]

There seems at one time to have been intention to make Erith a permanent
naval station. By Letters Patent of 12th January 1513-4, John Hopton
was appointed ‘keeper of the new storehouses at Deptford and Erith for
supplying the king’s ships.’ On 18th February £32 was paid to Robert Page
of Erith for

    ‘The purches of a tenement with an orchard and gardeyn and
    othir appurtenaunces thereunto belonging, conteigning foure
    acres of ground, being and sett in the parish of Erith by us
    of hym bought upon the which ground we have newe edified and
    bilded a house called a storehouse for the saffe kepyng of
    our ordynaunce and habillamentes of warre belonging to our

In 1521 the fittings, guns, and ground tackle of some of the ships were
kept here, and shortly before that the sills of the doors had been raised
‘for the keepinge owt of the hye tydis for att every tyde affore ther was
ii ffoote depe of water in the seide storrhowsse.’ At this date there
were 88 bolts of canvas, 219 cables and hawsers, 27 masts, and 25 guns
besides powder, pikes, bows and blocks in the house, which must have been
of good size. We do not know the circumstances that led to its disuse,
but long before the end of the reign Erith ceases to be mentioned in
connection with naval affairs.

If we were to assume that the docks, so frequently spoken of in official
papers, were all dry docks, we should have to conclude that there
were nearly as many in existence then as now. There can, however, be
no doubt that the term was applied indifferently to a complete dock
with gates, to a graving place, and even to a temporary protection of
timber, fitted round a ship afloat to protect it from the ice. At Erith,
in 1512-13 there was ‘a new docke’ made, in which the _Sovereign_ was
placed and repaired, the dock and repairs together occupying only eight
weeks.[308] But in 1526 the construction of a dock at an estimated cost
of £600 was suggested, so that it is certain that one did not exist
there previously.[309] In another instance John Barton and twenty-three
marshmen were paid for _two_ days’ work while they ‘cast and made a dock
for the _Grett Galey_ affore the towne of Depfforde Stronde for the
suer keepinge of her ther owt of the ysse.’[310] Subsequently certain
ships are said to have been brought ‘into their dock’ after they had
been aground for breaming and floated again;[311] in such a case it
seems to have meant only a mooring place. At Portsmouth in 1528 a number
of labourers were ‘working by tide for the making of a dock for the
grounding of the _Mary Rose_, _Peter Pomegranate_, and _John Baptist_,’
which vessels were ‘wound aground by certain devices.’[312] These
examples show clearly that the word when found in a sixteenth century
paper, must be understood in a far wider sense than is customary to-day.
Nevertheless there are references which seem to imply that there were
other docks than those in the government yards. In 1513 men were engaged
in ‘casting and closing the dockhede with tymber bord and balyste at
Ratcliffe,’ and another one at Limehouse is also mentioned.[313]

[Sidenote: Shipwrights and Workmen.]

There was as yet no large resident population of shipwrights and others
at the naval centres chosen by the government. For the _Henry Grace
à Dieu_ workers were brought from districts far afield. Plymouth,
Dartmouth, Bere Regis, Exeter, Saltash, Bradford, Bristol, Southampton,
Bodmin, Exmouth, Poole, Ipswich, Brightlingsea, Yarmouth, Hull, Beverley,
York, and other places furnished contingents. Most of the men came from
the south and west, but of single towns Dartmouth and Ipswich supplied
the largest numbers. While travelling to and returning from the scene
of their employment they received a halfpenny a mile, known as conduct
money, for food and lodging, and the agents sent to press them were paid
one shilling a day.[314] Probably the call to the royal service was not
unpopular as all classes of workmen were boarded and lodged in addition
to their wages; under Henry VII they were victualled, but there is no
mention of free lodging.

Shipwrights received from twopence to sixpence a day, sawyers, caulkers,
and pumpmakers, twopence to fourpence, smiths twopence to sixpence, and
labourers from twopence to fivepence. The staff at Portsmouth included
a chip-bearer and a chip-gatherer at sevenpence a day, so that at this
time ‘chips’ did not constitute the scandalous perquisite it afterwards
became. Of the carpenters working on the _Henry Grace à Dieu_, 141 were
supplied with ‘coats’ costing from two to five shillings each, but that
was a nearly exceptional expenditure, although 164 were provided for
the men building the _Mary Rose_ and _Peter Pomegranate_. The cost of
victualling averaged twopence halfpenny a day, and they were given bread,
beef, beer, ling, cod, hake, herring, pease, and oatmeal. There were
cooks to prepare their food and a ‘chamberlyn’ to make the beds which
were bought or hired for their use; flockbeds and mattresses cost from
3s 4d to 5s, bolsters 1s and 1s 6d, sheets 2s to 3s, blankets 1s 4d,
and coverlets 1s to 2s.[315] Sometimes flock beds and mattresses were
temporarily procured for twopence, and feather beds for threepence a
week. The beds were made to hold two or three men, and in at least one
instance ten men were packed into three beds. By 1545 wages seem to have
risen somewhat, since at Deptford and Portsmouth that year the pay and
victualling of all classes—carpenters, smiths, labourers, caulkers, and
sawyers—came to ninepence a day.

The principal designers and master shipwrights were John Smyth, Robert
Holborn, and Richard Bull, who were in 1548 granted pensions on the
Exchequer of fourpence a day ‘in consideration of their long and good
service, and that they should instruct others in their feats.’[316]
James Baker, the only master shipwright whose reputation outlived his
generation, is not mentioned among these men, but he is elsewhere spoken
of as ‘skilful in ships,’[317] and he possessed a pension, also from the
Exchequer, of eightpence a day. In the reign of James I he was still
remembered and said to have been the first who adapted English ships
to carry heavy guns, a survival which, whether exactly correct or not,
testifies to an exceptional skill in his art. In 1546 Baker got into
trouble by being in possession of some forbidden religious books, and it
is likely that only his professional ability saved him. Henry ordered
that he should be examined, but ‘His Maiestie thynketh you shall find
him a very simple man, and therefore wold that without putting him in any
great fear you should search of him as much as you may.’ Evidently the
king knew him well, and had doubtless often discussed shipbuilding with

The famous Pett family who furnished a succession of celebrated
shipbuilders between the reigns of Mary I and Mary II, were not yet
prominent. In 1523 a Peter Pett is among the shipwrights, pressed from
Essex and Suffolk, who were working at Portsmouth, and there is a yet
earlier mention of a payment of £38, 1s 4d to a John Pett for caulking
the _Regent_ in 1499.[318] A recent writer,[319] in a Pett pedigree,
gives Thomas Pett of Harwich as the father of the first well known Peter
Pett who died in 1589. It is therefore possible, but scarcely probable,
that this was the Peter Pett who was working in 1523 as a boy.

[Sidenote: Officers and Men:—Pay and Clothing.]

By the treaty of 1511, between Henry and Ferdinand, the former undertook
to hold the Channel between the Thames and Ushant with 3000 men, of whom
some 1600 were sailors and gunners.[320] For the fleet of 1513, exclusive
of the crews of 28 victualling ships, 2880 seamen were required;[321] in
1514, during the month ending with 22nd May, there were 23 king’s ships,
21 hired merchantmen, and 15 victuallers in commission manned by 3982
seamen and 447 gunners, exclusive of the soldiers carried as well.[322]
When maritime action in force recommenced in 1545, it was estimated that
5000 men would be wanted which ‘wilbe some dyffycultie.’ Beyond this one
expression there is no hint of any trouble having been experienced in
procuring these men although the numbers were larger than those which
Charles I, a century later, found it almost impossible to obtain. As the
proportion allowed theoretically was two men to a ton[323] the ships were
much more heavily manned than in the seventeenth century, but in practice
the crews do not usually work out at one man to a ton, even including

Henry’s success was due in a great measure to the fact that the men were
punctually paid and fairly well fed, two elementary incentives to loyal
service neglected during the two succeeding centuries. In his first war
of 1512 he entered into an agreement with the admiral, Sir Edward Howard,
by which the latter, being supplied with ships, men, and money, had the
whole administration placed in his hands, having to pay wages and find
provisions and clothes.[324] In every subsequent expedition the admiral’s
duties were only executive. The rate of pay was five shillings a month,
and at this it remained during nearly the whole reign, but in addition,
a certain number of dead shares, or extra pays, the division of which is
somewhat obscure, were allotted to each ship. They are first met with
during the war with France in 1492, and, at that time, in connection
with the pay of the soldiers serving on board the fleet. Subsequently
the favour was extended to the maritime branch, and was perhaps intended
to replace the ‘reward’ of sixpence a week in addition to their pay,
which had been enjoyed by the seamen in preceding centuries. But if the
dead shares were at any time divided among the sailors they speedily
lost the privilege, and early in the reign we find the shares, reckoned
at five shillings apiece, reserved for the officers. There are a few
apparent exceptions, perhaps due to our ignorance of the exact sixteenth
century meaning of the words used. The wages bill of the _Katherine_ of
London[325] distinctly says that the dead shares are divided between
‘master and mariners,’ and there are some other similar cases, _e.g._
‘168 dead shares to be divided among the mariners.’[326] But in the vast
majority of references they are seen to be meant for the officers.

The number of course depended on the size of the ship, and for the _Henry
Grace à Dieu_ they were thus distributed[327]:—Master —; master’s mate,
4; four pilots, 16; four quartermasters, 12; quartermaster’s mates, 4;
boatswain, 3; boatswain’s mate, 1½; cockswain, 1½; cockswain’s mate,
1; master carpenter, 3; carpenter’s mate, 1½; under-carpenter, 1; two
caulkers, 3; purser, 2; three stewards, 3; three cooks, 3; cook’s mates,
1½; two yeomen of the stryks, 2; their mates, 1; two yeomen of the ports,
2; their mates, 1. The officers’ pay was the same as that of the men,
but they received in addition either these dead shares, reckoned at five
shillings each, in the proportion shown here, or ‘rewards’ of so much a
month. The _Peter Pomegranate_ may be taken as a representative ship,
as the _Henry_ carried some officers unknown in the smaller vessels.
In the _Peter_ the master obtained one pound ten shillings a month of
twenty-eight days; the master’s mate and quartermasters ten shillings;
the boatswain twelve shillings and sixpence; master gunner, carpenter,
purser, steward and cook, ten shillings, and gunners six shillings and
eightpence. Surgeons were paid ten shillings and thirteen shillings and
fourpence, and pilots twenty and thirty shillings a month, but neither
were always carried.[328] Within certain limits, however, officers’ wages
vary considerably, depending on the number of dead shares allotted among
them, which, again, was subject to the size of the ship, an indication of
the commencing division into rates. But before Henry’s death the formula
of pay ran ‘dead shares and rewards included’ for an average, exclusive
of captains, of eight shillings a month[329] all round, so that the old
system was beginning to be discarded.

For many years of the reign some sort of uniform in the shape of ‘coats’
or ‘jackets’ was supplied to the men, but its exact character is nowhere
described. When the _Mary Rose_ and _Peter Pomegranate_ were brought
round from Portsmouth to the Thames thirty-five coats in green and
white were provided, but as the cost was 6s 8d apiece these could only
have been for the officers.[330] Sir Edward Howard, by his agreement in
1512, had to furnish the sailors with them at 1s 8d each, and he appears
to have charged for 1616 besides 1812 for the soldiers.[331] Masters
and pilots had sometimes coats of damask, every coat containing eight
yards.[332] In 1513, we find references to 1244 mariners’, gunners’, and
servitors’, jackets,[333] and to 638 coats of white and green cloth, 13
of white and green camlet, 4 of satin, and one of damask.[334] Although
indications of uniform for the men have been noticed under Edward IV and
Henry VII, the provision was much more liberal when Henry ascended the
throne. He had at first an overflowing treasury wherewith to minister to
his love of display and carry out more completely a custom he may also
have thought useful from the point of view of health and of making the
men proud of the royal service. But the allusions to seamen’s clothes are
few after the first years. The system appears to have lasted, although
perhaps not continuously, until his death, since in 1545 the writer of an
estimate of naval charges asks if 1800 seamen are to have coats at two
shillings each.[335]

[Sidenote: Sick and Wounded Men.]

Sick men appear to have been kept in pay if landed for that reason,
because when Sir Thomas Wyndham proposed to send such members of his
crew ashore, the council preferred that he should keep them on board as
they would only be receiving pay uselessly on land and might not come
back.[336] Those discharged disabled from wounds sometimes received
a gratuity; in 1513, sixty men of the _Mary James_ sent home in that
condition were given twopence a mile conduct money, the usual rate being
a halfpenny a mile, and a gift of £20 among them.[337]

Until 1545, there is no record of exceptional disease in fleets, but
in September of that year the plague broke out in the English ships,
although as the French were suffering even more and were eventually
compelled by it to disband their fleet, it did not adversely affect the
result of the operations. In August there were many men sick which was
ascribed ‘to the great hete and the corrupcion of the victuall by reason
of the disorder in the provision and the strayte and warm lying in the
shippes.’[338] On the 28th August Lisle wrote to Paget that there was
much illness, ‘those that be hole be veray unsightlie havyng not a ragg
to hang uppon ther backes.’ On 3rd September, Lisle landed at Treport
in Normandy, and sacked and burnt the town, and it is not until after
that date that the word ‘plague’ is used and the terrible disease raged
virulently. On 4th September there were 12,000 effective men, soldiers
and sailors; on the 13th, 8488, so that in little more than a week 3512
‘were sick, dead, or dismissed,’[339] By 11th September, Lisle was
back at Portsmouth and wrote to the king that the ships were generally
infected. Although the fleet was then broken up, it seems to have
lingered on in the vessels kept in commission through the winter as there
are references to it in the following April.

[Sidenote: Captains.]

The captains of men-of-war were still usually military officers or
courtiers who made no attempt to work the ship. They were for the most
part, persons holding appointments in the household, but towards the
end of the reign, the new feeling that the sea was as important as the
land as a field of national effort had trained officers who were almost
professional seamen. These men belonged to the class who would earlier
have been content to command soldiers during a voyage, but who were now
continuously occupied in commanding ships at sea or in attending to
administrative details ashore. Nominally a captain’s pay was one shilling
and sixpence a day, but there were frequently extra allowances. In 1513,
Walter, Lord Ferrers, captain of the _Sovereign_ received five shillings
and two pence a day ‘by way of reward’ over and above his one shilling
and sixpence,[340] and Sir William Trevilian of the _Gabriel Royal_,
three shillings and fourpence a day. On the other hand captains who
happened to belong to the troop of ‘King’s Spears’ were paid ‘out of the
King’s cofers’ and took nothing from the navy expenses.[341] The King’s
Spears were a troop of Horseguards, fifty in number, formed by Henry
shortly after his accession. Each of them was attended by an archer,
man-at-arms, and servant, ‘they and all their horses being trapped in
cloth of gold, silver, or goldsmith’s work.’ Eventually want of money led
to the disbandment of this force.

In 1545 the demand for captains exceeded the supply for the smaller
ships, the circumstances perhaps promising neither fame nor prize money.
The official total of men-of-war and armed merchantmen under Lisle’s
command was 104 ships, the strongest fighting fleet as yet sent to sea.
About some of these he wrote,

    ‘As concernynge the meane[342] shippes I know noon other waye
    (I meane those that come out of the west parties and such of
    London, as were victuallers that want capitaignes) but to place
    them with meane men to be their capitaignes as serving men and
    yomen that be most mete for the purpose.’[343]

‘Meane men’[344] here signifies those of moderate social status, and
serving men the confidants or attendants of noblemen, and who were
frequently gentlemen themselves.

In 1546 a Spaniard was retained as captain of the _Galley Subtylle_ and
a Venetian as its patron, or master, but as they were provided with an
interpreter the crew must have been English.[345] This is a further proof
of the little experience native officers had of galley work; apparently
the English captain of the preceding year had not been found efficient.
Whether the crew were seamen or criminals is not quite certain; the term
‘forsathos’[346] is used but only in connection with the French prize,
the _Galley Blancherd_, which was undoubtedly manned by prisoners, its
original crew. In more ways than one this prize seems to have been a
source of trouble to its captors. To keep the men in condition constant
practice was essential, ‘Richard Brooke ... keptt me company as far as
Gravesend to kepe the forsados in ure and breth as they must contynewally
be otherwyse they wilbe shortly nothing worth.’ Most of the captives
were Neapolitans, with the habits of their class, and Brooke desired new
clothes ‘for all the said forsados who he saith are most insufferable
without any manner of things to hang upon theym. So that I perceyve the
same galley will be some chardge to His Maiestie contynewally, yf His
Highnes do keep her styll with her suit of forsadoes as she ys now.’[347]
Lisle urged that if the _Blancherd_ was restored at the conclusion
of the war the prisoners should be granted their liberty. Perhaps he
may have thought it advisable to get rid of them on any terms, but the
argument he pressed was that such a course would make the French chary,
at any future time, of bringing their galleys near English ports or ships
if the slaves on board knew that surrender meant freedom.

[Sidenote: Ship Discipline.]

Yet another diplomatist, Dr William Knight, found ‘the ungodly manners of
the seamen’ not to his liking, and so far as the scanty material permits
us to judge, they appear to have been an unruly and disorderly race.
Discipline in the modern sense was of course unknown, and such restraints
as existed sat but lightly on both royal and merchant seamen. An undated
paper, but which is probably earlier than 1530, discussing the causes
of the decay of shipping, describes the men as ‘so unruly nowadays that
ther ys no merchantman dare enterpryse to take apon hym the orderyng and
governing of the said shippes.’[348] Even the government dealt with them
gently, and when in 1513, the crew of a man-of-war were discontented with
their captain, Sir Weston Browne, the Vice-Admiral was directed, if he
could not pacify them, to replace Browne.[349] Sometimes whole crews went
ashore, and when the French attacked Dover in 1514, the king’s ships in
harbour there lay uselessly at their anchors for want of men. One sailor,
Edward Foster, was examined at Portsmouth in 1539, before the Mayor and
two admiralty officials for saying that ‘if his blood and the King’s were
both in a dish, there would be no difference between them, and that if
the Great Turk would give a penny a day more he would serve him.’[350]
One would like to know what happened to this matter-of-fact physiologist.

Regulations existed for the maintenance of order on board ship, and
were ‘set in the mayne mast in parchement to be rid as occasion shall
serve.’[351] A murderer was to be tied to the corpse and thrown overboard
with it; to draw a weapon on the captain involved the loss of the right
hand; the delinquent sleeping on watch[352] for the fourth time was to
be tied to the bowsprit with a biscuit, a can of beer, and a knife,
and left to starve or cut himself down into the sea; a thief was to be
ducked two fathoms under water, towed ashore at the stern of a boat, and
dismissed. Only a boat from the flagship was to board a stranger to make
inquiries, as the men ‘would pilfer thinges from oure nation as well
of the kinges dere frends,’ but in a captured ship all plunder, except
treasure, between the upper and lower decks was allotted to them. It is
interesting, as showing Henry’s desire to avoid giving needless offence,
to compare this order, about the manner in which strange ships were to be
visited, with another issued at the end of the reign. It was still more
impressively worded. Neutrals were to be ‘gently’ examined, and if no
enemies’ goods found in them not to be harmed. And ‘the violation of our
pleasure in this behaulf is of such importance as whosoever shalbe found
culpable therein, we shall not faile so to look upon him as shall be to
his demerits.’[353]

In addition to regulations which, if not new as maritime customs, were
new as a code of discipline we find that crews were now assigned stations
on board ship, an essential towards smartness in work, but one which
so far as we know had no previous existence. The station list—or one
of them—of the _Henry Grace à Dieu_ has come down to us, and although
no similar paper exists for any other ship it cannot be supposed that
an improvement in method and working, of which the advantages must at
once have made themselves felt, could have failed to have been generally
adopted.[354] This list gives:—

  The forecastle 100 men; waist 120
  In the second deck for the main lifts, 20
  In the said deck for the trin and the dryngs,[355] 20
  To the stryks[356] of the mainsail, 8 principal men
  To the bonaventure top, 2
  The little top upon the fore top, 2
  For the boat 40; the cok, 20
  Main capstandard[357] and main sheets, 80
  In the third deck to the topsail sheets, 40
  To the bonaventure and main mizen, 20
  To the helm, 4 men
  To the main top 12; to the fore top, 6; to the main mizen top, 6
  The little top upon the main top, 2
  The little top upon the main mizen top, 2
  The gellywatte, 10.[358]

Notwithstanding these signs of orderly training the loss of the _Mary
Rose_ was attributed solely to the insubordination and disorder of those
on board. Her captain, Sir George Carew, being hailed when matters looked
serious answered that ‘he had a sort of knaves whom he could not rule.’
But these men had been chosen for the Vice-Admiral’s ship as especially
good sailors and therefore ‘so maligned and disdained one the other that
refusing to do that which they should do were careless to do that which
was most needful and necessary and so contending in envy perished in

[Sidenote: Victualling.]

Until very recent times the victualling on board ship was a source of
continual anxiety to the authorities, and of grumbling and vexation to
the men; and even in the time of Henry VIII it appears to have given
more trouble than any of the other details of administration. There was
no victualling department until 1550, and either local men were employed
at the ports where supplies were to be collected or others were sent
from London to make the purchases. Commissions to provide provisions
were given to persons attached to the household, or to highly placed
officials with sufficient influence to obtain them. In 1496 John Redynge,
clerk of the Spicery, was victualling both the land and sea forces on
service.[360] In July 1512, Sir Thomas Knyvet, Master of the Horse, was
supplying the fleet and undertaking the responsibility of transport;
in October, John Shurly, Cofferer of the Household, and John Heron,
Supervisor of the London Customhouse.[361] Between 1544-7 numerous agents
were employed and were subject to no central control, unless a reference
to the Lord Chamberlain, Lord St John, afterwards Marquis of Winchester,
as ‘a chief victualler of the army at the seas’ may be held to imply his
general superintendence.

In 1512 the cost of provisioning each man stood at one shilling and
threepence a week. There were some complaints that year, but in 1513
Sir Edward Howard, like many a later admiral, was begging earnestly
for stores, ‘let provision be made, for it is a well spent penny that
saveth the pound.’ A captain, William Gonson, finding that he was running
short, wrote to the Council that unless he received fresh supplies for
his men, ‘I cannot keep them in order, for if we lack victuals and wages
at anytime as well Spaniards as Englishmen shall murmur.’ That also was
an experience many later captains were to find commonplace. Most of the
victualling difficulties in subsequent reigns were due to want of money
or to absolute knavery, but the embarrassments at this date seem to have
been as much caused by lack of organisation due to want of experience
in the supply of large fleets longer at sea than formerly. There is,
however, a letter of Howard’s, belonging to 1512 or 1513, which shows
that roguery was already at work: ‘they that receved ther proportion for
ii monthes flesche cannot bryng about for v weekes for the barelles be
full of salt, and when the peecis kepith the noumbre wher they shulde
be peny peces they be scante halfpeny peces, and wher ii peces shulde
make a messe iii will do but serve.’[362] Short measure was therefore a
frequent experience. In April 1513 a convoy reached the fleet off Brest
just in time, ‘for of ten days before there was no man in all the army
that had but one meal a day and one drink.’ After Howard’s death, when
the captains of the fleet returned to Dartmouth, and they were asked why
they had come back, ‘they all replied for default of victuals not having
three days allowance.’[363] The pursers, a class who move through naval
history loaded with the maledictions of many generations of seamen, were
already condemned. It is doubtless in connection with the return of the
fleet that two officials wrote on the same day, ‘I fear that the pursers
will deserve hanging for this matter,’ and ‘an outrageous lack on the
part of the pursers.’[364] It may have been the experiences of 1512 and
1513 that led to an order in September of the latter year, of which there
is no previous example that the vessels named for winter service should
be provisioned for two months at the time.[365] They were directed ‘to
victual at Sandwich from two months to two months during four months.’
Although the regulation remained in force, Surrey complained in 1522
that some of his ships had only supplies for eight days instead of
two months.[366] In 1545 the French were said to carry two months’

Victualling stores and requisites were obtained by purveyance, and there
was not consequently much eagerness displayed to sell to the crown.
There is a proclamation of 1522 ordering, under penalty of £5, every
one possessing casks to put them out of doors that the King’s purveyor
might take them at ‘a reasonable price,’ one, that is to say, to be fixed
by him. The prices paid for provisions, are, therefore, no absolute
indication of the market rates, but the following are some for this

  Biscuit       (1512) 3s 6d and 5s a cwt.
   Do.          (1554) 7s 6d a cwt.
  Salt beef     (1512) £1, 11s a pipe
   Do.          (1544) £3, 12s a pipe
  Beer          (1512) 13s 4d a tun
   Do.          (1547) 16s and 21s a tun
  Red Herring   (1513) 5s the cade
   Do.          (1547) 9s 6d and 11s the cade
  White Herring (1513) 10s a barrel
   Do.          (1547) 21s a barrel

By 1545 the rate had run up to eighteenpence a week per man, or perhaps
more,[369] and two months’ provisions were estimated to occupy 83 tons
of space in 100 ton ship with a complement of 200 soldiers and sailors.
A pound of biscuit and a gallon of beer a day were allowed to each man,
and ‘200 pieces of flesh’ to every hundred men on four days of the
week. Beer was the recognised right of the sailor, and the exigencies of
warfare had to yield to his prerogative. After Surrey captured Morlaix
in 1522, he announced his intention of going on a cruise and of not
returning ‘as long as we have any beer, though in return we should drink
water.’[370] Evidently it was considered out of the question to remain
at sea without beer, and again when Lisle was off the French coast in
1545 he gave pointed expression to the fear that if the victuallers did
not arrive ‘a good meynye of this fleet may happen to drynck water.’ The
payments for provisions from September 1542 until the death of Henry in
January 1547, amounted to £65,610 10s 4½d,[371] and we can still trace
the proceedings of the various agents at Sandwich, Lowestoft, Portsmouth,
Yarmouth, and Southampton. ‘Necessary money,’ an allowance to the
pursers for candles, wood, etc., was in operation according to the ‘old
ordinance’ at the rate of twopence a man per month.[372]

[Sidenote: The new Administration.]

The increase in the navy and the additional work caused by the
mobilisation of fleets necessitated an augmentation from the first on
the administrative side of the department though no systematic and
permanent change was made until the close of the reign. Brygandine
remained clerk of the ships till about 1523; in that year he was granted
a release—a customary proceeding—for all embezzlements or misdemeanours
committed while in office, and this probably means that he resigned
then or shortly afterwards.[373] But although he had been the chief
administrative officer, he was now by no means the only one even during
his term of service, though it is not easy to define the exact duties
and responsibilities of his associates. The fleets of 1513-14 carried a
‘Treasurer of the Army by Sea,’ in the person of Sir Thomas Wyndham,[374]
who was also allowed one shilling and fourpence a day for two clerks, and
Brygandine had nothing to do with payments made for stores or wages in
these ships.

In 1513 John Hopton, a gentleman usher of the chamber was given charge
of the fleet conveying troops to Calais,[375] and from that time until
his death Hopton was closely connected with naval affairs. In 1514 he
was made keeper of the storehouses at Erith and Deptford, with a fee of
one shilling a day, and as such received under his charge the fittings
of the ships dismantled and laid up that year; it has been noticed that
he contracted for the work required for the formation or enlargement of
the pond at Deptford in 1517. He was an owner of ships and sold at least
one to the king, and, in the same year, he is called ‘clerk comptroller
of the ships.’ His duties must have been mainly clerical and financial,
for we have many separate series of payments made by him to Brygandine
who seems to have retained the active direction of executive work, and
certain passages in the records known as the _Chapter House Books_,
seem to imply that they were written under his supervision. Hopton held
a definite appointment, but there are others mentioned as employed in
purchasing stores, travelling for certain purposes, or in charge of
ordnance taken out of the ships, who can only have held temporary and
subordinate situations. There were sometimes local clerks of the ships,
as at Portsmouth when Thomas Spert was given ‘the rule of all the forsaid
ships, maisters, and maryners with the advise of Brygandine.’[376] Here,
however, the whole control was really in the hands of the customers of
Southampton who were ordered to provide the money requisite, muster
the men once a week, and exercise a general oversight. Again, in 1529,
Edmund More, of whom nothing is known beyond this single reference, was
acting as clerk of the ships at Portsmouth. When there was only one naval
centre the clerk of the ships resided there, but after the foundation
of Woolwich and Deptford his place was in London, and the local clerk
represented the later Commissioner in charge of a dockyard.

Hopton died in or before July 1526,[377] and had been succeeded from
1524 by William Gonson, also a gentleman usher of the king’s chamber, as
keeper of the storehouses at Erith and Deptford.[378] Although in 1523
Thomas Jermyn was the recognised Clerk of the Ships,[379] and in 1533
Leonard Thoreton,[380] Gonson, who also commanded ships at sea, soon
became the dominant official. He is found equipping men-of-war, directing
their movements and making payments for wages, victualling, and the
purchase of necessaries, but notwithstanding the extent of his authority
he does not seem to have held any titular rank. In 1538 Sir Thomas Spert
was Clerk of the Ships,[381] but appears to have had very little to do
unless Gonson happened to be suffering from gout. Spert was followed by
Edmund Water, another gentleman usher of the chamber, who held his office
by patent, neither Jermyn, Thoreton nor Spert acted under Letters Patent,
and in the absence of an enrolled appointment, they were doubtless
considered merely acting officials.

Large payments to Gonson can be traced down to 1545. Then for the first
time we have the titles of ‘Treasurer of the See,’ ‘Paymaster of the
See,’ and ‘Treasurer of the See Maryne Causes’[382] as describing John
Winter, who, however, died in less than a year. It was possibly the
loss of William Gonson’s practised experience, and dissatisfaction with
his successors, which helped to move Henry to make in 1546, the most
important change in naval administration that had yet occurred. In one
day the naval organisation was revolutionised. By Letters Patent of the
24th April 1546, Sir Thomas Clere was constituted Lieutenant of the
Admiralty, with a fee of £100 a year, ten shillings a day for travelling
expenses when engaged on the business of his office, £10 a year for boat
hire and twentypence a day for two clerks; Robert Legge, ‘Treasourer of
our maryne causes’ with 100 marks a year, six shillings and eightpence
a day for travelling expenses, eight pounds a year for boat hire, and
sixteenpence a day for two clerks; William Broke, ‘Comptroller of all our
shippes,’ with £50 a year, four shillings a day for travelling expenses,
eight pounds for boat hire, and sixteenpence a day for two clerks;
Benjamin Gonson,[383] ‘Surveyor of all our shippes,’ with £40 a year,
the same travelling allowance and boat hire as the comptroller, but only
eightpence a day for one clerk; Richard Howlett, Clerk of the Ships,
with £33, 6s 8d a year, three shillings and fourpence a day travelling
expenses, and six pounds for boat hire. William Holstock and Thomas
Morley were granted annuities of one shilling a day without specific
duties, but they were both employed in assisting the other officers. All
these fees were paid from the Exchequer. By another patent of the same
day, the supply of guns, powder, and other ordnance necessaries for the
Navy was placed under the direction of Sir William Woodhouse, called
‘Master of the Ordnance of the ships,’ at a fee of 100 marks a year, six
shillings and eightpence a day travelling expenses, eight pounds a year
for boat hire, and two shillings and fourpence a day for three clerks.
The stores were still kept at the central office in the Tower, and became
separate from, if subordinate to, the old Ordnance Office, remaining so
until 1589.

It would be of great interest to know exactly the motives moving Henry to
the formation of—to use a later name—the Navy Board. Beyond discontent
with the administration in 1545, the accessions of 1546 suggest that it
was his intention to still further strengthen the Navy, and experience
had doubtless shown that the old organisation was too inelastic for
more than a limited number of ships acting within a restricted sphere.
Hitherto fleets had carried troops, landed them, and returned home; or
gone to sea, fought the enemy, and returned home; but now the era of
long cruises was commencing, and the transition necessarily involved
additional administrative work with which the clerk of the ships or the
comptroller could not alone cope. Another subject of inquiry is the
model on which the board was formed. It was not derived from any foreign
power, for the organisation was then, and long afterwards, superior to
and unlike, anything existing abroad. The similarity of many of the
titles and of their corresponding duties suggests that it was copied
from the constitution of the Ordnance Office, which Henry had also
remoulded to suit the altered conditions of warfare. The Lieutenant of
the Admiralty, acting under the Admiral of England, as the Lieutenant of
the Ordnance acted under the Master General, was intended to be the most
important member of the board. But after the death of Clere’s successor,
Sir William Woodhouse, the post was not filled up and the Treasurership
exercised by an expert official like Benjamin Gonson, or a great seaman
like Hawkyns, speedily became the chief administrative office. Another
cause of the Treasurer’s ascendancy is to be found in the fact that he
had to be a man of some capital, able and willing to advance money to
the crown. He was to have allowance for all moneys laid out if his books
were signed ‘by two or three’ of the other officers.[384] Originally
this may only have been intended to apply to all moneys received from
the Exchequer and expended by him, but the yearly accounts show that it
soon became a normal condition for the crown to be indebted to him for

Two other officers found their positions altered by the new development.
The Lord Admiral had been till now only a combatant officer; from this
date he interfered more or less frequently and directly in matters of
administration for which he was nominally responsible. But while the
members of the Navy Board were men of weight and reputation his action
mainly took the course of agreeing with the advice given him. Under
the new arrangement the Clerk of the Ships became a very subordinate
officer. More than a century later Pepys claimed that the clerk possessed
from former times a consultative and equal voice with the other
officers. It would be difficult to disprove it, and it is true that the
signature of the clerk appears sometimes—but only sometimes—attached to
documents with those of his colleagues. In 1600, however, his duties are
distinctly said to be confined to registering the resolutions of the
board generally.[385] At especially busy periods he shared the active
work of superintendence but ordinarily only the Treasurer, Comptroller,
and Surveyor, are found to be exercising authority, and the gradual
alteration of his title from Clerk of the Ships to Clerk of the Acts is
itself a sign that his functions had become purely secretarial.

[Sidenote: Hired Ships.]

Besides English vessels, Henry hired Spanish during the earlier years
of his reign and Hanseatic during the later ones, England being on
much more friendly terms with Spain in 1509 than in 1547. One or two
‘Arragoseys,’ _i.e._ Ragusans were in pay, that republic being a
maritime power of some importance in the fifteenth century. The English
ships taken up for the crown were mostly employed as victuallers and
tenders, and were therefore not required to be large and do not afford
any measure of the magnitude of the merchant navy. In April 1513 there
were thirty-nine impressed of 2039 tons, and of these the largest was
140 tons; twenty-eight of them were serving as victuallers, one being
usually attached to each of the largest men-of-war.[386] The rate of
hire was one shilling a ton per month, for both victuallers and fighting
ships, and the wages, victualling, and dead shares were the same as on
king’s ships; jackets were frequently provided for the crews as for
men-of-war’s men. Another account gives a list of twenty-two English
vessels of 3040 tons, and six Spanish of 1650 tons as having served.[387]
The Spaniards were manned by 289 Spanish and 181 English seamen, with 869
English soldiers and a majority of English officers. Henry had to pay a
hiring rate of fifteenpence a ton for them, and 7s 1d a month to Spanish
seamen, 4s 9d to gromets, and 2s 5d to pages, while the dead shares
allotted to the foreigners were at six shillings each instead of the
five shillings of the Englishmen. The difference of pay must have caused
a great deal of jealousy but the king’s attempts to obtain Spaniards at
the standard rate had failed.[388] The _Mary of Bilboa_ was taken up at
fifteenpence-farthing and a half-farthing a month, terms which imply a
good deal of higgling.[389] In 1514 there were twenty-one hired fighting
ships and fifteen victuallers engaged. The former measured 2770 tons, and
included one of 300, one of 240, one of 200, and three of 160 tons.[390]

In 1544 twenty-two foreign ships, now mostly Hanseatic, of 1465 tons were
still obtaining fifteenpence a ton, and 379 men in them seven shillings
and sixpence a month, while the English pay remained at five shillings,
and thirty-five hired English vessels received their one shilling a
ton.[391] In the same year the expedition against Scotland required 117
transports of which London furnished 6, Calais 2, Amsterdam 1, Dordrecht
1, Antwerp 4, Hamburg 5, Lubeck 2, Ipswich 31, Yarmouth 31, Newcastle 6,
Hull 6, and Lynn 4.[392] English owners did not show themselves eager to
send their ships to join the royal fleet and it was necessary to issue a
circular letter in August 1545, to the mayors of the various ports which

    ‘Fforasmuch as I understand that dyvers and many of the
    adventurers that are appointed for Portsmouth ... do slacke
    and drawe back from the same being rather gyven to spoyle
    and robberye than otherwise to serve His Maiestie and making
    ther excuses for lack of necessaries do showe themselves not
    wyllynge to serve the kyng’s Maiestie according to their

they were ordered to go to Portsmouth immediately on pain of death.[393]
Their disinclination to be shackled by the discipline of a fleet can be
understood when we find Lisle writing to Paget that ‘nother Spanyard,
Portugell, nor Flemynge that cometh from by south but they be spoylid
and robbid by our venturers.’ The successful privateering of 1544, when
300 French prizes were taken,[394] was assuredly joyously remembered and
similar good fortune hoped for. If there is no exaggeration in Stow’s
account the event is remarkable as the first instance of our sweeping
the Channel on an outbreak of war, and signifies the steady growth of a
marine able to perform the work.

[Sidenote: The Merchant Navy.]

The materials for an estimate of the strength of the merchant navy are
scanty, but we find in this reign a commencement of the plan largely
extended under Elizabeth, of obtaining returns of the vessels belonging
to various ports. Henry, moreover, followed the example of his father
in granting a bounty on large ships. In 1520 an allowance of four
shillings a ton was ordered on the customs due for the first voyage
of the _Bonaventure_ of London of 220 tons; in 1522 five shillings a
ton on the _Antony_ of Bristol, of 400 tons, because she was good for
trading purposes and ‘also to doo unto us service in warre.’[395] The
wording of the warrant rather implies, however, that the _Antony_ was a
purchase from a foreign owner. In 1521 four shillings a ton was paid on
the _John Baptist_ of Lynn of 200 tons, and in 1530 five shillings a ton
on the _John Evangelist_ of Topsham of 110 tons. If there was any rule
regulating the apportionment of the bounty it is impossible to define
it now. In 1544 there is a payment of five shillings a ton on the _Mary
James_ of Bristol of 160 tons ‘to corage othre our subgetts to like
makyng of shippes.’[396] There were doubtless many more similar grants
but which were not issued in a form which ensured their survival in the

In 1513 Bristol had nine vessels of 100 tons and upwards ready to join
the royal fleet. Of these one was of 186 tons, one of 120, one of 130,
three of 110 and three of 100 tons.[397] It is significant of the little
reliance that can be placed on statements of tonnage that, in another
paper, the one of 186 tons is given as of 160, one of 110 as 140 and the
one of 120 as of 100. In the case of merchantmen the discrepancies may
perhaps be attributed to the fact that it was to the interest of the
owner of a hired merchantman to measure his ship at as high a tonnage as
possible, as he was paid by the ton, while the navy authorities acting
in the interest of the crown desired to rate it as low as they could. In
the case of men-of-war the tonnage, unless they had actually performed a
trading voyage and stowed goods, could only have been by estimate, which
would explain a difference of 100 or 150 tons in the supposed measurement
of a large ship.

In 1528, there were 149 vessels engaged in the Iceland fishery all
which, with the exception of 8 from London, belonged to the east coast
ports. Yarmouth sent 30, Cley, Blakeney, and Cromer 30, and Dunwich,
Walderswick, Southwold, and Covehithe 32. To the herring fishery in the
North Sea went 222, of which the Cinque Ports sent 110 and the east coast
the remainder. Trading to Scotland were 69 ships of which only 6 sailed
from London.[398] This return was used years afterwards to show the
prosperous condition of these trades as compared with a later period when
the number of vessels employed had greatly fallen off; except that it is
endorsed in Cecil’s handwriting the date of the comparison is unknown.
For 1533, there is a certificate of the ships returned from Iceland that
year, 85 in number, of which 6, of from 50 to 100 tons, belonged to
London; 10, of from 35 to 95 tons to Lynn; 14, of from 40 to 95 tons to
Yarmouth; 7, of from 60 to 150 tons to Orwell haven; and 17, of from 30
to 90 tons to Wells and Blakeney.[399] Unless they were trading vessels,
used on occasion for the Iceland fishery, the average tonnage seems
very high for North Sea fishing boats of that century. Nearly 700 sail
were reputed to enter Calais harbour every year and ‘at the least’ 340
foreign herring boats also traded there.[400] These figures point to a
flourishing local trade round the coasts and in the fisheries, but there
are only three returns relating to ships of larger size and they do not
give particulars for more than a few ports;—[401]

  |             |Tons |Tons |Tons |Tons |Tons |Tons |
  |             | 100 | 110 | 120 | 130 | 140 | 160 |
  |             +-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
  | Minehead    |  1  |     |     |     |     |     |
  | Burton[402] |     |     |  1  |     |     |     |
  | Lynn        |  1  |     |     |     |     |     |
  | Cley        |  1  |  1  |     |     |     |     |
  | Yarmouth    |  6  |     |     |     |  1  |     |
  | Lowestoft   |  1  |     |  3  |     |     |     |
  | Aldborough  |  1  |     |     |     |     |     |
  | Hull        |  1  |  1  |  2  |  1  |  1  |     |
  | Newcastle   |  7  |     |     |  1  |     |  1  |

There were 99 other vessels of from 40 to 100 tons also sailing from
these ports; but if the table were complete and included London,
Bristol, Southampton, and Dartmouth—to name no others—we should infer a
surprisingly large total from the 32 belonging to these towns. Foreign
observers, men representing a maritime state like Venice, considered the
sea strength of England much greater than would be assumed from the few
sources of information we possess. In 1531, the Venetian representative
reported that Henry could arm 150 sail;[403] in 1551, Barbaro thought
that the crown could fit out 1500 sail of which ‘100 decked’[404] and in
1554, Soranzo remarked that there were ‘great plenty of English sailors
who are considered excellent for the navigation of the Atlantic.’[405]
These Venetians paid especial attention to the English marine and in no
instance do they write of it depreciatingly.

[Sidenote: Trade and Voyages.]

Commerce does not appear to have progressed in a ratio corresponding
to its growth during the close of the fifteenth century. Trade had
been then recovering the position lost through the unsettled political
state previously existing, and had benefited under a king who made its
expansion the keynote of his policy. Half a century had brought it
relatively into line with that of other countries, and thenceforward its
increase was no longer a question of regaining a standard already once
attained, but of competition with other powers whose trade was marked
out on definite lines. This accounts for the comparatively stationary
condition of commerce under Henry, and until new factors came into play
under different circumstances. According to Hakluyt voyages to the
Levant were frequent until 1534 but then fell off.[406] In that year
Richard Gonson, son of William Gonson the naval official, undertook a
Mediterranean trading voyage, which occupied a year, the usual time
allowed for the passage out and home. In the same way English merchants
traded with the Canaries and northern ports, but we have no details
bearing on the extent of the traffic. William Hawkyns of Plymouth,
father of Sir John Hawkyns, made three voyages, of which the last was
in 1532, to Brazil and Guinea. From a remark, however, made by Chapuys,
in a despatch to the emperor, voyages to Brazil could not have been

In 1517 there is said to have been an exploring expedition sent out under
the command of Thomas Spert, who had been master of the _Henry Grace à
Dieu_ and other ships, and who possessed Henry’s confidence then and
afterwards.[408] He was a yeoman of the crown, and by Letters Patent
of 10th November 1514, enjoyed an annuity of £20 a year. In 1527 John
Rut, another man-of-war officer, left England in June with two vessels
for Newfoundland, one, the _Mary Guildford_, being a king’s ship. Rut
returned in her without having effected anything; the other was lost at
sea. Two other attempts at discovery are also assigned to this year.[409]
In 1536 Hore, with the _Trinity_ and the _Minion_, reached Cape Breton
Island, and a further voyage was intended in 1541. These enterprises show
Henry’s desire to extend English commerce, and a further illustration of
the fact is to be found in his endeavour in 1541 to obtain permission
for some Englishmen to sail in the next Portuguese fleet for India, ‘to
adventure there for providing this realm with spices.’[410]

Doubtless the religious revolt had for the time an injurious influence
on our trade, seeing that Englishmen were regarded as heretics by some
of their best customers, and that the whole influence of the Roman
Church was employed in Spain, and elsewhere, to the detriment of the
country. The reaction born of intellectual freedom, and of the moral and
material strength which was its natural product, did not make itself
felt till later. Moreover as long as England acknowledged the Roman rule
she was bound by the division of the new discoveries made by the Popes,
a division which fatally hampered her attempts to share the riches of
the golden West. When that dividing line was no longer recognised,
and individual enterprise or greed had free play, the conditions which
brought her into antagonism with other maritime powers were also those
which stimulated the growth of national vigour and self reliance. In that
sense the Reformation considered as a liberation from restraining ties,
was an important factor in the development of English sea power.

There were two statutes, in 1532 and 1539, confirming the navigation act
of 1490. In 1540 it was enacted that whoever should buy fish at sea from
foreign fishermen to sell on shore, should be subjected to a fine of £10,
a statute which seems to point to the commencing decay of the native
fishing industry. The cable and hawser manufacture, long associated with
Bridport, was protected by the parliament of 1529, and Henry is said
to have expended immense sums in the endeavour to make Dover a safe
harbour.[411] Another act for the preservation of Plymouth, Dartmouth,
Teignmouth, Falmouth, and Fowey havens, from the injury caused by the
gravel brought down from the tin works, was passed in 1532. In 1513 a
license for the formation of a guild, afterwards the Trinity Corporation,
was granted for the ‘reformation of the navy lately much decayed by the
admission of young men without experience, and of Scots, Flemings, and
Frenchmen as lodesmen;‘[412] in 1536 the Trinity guild of Newcastle was
founded.[413] ‘Navy’ is here used in its original sense, meaning the
shipping and seamen of the kingdom generally, and not the ‘King’s Navy
Royal.’ During the sixteenth century the Trinity House had no connection
with the Royal Navy; during the greater part of the seventeenth century,
it had an occasional consultative, but no direct connection. It has never
had any actual share in the administration of the Navy, nor that close
association with it that, trading on the loss and destruction of its
early documents, it has claimed.

[Sidenote: Coast Defences.]

Allied to the defence of the kingdom by sea was the protection of the
seaboard by the forts or castles, on the south and east coasts, some
of which still exist. The initial motive was the threatening political
outlook of 1539 when a European coalition against England appeared
probable. During the next few years upwards of £74,000, from the spoil of
the suppression, was spent for this purpose,[414] and this perhaps does
not include £17,498 devoted to the fortifications of Hull. ‘A book of
payments,’ made to the garrisons in 1540, enumerates seventeen of these
defences, but more were afterwards built.

[Sidenote: Naval Expenditure.]

There is, of course, no chronological series of papers relating to
the naval expenditure of the reign. Only isolated accounts for those
years when active service was undertaken are to be found. The general
disbursements for 1513 came to £699,000,[415] and the naval expenses,
from 4th March to 31st October, were £23,000, but this seems to have been
almost entirely for wages and hire of ships, only £291, 17s 9½d having
been spent on repairs, and neither victualling, ordnance stores, nor the
cost of preparation being included.[416] Detailed accounts were strictly
kept although so few have survived. In one book it is stated that two
copies of the accounts were to be made; one to be retained by the person
charged with making payments, the other to be kept ‘in oure owne custodie
for oure more perfytte rememberaunce in that behalf.’[417] The first kept
as his acquittance by Sir John Daunce, is now in the Record Office, and
bears Henry’s signature in numerous places, showing the close personal
attention he gave to naval affairs. When William Gonson was acting as
paymaster, he received between 21st August 1532 and 25th August 1533,
£4169, 10s, from 16th December 1534 to 11th December 1535 £7093, 17s
9½d, and from 4th April 1536 to 29th June 1537, £3497, 3s 2d.[418] As a
whole, on these years, the crown was indebted, beyond the money paid out
to Gonson, £1487, 12s 9d, and the expenditure was almost entirely for
dockyard work and stores, although there must also have been the cost of
ships in commission, not here entered.

During the years of warfare between 1544-7 the amounts expended became
very large. Richard Knight, who describes himself as ‘servant’ of Lord St
John, received between 12th February 1544-5 and 30th June 1547, £101,127,
and of this £84,000 was devoted to seamen’s wages and victualling.[419]
Of the total sum £40,000 came from the Exchequer, £20,500 from the
Court of Augmentation, £1600 benevolence money in Norfolk, and £8000
from the court of Wards and Liveries. Coincidently many thousands of
pounds were paid through William Gonson, John Wynter, and his successor,
Robert Legge, and doubtless through other persons. The new system of
administration did not at first work altogether successfully as far as
bookkeeping was concerned. From the following letter of Lisle’s we find
that Sir William Paget, a Secretary of State, had written to him making
inquiries, and he answers

    ‘You write unto me that the Tresawrer of thadmyralltie being
    called to accompt his reckoning is so illfavoridly mad that
    there semith a want of £2000 wich you cannot well se what is
    become of hit.’

and goes on to explain a series of transactions, but both Legge and
Wynter appear to have been performing the duties of Treasurer which may
be a reason for the entanglement of figures.[420] It was stated that
during 1544-5, the crown had expended £1,300,000,[421] and the naval
expenses from September 1542 to the end of the reign are fully detailed
in a later paper.[422]

  Cordage, timber, and other stores,                        £45,230 18  8
  Coat and conduct money,                                     2,415 13  2
  Wages of seamen, soldiers, shipwrights, dockyards, etc.,  127,846 10  7
  Victualling,                                               65,610 10  4½
  Ordnance and ammunition,                                   19,276 13 10½
  Furniture[423] of ships,                                     1582 14  7
  Hire of docks, storehouses, riding and posting charges,       502  4  6

[Sidenote: Piracy and Privateering.]

Great stress has been laid on the prevalence of piracy in the sixteenth
century as the chief school of English seamanship. Of course it was
practised during this reign to an extent that would now be thought
monstrous, but it did not attain the proportions of a few years later,
nor were English seamen dependent on its development for a knowledge
of their art. When religious and political motives impelled them to a
guerilla warfare, they became pirates because they were already good
seamen, with the training of centuries behind them, and the sea was their
natural field of action. The succession of conflicts between France and
the Empire induced an internecine maritime war between those powers, in
the shape of privateering, which sometimes smouldered but never died
out. Convoys for the Spanish American fleets were instituted in 1522 on
account of the depredations of French privateers. The despatches of the
Imperial ministers show that France, during the reign of Henry and his
immediate successors, was, much more than England, a source of injury
to Spanish trade. The success of French privateering, together with the
voyages for purposes of discovery and settlement, of Verazzani in 1523,
of the brothers Parmentier in 1529, of Jacques Cartier and Roberval in
1534 and 1549, of Villegagnon 1555, of Bois-le-Compte in 1556, of Jean
de Ribaut in 1562, and of René de Laudonnière in 1564, a succession of
efforts which only closed with the outbreak of the wars of religion,
seemed to point to France rather than to England as destined to challenge
Spanish maritime supremacy. In 1551 France sent a fleet of 160 sail to
Scotland, and it is doubtful whether England could have collected one of
equal strength to act at a similar distance.

Englishmen, however, joined in the game to a sufficient extent even
now. In 1540 the Emperor was informed that a Spaniard, with gold and
amber on board, had been seized by two English ships, and a few such
successful and profitable incidents must have acted as a strong incentive
to ventures which promised large profits on a moderate outlay. There was
very little police of the seas, nor could the guardians themselves be
trusted in face of temptation. In 1532 some captains sent out on this
service plundered Flemish merchantmen they met.[424] As early as 1515 a
commission of Oyer and Terminer was issued to the Earl of Surrey and two
others to hear and decide piratical offences[425]; in one case eighteen
soldiers serving on a man-of-war stole a boat with the intention of
seizing a ship at sea. The French had, during the first quarter of the
century, a reputation for fair play, and Wolsey in 1526, wrote to Henry
that ‘though many English have been taken at sea by the French, they
have always made full restitution,’[426] but when the Scotch began to
interfere in the trade, proceedings became embittered by competition. By
1532 the narrow seas were said to be full of Scotch privateers and the
customary ransom of prisoners was twenty shillings for a sailor and forty
for a master.[427] Both Spaniards and Frenchmen attacked each other in
English ports, which, until 1539, were mostly unarmed and plunder was
openly sold in the coast towns. That from a Portuguese ship was purchased
by the mayor and others of Cork, and in 1537 the owners had been for
three years vainly endeavouring to obtain redress.[428]

Ordinary merchantmen, sailing with cargo, took advantage of any
favourable chance without necessarily acting on a premeditated plan. One
vessel, crossing the Channel, met three Bretons and it then occurred to
the owner and master that they had lost £60 by Breton pirates and could
obtain no redress. Not to lose the opportunity they captured one and sold
the cargo at Penryn.[429] Piracy had not yet taken the savage character
with which a few more years were to see it imbued; the theological
bitterness was as yet wanting. Cases of bloodshed were very rare, and
so far at any rate as Englishmen were concerned, the pirate was also
sometimes a respectable tradesman on shore.[430] In 1543 the prisons were
said to be full of pirates and the Council adopted the plan of requiring
sureties before issuing letters of marque. The port towns flourished,
at least some of them, then and long afterwards far more on the traffic
with pirates, who visited them and sold the proceeds of robbery to the
inhabitants, than by legitimate trade. Consequently no victim could rely
on obtaining assistance even from the civic authorities. A French ship
was ransacked in Plymouth Roads in August 1546—peace with France had
been signed on 7th June—notwithstanding her captain’s appeal for help
in the town, which seems to imply that the work was very leisurely and
thoroughly done. The Council ordered that unless the goods were recovered
and the pirates captured the inhabitants of Plymouth were to be made
pecuniarily liable for the damage.[431] The wording of the Council order
suggests that the Frenchman was boarded from the town, in which case the
refusal of the mayor to interfere is still more significant.

Only one statute relating to piracy was passed by Henry. Before 1535
offenders frequently escaped because, if they did not confess, it was
necessary to prove the crime by the evidence of disinterested witnesses
and this was usually an impossibility. A fresh act therefore rendered
them liable to be tried before a jury under the same conditions as
ordinary criminals.[432]

[Sidenote: Ordnance, Powder and Shot.]

Soon after Henry’s accession he gave large orders for ordnance to foreign
makers, chiefly at Mechlin, but the guns so obtained seem to have been
for land service. There is only one paper which gives us the weight of
the ship serpentine as used in 1513, and here it works out at 261¼ lbs.
exclusive of the chamber or loading piece which weighed 41 lbs.;[433]
the chamber contained the powder only, not the shot.[434] These were
made by Cornelius Johnson ‘the king’s iron gunmaker,’ and who was one of
the twelve gunners attached to the Tower with a fee of sixpence a day;
as king’s gunmaker he also received eightpence a day. The sling, one
of the heavier ship guns, weighed with its two chambers 8½ cwt. and 27
lbs., and there were also half and quarter slings; but there does not
appear to have been any standard weight for these or other guns.[435] The
serpentines bought in Flanders, for field use, weighed from 1060 lbs. to
1160 lbs. each. Guns were mounted on two or four-wheeled carriages, or,
sometimes, on ‘scaffolds’ of timber; leaden shot and ‘dyse’ of iron were
used with serpentines and iron shot with curtalls. In one instance 200
iron dice weighed 36 lbs., and they seem to have usually been one and a
half inch square. The Artillery Garden at Houndsditch was granted for
practice with ‘great and small ordinance,’ and persons with such English
names as Herbert, Walker, and Tyler are noticed as gunfounders early in
the reign, although, according to Stow, cast iron guns were not made in
England till 1543. Some writers assert that they were used in Spain in
the fourteenth century; if so it is probable that they were made here
before the date given by Stow.

Serpentine powder cost from £4, 13s 4d to £6, 13s 4d and ‘bombdyne’
£5 a last; corn powder tenpence a pound.[436] Serpentine was a fine
weak powder and probably midway in strength between bombdyne and corn.
During 1512-13, 51 lasts, 12 barrels, 12 lbs. were used at sea, and 37
lasts during the succeeding year. For saltpetre we were dependent on
importation, and between 1509-12 there are two contracts for quantities
costing £3622, at sixpence a pound, with John Cavalcanti and other
Italian merchants who were the usual purveyors, but gunpowder was made
at home. Shot, whether of stone or iron, were called gunstones, round
shot of iron costing £4, 10s to £5, 10s a ton, and of stone 13s 4d a
hundred. Cross bar shot were in common use, _e.g._ ‘gun stones of iron
with cross bars of iron in them.’[437] There are ‘ballez of wyldfyre with
hoks of yron,’ and ‘bolts of wyldfyre’ both, like the arrows of wildfire,
to set the enemy on fire. ‘Tampons’ were wads, sometimes of wood, and
not the tompions now known: 16,000 were bought for the _Henry Grace à
Dieu_ at ten and twenty shillings the thousand.[438] From an entry ‘for
two sheepskins to stop the mouths of the guns,’ we may infer that they
were stuffed into the muzzles, or tied over them. Sheepskins were also
used for gun sponges, and ‘cartouche’ or cartridge cases were made of

In 1536 there were only 39 lasts, 11 barrels of powder in the Tower,
33,000 livery arrows,[440] ‘decayed,’ all the bows in the same condition,
and the morrispikes wormeaten.[441] But the construction of the forts
round the coastline in 1539-40, and the events that followed, gave an
impetus to the demand for war material.

[Sidenote: Stores.]

In 1546 the Council querulously complained that ‘the general rule is
whenever the King’s Maiestie shuld bye al is dere and skase, and whenever
he shuld sel al is plentye and good chepe,’ an experience not confined
to sovereigns. Stores such as timber, pitch, tar, oakum, ironwork, etc.,
necessary for building or repairs were mostly obtained from tradesmen at
or near the dockyard towns. One reason for the adoption of Portsmouth is
perhaps to be found in its nearness to Bere Forest and the New Forest,
but nearly everything but timber, if not to be obtained at Southampton,
had to be sent from London. Naval officials, like Gonson, sold
necessaries to the crown, while acting as its representatives, and such
transactions appear in the accounts as quite legitimate and customary.
About 1522 oak timber from Bere was costing one shilling a ton rough
and unhewed, one and eightpence seasoned, and three and fourpence ready
squared. Ash was one shilling and beech sixpence.[442] Carriage cost
twopence a ton per mile, and the work of felling and preparing the wood
was performed by the king’s shipwrights who were sent into the forests
for that purpose. Iron was £4 to £5, 10s a ton, the Spanish being of a
better quality than the English and costing the higher price. Cables
were used up to seventeen inches in circumference, ordinarily described
as Dantzic, but sometimes from Lynn and Bridport, and bought of both
English and foreign merchants. The price averaged about £12 a ton. The
establishments did not, in 1515, possess any means of weighing cordage
delivered, and there is a charge of 3s 4d for scales ‘hyrede of a belle
ffundere dwellynge at Hondise Diche,’ and sent down to Deptford to
weigh purchased cables. The following are the prices of miscellaneous

         { Olron[443] (1515), 14s 4d and 15s a bolt[444]
  Canvas {   do.      (1518), 10s a bolt
         { Vitery[445] (1515), £4, 13s 4d the balet[446]
         { Poldavys[447] (1515), 18s a bolt

           Hemp (1523), 9s per cwt.
           Lead (1513), 6s per cwt.
           Rosin (1523), 10s per cwt.
           Do.   (1544), 8s per cwt.
           Raw Tallow (1523), 6s per cwt.
           Purified Tallow (1523), 9s per cwt.
           Tallow (1544), 7s and 10s per cwt.
           Flax (1513), 8s per cwt.
           Do.  (1523), 10s and 12s per cwt.
           Oakum (1523), 8s to 14s per cwt.
           Pitch (1514), 4s a barrel
           Do.   (1523), 6s a barrel
           Do.   (1544), 8s a barrel

[Sidenote: Henry VIII and the Navy.]

It is of course beyond the scope of this work to enter into the vexed
question of Henry’s merits or demerits as a ruler, in its widest sense.
But the arming of his kingdom was an important part of the office of a
sixteenth century king, and the views on which it was planned, and the
way in which it was carried out, must form a weighty element in the final
judgment of his fitness for his post. So far as the Navy is concerned
there is little but unqualified praise to be awarded to Henry. That his
action was due to a settled policy and not the product of a momentary
vanity or desire for display is shown by the fact that it commenced
with his accession and was still progressing at his decease. For almost
thirty-eight years nearly every year marked some advance in construction
or administration, some plan calculated to make the Navy a more effective
fighting instrument. So far as numbers went he made it the most powerful
navy in the world, remembering the limited radius within which it was
called upon to act. He revolutionised its armament and improved its
fighting and sailing qualities, he himself inventing or adapting a type
thought fit for the narrow seas. He enlarged the one dockyard he found
existing and formed two others in positions so suitable for their purpose
that they remained in use as long as the system of wooden ships they
were built in connection with. Regulations for the manœuvring of fleets
and the discipline of their crews were due to him. He discarded the one
mediæval officer of the crown and organised an administration so broadly
planned that, in an extended form, it remains in existence to-day. He
built forts for the defence of the coasts, a measure that might now be
criticised as showing ignorance of the strategical use of a fleet, but a
criticism which is inapplicable to the middle of the sixteenth century
when the Navy had yet to fight its way not only to supremacy but to
equality. It may be said that events pointed to, and almost enforced,
the new direction given to national endeavour and the new value attached
to the naval arm. Allowing due weight to the altered conditions the fact
remains that Henry accepted them and carried out the innovations they
involved with an energy and thoroughness akin to genius. The maritime
systems of France and Spain, whether in details of shipbuilding or the
larger methods of administration, remained unchanging and inelastic,
ignoring the mutations of a century remarkable for activity and progress.
Spain tried to hold the command of the sea in the sixteenth century with
an organisation little altered from that found sufficient in the previous
one. Circumstances brought England into conflict with her and not with
France, and she had to pay for her blunder of pride or sluggishness with
the ruin of her empire.

In these changes history gives no sign of there being any extraneous
influence acting through the king. Ministers might come and go but
the work of naval extension, done under his personal supervision and
direction, went on methodically and unceasingly. He trod a path that
some of his predecessors had indicated but none had entered. The errors
he committed were those inevitable to a new scheme, a plan which was not
an enlargement but a reconstruction, and in which he was a pioneer. His
mistakes were those of the scientific ignorance and feudal spirit of his
age; his successes were of a much higher order and informed with the
statesmanship of a later time.



[Sidenote: Changes in the Navy List.]

It is usually said that during the reigns of Edward VI and Mary the
Navy was neglected. As a generalisation this is incorrect, although
it is true that the number of ships fell off and that the results of
naval undertakings were not commensurate with the efforts made, or
the money expended upon them. But the administration of both reigns
will compare favourably with that of long periods of the seventeenth
century. Considering the tardy acceptance of new ideas it would have been
marvellous had Henry’s policy been at once consistently and continuously
carried on. The factious struggles which occupied the reign of Edward
and the religious difficulties of that of Mary were not conducive to
perseverance in any settled design, but at least the Regency did not make
it their business to at once sell off the Navy. Moreover many of the
disappearances from the Edwardian navy lists are of the purchased vessels
of the later years of Henry’s reign, and of the small rowbarges he had
built from his own design and for a special purpose. The former, we may
be certain, had not been constructed with the strength and solidity
characterising English ships, and some were perhaps old when bought into
the service for which they were momentarily desirable.

The earliest navy list subsequent to Henry’s death is of 5th Jan.
1548.[448] This contains 32 large vessels, having an aggregate of 10,600
tons, besides the _Galley Subtylle_, 13 rowbarges of 20 tons each, and 4
barks of 40 tons. Of other ships belonging to the last reign the _French
Galley_ or _Mermaid_ is omitted, but was in the service then and long
afterwards, the _Artigo_ had been sold by an order of 14th April 1547,
and the _Minion_ had been given to Sir Thomas Seymour. Comparing this
with the next list of 22nd May 1549[449] we find that not only are all
the large vessels of 1548 still carried in it but that it is increased
by the presence of the _Mary Willoby_, recaptured in 1547, two French
prizes of 200 tons each, and ‘the three new pinnaces unnamed,’ and
evidently just built.[450] Eleven ships were cruising in the North Sea
and eighteen in the Channel, which does not give the impression of a
cessation of activity notwithstanding the intrigues of Somerset, Seymour,
and Northumberland, Kett’s rising, and similar distractions. During 1548
and 1549 ten of the rowbarges, being doubtless found useless, were sold
for £165, 4s.[451] The next list is of 26th August 1552[452]; of the
before-named 32 vessels the _Murryan_ had been sold in December 1551
for £400, the _Struse_ for £200, the _Christopher_ and _Unicorn_ are
ordered to be sold, the _Grand Mistress_ is considered worthless, and
the _Less Bark_, _Lion_, and _Dragon_ are to be rebuilt. The remainder
are still serviceable, or require only slight repair, while the names
of the _Primrose_ and _Bark of Bullen_ reappear attached to new ships
and the _Mary Willoby_ has been rebuilt.[453] A French prize, the _Black
Galley_, captured in 1549, is not found in this list, and the _Lion_,
a Scotch man-of-war taken by the _Pauncye_, was lost off Harwich. In
January 1551 a fleet of twelve vessels was at sea, and in 1552 at least
eight vessels were in commission, so that altogether up to 1552 there was
no great reduction in the effective strength or want of energy in its
use. There were now three galleys belonging to the crown and they were
not favourably regarded. In 1551 a note of the debts incurred in relation
to them was required and the crews were to be discharged as the vessels
were very expensive and ‘serve indede to lytle purpose.’[454] This was
followed by a warrant on 30th March for £231, 12s to pay them off, and
£55 ‘to be divided equallie amonge the Forsares nowe disarmed.’

[Sidenote: Gillingham.]

Edward died on 6th July 1553, therefore it is not strange that there is
no later navy list of his reign than that of August 1552. Not only was
there no deterioration during his short rule, but two important steps
were taken in furtherance of the work of organisation that was Henry’s
legacy. The commencement of the great Chatham yard, and the formation of
the Victualling into a separate and responsible department, were due to
the action of the Council. The Medway anchorage was then, and for some
years afterwards, called Gillingham, or Jillingham, Water, and the first
order for its use is of 8th June 1550, when the Council directed that all
the ships laid up were to be, after the discharge of their officers and
crews, ‘herbarowed’ there.[455] On 14th August they further ordered that
the men-of-war at Portsmouth were to be brought round to Gillingham, and
on 22nd August William Wynter, then ‘Surveyor of the Ships,’ was sent
down to superintend their removal.[456] This of course could have been no
sudden determination, but there is no hint of the discussions that must
have preceded it. Considerations that may have favoured the measure were
the limited anchorage space afforded by Woolwich and Deptford, and the
distance of Portsmouth from the centre of government and the merchants
supplying stores, of which nearly all had to be sent from London. Another
reason was the ease with which the work of grounding and graving could
be carried on in the Medway with its banks of mud and large tidal rise
and fall; this, in fact, is the only one given in the Council order of
14th August 1550. Years were yet to elapse before the beginning of the
dockyard appears, and the victualling storehouses for the men employed
were at Rochester. That there were a large number of men there is shown
by the victualling accounts between 28th June 1550 and 29th September
1552. Rochester stands for £6137 of the total, while Woolwich and
Deptford cost £8382, Portsmouth £2407, and Dover £646.[457] The Admiralty
branch, represented by the Treasurer, spent, up to 24th October 1551
£6600, at Gillingham in wages and necessaries. Portsmouth, however, only
slowly lost its comparative pre-eminence although it was now far less
important than Deptford; in 1556 there were still more vessels laid up
there than at Gillingham, and its victualling charges, the only test
remaining, were £2472, against £1526 at Gillingham. The choice of the
Medway was followed by an order, on 16th January 1551, to build a bulwark
at Sheerness for its defence.[458]

[Sidenote: Naval Expenditure.]

The only accounts of the Navy Treasurer which have survived for this
reign are from 25th December 1546 to 25th December 1547, and from 29th
September 1548 to 24th October 1551.[459] During the first period his
expenses were nearly £41,000, of which sea-charges (wages) were £6926,
Deptford £18,824, Woolwich £3439, Gillingham £4167, Harwich £1631,
Colne £484, and Portsmouth £1211. It will be noticed that there are
heavy payments in relation to Gillingham nearly three years before the
action of the Council, in 1550. There is no obvious explanation of
this; the body of the account does not show what particular work was
carried on there but it may have been done by way of experiment. In the
second period the Treasurer received £65,809 and spent £66,250. Of this
sum sea-charges were £14,400, press and conduct money £2900, Deptford
£30,300, Woolwich £2054, Gillingham £6600, and Portsmouth £1157. Edward
VI inherited his father’s interest in maritime affairs and appears to
have been continually at Deptford. There is a charge of £88, 6s 2d for
paving ‘the street,’ presumably the High Street, which was ‘so noysome
and full of fylth that the Kynges Maiestie myght not pass to and fro to
se the buylding of his Highnes shippes.’[460] Deptford, it is seen, was
now the leading dockyard, a position it retained for the remainder of the

All such improvements as seemed beneficial were adopted that the service
might be rendered more efficient. A warrant for £70, 11s was issued to
pay for ‘bringing over certain Bretons to teach men here the art of
making polldavies.’ From another document we find that two of these
Bretons were attached to Deptford. Lead sheathing was newly applied to
English ships in 1553, but had been since 1514 in use in the Spanish

There can be little doubt that Henry VIII had intended the formation
of a Victualling Department, and that the Council only executed a set
purpose already fully discussed and resolved upon. To a man with Henry’s
clear perception of the needs of the growing Navy, and his liking for
systematic and responsible management, the haphazard method of a dozen
agents acting independently and uncontrolled by any central authority,
must have been peculiarly hateful. Edward Baeshe who, until 1547, had
been merely one of the many agents employed, was chosen in that year to
act with Richard Wattes, the two being appointed ‘surveyors of victuals
within the city of London,’ with power to press workmen, seamen, and
ships, and with a general superintendence over their local subordinates.
They supplied not only the fleet but the troops acting against Scotland.
This was a tentative movement onwards, but by Letters Patent of 28th June
1550, Baeshe alone was appointed ‘General Surveyor of the Victuals for
the Seas,’ with a fee of £50 a year, three shillings and fourpence a day
for travelling expenses, and two shillings a day for clerks. Provisions
were obtained by exercising the crown prerogative of purveyance, and the
money required was received from the Treasurer of the Navy and included
in his estimates, although Baeshe also kept separate accounts which
were examined and signed by not less than two of the Admiralty officers.
Between 1st July 1547, and 29th September 1552, £51,500 passed through
his hands and his inferior officers were acting under his directions
wheresoever ships were stationed.

[Sidenote: Admiralty Officers.]

Death and other accidents soon altered the arrangement of the Navy Board
as appointed by Henry VIII. Robert Legge, the first Treasurer by patent,
died some time in 1548, and his accounts determined on 29th September. He
was succeeded by Benjamin Gonson, although Gonson’s Letters Patent bear
the date of 8th July 1549. William Wynter, son of John Wynter the first
Treasurer, and who was making a name as a seaman, succeeded Gonson as
Surveyor by Letters Patent of the same date. William Holstock, formerly
an unclassified assistant, became keeper of the storehouses at Deptford
by patent of 25th June 1549, at a salary of £26, 13s 4d a year and £6 for
boat hire. Sir William Woodhouse, originally Master of the Ordnance of
the Navy, succeeded Sir Thomas Clere as Lieutenant of the Admiralty by a
patent of 16th December 1552, and on the same day Thomas Windham replaced
Woodhouse as Master of the Ordnance of the Navy. From the date of the
institution of the Admiralty the post of Lord Admiral, hitherto one of
dignity and occasional high command, became an office necessitating work
of a more everyday character. Although there is no precise order bearing
on the subject it is evident that its holder was at the head of the Board
and decided questions referred to him by the inferior officers. Thomas,
Lord Seymour of Sudeley, was appointed on 17th February 1547, and was
beheaded on 20th March 1549. John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, who, under his
earlier title of Lord Lisle had held the post under Henry VIII was again
nominated for a short time from 28th October 1549, but from 4th May 1550
Edward, Lord Clynton, became High Admiral.

[Sidenote: Piracy and Privateering.]

Strangely as it may read, there was for the moment a direct connection
between this great office of the crown and piracy, for Lord Seymour
was implicated in several nefarious transactions of the kind. But the
government itself, while publicly denouncing pirates and equipping ships
to apprehend them, was secretly encouraging acts which were only to be
faintly distinguished from open robbery. In August 1548 certain vessels
were sent out against the Scots and pirates, but private instructions
were given to the captains that, because we were on very doubtful terms
with France, they were to seize French ships, ‘saying to them that they
have been spoyled before by frenchemenne and could have no justice, or
pretending that the victualles or thinges of munition found in any such
frenche shippes weare sent to ayde the Scottes or such lyk.’[462] It
is true that if peace continued all such cargoes were to be restored
and the captors’ expenses discharged by the government, but in face of
such teaching it cannot be a matter for surprise that the generality of
owners and captains bettered their instructions and failed to draw the
line at the exact point marked for them. One of the articles against
Seymour at his trial included accusations that goods taken by pirates
were seen in his house and distributed among his friends; that when
plunder had been recaptured from the freebooters the captors were sent
to prison, and that pirates taken and committed to prison were set
free. As a rule the charges made in an indictment of a fallen minister
require to be very closely scanned, but for these there is a good deal
of corroborative evidence. As early as 20th September 1546, the Council
were hearing the complaint of ‘oon that sueth against a servant of Sir
Thomas Semars for a pyracie.’ After his death the Council awarded £40 to
a Frenchman in compensation for losses sustained through ‘the ministres
of Lord Seymour.’[463] There is a distinct statement that when pressed
for money after the death of his wife, the Dowager Queen, he was, among
other things, in partnership with many pirates and received half the
booty.[464] Although some of the details of the complaints made against
him may be inexact there can be no doubt that the charges as a whole
were well founded, and it is significant that the Council dealt with the
trouble more successfully after his execution.

In view of the proceedings of the government and the Lord Admiral, it
is not surprising that piracy advanced in popularity. Ships, either of
the Navy or hired, were being continually sent to sea to keep order;
sometimes the latter joined in the business themselves[465] and the
former often gave but half-hearted service. As many of the company of a
man-of-war might, a month before, have been members of a pirate’s crew,
and perhaps expected at their discharge to again tread a rover’s deck,
no great ardour was to be expected from them. At times they seem to have
been unable even to wait for their discharge. When Tyrrel and Holstock
were serving in the Channel, their men, when they boarded foreigners
for inquiry, robbed them of property and provisions.[466] The superior
officers had to be spurred on to their duty. On one occasion it was
necessary to order the Admiral commanding in the Channel to attend to
his business, ‘and not lye in the haven at Dover idlye as the Navye
doth.’[467] When a leader of the fraternity was caught, the haul usually
proved expensive and useless, as he was speedily free again; £300 was
granted to the captors of Cole, a well-known name about this time, but
Cole is soon found to be at work once more. Strangeways who later died
in Elizabeth’s service at Havre, Thomson, and Thomas and Peter Killigrew
were others whose names were too familiar to the Council. English, Irish,
and Scotch pirates swarmed in the narrow seas, a fleet of twenty sail
were on the Irish coast, and the Scotch seem to have been particularly

These adventurers, whether licensed or unlicensed, were usually gallant
enough and thought little about odds. A privateer of 95 tons and 28
officers and men fell in with a fleet of 27 Normans and Bretons returning
from Scotland where they had served for six months. Nothing daunted,
‘althugh our powr were litle yet as pore men desyrus to do our dewtye,’
they closed with one and drove it ashore where they left it ‘rolling
uppon the terrabile waves,’ then drove two others ashore and captured a
fourth. The French fleet carried 120 guns and 1100 men.[468] The incident
is remarkable as showing the careless indifference, born of centuries of
struggle with the sea and the enemies it carried, with which our seamen
regarded superior strength, long before the outburst of successful piracy
on a large scale, which is supposed to have taught them their peculiar

[Sidenote: The Salute to the Flag.]

In other ways the members of the Regency showed themselves desirous of
upholding the honour of their country. There is no especial reference
during the previous reign to the claim to the salute, but it was now
stringently enforced when possible. It was not yielded however without
protest, ‘the Fleming’s men-of-war would have passed our ships without
vailing bonnet, which they seeing, shot at them and drove them at length
to vail the bonet.’[469] A year later they were more tractable, since
the Flemings riding at Dieppe lowered the sail to an English man-of-war
which came into the port.[470] With France the question was less easily
settled. When Henry Dudley and the Baron de la Garde were both at sea,
the former, having the weaker fleet, desired instructions about the
salute. The Council wrote that ‘in respect of thamitie and that the sayd
Baron is stronger upon the sees sume tymes yelde and sume tymes receyve

[Sidenote: Rewards and Peculations.]

There was no change in the pay or position of the seamen, but they appear
to have been liberally treated. The crew of the _Minion_, 300 in number,
were given £100 among them for capturing a Frenchman, probably the
_Black Galley_,[472] William Wynter, Surveyor of the Navy, commanded the
_Minion_ on this occasion, and neither now nor afterwards did the duties
of their posts prevent the four principal Officers commanding at sea,
sometimes for long periods.

We do not find any mention of embezzlements and thefts during the reign
of Henry VIII, not, probably, because they did not occur, but because the
Navy papers are comparatively scanty and mostly financial accounts made
up in their final form. With Edward VI they begin to appear, and grow
rapidly in number subsequently. It was found necessary to pass an act
forbidding the Lord Admiral, or any of his officers, to exact payments
of money or fish from the Newfoundland or Iceland fishermen under pain
of a fine of treble the amount levied.[473] It was said to be a practice
of ‘within these few years now last past,’ but abuses usually have to be
of long existence before they attain the honour of an Act of Parliament
for their suppression. A victualling agent, Henry Folk, was committed
to the Fleet prison for embezzling money received for navy victualling,
‘which he hath not answered againe to the poore men but converted the
money otherways and suffered them to remayne unpayed and in exclamacion,’
The ‘poore men’ here referred to are more likely to have been persons
from whom provisions had been purchased than seamen. The decline of the
fishing industry was attributed, among other causes, to the action of the
crown purveyors in seizing quantities of fish at nominal prices.

[Sidenote: Merchant Shipping and Trade.]

There is no return of merchant shipping for this period, but the bounty
of five shillings a ton on new vessels was paid in several cases. Lord
Russell, the Lord Privy Seal, received it on the _Anne Russell_ of 110
tons and there are other similar warrants. There is, however, a paper
calendared under the next reign which gives a list of merchantmen of 100
tons and upwards, ‘decayed’ between 1544-5 and 1553. It names seventeen
belonging to London of 2530 tons, thirteen of Bristol of 2380 tons, and
five owned in other ports.[474] This does not necessarily mean that the
merchant navy had decreased to the extent of thirty-five such ships but
may refer to those worn out by age and service and possibly replaced.
Royal ships were still chartered by merchants for trading purposes; £1000
was paid for the _Jesus of Lubeck_ and another, for a voyage to the
Levant in 1552.[475] Later in the reign two of the navy officers, Gonson
and Wynter, were indulging in similar speculation, and obtained the
_Mathew_ valued at £1208, for which they were required to give sureties.

A commercial treaty with Sweden was on foot in 1550, but as the King of
Denmark was urgently complaining of the English pirates who infested the
Sound it was not likely to be of much advantage. The formation of the
Russia company in 1553, although it was not incorporated until 1555,
marked the inception of the great trading companies which did much,
directly and indirectly, to increase both the number of ships and their
size. Attention was given to the fishing trade and its growth stimulated
by an enactment[476] which made Fridays, Saturdays, and Ember days, fish
days, under penalty of ten shillings fine, and ten days’ imprisonment for
the first, and double for the second and every following offence.

[Sidenote: The circumstances under which the Navy was maintained.]

All through the reign regard was paid to naval requirements under
financial conditions which, during many other periods, would have ensured
their relegation to a future time. On the 4th November 1550, the Officers
of the Navy appeared before the Council and brought books with them, one
relating to the docking and repair of certain ships, a second ‘concerning
things necessary to be done,’ and a third containing an estimate of
stores required. The money wanted for these purposes was £2436, and the
department was already in debt to the amount of £4800. Two years later
the crown owed £132,372 abroad and £108,826 at home, of which only £5000
was due by the Admiralty.[477] The naval expenses from January 1547 to
September 1552 are tabulated as:—[478]

  Cordage, timber, etc.,                                    £51,152 11  5
  Coat and conduct money,                                      5070  1  5
  Wages of soldiers, sailors, dockyards, shipwrights, etc.,  78,263  3  8½
  Furniture of ships and carriage,                             2451 14 10
  Riding and posting charges, hire of docks and storehouses,   1609  4  6
  Victualling,                                               64,844 17  3½
  Ordnance and ammunition,                                   10,445 16  8½

These were very large amounts, taken with those of the last years of
Henry VIII,[479] for the England of 1552, and we know that the public
debt of £241,000 was the result of heavy borrowings at home and abroad.
Some progress however was made towards the liquidation of the debt,
since it had sunk to £180,000 at the accession of Mary. But as, in this
financial situation, the Navy was not allowed to materially retrogress
the imputation usually made against the Regency of indifference to its
strength is one certainly not justified by facts.



[Sidenote: The Royal Ships.]

There is no complete navy list for the reign of Mary therefore the
changes that took place in the royal ships can only, in most cases,
be ascertained by comparison with earlier and later lists. There is,
however, a record of the sale of certain ships in 1555; the _Primrose_
for £1000, the _Mary Hambro_ £20, the _Grand Mistress_ £35, the _Hind_
£8, the _Christopher_ £15, the _Unicorn_ £10, and four of the smallest
pinnaces or rowbarges.[480] The prices obtained show that, with the
exception of the _Primrose_, they must have been in very bad condition.
The _Bark of Bullen_ was delivered in 1553 to Jeffrey Coke, on condition
of his carrying the Lord Deputy and the royal despatches to and from
Ireland when necessary.[481] The _Henry Grace à Dieu_ was burnt by
accident at Woolwich on 25th August 1553.[482] Comparing the first
complete navy list of Elizabeth with the Edwardian of 26th August 1552,
we find that, besides the above mentioned vessels, only the _Pauncye_,
_Mathew_, and _Less Bark_, are wanting of the larger ships. On the other
hand the _Sacrett_, a French prize of 160 tons, a new _Mary Rose_ of
500 tons in 1555, the _Philip and Mary_ in 1556 of 450 tons, the _Lion_
rebuilt in 1557, a new _Bark of Boulogne_, and the _Brigantine_ replace
these deficiencies. When we read that Henry VIII left a fleet of 53
vessels, and that it rapidly diminished after his death, it must be
remembered that thirteen of them were twenty-ton rowbarges immediately
cast off as useless, and that only twenty-eight, excluding the galleys,
were of 100 tons and upwards. A navy list of February 1559 names
twenty-five of this class, serviceable and unserviceable, and the next,
of 24th March 1559, twenty. Accepting the last, as affording the most
unfavourable comparison, it does not warrant the severe condemnation of
the naval administration of Mary’s reign to which we are accustomed.
Moreover many of the men-of-war dated from the years 1544-6, and were
now approaching the time when they required rebuilding. The long ‘life’
of wooden as compared with iron ships has become proverbial but did not
apply to sixteenth, and hardly to seventeenth century vessels. Doubtless
the absence of proper sheathing, and the bad adjustment of weights, which
caused excessive straining in a seaway, had much to do with it, but
whatever the cause men-of-war are found to need rebuilding within, at the
most, every twenty-five years during the Tudor and Stewart reigns.

There is an Elizabethan paper of 1562[483] which, if it can be even
partially trusted, shows that the closing months of Mary’s reign were
characterised by great dockyard activity. The _Hart_, _Antelope_,
_Swallow_, _New Bark_, _Jennett_, _Greyhound_, _Phœnix_, and _Sacar_ are
assigned to 1558 as new ships, that is to say as rebuilt, for in these
early documents distinction is seldom drawn between one really new and
one merely rebuilt. Mary died on 17th November 1558, and if the year were
reckoned by the New Style there would be no question but that they must
have been begun during her lifetime and finished at least shortly after
her death. But at this time the year ended on 24th March, and the unknown
writer of the paper in the _Cecil MSS._ when he assigns these vessels
to 1558 means a period ceasing on 24th March 1559, when Elizabeth had
been nearly four-and-a-half months on the throne. It is known that the
dockyards were working busily shortly after Elizabeth’s accession, but
assuming the 1562 writer to be correct in his dates, and as a whole there
is some corroborative evidence of his general accuracy, it seems quite
impossible that these eight ships could have been rebuilt between 17th
November 1558, and 24th March 1559. That being so Mary’s government must
be allowed the credit of recognising the decline in the effective force
and of the measures taken for its renewal.

There is another test that can be applied to the question of the activity
or inactivity of the government, and that is the number of ships sent to
sea during these years. In 1554 twenty-nine men-of-war, manned by 4034
men, were in commission;[484] during 1555-6 thirty-eight, several of
them of course twice or thrice over;[485] in 1557 twenty-four, and in
December eight others were in preparation.[486] Yet, again, if we take
the squadrons especially sent out pirate catching, we find that during
1555-6 eight vessels were equipped to search for Cole and Stevenson, two
well known adventurers, and there are many other references to men-of-war
commissioned with the same object. In another way the naval history of
this reign is noteworthy. Although it was not unknown for ships to be at
sea in winter it was as yet exceptional, but we now find it occurring
more frequently during these few years than through the whole reign of
Henry VIII. No fewer than eight were cruising during the first four
months of 1556;[487] in October 1557, ten;[488] and ten in February and
March of the same year.[489]

[Sidenote: Admiralty Officers and Administration.]

Lord Clynton was still Lord Admiral at the death of Edward VI. He was
then unfortunate enough to be on the wrong side, and his influence with
the men seems to have been small, as the crews of six vessels, sent
to the Norfolk coast to prevent the flight of Mary, went over to her
side. Clynton was replaced by William, Lord Howard of Effingham, from
26th March 1554. The first named, however, regained the Queen’s favour
by the efficient aid he gave in Wyatt’s rising and was reappointed on
10th February 1557; thenceforward he retained the office till his death
on 16th January 1585. The only other change among the chief officers
was the nomination of William Wynter to be Master of the Ordnance of
the Navy from 2nd November 1557;[490] he was already Surveyor and now
held both offices for the rest of his life. The salary of the conjoined
appointments was £100 a year, with the usual 6s 8d a day travelling
expenses, 2s 4d a day for clerks, and £8 a year for boat hire. The
management of the Admiralty was, if not exactly reformed, subjected to
close scrutiny. In 1556 Lord Howard was ordered ‘to repayre himself
forthwith on receipte hereof,’ without the knowledge of the other
officers, and take ‘a secret muster’ of the men on board the ships, to
search the ships for concealed men and victuals, and to arrange for a
monthly muster on the cruisers in the narrow seas.[491] Regulations
were also established for the supply of stores and provisions and their
economical use, and a first attempt was made to check the waste of
ammunition in saluting by an order that it was not to be consumed in
‘vayne shot.’[492]

A year later a further alteration followed, which took the form of
allowing a fixed yearly sum for ordinary naval expenses, a rule which
remained long in force. There may also have been other reasons for some
additional changes made. Clynton may not have been entirely trusted, or
some suspicion, perhaps, was taking shape concerning the provident or
honest conduct of the Officers. The order ran:—

    ‘Wheare heretofore the Quenes Maiestie hath ben sundrie tymes
    troubled with thoften signing of warrantes for money to be
    defraied about the necessarie chardges of her Highnesses navie
    and being desierouse to have some other order taken for the
    easyer conducting of this matter heareaftyr: Dyd this daie upon
    consultacion had with certayn of my lords of the Counsell for
    this purpose desyere the Lord Treasurer[493] with thadvise of
    the Lord Admyrall to take this matter upon hym who agreinge
    thareunto was content to take the chardge thereof with theis
    conditions ffollowinge; ffirst, he requyred to have the some of
    £14,000 by yere to be advaunced half yerely to Benjamyn Gonson
    Threasarer of Thadmyraltie to be by hym defrayed in such sort
    as shalbe prescribed by hym the sayed Lord Threasowrer with
    thadvise of the Lorde Admyrall.’

For which sum the Lord Treasurer will

    ‘cause such of her Maiesties shippes as may be made servicable
    with calkeinge and newe trymmynge to be sufficiently renewed
    and repaired Item to cause such of her Highnes saied shippes as
    must of necessitie be made of newe to be gone in hand withall
    and newe made with convenyent speede Item he to see also all
    her Highnes saied shippes furnysshed with sailles, anchors,
    cables, and other tackell and apparell sufficientlye Item he
    to cause the wagis and victuallinge of the shipp keepers and
    woorkmen in harborough to be paied and dischardged Item he to
    cause a masse of victual to be alwayes in redynes to serve for
    1000 men for a moneth to be sette to the sea upon eny sodeyne
    Item he to cause the saied shippes from tyme to tyme to be
    repaired and renewed as occasion shall requiere Item whenn
    the saied shippes that ar to be renewed shalbe newe made and
    sufficientlie repaired and the hole navie furnyshed of saylles,
    anckers, cables, and other tackell then is the saied Lord
    Treasowrer content to contynue this servis in fourme aforesaied
    for the some of £10,000 yerely to be advaunced as is aforesaied
    Item the saied Benjamyn Gonson and Edward Bashe Surveyor of the
    Victuells of the shippes shall make theare severall accomptes
    of the defrayment of the saied money and of theare hole doinges
    herein once in the yere at the least and as often besydes as
    shall be thowght convenyent by my Lordes of the Counsell.’

Any surplusage was to be carried forward towards the next year’s
expenses; the division of the money was, by estimation, £2000 for stores,
£1000 for rigging, £6000 for harbour wages and victualling, and £5000
for the building and repair of ships.[494] By 1558 the allowance was
reduced to £12,000 a year, but even the proposed minimum of £10,000 was
much above anything allowed by Elizabeth during the greater part of her
reign. Moreover, the large scheme of rebuilding outlined in this paper
indirectly confirms the statement of the writer in the _Cecil MSS._[495]
in assigning numerous new, _i.e._ rebuilt, ships to 1558. Obviously the
circumstance of the Queen being overworked was not by itself any reason
why the real control should be taken from the Lord Admiral and other
Officers and given to the Lord Treasurer. The fact that payment was
now to be made in gross to Gonson of so many thousands a year instead
of, as formerly, by warrant for each separate matter, will explain the
necessity for some new check on the Navy Treasurer, but will not explain
the practical supersession of the Lord Admiral. As long as Burleigh was
Lord Treasurer he also remained the final authority on naval matters,
practically exercising the authority of a First Lord of the Admiralty of
the present day. The system of accounts now adopted endured, with some
modifications, for nearly a century, and to the order which prescribed
the rendering of a full statement once a year we owe the series of
_Audit_, or _Pipe Office Accounts_, an invaluable source of information
for naval history.

[Sidenote: Expenditure and Establishments.]

The average of wages all round had risen to 9s 4d a month ‘dead shares
and rewards included;’ this, judging from the early years of the next
reign, meant 6s 8d a month for the seamen. The custom of providing the
men with coats and jackets was dying out. There are no references to
these articles in the naval papers of the reign, but in a semi-official
expedition, that of Willoughby and Chancellor in 1553, the instructions
direct that the ‘liveries in apparel’ were only to be worn by the sailors
on state occasions. At other times they were to be kept in the care of
the supercargoes and ordinary clothes were to be sold to the crews at
cost price.[496]

The one return of expenses remaining shows an extremely heavy naval
expenditure.[497] Between 1st January 1557 and 31st December 1558
£157,638 was spent, of which victualling took £73,503, Deptford £22,120,
Woolwich £4048, Gillingham £408, Portsmouth £7521, and wages of men at
sea £43,492. Stores, such as timber, pitch, tar, cordage, etc., absorbed
nearly £20,000, included under the dockyard headings. From this account
it also appears that Legge when Treasurer, probably therefore in the
reign of Henry VIII, had advanced £100 to two Lincolnshire men for seven
years in order to assist the creation of another centre of the cordage
industry. The experiment was not successful and the item is carried
over formally in each successive account until dropped as a bad debt.
Victualling storehouses for the government had been built or bought at
Ratcliff, Rochester, Gillingham and Portsmouth; ordnance wharves at
Woolwich, Portsmouth and Porchester. Portsmouth was momentarily regaining
favour, and the Council recommended that ships should be laid up there
because the harbour afforded better opportunity for rapid action in the
Channel than did the Thames. The chief shipwright was now Peter Pett who
was receiving a fee of one shilling a day from the Exchequer in addition
to the ordinary payments made to him by the Admiralty.

[Sidenote: Disease on Shipboard.]

War was declared with France on 7th June 1557, but the operations of 1558
were nullified by an outbreak of disease in the fleet as severe as that
of 1545. In 1557 Howard informed the Council that he could not obtain at
Dover ‘in a weke so moche victulls as wold victull ii pynnesses,’ and
although the complaint is a year earlier the character of the supplies
and the hardships it connotes, are very likely the key to the visitation
of the following summer. From the 5th to 17th August Clynton lay at St
Helens with the fleet, having returned from the capture and destruction
of Conquet. On the 18th he put to sea, and on the 20th was near the
Channel Islands, when so sudden an outburst occurred ‘that I thinke
the lieke was never syne ffor ther wer many ships that halfe the men
wer throwen downe sick at once.’[498] After holding a council with his
captains, which the masters of his ships also attended, he returned to

[Sidenote: Privateering and Piracy.]

Privateering was encouraged by a proclamation of 8th July 1557,
permitting any one to fit out vessels against the royal enemies, and
allowing possession to be retained of all ships and goods captured
‘withoute making accompte in any courte or place of this realme,’ and
without payment of any dues to the Lord Admiral or any other officer.
This entire abrogation of control increased the tendency to illegal
acts even among the more honest adventurers; while Carews, Killigrews,
Tremaines, and the ubiquitous Strangways, and Thomson, industriously
working for themselves, the government had always with them. Thomson was
off Scilly in 1556, with three ships, and was taken. When tried only
he and four others were condemned and the Council loudly complained
of the partiality of the jury, a partiality which better explains the
prevalence of piracy during these years than the accepted explanation
of the inefficiency of the Navy. The two Killigrews, Thomas and Peter,
were, if not the worst, the most successful offenders and in 1556 were
sufficiently enriched by their plunder to think of retiring to ‘some
island’ for the winter. They were frequently chased into French ports,
but to keep them there was beyond the power of the men-of-war, and the
French authorities treated them with a neutrality more than benevolent.

When we find a privateer belonging to the Lord Privy Seal attacking
neutral vessels, and man-of-war officers boarding and robbing a Flemish
merchantman at Tilbury, it seems wonderful, in view of the excesses
such incidents suggest among the majority with no sense of legal
responsibility, that commerce could have been carried on at all.



[Sidenote: The Naval Policy of Elizabeth.]

Her subjects were occupied, during the greater portion of Elizabeth’s
reign, in teaching their Queen the use of a navy, instruction that
she was the first English sovereign to put into practice on strategic
principles. Yet study of the forty-five years of glorious naval history
on which her renown is mainly based, leaves the impression that more
might and should have been done with the Navy. That she preferred
diplomacy to force would have been a merit had the choice been founded
on an ethical detestation of the cruelty of war, instead of an ingenuous
belief in her own skill and the obtuseness of her antagonists. Under
conditions more favourable to ascendancy at sea than have ever existed
for England, before or since, the successes of the Navy itself, as
distinguished from the expansion of the commercial marine, were, although
relatively great, limited by the hesitation with which the naval arm
was employed, the way in which the service was pecuniarily starved, and
the settled doctrine underlying her maritime essays that an expedition
should be of a character to return a profit on the outlay. And perhaps
the severest comment on her government lies in the fact that she was more
liberal in her treatment of the Navy, than of any other department of the
State. In February 1559 she possessed twenty-two effective ships of 100
tons and upwards, in March 1603, twenty-nine; practically, therefore, she
did little more than replace those worn out by efflux of time, for only
two were lost in warfare. If Henry VIII created a navy under the stimulus
of a possible necessity it requires little imagination to conceive his
course when the time had come, as it never came for him, to put forth
every effort in using it for the preservation of England.

When Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, the possession of a fleet and
an organised administration, the French royal navy, only a few years
before an apparently serious competitor, had ceased to exist; the rivalry
of Holland had not yet begun, and it is hardly an exaggeration to say
that a Spanish royal navy had never existed, in the sense of an ocean
going service organised on a basis enabling it to act vigorously and
effectively in any direction.[499] The opportunity had come therefore
to a power with maritime ambition, the only one possessing an efficient
fleet and naval control, and incited by religious differences and
commercial emulation. The altered situation brought to the front a
band of men who, in the preceding century, would have been military
adventurers in France, but who now, half traders, half pirates, handled
their ships with the same strategic and tactical skill their ancestors
exercised on land, and who, if they had been allowed a free hand, would
have brought Spain down in ruin instead of merely reducing her to a
condition of baffled impotence. They were not allowed a free hand. When
acting for themselves they had the knowledge that if it suited the royal
policy of the moment repudiation of their deeds might mean, if not loss
of life, at least loss of property and reputation. When in command of
royal fleets they were kept in touch with the government, hampered by
voluminous and contradictory instructions, and, above all, their efforts
and successes rendered nugatory by the parsimony which kept the depots
always on the brink of exhaustion.

In naval, as in other matters, Elizabeth tried to make her subjects do
the work of the crown and therefore she frequently confined her action
to taking a share with several ships in a privateering expedition,
prepared by private individuals for their own profit. Such expeditions
swell the list of ships employed at sea, and privateering as a source
of injury to an enemy has its value, but such enterprises when forming
the whole effort of the State for a particular year show an insufficient
acquaintance with the character of the operations required. Privateers
were equipped not with large objects but to secure profits for owners
and crews. It sometimes happened that this purpose was at issue with
the wider views of the admiral in command, and the voyage became
ineffective where a similar number of men-of-war subject to discipline
might have done important service. The enormous increase in the merchant
marine which, it will be shown, characterised the reign, was in one way
disadvantageous since it induced the government to rely more on a _guerre
de course_ than on the sustained and systematised action of the Royal
Navy. Even when a great fleet was sent out the light in which Elizabeth
regarded it is instructively shown in a letter to Nottingham, after the
Cadiz voyage of 1596, when he had asked for money to pay the men’s wages:

    ‘though we have already written you divers letters to prevent
    the inconvenience which we suspected would follow this journey
    that it would be rather an action of honour and virtue against
    the enemy and particular profit by spoil to the army than any
    way profitable to ourself yet now we do plainly see by the
    return of our whole fleet that the actions of hope are fully
    finished without as much as surety of defraying the charge past
    or that which is to come.[500]

The blow to Spanish power and prestige, or an ‘action of honour and
virtue,’ counted for nothing if a fleet did not pay its expenses and make
some profit over and above.

It may be asked then in what respect was Elizabeth personally deserving
of praise? The answer is that it fell to her to use for the first time
an untried weapon—untried in the sense that never before had England
relied on it as the right arm of attack or defence. For centuries the
defence of the country had depended on the mail-clad horseman and the
yeoman archer; from the first days of her accession she recognised that
the enemies of England were to be fought at sea, a doctrine which is a
commonplace now, but was then being only slowly evolved in minds even yet
dazzled by memories of invasions of France. She accepted and proved the
truth of the theory on which the policy of Henry VIII was grounded, and,
if she failed to carry it out fully, it was perhaps more from ignorance
of the might of the weapon in her hand than from want of statesmanship.
Notwithstanding her niggardliness, which nearly ruined England in 1588,
she expended money—for her lavishly—on the Navy, while the military and
other services were remorselessly starved. Sooner or later the naval
authorities obtained at least part of their requirements, in striking
contrast to the fortune of other officials who thought, and whose
contemporaries probably thought, their needs of equal or more importance.
If she did not use the fleet as some of the great seamen who served her
would have had her use it, she at anyrate extended its field of action
in a manner hitherto unknown, and sealed the direction of future English

The following abstract, compiled from the pay and victualling lists and
the State Papers, will show the number of vessels of the Royal Navy in
commission each year, that it was used continuously as never before,
but also that it was seldom used up to its possible capacity. In every
case there were hired merchantmen as well if a fleet was engaged in an
over-sea expedition, but unless there was a prospect of plunder the brunt
of the work always fell on the men-of-war. As an arbitrary division, for
the purpose of the table, first-rates are taken as those above 600 tons;
second-rates from 400 to 600 tons; third-rates from 200 to 400 tons;
fourth-rates from 100 to 200 tons; fifth-rates from 50 to 100 tons; and
sixth-rates under 50 tons. Owing to technical difficulties connected with
the lists used it is probably not exactly correct but is sufficiently so
to give a just impression:—

  |           |1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|Galleys.|
  | 1559      |   |   |   | 2 | 4 |   |        |
  | 1560[501] |   |   |   |   |   |   |        |
  | 1561      |   |   | 1 | 1 | 2 |   |   1    |
  | 1562      |   | 2 | 4 | 1 | 5 |   |        |
  | 1563      | 2 | 1 | 9 | 1 | 7 | 4 |   3    |
  | 1564      |   |   | 1 | 2 | 3 |   |        |
  | 1565      |   |   |   | 2 |   |   |        |
  | 1566      |   |   |   | 1 | 2 |   |        |
  | 1567      |   | 1 |   | 1 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1568      |   |   | 2 | 1 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1569      |   | 3 | 4 | 2 | 2 |   |        |
  | 1570      |   | 3 | 3 | 3 | 2 |   |        |
  | 1571      |   |   |   | 2 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1572      |   |   |   | 2 | 2 |   |        |
  | 1573      |   | 1 | 1 | 3 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1574      |   |   |   | 2 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1575      |   |   |   | 2 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1576      |   | 1 | 3 | 2 | 2 |   |        |
  | 1577      |   | 1 | 2 | 2 |   |   |        |
  | 1578      |   | 2 | 3 | 1 |   |   |        |
  | 1579      |   | 1 | 3 | 3 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1580      |   | 1 | 6 | 2 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1581      |   |   | 2 | 5 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1582      |   |   | 1 | 2 | 1 |   |        |
  | 1583      |   |   |   | 2 | 1 | 1 |        |
  | 1584      |   |   |   | 2 | 1 | 1 |        |
  | 1585      |   | 1 | 2 | 4 |   |   |        |
  | 1586      |   | 3 | 1 | 4 | 1 | 7 |   1    |
  | 1587      |   | 3 | 3 | 5 | 3 | 6 |        |
  | 1588[502] | 5 |10 | 5 | 3 | 7 | 3 |   1    |
  | 1589      |   | 4 | 2 | 4 | 2 | 4 |        |
  | 1590      |   | 8 | 4 | 6 | 2 | 5 |        |
  | 1591      |   | 8 | 4 | 2 | 2 | 4 |        |
  | 1592      |   | 2 | 4 | 2 | 2 | 3 |        |
  | 1593      |   | 1 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 2 |        |
  | 1594      |   | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 4 |        |
  | 1595      |   | 4 | 4 | 1 | 2 | 3 |        |
  | 1596      | 4 | 9 | 5 | 3 | 2 | 1 |        |
  | 1597      | 6 |11 | 6 | 1 | 2 | 2 |        |
  | 1598      |   | 5 | 5 | 2 | 2 | 4 |        |
  | 1599      | 6 |10 | 6 | 2 | 2 | 7 |   1    |
  | 1600      | 2 | 2 | 5 | 1 | 1 | 5 |        |
  | 1601      | 2 |11 | 3 | 1 | 2 | 3 |        |
  | 1602      | 3 | 9 | 5 |   | 1 | 1 |        |

From this it is evident that vessels of from 400 to 600 tons were the
favourites; they were handier, better seaboats, and represented the
latest improvements in shipbuilding. Of the eleven first-rates on the
navy list in 1603, two were Spanish prizes of 1596, four dated from the
beginning of the reign, while the remaining five were of 1587 and later
years; it was these latter that were used from 1596 onwards. The four
earlier ones, built before Hawkyns came into office, were of an old type
and seem never to have been commissioned unless the services of the
whole Navy were required. The _Victory_, for instance was only at sea
in 1563, 1588, and 1589, although she is not entered in the foregoing
table under 1589, because lent to the Earl of Cumberland for a private
venture. The stress of the work fell therefore on the smaller vessels.
The _Bonaventure_, for instance, was at sea every year from 1585 to 1590
inclusive. During the greater part of 1591 she was in dock at Woolwich
for repairs, but at Portsmouth in October, and then sent to sea. Again
in 1592, 5, 6, 7, and 1599. The _Dreadnought_, launched in 1573, was
commissioned during each of the six years 1575-80, and in 1585, 7, 8, and
1590. She was then, for nearly a year, in dry dock, recommencing service
in 1594, continuing it in 1595, 6, 7, 9, 1601, 2, and 1603. It must also
be noted that many of these years included more than one commission.
Excluding the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-rates, which were serviceable
for privateering purpose, but could not take a place in any form of
attack requiring ships of force, it will be seen by how very few vessels
the naval warfare was really carried on, and that a succession of serious
descents on the Spanish coasts and transatlantic settlements, such as
were urged on Elizabeth, would have necessitated very large additions to
the Royal Navy.

Shortly after the Queen’s accession she possessed, according to one
account thirty-five,[503] and according to another thirty-two[504]
vessels of all classes and in good and bad condition. Some ships had been
under repair before Mary’s death,[505] but the dockyards were working
with redoubled vigour since Elizabeth’s succession. At Deptford, in
March, 228 men were at work on five ships; at Woolwich 175 men on eight
others, and at Portsmouth 154 men on nine more.[506] Some of these were
rebuildings, others could have been but trifling repairs, but the list
shows with what energy Elizabeth and her Council applied themselves
to the maintenance of the fleet. From that time the yards, with the
exception of a few years, were kept fully occupied, and the following is
a list of the new ships built at them or otherwise added to the Navy. The
dates are New Style:—

  |                       Built|   At    |     By    |Rebuilt|Bought|Prize|
  |                       +----+---------+-----------+-------+------+-----+
  |_Elizabeth Jonas_[507] |1559|Woolwich |           |1597-8 |      |     |
  |_Hope_[508]            |1559|         |           |1602-3 |      |     |
  |_Victory_[509]         |    |         |           |       | 1560 |     |
  |_Primrose_[510]        |    |         |           |       | 1560 |     |
  |_Minion_[511]          |    |         |           |       | 1560 |     |
  |_Galley Speedwell_[512]|1559|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Galley Tryright_[513] |1559|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Triumph_[514]         |1561|         |           |1595-6 |      |     |
  |_Aid_[515]             |1562|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Galley Ellynor_[516]  |    |         |           |       |      |1563 |
  |_Post_[517]            |1563|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Guide_[517]           |1563|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Makeshift_[517]       |1563|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Search_[517]          |1563|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_White Bear_[518]      |1564|         |           |1598-9 |      |     |
  |_Elizabeth             |    |         |           |       |      |     |
  |  Bonaventure_[519]    |    |         |           | 1581  | 1567 |     |
  |_Foresight_[520]       |1570|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Bull_[521]            |    |         |           | 1570  |      |     |
  |_Tiger_[522]           |    |         |           | 1570  |      |     |
  |_Swiftsure_[523]       |1573|Deptford |Peter Pett | 1592  |      |     |
  |_Dreadnought_[524]     |1573|   do.   |Math. Baker| 1592  |      |     |
  |_Achates_[525]         |1573|   do.   |Peter Pett |       |      |     |
  |_Handmaid_[526]        |1573|   do.   |Math. Baker|       |      |     |
  |_Revenge_[527]         |1577|   do.   |           |       |      |     |
  |_Scout_[528]           |1577|   do.   |           |       |      |     |
  |_Merlin_[529]          |1579|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Antelope_[530]        |    |         |           | 1581  |      |     |
  |_Golden Lion_[531]     |    |         |           | 1582  |      |     |
  |_Brigantine_[532]      |1583|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Nonpareil_[533]       |    |Deptford |           | 1584  |      |     |
  |_Galley Bonavolia_[534]|    |         |           | 1584  |      |     |
  |_Greyhound_[535]       |1585|         | Wm. Pett  |       |      |     |
  |_Talbot_[536]          |1585|         |R. Chapman |       |      |     |
  |_Cygnet_[537]          |1585|         |Tho. Bowman|       |      |     |
  |_Makeshift_[538]       |1586|Limehouse| Wm. Pett  |       |      |     |
  |_Spy_[539]             |1586|   do.   |   do.     |       |      |     |
  |_Advice_[540]          |1586|Woolwich | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Trust_[541]           |1586|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Sun_[542]             |1586|Chatham  | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Seven Stars_[543]     |1586|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Tremontana_[544]      |1586|Deptford |R. Chapman |       |      |     |
  |_Moon_[545]            |1586|   do.   |Peter Pett |       |      |     |
  |_Charles_[546]         |1586|Woolwich | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Vanguard_[547]        |1586|   do.   |   do.     |  1599 |      |     |
  |_Rainbow_[548]         |1586|Deptford |Peter Pett |  1602 |      |     |
  |_Ark Royal_[549]       |1587|   do.   |R. Chapman |       |      |     |
  |_Popinjay_[550]        |1587|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Nuestra Señora del    |    |         |           |       |      |     |
  |  Rosario_[551]        |    |         |           |       |      |1588 |
  |_Mary Rose_[552]       |    |         |           |  1589 |      |     |
  |_Merhonour_[553]       |1590|         | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Garland_[554]         |1590|         |R. Chapman |       |      |     |
  |_Defiance_[555]        |1590|         | P. & Jos. |       |      |     |
  |                       |    |         |   Pett    |       |      |     |
  |_Answer_[556]          |1590|         | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Quittance_[557]       |1590|         |   do.     |       |      |     |
  |_Crane_[558]           |1590|         |R. Chapman |       |      |     |
  |_Advantage_[559]       |1590|         | P. & Jos. |       |      |     |
  |                       |    |         |   Pett    |       |      |     |
  |_Lion’s Whelp_[560]    |1590|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Primrose Hoy_[561]    |1590|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Black Dog_[562]       |    |         |           |       |      |1590 |
  |_French Frigott_[563]  |    |         |           |       |      |1591 |
  |_Flighte_[564]         |1592|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Mercury_[565]         |1592|Deptford | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Eagle_[566]           |    |         |           |       | 1592 |     |
  |_Adventure_[567]       |1594|Deptford | M. Baker  |       |      |     |
  |_Mynikin_[568]         |1595|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_Warspite_[569]        |1596|Deptford |E. Stevens |       |      |     |
  |_Due Repulse_[570]     |1596|         |           |       |      |     |
  |_St Mathew_[571]       |    |         |           |       |      |1596 |
  |_St Andrew_[571]       |    |         |           |       |      |1596 |
  |_Lion’s Whelp_[572]    |    |         |           |       | 1601 |     |
  |_Superlativa_[573]     |1601|Deptford |           |       |      |     |
  |_Advantagia_[573]      |1601|Woolwich |           |       |      |     |
  |_George Hoy_[574]      |1601|         |   Adye    |       |      |     |
  |_Gallarita_[575]       |1602|Limehouse|           |       |      |     |
  |_Volatillia_[575]      |1602|Deptford |           |       |      |     |

In number this is an imposing array but exclusive of galleys, prizes,
six pre-existing vessels rebuilt, and the numerous small vessels,
only twenty-nine men-of-war of 100 tons and upwards were added to the
establishment between 1558 and 1603, notwithstanding the amount of work
thrown upon the Navy. It has been noticed that the term rebuilding, as
used in the official papers, is extremely vague and it is only when the
cost per ton can be ascertained that it can be known with certainty
whether a ship was renewed or repaired; it is quite possible that, with
the exception of the _Philip and Mary_, the rebuilt vessels were in
reality only subjected to more or less complete repair. Again, of these
twenty-nine only twenty-one were of 300 tons and upwards and suited
for distant expeditions; of the twenty-one the _Elizabeth_, _Hope_,
_Victory_, _Triumph_, and _White Bear_, were not liked—too big, too
expensive, or too unhandy—and were never used unless a fleet of great
strength was required. The names of a few ships recur, therefore, year
after year as forming the main strength of the squadrons, made up with
armed merchantmen, sent out for various purposes. Had Spain been able
to offer any real resistance at sea the destructive results of even
victorious action would have soon compelled the replacement of these
ships and a large increase in the navy list.

[Sidenote: Various Ships.]

The _Elizabeth Jonas_ varies as to tonnage between 855 and 1000 tons in
different papers. The _Victory_ oscillates between 694 and 800 tons, the
_Triumph_ between 955 and 1200, and a smaller vessel, the _Foresight_, is
given in three lists, within six years, as of 300, 350, then of 260 tons,
and in a fourth list of 1592 as of 450 tons. Before 1582 measurement
must have been usually a matter of opinion and comparison; after that
year when Baker’s rule had come into use there is more uniformity. But
such variations entirely vitiate dogmatic comparisons of the strength
of opposing ships or squadrons. The _Elizabeth_ was, ‘in new making’ at
Woolwich in December 1558,[576] and was therefore commenced before Mary’s
death. There is a singular story told of the origin of the name.

    ‘The shipp called the _Elizabeth Jonas_ was so named by her
    Grace in remembrance of her owne deliverance from the furye
    of her enemyes from which in one respect she was no lesse
    myraculously preserved than was the prophet Jonas from the
    belly of the whale.’[577]

This occurs in a commonplace book kept by Robert Commaundre, Rector
of Tarporley, Chester, who died in 1613, and among some other naval
information wholly incorrect. It is a fact that Elizabeth christened the
ship herself but Commaundre’s version is probably country gossip made to
explain the name. If, however, it should be true it throws a more vivid
light on Elizabeth’s real feeling towards her unhappy sister than is shed
by many volumes of State Papers.

The first occurrence of the famous name of the _Victory_ in an English
navy list is of great interest but unfortunately cannot be dated with
certainty. The earliest mention known is of the victualling accounts
of the quarter ending with September 1562.[578] On 14th March 1560,
the _Great Christopher_, of 800 tons, was bought of Ant. Hickman and
Ed. Castlyn, two London merchants. The tonnage corresponds with that
assigned to the _Victory_ in early papers, and the year corresponds with
that assigned to the _Victory_ in the State Paper quoted in the table.
The name _Great Christopher_ is only found down to 1562, when it is
immediately succeeded by that of _Victory_; in fact the _Christopher_
is named in October and then ceases, to be replaced by the _Victory_ in
November.[579] Unless we suppose that a new 800-ton ship, one of the two
largest in the Navy, disappeared without leaving a trace of the cause it
must be assumed that the name was changed, a not unusual occurrence, and
if so, the _Victory_ is its only possible representative. The name was
quite new among English men-of-war; it may have been taken from that of
Magellan’s celebrated ship.

The _Primrose_ and the _Minion_ had for some years previously been
employed among the hired London merchantmen; from 1560 they appear on
the navy lists, which points to their purchase. The _Minion_, in which
Hawkyns escaped from San Juan de Ulloa in 1568, was condemned in 1570;
the _Primrose_ was sold in 1575, again rejoining the merchant service,
to which she still belonged in 1583.[580] The galleys _Tryright_ and
_Speedwell_ disappear after 1579; and the _Bonavolia_ from 1599; of the
four later galleys the _Gallarita_ and _Volatillia_ were presented by
the city of London. The _Mercury_, another vessel of the galley type was
however furnished with masts and sails, and afterwards converted into a

Returning to the large ships, the _Aid_ was condemned in 1599, the
_Elizabeth Bonaventure_, purchased from Walter Jobson for £2230, the
_Bull_ was broken up in 1594, and the _Revenge_ captured by a Spanish
fleet in 1591. The _Tiger_, _Scout_, and _Achates_, were cut down into
lighters and, in 1603, were supporting Upnor chain. The _Ark Royal_,
or _Ark Ralegh_, seems to have been built originally for Sir Walter
Ralegh,[581] although constructed in a royal yard and by a government
shipwright, who, later, received a pension for this among other services.
Some £1200 was spent in 1598 on the repairs of the _St Mathew_ and _St
Andrew_; they only served under the English flag, however, in the Islands
voyage of 1597. Some of the small pinnaces disappear from the lists
during these years without assigned cause, but the only two vessels known
to have been lost by stress of weather during the reign were the earlier
_Greyhound_ of Henry VIII, wrecked off Rye in 1562, and the _Lion’s
Whelp_ in 1591.

[Sidenote: Table of General Details.]

The following table of 1602 furnishes many curious details:—[582]

  |             |Length of keel                                        |
  |             |    |Beam                                             |
  |             |    |    |Depth of hold                               |
  |             |    |    |    |Rate forward                           |
  |             |    |    |    |    |Rate aft                          |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |Burden                      |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |Ton and Tonnage        |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |Weight of masts   |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |and yards         |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |Weight  |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |of      |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |rigging |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |tackle  |
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |Canvas
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |for
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |sails
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |in
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |bolts,
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |¾ths
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |of a
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |yd.
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |broad
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |and 28
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |yds.
  |             |    |    |    |    |     |    |    |         |     |long
  |             +----+----+----+----+-----+----+----+---------+-----+--+
  |             |feet|feet|feet|feet|feet |tons|tons|ton. cwt.|lbs. |  |
  |_Elizabeth_  | 100|  38|  18|36  |6    | 684| 855| 22.8    |17000|85|
  |_Triumph_    | 100|  40|  19|37  |6    | 760| 955| 24.17   |18000|95|
  |_White Bear_ | 110|  37|  18|36  |6.6  | 732| 915| 24      |17000|88|
  |_Merhonour_  | 110|  37|  17|37  |6.6  | 691| 865| 22.13   |17000|87|
  |_Ark Royal_  | 100|  37|  15|33.6|6    | 555| 692| 18.4    |15300|84|
  |_Victory_    |  95|  35|  17|32  |5.10 | 555| 694| 18.4    |16200|78|
  |_Repulse_    | 105|  37|  16|    |     | 622| 777| 20.7    |17000|78|
  |_Garland_    |  95|  33|  17|32  |5.8  | 532| 666| 17.7    |14600|66|
  |_Warspite_   |  90|  36|  16|    |     | 518| 648| 17      |14400|62|
  |_Mary Rose_  |  85|  33|  17|30.6|5    | 476| 596| 15.12   |13000|62|
  |_Hope_       |  94|  33|  13|31.6|5.7  | 416| 520| 13.14   |11500|66|
  |_Bonaventure_|  80|  35|  16|28  |4.10 | 448| 560| 14.14   |12300|70|
  |_Lion_       | 100|  32|  14|31.6|5.10½| 448| 560| 14.14   |12300|70|
  |_Nonpareil_  |  85|  28|  15|29  |5    | 357| 446| 11.7    | 9800|56|
  |_Defiance_   |  92|  32|  15|31  |5.6  | 441| 552| 14.9    |12300|60|
  |_Vanguard_   | 108|  32|  13|32  |5.8  | 449| 561| 14.14   |12300|70|
  |_Rainbow_    | 100|  32|  12|33.6|6    | 384| 480| 12.11   |10500|67|
  |_Dreadnought_|  80|  30|  15|31  |5.4  | 360| 450| 11.16   | 9800|52|
  |_Swiftsure_  |  74|  30|  15|26  |4.6  | 333| 416|  9.18   | 9600|47|
  |_Antelope_   |  87|  28|  14|29.6|5.3  | 341| 426| 11.3    | 9500|50|
  |_Foresight_  |  78|  27|  14|27  |4.8  | 294| 306|  9.12   | 8300|47|
  |_Adventure_  |  88|  26|  12|    |     | 274| 343|  8.7    | 7300|44|
  |_Crane_      |  60|  26|  13|23  |3.10 | 202| 253|  6.12   | 5400|40|
  |_Quittance_  |  64|  26|  13|24  |4    | 219| 274|  7.5    | 5800|42|
  |_Answer_     |  65|  26|  13|24  |4    | 219| 274|  7.5    | 5800|42|
  |_Advantage_  |  60|  24|  12|22  |3.10 | 172| 216|  5.13   | 4600|36|
  |_Tremontana_ |  60|  22|  10|    |     | 132| 165|  4.6    | 3500|31|
  |_Charles_    |  63|  16|   7|15  |3    |  70|  80|  2.4    | 2000|20|
  |_Moon_       |  50|  17|   7|15  |2.8  |  59|  74|  1.17   | 1600|19|
  |_Advice_     |  50|  14|   6|12  |2.6  |  42|  52|  1.4    | 1100|15|
  |_Spy_        |  50|  14|   6|12  |2.6  |  42|  52|  1.4    | 1100|15|
  |_Sonne_      |  50|  13|   6|11  |2.2  |  39|  48|  1.2    | 1100|13|

  |             |Anchors                                                 |
  |             |         |Cables                                        |
  |             |         |         |Weight of Ordnance                  |
  |             |         |         |    |Men in harbour                 |
  |             |         |         |    |  |Men at sea                  |
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |Mariners                |
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |   |Gunners             |
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |   |  |Soldiers         |
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |   |  |   |  Cost per   |
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |   |  |   |month at sea:|
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |   |  |   |  wages and  |
  |             |         |         |    |  |   |   |  |   | victualling |
  |             +---+-----+---+-----+----+--+---+---+--+---+-------------+
  |             |No.|lbs. |No.|lbs. |tons|  |   |   |  |   | £    s  d   |
  |_Elizabeth_  | 7 |15000|  7|31000|61  |30|500|340|40|120|758   6  8   |
  |_Triumph_    | 7 |15000|  7|32500|68  |30|500|340|40|120|758   6  8   |
  |_White Bear_ | 7 |15300|  7|30000|63  |30|500|340|40|120|758   6  8   |
  |_Merhonour_  | 7 |15000|  7|30000|63  |30|400|268|32|100|606  13  4   |
  |_Ark Royal_  | 7 |13500|  7|24000|50  |17|400|268|32|100|606  13  4   |
  |_Victory_    | 7 |13000|  7|24000|50  |17|400|268|32|100|606  13  4   |
  |_Repulse_    | 7 |14400|  7|26300|54  |16|350|230|30| 90|530  16  8   |
  |_Garland_    | 7 |12700|  7|22800|47  |16|300|190|30| 80|455   0  0   |
  |_Warspite_   | 7 |13000|  7|22800|40  |12|300|190|30| 80|455   0  0   |
  |_Mary Rose_  | 7 |13000|  7|20000|43  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Hope_       | 6 | 9200|  6|17800|37  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Bonaventure_| 6 | 9600|  6|19000|40  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Lion_       | 6 | 9600|  6|19000|40  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Nonpareil_  | 6 | 9600|  6|15000|32  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Defiance_   | 7 |12200|  7|19000|41  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Vanguard_   | 6 | 9600|  6|19100|40  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Rainbow_    | 6 | 9000|  6|16600|35  |12|250|150|30| 70|379   3  4   |
  |_Dreadnought_| 6 | 8200|  6|15400|32  |10|200|130|20| 50|303   6  8   |
  |_Swiftsure_  | 5 | 7100|  5|14100|29  |10|200|130|20| 50|303   6  8   |
  |_Antelope_   | 5 | 7300|  5|14000|30  |10|160|114|16| 30|242  13  4   |
  |_Foresight_  | 5 | 7300|  5|12600|26  |10|160|114|16| 30|242  13  4   |
  |_Adventure_  | 4 | 6000|  4|11000|24  |10|120| 88|12| 20|182   0  0   |
  |_Crane_      | 4 | 4500|  4| 8500|18  | 7|100| 76|12| 12|151  13  4   |
  |_Quittance_  | 4 | 4500|  4| 9400|19  | 7|100| 76|12| 12|151  13  4   |
  |_Answer_     | 4 | 4500|  4| 9400|19  | 7|100| 76|12| 12|151  13  4   |
  |_Advantage_  | 4 | 3700|  4| 7400|15  | 7|100| 76|12| 12|151  13  4   |
  |_Tremontana_ | 4 | 3200|  4| 5600|11  | 6| 70| 52| 8| 10|106   3  4   |
  |_Charles_    | 4 | 1800|  4| 3000| 7  | 5| 45| 32| 6|  7| 68   5  0   |
  |_Moon_       | 3 | 1800|  3| 2600| 5  | 5| 40| 30| 5|  5| 60  13  4   |
  |_Advice_     | 3 | 1600|  3| 2000| 3½ | 5| 40| 30| 5|  5| 60  13  4   |
  |_Spy_        | 3 | 1600|  3| 2000| 3½ | 5| 40| 30| 5|  5| 60  13  4   |
  |_Sonne_      | 3 | 1500|  3| 1700| 3¼ | 5| 30| 24| 4|  2| 45  10  0   |

In consequence of the existence of a formula, to be presently noticed,
for calculating tonnage, we have in the preceding table for the first
time an attempt at exactness instead of the former round numbers. The
keel and other measurements given can only be taken as approximate
seeing that they differ in nearly every paper. And some of the other
particulars, such as the number of anchors and cables, represent only
a theoretical equipment; the inventories show that vessels frequently
carried more than the seven anchors and seven cables assigned to the
large ones here. On the other hand the strength of the crews rarely
reached the proportions in the list, it may safely be said never, if a
large fleet was prepared.

The great Portuguese carrack, the _Madre de Dios_, captured in 1592 and
regarded as the largest ship afloat, had a keel length of 100 feet,
an extreme breath of 46 feet 10 inches, and an extreme length of 165
feet.[583] The keel length of the _Rainbow_ being 100 feet, her extreme
length was 139 feet 6 inches and she had only 32 feet of beam. Moreover
the carrack would be hampered by tiers of cabins built up on her poop
and forecastle; a comparison of these proportions will help to explain
the better weatherly and sailing qualities of the English ships. If for
further illustration we compare the _Elizabeth Jonas_ carrying 55 heavy
guns,[584] with a 52 gun ship of 1832 we find that the ordnance of the
latter weighed 125 tons 4 cwt.; cables (iron and hempen), 56 tons 1 cwt.;
anchors 12 tons 10 cwt. 2 qrs.; masts and yards 74 tons 5 cwt.; and fixed
and running rigging 51 tons 9 cwt.[585]

This table also explains why galleys, never much in favour, were rapidly
falling out of use. In 1588 the _Bonavolia_ served for two months as a
guardship in the river at a total cost of £1028,[586] that is to say £514
a month. In 1589 there is an estimate, in the handwriting of Hawkyns,
for the same galley but 150 ‘slaves’ are now allowed for, and ‘there may
be for every bank[587] a soldier with his piece if the service require
it.’ He adds ‘there is no dyett spoken of for the slaves for that we are
not yett in the experyence.’[588] We cannot now tell whether Hawkyns had
his early merchandise of negroes in his mind or whether ‘slaves’ was the
pleasant Elizabethan way of describing criminals and vagrants.[589] The
reference however, to ignorance in the matter of diet seems rather to
imply that negroes were in question. Doubtless the cost of free oarsmen
had been found to be too great. It will be observed that a large cruiser
like the _Dreadnought_ could be kept at sea throughout the year at a
charge of £303 a month while the almost useless galley, only doubtfully
available in summer, cost very much more. The galley service was only
possible among the Mediterranean states, and then only when, like Venice,
they bought surplus human stock by the thousand from the Emperor. The
four galleys of 1601-2 were never once engaged in active service, and
were probably only used for purposes for which steam tugs are now
employed; perhaps also in pageants, men from the royal ships or ordinary
watermen being put in them for the particular service.

[Sidenote: Types of Ships.]

The lines of ships had begun to vary according to the purpose for which
they were designed. There had formerly been no difference between
merchantmen and men-of-war except that the latter were perhaps more
strongly built. But a paper by William Borough, Comptroller of the Navy,
now describes three orders:—[590]

  1. The shortest, broadest, and    { To have the length by the keel
     deepest order.                 { double the breadth amidships and the
                                    { depth in hold half that breadth.

        This order is used in some merchant ships for most profit.

  2. The mean and best proportion   { Length of keel two or two and a
     for shipping for merchandise,  { quarter that of beam. Depth of hold
     likewise very serviceable for  { eleven-twentyfourths that of beam.
     all purposes.

  3. The largest order for galleons { Length of keel three times the
     or ships for the wars made for { beam. Depth of hold two-fifths of
     the most advantage of sailing. { beam.

If the figures in the preceding table are trustworthy it will be seen
that the keel length is very seldom three times the breadth although the
later ships show a drift towards that proportion. The short keel, not
sufficiently supported in a head sea must have made the vessel pitch
tremendously, and one object of the beakhead and great forward rake was
to shatter the seas and prevent them breaking on board. Probably these
ships were but little worse sailers than the ordinary merchantmen of the
beginning of this century, at least before the wind. They could not sail
on the wind within at least eight points; fore and aft sails were not yet
known, and the top-hamper of lofty sides and built up poop and forecastle
levered the vessel off to leeward.

[Sidenote: Improvements and Inventions.]

Many improvements however were introduced. A method of striking topmasts,
‘a wonderful ease to great ships,’ and a system of sheathing by double
planks, having a layer of tar and hair between them, were two of the most
important. Both were due to Hawkyns, and the sheathing process remained
in use for more than a century after his death. The finest Elizabethan
men-of-war, the fastest sailers and best seaboats then afloat were built
from his plans; and from the time of his appointment as Treasurer of
the Navy dates the change to the relatively low and long type that made
the English ships so much more handy than their Spanish antagonists. On
Ralegh’s testimony the chain pump, the use of the capstan for weighing
the anchor, bonnets and drablers, sprit, studding, top, and top-gallant
sails were all new.[591] Ralegh is usually accepted as an authority, but
some of these statements are surprisingly inaccurate, considering that
he was a shipowner, and had himself been to sea. The bonnet, which laced
on to the foot of the ordinary sail, was in use at least as early as the
fourteenth century: the drabler laced on to the bonnet, and if the name
was new the thing itself was doubtless old. Top, top-gallant, and sprit
sails, can be traced back to the close of the preceding century, and
there is no reference to studding sails in the inventories. In view also
of the ‘main,’ ‘forecastle,’ and ‘lift’ capstans found on a ship like the
_Sovereign_ in 1496 it seems incredible that they should not have been
earlier applied to weighing the anchor.

The chain pump was brought into use by Hawkyns; a patent log was invented
by Humphrey Cole but it does not appear to have superseded the ordinary
log line. The lower ports were now some four feet above the water line,
and there was a tendency to decrease the deck superstructures. Ralegh is
emphatic in his disapproval of deck cabins: ‘they are but sluttish dens
that breed sickness in peace, serving to cover stealths, and in fight are
dangerous to tear men with their splinters.’ Nevertheless others thought
differently, and in view of the large crew of a man-of-war and crowded
narrow quarters some deck accommodation was perhaps absolutely essential.
Both poop and forecastle were barricaded and the bulkheads pierced for
arrow and musketry fire. In ships ‘built loftie’ there was a second,
and perhaps even a third tier over the poop and forecastle of similarly
defended cabins. The waist was partly open on the upper deck, while on
the lower deck were again loop-holed bulkheads running transversely, so
that if a ship were boarded her assailants found themselves exposed to a
galling cross-fire from the defenders.

Gravel ballast only was used and for such crank vessels a large quantity
was necessary. It was seldom changed and becoming soaked with bilgewater,
drainings from beer casks, and the general waste of a ship, was a source
of injury to the vessel and of danger to the health of the men. The
‘cook-room,’ a solid structure of bricks and mortar, was built in the
hold on this ballast, and in that position, besides making the ship hot
and spoiling the stores, was a frequent cause of fire. Moreover ballast
and cook-room being practically immovable nothing could be known of the
condition of the timber and ironwork below. Sir William Wynter advocated,
in 1578, the use of stone ballast and the removal of the cooking galley
to the forecastle, but neither proposal was generally adopted.[592] In
the squadron commanded by Hawkyns and Frobisher in 1590 the _Mary Rose_,
however, Hawkyns’ flagship, had her cook-room especially removed from
the hold to the forecastle, ‘as well for the better stowinge of her
victualles as also for better preserving her whole companie in health
during that voyadge beinge bounde to the southwardes.’ We may therefore
take it that the opinion of Hawkyns coincided with that of Wynter on this
point. But the alteration in the _Mary Rose_ was an isolated occurrence,
and even as late as the beginning of the eighteenth century the galley
was still sometimes in the hold. The large amount of space occupied by
the ballast, cables, ammunition, and other necessaries left but little
room for other things, and a ship had only provisions on board for three
or four weeks, although theoretically she was expected to carry more. The
presence of a fleet of transports was therefore necessary with all naval

The attention given to maritime matters bore fruit in other inventions,
many of them far in advance of their time. Centre board boats,
paddlewheels, a diving dress, and fireships, were all recommended and
perhaps used.[593] Gawen Smith proposed to erect a beacon and refuge,
capable of holding twenty or thirty persons, on the Goodwin sands
such as was actually tried, unsuccessfully, in the first half of this

[Sidenote: Cost and Construction of Ships.]

There is no detailed statement of the whole cost of a ship complete. Most
were built by contract, and payment to the master shipwright responsible
appears to be only for the hull, masts and spars. For an early vessel,
probably the _Triumph_, there is a fuller account[595] and here the total
is £3788, of which the timber cost £1200, spars and ironwork £700, and
wages £1888; this does not include sails, fittings, etc. Building by
contract seems to have commenced with the accession to office of Hawkyns
in 1578. The _Lion_ was rebuilt in this manner in 1582 for £1440, the
_Nonpareil_ for £1600, the _Hope_ ‘brought into the fourme of a galease’
£250,[596] and the _Cygnet_, and _Greyhound_ built for £93, 18s 1d and
£66, 13s 4d each.[597] The _Victory_ was ‘altered into the forme of a
galleon’ for £500, and the _Vanguard_ and _Rainbow_ built for £2600,
apiece.[598] The _Merhonour_, _Garland_, and _Defiance_, cost £5, 2s,
£5, 19s 5d, and £6, 7s 4d a ton,[599] and the price was based on the
net tonnage. These rates do not however correspond with the amounts in
the naval accounts which are £3600 for the _Merhonour_, £3200 for the
_Garland_, and £3000 for the _Defiance_.

The earliest details we have of construction are in connection with these
three vessels. A committee consisting of Howard, Drake, Hawkyns, Wynter,
Borough, Ed. Fenton, Rich. Chapman, and Mathew and Christopher Baker,
settled the plans.[600] The three were very similar, and it was decided
that the one to be built by Peter Pett (the _Defiance_) should have a
keel length of 92 feet, a beam of 32 feet, and be 15 feet deep ‘under the
beame of the maine overloppe.’ Eight feet above the keel ten beams were
to be placed on which ‘to lay a false overloppe so far as neede shall
require,’ and under the ten beams ten riders were to be set; the riders
at the footwales were to have two ‘sleepers on every side fore and afte,’
and pillars to be sufficiently bolted to them. The pillars supporting the
lower deck had been newly adopted,[601] and as riders were put into the
_White Bear_ twenty years after she was built they also were possibly a
recent improvement. The main, or lower deck, of the _Defiance_ was to
have twelve beams, with side knees and standards, every knee having four
bolts and the deck itself was of three-inch plank. The upper deck was of
two-and-a-half inch plank, but three inches in the waist; on this deck
were the poop and forecastle. From the keel to the second wale four-inch
plank was to be used, thence to the ‘quickside or waist,’ three-inch,
and above that two-inch ‘rabbated to the railles to be inbowed to goe
to the shippes side,’ On the orlop deck there were to be cabins for
the boatswain, surgeon, gunner, and carpenter; the ship’s company were
berthed on the main deck.

The _Merhonour_, and _Garland_, differed only in details, therefore these
vessels, one of which was the third largest in the Royal Navy, were not
even two-deckers in the modern sense. Three-deckers were unknown in
the English service and, beyond the existence of a print, diagrammatic
in character, in the British Museum, which is said, on insufficient
authority, to represent the _Ark Royal_, there is no ground for supposing
that two-deckers were in use. The _Warspite_, of 648 tons, had possibly
only one ordnance deck but certainly not more than one-and-a-half;
‘having an overloppe and deck before and after, and a half deck abaft
the main mast.’[602] She was ‘planked between the two lower walles and
from the lower walle down to the keele with four-inch plank, and from
the second walle upwards to the cheyne walle with three-inch plank, and
from the cheyne walles to the railes upwards on the waste with two-inch
plank.’ The _Warspite_ was one of the few shipbuilding failures of the
reign. In 1598, although a nearly new ship, she cost £712 for repairs and
further sums were spent on her in the succeeding years.

The illustration of an Elizabethan man-of-war, reproduced from a drawing
in a Bodleian MS., shows some marked differences from the _Tiger_ of
Henry VIII. She is probably a vessel of the earlier portion of the reign;
perhaps the _Bull_ or _Tiger_ of 1570. So far as the hull is concerned,
there is distinct retrogression in that the keel is relatively shorter to
the extreme length, and that the poop is built up to a disproportionate
and unseaworthy extent. This last may be explained by the fact that the
earlier _Tiger_ was not expected to be called upon to serve outside the
four seas, while the later ship had a wider cruising scope. The extended
field of service called for larger crews, and as the orlop deck was not
introduced till late in the reign, the increased accommodation necessary
was obtained by the provision of more deck structures. In the matter of
heavier masts and spars, possibly finer under water lines, larger sail
area, and the multiplication of appliances for more rapid handling, there
was an undoubted advance on the earlier ship.


[Sidenote: Decoration of Ships.]

Philip’s ambassador told him in 1569 that ‘they expect to be able to
repel any attack by means of their fleet,’ and this confidence found
natural expression in an inclination to decorate and adorn the weapons
on which they relied. At any rate we now find specific payments for
these purposes made with a frequency new in naval history. The ‘carving
of personages in timber,’ and painting and colouring of ships in 1563
cost £121, 13s 8d and ‘painting and colouring red the great new ship
called the _White Bear_‘[603] £20. Three ‘great personages in wood for
the garnishing and setting forth’ of the same vessel were £1, 15s each.
The upper works of the _Bonaventure_ were painted black and white,[604]
and the _Lion_ in ‘timber colour;’ as the _White Bear_ was red, and the
_Revenge_ and _Scout_, green and white there was evidently no regulation
colour. The _Bonaventure_ had a dragon on her beakhead, the royal arms
on her stern, and two lions and two dragons in gilt and paint on her
galleries. The _Foresight_ carried the Queen’s arms, a rose and a _fleur
de lis_, on her stern, and in 1579 £2, 13s 4d was paid for carving a
Saturn and a Salamander for the _Swallow_. Figure heads were usual. The
_Nonpareil_, _Adventure_, _Dreadnought_ and _Hope_, had a dragon; the
_Charles_, _Defiance_, _Rainbow_, _Repulse_ and _Garland_ a lion; the
_Mary Rose_, a unicorn, and the _Swiftsure_ a tiger. When the _White
Bear_ was rebuilt the carvings included,

    ‘an image of Jupiter sitting uppon an eagle with the cloudes,
    before the heade of the shippe xiˡⁱ; twoe sidebordes for the
    heade with compartments and badges and fruitages xˡⁱ; the
    traynebord[605] with compartments and badges of both sides
    viiˡⁱ; xvi brackets going round about the heade at xiiˢ the
    pece; xxxviii peces of spoyle or artillarie round about the
    shippe at xivˢ the pece; the greate pece of Neptune and the
    Nymphes about him for the uprighte of the Sterne viˡⁱ xˢ.’[606]

The whole cost of carving was here £172, and of painting and gilding
£205, 10s, but these appear to have been exceptional amounts. Painting
the _Bonaventure_ cost £23, 6s 8d, the _Dreadnought_ £20, the _Vanguard_
£30, and the _Merhonour_ £40, and these sums more nearly represented the
ordinary expenditure. On the _Elizabeth_ however £180 was spent in 1598

    ‘newe payntinge and guildinge with fine gold her beake heade
    on both sides with Her Maiesties whole armes and supporters,
    for payntinge the forecastle, the cubbridge heades[607] on the
    wast, the outsides from stemme to sterne, for like payntinge
    and newe guildinge of both the galleries with Her Maiesties
    armes and supporters on both sides, the sterne newe paynted
    with divers devices and beastes guilte with fine gold; for newe
    payntinge the captens cabbon, the somer decke[608] as well
    overhead as on the sides, the barbycan, the dyninge roome and
    the studdie.’[609]

The _Rainbow’s_ lion figure head was gilt and on her sides were ‘planets,
rainbows, and clouds’ with the royal arms on the upper, middle, and lower
counter, but the whole charge was only £58, 6s. Cabins were painted and
upholstered in the favourite Tudor colour of green and ‘Her Maiesties
badge’ was painted in green and red. The _White Bear_ and the _Elizabeth_
are the only two instances in which comparatively large sums are found to
be spent in ornament, and it does not appear that there was as yet more
than a bent towards general embellishment. The smaller vessels are never
mentioned in this connexion. The opinion of a contemporary was that, both
for work and appearance,

    ‘our navy is such as wanteth neither goodly, great, nor
    beautiful ships who of mould are so clean made beneath, of
    proportion so fine above, of sail so swift, the ports, fights,
    coines, in them so well devised, with the ordnance so well
    placed, that none of any other region may seem comparable unto

[Sidenote: Tonnage Measurement.]

The new method of building by contract, and the large number of
merchantmen upon which the bounty was now paid, necessitated a more exact
measurement of tonnage than had hitherto obtained. In 1582 a rule was
devised which remained in use for nearly half a century and was said to
have been due to Mathew Baker, son of the James Baker shipwright to Henry
VIII, and himself one of the principal government shipwrights. The writer

    ‘By the proportion of breadth, depth, and length of any ship
    to judge what burden she may be of in merchant’s goods and
    how much of dead weight of ton and tonnage. The _Ascension_
    of London being in breadth 24 feet, depth 12 feet from that
    breadth to the hold, and by the keel 54 feet in length doth
    carry in burden of merchant’s goods (in pipes of oil or
    Bordeaux wine) 160 tons, but to accompt her in dead weight, or
    her ton and tonnage may be added one third part of the same
    burden which maketh her tonnage 213⅓. After the same rate these
    proportions follow:

  |                       |          |         |         |Burden |       |
  |                       |Breadth at| Depth   |         |in cask| Dead  |
  |                       | midship  |from her |  Keel   |of oil |weight |
  |                       |  beam    | breadth |         |or wine|tonnage|
  |                       +----------+---------+---------+-------+-------+
  | A Ship of             |  20 ft.  |  10 ft. |  42 ft. |  86½  | 115   |
  | A Ship of             |  21  ”   |  10½ ”  |  45  ”  | 102⅒ | 136⅛  |
  | _Prudence_ of London  |  24  ”   |  12  ”  |  51½ ”  | 150½  | 202⅔  |
  | _Golden Lion_         |  32  ”   |  12  ”  | 102  ”  | 403   | 537   |
  |                       |          |or 14    |         |or 461 |or 614⅔|
  | _Elizabeth Jonas_[612]|  40  ”   |  18  ”  | 100  ”  | 740   | 986⅔  |

    To find the burden of any ship proportionately to the
    _Ascension_ before specified multiply the breadth of her by her
    depth, and the product by her length at the keel, the amounting
    sum you shall use as your divisor. If 15,552, the solid cubical
    number for the _Ascension_ do give 160 tons, her just burthen,
    what shall 8400, the solid number of a ship 20 feet broad, 10
    feet deep, and 42 feet keel. Work and you shall find 86³⁴⁄₈₁
    tons of burden while if you add one-third you shall find your
    tonnage 114 almost.’

This formula made theory square with fact since the result corresponded
with the tuns of Bordeaux wine experience had shown a ship to be able
to carry. But strictly, ‘burden’ and ‘ton and tonnage,’ as used here do
not correspond with our net and gross tonnage, since burden is used in
connexion with lighter material occupying more space than a heavy cargo,
such as coal, that would be represented by ton and tonnage. The Spanish
system of measurement in 1590 was to multiply half the breadth by depth
of hold and the result by the length over all.[613] From this 5% was
deducted for the entry and run, and the remainder divided by eight, gave
the net tonnage; 20% was added to obtain the gross tonnage.[614]

[Sidenote: The Seamen.]

As early as 1561 the Venetian Resident considered England superior to its
neighbours in naval strength,[615] but he may not have included Spain
among the neighbours. The Spaniards officially in England kept Philip
fully acquainted with the character and equipment of the fleet. He was
always apprised of any preparations, and in such detail that we find
him told on one occasion that twelve or fourteen ships were of from 400
to 700 tons ‘with little top-hamper and very light, which is a great
advantage for close quarters, and with much artillery, the heavy pieces
being close to the water.’[616] Eight years earlier his ambassador,
De Silva, recommended him to have ships built in England instead of
continuing the chartering system in vogue in Spain as ‘certainly the
ships built here are very sound and good.’[617] These intimations
probably did not stand alone, but neither then nor later did they lead
to any change in the type affected in the Peninsula. English seamen did
not favourably impress the Spaniards. One of Philip’s correspondents, in
writing to him that four men-of-war had been prepared for sea, added,
‘the men in them are poor creatures.’[618] Six months later he was
informed that although Elizabeth possessed twenty-two large ships she
had only been able to fit eleven for sea, and would find it impossible
to equip more, and that ‘the men on the fleet although they appear
bellicose are really pampered and effeminate different from what they
used to be.’[619] The estimate appears the more extraordinary because
English seamen were at this time giving daily proof, at the expense of
Spanish and other commerce, of the wild energy animating them. As late
as 1586, Mendoza wrote that four ships were in commission and others in
preparation, but of these latter, only four were seaworthy, ‘all the rest
being old and rotten.’[620] If Philip was continuously misinformed as to
the number of ships available, the difficulties in furnishing them, and
the fighting value of the men, it may help to explain the confidence he
showed later.

As a matter of fact, there are very few complaints throughout the
reign about embarrassments due to want of crews. The semi-piratical
expeditions preferred by the government were better liked than would have
been a more regular warfare that would have meant harder fighting and
fewer chances of plunder. Hatred of Spain and Popery, conjoined with the
hoped for pillage of Spanish galleons, formed an inducement that never
failed to bring a sufficient number of men together, notwithstanding
that, as privateering speculations, most of the voyages were,
pecuniarily, failures, although they served their purpose in destroying
Spanish commerce and credit. The proportion of men on board a man-of-war
was three to every five tons, of gross tonnage; one-third being
soldiers, one-seventh of the remainder, gunners; and the rest seamen.
In merchantmen the ratio was one man to every five tons of net tonnage,
one-twelfth being gunners and the rest seamen.[621] But in practice the
strength of a crew depended on the number of men required and the success
of the impress authorities.

[Sidenote: The Seamen:—Pay and Rewards.]

Until 1585 the wages remained at 6s 8d a month, to which it had been
raised in 1546 or very shortly afterwards. In 1585, the sailor’s pay
was raised to ten shillings a month, through the action of Hawkyns.
There must have been some dissatisfaction with the quality of the
men hitherto serving, and the breach with Spain doubtless made an
improvement necessary. Hawkyns coated the pill for Elizabeth by assuring
her that fewer men would be required, of the standard to be attracted
by the higher rate, and, ‘by this meane her Maiesties shippes wolde be
ffurnyshed with able men suche as can make shyfte for themselves, kepe
themselves clene withoute vermyne and noysomeness which bredeth sycknes
and mortalletye.’[622] Moreover, ships could then carry more stores and
continue longer at sea. Hawkyns was one of the few commanders of his age
who recognised a claim to consideration in his inferiors, and made some
attempt to secure their health and comfort. In 1589 he took care to have
his stores ‘of an extraordinary price and goodnes to keep men in health’;
in 1595 he took out clothes for his men and a new kind of ‘lading
victuells, a kind of victuells for sea service devised by Mr Hughe
Platte.’[623] Hammocks were introduced in 1597, when a warrant authorises
payment for 300 bolts of canvas ‘to make hanging cabones or beddes ...
for the better preservation of their health.’[624] In 1590, a suggestion,
which did not, however, take practical shape till long afterwards, was
made for the benefit of the merchant sailor. John Allington, a draper of
London, proposed the creation of a special office for the registration
of contracts between merchants, owners, and masters of ships. This would
have led to something equivalent to the present ‘signing on’ enforced by
the Board of Trade, and would have regulated the position of the seamen
and simplified the enforcements of his rights, too often sacrificed to
an unscrupulous use of legal forms.[625] Allington, like most of the
projectors and schemers of his day, was no philanthropist. He offered to
pay £40 a year for permission to establish such an office, and apparently
expected to obtain five shillings apiece from 500 or 600 ships a year.

No especial provision was made on board men-of-war for the sick or
wounded sailor; if the ship went into action he was placed in the cable
tier or laid upon the ballast as being the safest places. If he survived
the medical science of his time, and was landed disabled, he was supposed
to be passed to his own parish. Sometimes he was permitted to beg. A
printed licence from Howard, as Lord Admiral, under date 1590, still
exists empowering William Browne, maimed in 1588, to beg for a year
in all churches.[626] By 35 c. 4 and 39 c. 21 of Elizabeth relief was
afforded to hurt men; these were both repealed by 43 c. 3 which enacted
that parishes were to be charged with a weekly sum of not less than
twopence or more than tenpence to provide help, the pension however in no
case to exceed ten pounds for a sailor or twenty pounds for an officer.
Gratuities were sometimes given. In 1593 Hawkyns was ordered to pay
two shillings a week, for twenty weeks, to 29 injured men, and William
Storey, having lost a leg, received £1, 13s 4d, apparently in settlement
of all claims.[627]

Such gifts, in view of the number we can still trace, were probably
more frequent than would be expected from the character of Elizabeth.
In 1587 a month’s extra pay was awarded to the crews of three pinnaces
for their good service in capturing Spanish prizes. For 1588 £5, was
divided among 100 men who manned the fireships sent into Calais Roads,
£80, among the wounded of the fleet generally, and £7 to sick men in
the _Elizabeth_.[628] In 1591 six months’ pay was given to the widows
of the men killed in the _Revenge_, and in 1594 there is a gift of £61,
19s 6d to Helen Armourer, widow of John Armourer of Newcastle, ‘in
consideration of his good and faithful services,’ although the name is
quite strange in naval affairs.[629] Merchant seamen were also remembered
in these benefactions. On one occasion forty marks were paid to five
men ‘having been lately lamentably afflicted in Naples by pryson and
other punyshments by thinquisition of Spayne as we are informed and by
secret escape savid their lyves.’[630] On another ‘in consideration
of the valiantnes done in Turkey by our welbeloved subiecte John Ffoxe
of Woodbridge in our county of Suffolk, gunner by whose meanes 266
Christians were released out of miserable captivity,’ an assuredly nobly
earned pension of one shilling a day was conferred upon him.[631] When
it cost the Queen nothing directly she was sometimes still more liberal.
To Robert Miller, a master mariner, £200, was allowed out of forfeited
goods in consideration of his services and losses at sea; George Harrison
received £800, in the same way and for the same reasons. Sometimes
seamen’s wives, whose husbands were prisoners in Spain, petitioned the
Council for help. In one instance the merchants owning the ships were
ordered to assist the women; in another their landlords were directed not
to press them for rent.

We can know little of the internal economy of a merchantman in those
days. The vessels were relatively as crowded, and probably as unhealthy,
as men-of-war; the victualling was of the same, and at times even worse
quality, seeing that the owners of merchant vessels were expected to
buy government provisions if the victualling department found itself
overstocked. In 1596 there is a letter directing the Lord Mayor to
forbid the city butchers to sell meat to ships until the government
stores of salt beef were sold out. This is followed by an order from the
Council to the Serjeant of the Admiralty not to allow any outward bound
trader to pass down the river unless a certificate of such purchase was

[Sidenote: Mortality on Shipboard.]

We have no means of estimating the mortality from disease on board
merchant ships, but we know that in men-of-war it was very great. ‘In
the late Queen’s time many thousands did miscarry by the corruption as
well of drink as of meat,’ says a seventeenth century writer;[633] and
Sir Richard Hawkyns thought that, in twenty years, 10,000 men died from
scorbutic affections. The length of the voyages now undertaken rendered
larger crews necessary; the accommodation was narrow and ill-ventilated,
the requirements of sanitation unknown, and the food was usually scanty
and bad, so that the sailor was placed under conditions that made him
fall an easy victim to disease. In Drake’s voyage of 1585-6 out of 2300
men nearly 600 died from disease. In the expedition of 1589, out of
12,000 men employed, nearly one-half perished, mainly from sickness and
want of food, and every enterprise, small or great, suffered more or
less largely in the same way. Usually the hope of plunder sustained the
men through all such trials, and there is only one serious case of the
mutiny of a crew because of ‘the weakness and feebleness they were fallen
into through the spare and bad diet.’ But in this instance sympathy with
their captain may have had much to do with their action.[634]

The pages of Hakluyt relate much of the suffering endured by our seamen
abroad from disease and privation, but there is one historic illustration
at home of the miseries borne by the men and the callousness or scanty
resources of the authorities. On 10th August 1588 Howard wrote to

    ‘Sicknes and mortallitie begin wonderfullie to growe amongste
    us ... the _Elizabeth_, which hath don as well as eaver anie
    ship did in anie service, hath had a great infectione in her
    from the beginning soe as of the 500 men which she carried out,
    by the time she had bin in Plymouth three weeks or a month
    there were ded of them 200 and above, soe as I was driven to
    set all the rest of her men ashore, to take out the ballast and
    to make fires in her of wet broom 3 or 4 daies together, and
    so hoped therebie to have cleansed her of her infectione, and
    thereuppon got newe men, verie tall and hable as eaver I saw
    and put them into her; nowe the infectione is broken out in
    greater extremitie than eaver it did before, and they die and
    sicken faster than ever they did, soe as I am driven of force
    to send her to Chatham ... Sir Roger Townsend of all the men
    he brought out with him hath but one left alive ... it is like
    enough that the like infectione will growe throughout the most
    part of the fleet, for they have bin soe long at sea and have
    so little shift of apparell ... and no money wherewith to buy

On the 22nd August he writes to the Queen that the infection is bad,
that men sicken one day and die the next but, in courtly phrase, that
‘I doubt not that with good care and God’s goodnes which doth ever bles
your Maiestie it wyll quenche againe.’ But on the same day he tells
the Council more plainly, ‘the most part of the fleet is grievouslie
infected and die dailie ... and the ships themselves be so infectious
and so corrupted as it is thought to be a verie plague ... manie of
the ships have hardly men enough to waie their anchors.’[635] And as
illustrating the infection and its probable cause comes a complaint from
him to Walsingham that, although the beer in the fleet has been condemned
as unfit for use, it is still served out to the men, and ‘nothing doth
displease the seamen more than sour beer.’

This sickness is usually said to have been the plague or typhus. But
Howard and his captains, who had lived to middle age in a country where
the plague was endemic and who must have known its symptoms well,
obviously thought ‘the infectione’ something different. In the passage
quoted above he compares it to the plague and in another letter he
writes, ‘The mariners who have a conceit (and I think it true and so
do all the captains here) that sour drink hath been a great cause of
this infection amongst us.’[636] The plague was familiar to them all but
this was something they could not easily name. The same arguments apply,
although perhaps not so closely, against typhus which in its general
form and symptoms was familiar under various names to sixteenth century
observers. But 1588 was not a particularly unhealthy year on land and
there is no record of any sudden outbreak of epidemic disease either
before or after that occurring on the fleet. Moreover though typhus
occasionally kills within a few hours it has never been known to kill
numbers in the rapid fashion suggested by Howard. It is probable that the
complaint was an acute enteritis, caused by the beer, acting on frames
enfeebled by bad and insufficient food, and still further weakened by the
scorbutic taint to which all classes, but especially seamen, were subject
in the middle ages.

On the whole the position of the sailor was now steadily deteriorating.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries his pay had been relatively
very high, and as he was only called upon to serve round the coasts, or,
at furthest, to Bordeaux or the Baltic, his health was not affected by
conditions to which he was only exposed for a short time. But towards the
end of the sixteenth century the wages, in consequence of the general
rise in prices, were relatively less than they had been, and less than
those of the artisan classes on shore. In an epoch when the increase in
the number of distant voyages set his services in commercial demand he
was required to serve in the royal fleets for longer periods than had
been before known. He was exposed to a merciless system of impressment,
cheap for the State because he had to indirectly bear the cost. And
the length of the cruises, their extension into tropical climates, and
the character of the provisions, unsuited to the new conditions, made
themselves felt in outbreaks of disease to which his ancestors, assembled
chiefly for Channel work, had been strangers. Morally the general tone
among the men cannot have been high if we may judge them from a phrase
used by the officials sent down to examine into the plunder of the _Madre
de Dios_ in 1592, ‘we hold it loste labor and offence to God to minister
oathes unto the generallitie of them.’[637]

[Sidenote: Seamen’s Clothing.]

It will have been noticed that in his letter of 10th August Howard says
that the men have no money wherewith to buy clothes; in another he
suggests that a thousand marks’ worth of apparel should be sent down.
But the custom of providing crews with coats or jackets at the expense
of the crown had quite ceased, and even if necessaries were supplied
to the men they had to pay for them. The supply was usually a private
speculation on the part of some Admiralty official. In 1586 Roger
Langford, afterwards paymaster of the Navy furnished men with canvas
caps, shirts, shoes, etc., a piece of business by which he lost £140. In
1580 the government sent over clothes for the men on the Irish station,
the cost of which was to be deducted from their wages. The articles
included, ‘canvas for breches and dublettes’—‘coutten for lyninges, and
petticoates,’ stockings, caps, shoes, and shirts.[638] Hawkyns with the
forethought always characterising his action as an admiral, took out with
him in 1595 ‘calico for 200 suits of apparel,’ 400 shirts, woollen and
worsted hose, linen breeches and Monmouth caps.[639] There is a sketch in
a contemporary treatise on navigation of a seaman, apparently an officer.
He wears a Monmouth, or small Tam o’ Shanter, cap, a small ruff round
the neck, a close-fitting vest, and long bell-mouthed trousers.[640] In
1602 there is a payment in the Navy accounts of £54, 19s 8d for clothing
for Spanish prisoners. Canvas shirts, cotton waistcoats, caps, hose, and
‘rugge’ for gowns were provided and the articles were doubtless of the
same kind and quality as those worn by the men.

[Sidenote: Royal Ships Lent.]

During the earlier years of her reign the Queen, like her predecessors,
frequently allowed her ships to be hired for trading voyages. In
1561 the _Minion_, _Primrose_, _Brigandine_ and _Fleur de Lys_, were
delivered to Sir William Chester and others for a voyage to Africa. In
this case Elizabeth shared the risk. For her ships, and for provisions
to the value of £500, she was to receive one-third of the profits. The
hirers undertook to ship at least £5000 of goods, pay wages and all
other expenses, and each enter into a bond of 1000 marks to carry out
the conditions.[641] In 1563 the _Jesus of Lubeck_ was lent to Dudley
and others, to trade to Guinea and the West Indies, for which they paid
£500.[642] She was then, after having been in the Royal Navy nearly
twenty years, valued at £2000 for which amounts the hirers had to give
their bonds. She returned in 1565, was at Padstow in October, and ‘cannot
be brought to Gillingham till spring of next year.’ The adventurers
could not have procured a 600 ton vessel, for two years, for £500 from
any owner but the State. And as she had to remain at Padstow during the
whole winter it may be inferred that she returned in a very unseaworthy
condition, for Elizabethan seamanship was certainly equal to taking a
ship up Channel during the winter months. She was hired by Hawkyns in
1568 and was then the first of the only two men-of-war lost to Spain
during the entire reign. When a convoy was furnished a full charge was
levied for the protection; £558 was received in 1569 from the Merchant
Adventurers’ Company for men-of-war serving on this duty, and again £586
in 1570.[643] As private owners built more and bigger ships the demand
for men-of-war for trading voyages grew less, but the Queen often lent
them for privateering ventures in which she was pecuniarily interested,
assessing their estimated value as a portion of the money advanced by her
and on which she would receive a dividend. Under these circumstances her
representatives did not err on the side of moderation when valuing the
ships thus temporarily lent. When Drake took the _Bonaventure_ and the
_Aid_ in 1585 they were appraised at £10,000, an obviously extravagant
estimate. Nominally Elizabeth advanced £20,000, of which these two ships
stood for half; she got her ships back, £2000 for the use of them, and
the same dividend on £20,000 as the other persons who had taken shares.
Those others lost five shillings in the pound; she must have made a

[Sidenote: The Victualling Department.]

In consequence of the greater activity of the Royal Navy the victualling
department experienced a corresponding enlargement. In 1560 the buildings
at Tower Hill, formerly the Abbey of Grace, and granted in 1542 to Sir
Arthur Darcy, were purchased from him for £1200, and £700 expended in
repairing them.[644] Other storehouses were hired at Ratcliff and St
Katherines, the latter from Anthony Anthony, Surveyor of the Ordnance,
who seems to have taken great interest in naval matters, and to whom we
are indebted for the coloured drawings of ships previously referred to.
For his storehouse he was paid £16 a year; another at Rochester cost £5,
6s 8d a year. By a patent of 24th December 1560, William Holstock was
joined with Baeshe as Surveyor of the Victuals; this was surrendered and
replaced by another of 30th October, 1563 in which John Elliott took
Holstock’s place. Neither Holstock nor Elliott had any actual position,
the new patents only giving them the chance of succeeding Baeshe. An
agreement with him of 13th April 1565, but which did not cancel the title
and fees granted to him by his Letters Patent, instituted a considerable
reform inasmuch as it did away with purveyance, or forced purchase, at
rates fixed by the officers of the crown. Henceforth Baeshe was to be
paid fourpence halfpenny a day for each man in harbour and fivepence a
day at sea. For this he was to provide, per head, on Sundays, Mondays,
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 lb of biscuit and 1 gallon of beer, and 2 lbs
of salt beef, and on the other three days, besides the biscuit and beer,
a quarter of a stockfish,[645] one-eighth of a pound of butter, and one
quarter of a pound of cheese. Fourpence a man per month at sea, and
eightpence in harbour he was to allow for purser’s necessaries, such as
wood, candles, etc., and he was to pay the rent of all hired storehouses
and the wages of his clerks. He undertook not to use the right of
purveyance unless ordered to victual more than 2000 men suddenly, and
agreed to always keep in hand one months provisions for 1000 men. The
agreement could be terminated by six months’ notice on either side, and
until it ceased the crown advanced him £500 without interest to be repaid
within six months of the cessation of his contract. He was given the use
of all the crown buildings belonging to his department, subject to his
keeping them in repair, and was permitted to export 1000 hides in peace
time and as many as he should slaughter oxen during war.[646] The weight
of purveyance was felt chiefly in the home counties, and Elizabeth may
have felt it good policy to do away with a ceaseless source of popular
irritation which was really of very little advantage to the crown.
From this date payments were made to Baeshe direct from the Exchequer
and no longer through the Navy Treasurer. Isolated payments relating
to storehouses, of no general interest, recur in the accounts, but the
growing importance of Chatham is shown by the removal, in 1570, of
buildings at Dover, and their re-erection at Rochester, at a cost of £300.

In 1569 an additional £1000 was advanced to Baeshe without interest, and
in 1573, the harbour rate was raised to fivepence halfpenny per man,
and the sea rate to sixpence. All this assistance, for probably further
sums were lent to him without interest, does not seem to have enabled
him to carry on his work without loss. In 1576 he petitioned the Queen
to be forgiven the first £500 advanced to him and to be permitted to pay
off the balance at £1000 a year. He based his claim to consideration on
the fact that he had saved her 1000 marks a year by his contract and
had acted without recourse to purveyance, ‘no small benefit to the hole
realme.’ He had lost £500 a year, for four years, by the embargo on trade
with the Low Countries, which prevented his exportation of hides, and £
240 by the fire at Portsmouth. And:—

    ‘finally what my service hath bin from tyme to tyme as well to
    her most noble ffather, brother, and sister, as to her Maiestie
    I do referre the same to the report of my Lord Tresorer and
    my Lord Admirall and yet hitherto I never receyved from her
    Maiestie any reward for service but only her Maiesties gracious
    good countenance to my comfort.’[647]

The petition does not appear to have obtained anything beyond a
continuance of these unsubstantial favours, but Baeshe struggled on till
6th May 1586 when he gave six months’ notice to determine his contract.
He then anticipated a loss of £534 on victualling eight or ten ships,
‘which I am not able to beare.’[648] He must have been a very old man
and anxiety perhaps hastened his death, which occurred in April 1587. In
the interval, however, the rate had been raised, from 1st November 1586
to 31st March 1587 to sixpence a day per man in harbour, and sixpence
halfpenny at sea, and from 1st April 1587 to 31st October to sixpence
halfpenny in harbour and sevenpence at sea, ‘on account of the great
dearth.’ The Armada was already expected, but on 30th June 1587, when
the stores were handed over to Baeshe’s successor there were only 6020
pieces[649] of beef, and 2300 stockfish in hand.

By Letters Patent of 27th November 1582 James Quarles ‘one of the
officers of our household’[650] had been granted survivorship to Baeshe,
and he now took his place from 1st July 1587, at the same fees and
allowances as had been originally given by the patent of 18th June 1550.
The rate was maintained at sixpence halfpenny and sevenpence ‘untill it
shall please Almightie God to send such plentie as the heigh prises and
rates of victuall shalbe diminished’. The quantity and quality of the
food provided for the men in 1588 has long been a source of disgrace to
Elizabeth and her ministers. An apology for them has been attempted on
the ground that the mechanism at work was new and not capable of dealing
with large numbers of men, and that the failure was mainly due to the
suddenness of the demand. So far as the first statement is concerned it
is sufficient to answer that the victualling branch had been organised
for nearly forty years, and found no difficulty in arranging for 13,000
men in 1596, and 9200 men in 1597 after timely notice. The last reason
may excuse the victualling department but will not relieve the statesman
in responsible direction. The government had had long notice of the
coming of the Armada, but even as late as March Burghley was occupied
with niggling attempts at making 26 days’ victuals last for 28 days.[651]
In 1565 Baeshe had undertaken to keep always one month’s victuals for
1000 men in store, but in June 1587 there was not even so much. The
point therefore is that if the ministry had thus early recognised the
necessity for a reserve, and that two or three months were requisite
for the collection and preparation of provisions for a large force, and
if with the knowledge that such provisions were certain to be required,
and in spite of the warnings of those best able to judge, they neglected
the preparations and continued a supply which was merely from hand to
mouth, they must be held guilty of the sufferings inflicted on the men
by their miserable policy. When the moment of trial came Quarles and his
superiors did their best, but the accusation against the latter is that
had they exercised the foresight supposed to be one of the qualifications
for their dignified posts no such sudden and almost ineffective efforts
would have been necessary. The spirit in which they or the Queen dealt
with the matter is shown by the necessity Howard was under of paying out
of his own pocket for the extra comforts obtained for the dying seamen at

How far Elizabeth was herself answerable is a moot point. There is no
direct evidence that the delay in obtaining provisions was due to her
orders. On the other hand we know that the postponements in equipping
the ships, and the hesitating action and inconsistent directions and
suggestions that characterised the early months of 1588, were due to her,
and there is a strong probability that much of the shame should rest with
her rather than with ministers who perhaps had to carry out commands to
which they had objected in Council. Moreover very few things, especially
those involving expense, were done without the knowledge and approval of
Elizabeth. It was a personal government and there is no reason to suppose
that this particular branch was beyond her cognisance. With the fatality
that has usually dogged English militant endeavour the fleet did not even
obtain the benefit, at the right time, of the stores provided. Frequently
victuallers were blundering about for weeks looking for it, while the
admirals were sending up despairing entreaties for supplies. In April,
Drake wrote to the Queen ‘I have not in my lifetime known better men and
possessed with gallanter minds than your Majesty’s people are for the
most part.’ Whether the cause was incompetence or a criminal parsimony
their fate, after having saved their country, was to perish in misery,
unheeded and unhelped except by the officers who had fought with them. In
the conceit of Elizabeth and her like they were only ‘the common sort.’

During the forty years that Baeshe had served the crown he had never been
charged with dishonesty and he died poor. Quarles however had at once
serious malpractices imputed to him as having occurred within his first
year of office.[653] His accuser, a subordinate, as usual offered to do
his work for 1000 marks a year less, and on examination of the charges it
seems likely that some were untrue and that other defaults occurred in
consequence of the orders given to him.

From 1589 the rate again fell to fivepence-halfpenny and sixpence, in
harbour and at sea; but for 1590 and 1591 Quarles was allowed £2355, on
account of the dearth still existing. He had petitioned that he had
suffered a loss of £3172, between April 1590 and April 1591, being the
difference between the rates paid to him and the cost per head of the
victuals.[654] He died in 1595 and was succeeded by Marmaduke Darell, his
coadjutor, ‘clerk of our averie.’[655] Till 1600 the rate remained the
same although heavy extra allowances were made each year to Darell; then
it was raised to sixpence halfpenny and sevenpence. In this year £738
was spent on repairs to Tower Hill where there were separate houses for
beef, bacon, ling, etc., ‘the great mansion being the officers lodgings.’
The storehouses and brewhouses at Portsmouth, built by Henry VIII, still
existed under the names originally given them and were repaired at a cost
of £234.

One ton and a half of gross tonnage, or one of stowage, was allowed on
board ship, for one month’s provisions for four men, of which the beer
occupied half, wood and water a quarter, and solid food the remainder of
a ton.[656] There is no reason to suppose that either Baeshe, Quarles, or
Darell were either dishonest or incompetent. The terrible outbreaks of
disease that occurred during nearly every long voyage were not confined
to the English service and were the natural result of salt meat and fish,
and beer that could not be prevented from turning sour. They could only
do their best with the materials at command but which were not suitable
to the larger field in which the services of English sailors were now

[Sidenote: The Administration.]

Benjamin Gonson was Treasurer of the Navy when Elizabeth came to
the throne and held the post until his death in 1577. The number of
vessels added to the Navy during his term of office shows that he was
not inactive, and he was certainly a competent public servant. John
Hawkyns[657] was his son-in-law, and the relationship doubtless inspired
Hawkyns with the hope of succeeding him, and perhaps enabled him to
infuse some of his own spirit into the management of the Navy, while
Gonson was still its official head. But mere relationship, although it
had its influence would not alone have sufficed, had not Hawkyns already
made his name as a seaman and as an able commander. In 1567 he received
a grant of the reversion to the office of Clerk of the Ships, a post
he could only have looked upon as a stepping-stone, and which he never
took up. In 1577, when Gonson was ill, Hawkyns petitioned the Queen,
probably, although it is not specifically mentioned, for the reversion to
his post, and drew up a long catalogue of unrecompensed services.[658]
Gonson died in the course of a year, a landed proprietor in Essex, and
a successful man, but he had told his son-in-law, when the latter was
trying to obtain the reversion, that, ‘I shall pluck a thorn out of my
foot and put it into yours.’ Hawkyns lived to realise the truth of the
kindly warning. He commenced his duties from 1st January 1577-8, acting
under Letters Patent of 18th November 1577, by which he was granted the
survivorship to Gonson. For seventeen years, during the most critical
period of English history, he was, in real fact, solely responsible for
the efficiency of the Navy, and he, more than any other man may be said
to have ‘organised victory’ for the English fleets. His duties included
not only the superintendence of the work at the dockyards, but that of
building, equipping, and repairing the ships, of keeping them safely
moored and in good order, of the supply of good and sufficient stores,
and apparently of every administrative detail except those connected with
the ordnance, and of victualling and pressing the men. The technical
improvements he himself invented or introduced have already been noticed.
In the administration he made others, which may or may not have been
advantageous, but which touched the interests of subordinates, and which
resulted in his having to stand alone and carry on his work impeded by
the sullen enmity of his colleagues and his inferiors.

Hawkyns owed his knighthood to Howard rather than the Queen; his reward
after 1588 was to be allowed a year wherein to unravel his intricate
accounts. In fact few of Elizabeth’s officials escaped her left-handed
graces. Baeshe died in poverty after forty years of honest service, and
Hawkyns was continually struggling to clear himself from suspicions
that were kept hanging over him, but from which he was given no proper
opportunity to free himself. Elizabeth’s favours and bounties were
reserved for court gallants of smoother fibre than were these men. In
1594, shortly before his last unhappy voyage, Hawkyns founded a hospital
at Chatham for ten poor mariners and shipwrights. He, with Drake,
established the ‘Chatham Chest,’ for disabled seamen, and it should be
remembered to his honour that, in an age when little care was bestowed on
inferiors if they had ceased to be of any utility, he never relaxed his
efforts until his craft had rescued from Spanish prisons the survivors
of those under his command in 1568 whom he had been compelled to leave
ashore after escaping from San Juan de Ulloa.

Charges of peculation against persons connected with maritime affairs
were rife on all sides. The shipwrights quarrelled among themselves and
with Hawkyns, and two of the former, Chapman and Pett, were moreover
accused by outsiders of gross overcharges.[659] Captains were said to
dismiss pressed men for bribes, to retain wages, and keep back arms;[660]
pursers to steal provisions, to make false entries by which they obtained
payments for money never advanced to the men, and to remain ashore while
their ships were at sea.[661] Pursers, cooks, and boatswains, bought
their places: the cooks had the victuals in their care and recouped
themselves at the expense of the seamen; boatswains stripped a ship of
movable fittings, on her return home, and stole rigging and cordage.[662]
According to the evidence of a witness, in the inquiry of 1608, these
abuses, if they did not commence, took fresh and vigorous life after
the death of Hawkyns. In 1587 he recognised the theft going on and his
inability to completely suppress it; ‘I thincke it wolde be mete their
weare a provost marshyall attendante upon ye Lord Admirall and Offycers
of the Navye to doe suche present execucyon aboorde the shippes uppon
the offenders as shulde be apoynted.’[663] Accusations were not wanting
during Gonson’s lifetime but the increased activity of the Navy after
his death gave a wider scope both to suspicion and to actual peculation.
Hawkyns was not the only one of the Principal Officers whose conduct was
impeached, but in virtue of his position the brunt of attack fell upon
him. There was hardly one of his duties which at some time or another did
not give occasion for a charge of dishonesty.[664]

Hawkyns, if we may judge by the letters remaining in the Record Office,
was more frequently in communication with Burghley, explaining his
intentions and desires, than with his official chief the Lord Admiral.
Either therefore Burghley was satisfied with his conduct—and there is one
letter that directly supports this view—or the Lord Treasurer allowed a
man whose honesty he doubted to remain in a responsible office without
removing him, or adopting any new measure of supervision. The quality of
the cordage had been a common cause of complaint and, in 1579, Hawkyns
wrote that he had taken measures, of which he doubted not the success,
to remedy this and other evils, and that he had a memorandum ready
proposing a course to be followed, ‘wherebye the offyce wolld not onelye
flourysshe but within a few yers be bountyfullye provyded of all maner
of provycion without extra charge to her Maiestie.’[665] Subsequent
events show that the suggestions he was here about to make were accepted
and, as a consequence of his new methods, the clamour raised against
him grew so loud that in January 1583-4 a commission sat to inquire
into the condition of the ships and the conduct of the office. Nothing
is known of their report but it was evidently not of a character fatal
to his reputation. In another letter to Burghley shortly afterwards he
attributes his success in carrying out reforms to the aid he had received
from the minister’s skill,

    ‘in the passinge of theis greate thinges thadversaries of the
    worke have contynewallye opposyd themselves against me ... and
    their slawnders hathe gone verye farr ... onlye to be avenged
    of me and this servis which doth discover the corruption and
    ignoraunce of the tyme past.’[666]

By 1587 he had begun to share Gonson’s weary disgust of his surroundings,
and intimated that the work was too much for any one man and should be
done by a commission. Howard’s high opinion of him was expressed freely
in his letters during 1588, and shown practically by the knighthood he
conferred. Notwithstanding his services, so fully tested in that year,
he does not appear to have won the shy confidence of Elizabeth, but that
he had succeeded in convincing Burghley is I think clearly proved by the
following letter:—[667]

    ‘My bownden dewtie in humble manner rememberyd unto your good
    lordshipe; I do perseve hir Maiestie ys not well sattysfied
    concernyng the imploymentes of the great somes of mony that
    have byne reseaved into thoffice of the navye although your
    Honour dyd very honourably bothe take payne and care to se
    the strycte and orderly course that ys used in thoffice and
    thereupon delyver your mynd playnely to her Maiestie as your
    lordship found yt for which I shall ever acknowlege myself
    dewtyfully bownd to honour and serve your lordshipp to the
    uttermost of my abillytie: and whereas her Highnes pleasure ys
    to be farther sattysfied in myne accomptes ther hathe nothyng
    byne more desyred nor cold be more wellcome or acceptible to
    me and when yt shalbe hir Maiesties pleasure to nomynate the
    persons that I shall attend upon I wyll brieffly shew the
    state of every yeres accompt suffycyently avouched by boockes
    to the last day of Desember 1588 which is XI yeres.... If any
    worlldly thynge that I possesse cold free me of this mystrust
    and importyble care and toyle I wold most wyllyngley depart
    with yt for as the case stondeth I thynke ther ys no man
    lyvinge that hathe so carefull so myserable so unfortunate and
    so dangerous a lyfe; onlye I se your lordship with care and
    trewthe dothe serche into the trew order the sufficiency and
    valyditye of the course that ys caryed in the office whiche
    otherwyse I wold even playnely gyve over my place and submyt
    myselfe to her Maiesties mercye thogh I lyvid in pryson all the
    dayes of my lyffe; the matters in thoffice growe infenyte and
    chargeable beyond all measure and soche as hardly any man can
    gyve a reason of the innumerable busynesses that dayly grow;
    yet the mystrust ys more trobelsome and grievous then all the
    rest for with the answerynge of thone and towle of thother
    there ys hardly any tyme left to serve God or to sattysfie man.
    The greater sort that serve in this office be growen so proud
    obstinate and insolent nothynge can sattysfie them[668] and
    the commen sort very dysobedyent so as a man that must answere
    the immoderate desyre of all these were better to chuse to dye
    than so lyve. The paynfull place that your lordship dothe holde
    and the imoderate demaunds that comes before you havyng with
    the favour of her Maiestie the hellp of an absolute power to
    bynd and lose may eselye demonstrate the borden that so meane
    a man as I am dothe here (which must passe every thynge by
    petycon and mystrust), to sattysfie the multytude of demaundes
    that are in this office and although they be many and as well
    satysfied as in any office in all Ingland yet few are contentyd
    but go away with grudging and mormoure. It were a great vanytie
    for me to comend myne owne service neyther do I go abowt to
    acumyllatte to myself any comendacon for that I thought I
    performyd my dewtie suffycyentlie but yf the estate of thoffice
    be consyderyd what yt was when I came into yt and what yt ys
    now ther wilbe found greate oddes wherein I have traveyled as
    carefully as I cold and as my creddytt cold obtayne meane to
    reduce the state of thoffice shipes and there furnyture into
    good and perfitt ordre; in recompense whereof my onely desyre
    ys that yt may please hir Maiestie some course may be taken
    wherein hir Maiestie may be sattysfied that a playne and honest
    course hathe byne taken and caryed in thoffice and then to
    dyspose of my place to whome yt shall please hir Highnes and I
    shalbe reddy to serve hir Maiestie any other way that I shalbe
    appoynted wherein my skyll or abyllytie will extend and so I
    humbly take my leve from Deptford the 16th April 1590.’

The writer of this letter was either a master hypocrite so skilful in
roguery that he feared neither the investigations of his superiors nor
the denunciations of envious and hostile subordinates, or an honest
man who had nothing to dread from inquiry. He had convinced Howard and
Burghley, of whom the first was a seaman who had proved his work by the
tests of war and storm, and the second no guileless innocent, but a
politician grown grey among surroundings of fraud and intrigue. Only the
penetrating Elizabeth refused to be deceived.

In 1592 and 1594 he again expressed his wish to resign, but the
government had apparently no desire to lose his services.[669] On
Clynton’s decease Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham became Lord
Admiral,[670] and held the office till 1618. His name is indissolubly
connected with the maritime glories his support of Hawkyns and his clear
judgment as a commander helped to bring about. Howard was the first Lord
Admiral who transferred some of the privileges of his office. In 1594
he gave over to the Trinity House the management of buoys and beacons
along the coasts and the rights of ballasting in the Thames.[671] This
marks the first practical connection the Corporation had with maritime
affairs. Hawkyns died at sea on 12th November 1595, and the Treasurership
was not immediately filled up. Roger Langford, long an office assistant,
and his deputy during his absence, was made ‘General Paymaster of the
Marine Causes,’ but simply worked at the accounts without authority in
administrative business.[672] In 1598 Fulke Grevill, afterwards Lord
Brooke, was appointed Treasurer with full powers.[673] Grevill is said,
by a modern writer, to have possessed ‘a dignified indolence of temper,’
and ‘a refinement in morality which rendered him unfit for the common
pursuits of mankind.’ These were not qualifications peculiarly fitting
him for the rough surroundings of naval affairs in 1598 and the real
control passed into the hands of his colleagues.

Till his death in 1589 Sir Wm. Wynter, from 1557 Surveyor of the Ships
and Master of the Ordnance of the Navy, was, after Hawkyns, the most
influential officer. He was succeeded by Sir H. Palmer,[674] who held the
post until he became Comptroller in 1598,[675] when he was replaced as
Surveyor by John Trevor.[676] After Wynter’s death there was no longer
a separate ordnance department for the Navy. Richard Howlet, the former
Clerk of the Ships, died in 1560, and George Wynter, a brother of Sir
William Wynter was appointed.[677] In 1580 George Wynter was succeeded by
William Borough,[678] who, in 1588 was followed by Benjamin Gonson, son
of the former Treasurer,[679] who, in turn, was succeeded by Peter Buck
in 1600. William Holstock became Comptroller from 12th December 1561, in
succession to Brooke, and in 1589 William Borough succeeded him until
1598. Nearly all these men commanded ships or squadrons at sea at various
times, in addition to their duties as members of the naval board. There
is a draft document existing[680] which shows that in January 1564 it was
intended to add another officer as ‘Chief Pilot of England,’ on the model
of the ‘Pilot Major’ of Spain. Stephen Borough was the person chosen, and
in consequence of the losses of shipping through the ignorance of pilots
and masters no one was to act in such a capacity in vessels of forty
tons and upwards, without a certificate of competence from him, under a
penalty of two pounds. Masters’ mates, boatswains, and quartermasters
were to be similarly examined and certified. This plan, however, was not
carried into execution.

[Sidenote: Dockyards.]

Concerning the dockyards the most noteworthy feature is: the rise into
importance of the Chatham yard. For 1563 the expenses of Deptford were
£19,700, while those of Gillingham, chiefly for the wages and victuals
of shipkeepers, were £3700. In 1567 it is first called Chatham, a house
rented for the use of the Board, and the cost of Chatham and Gillingham
£6300. Next year the ground on which Upnor Castle was to be built was
bought for £25,[681] and in 1574 a fort was ordered for Sheerness which
replaced the bulwark built in the reign of Edward VI. In 1571 more
ground was rented at Chatham, and in 1574 the fairway through St Mary’s
Creek, by which the anchorage could be taken in flank, was blocked by
piles.[682] Deptford, however, was still in considerable use, especially
for building and repairs of ships, and in the same year the dock was
reconstructed. In 1578 a new pair of gates for the Deptford dock cost
£150, and in the following year most, if not all, of the dockyards
were fenced round with hedges.[683] Small additions in the shape of
wharves and storehouses, were being continually made to Chatham; one
of the former, built in 1580, was 378 feet Long, 40 feet broad, and
cost five shillings a foot. Various other improvements of the same kind
were carried out in connection with Woolwich and Deptford, and as no
drydock was constructed at Chatham during this reign, all the building
and repairs of the big ships was done at the former places. Portsmouth
was hardly used at all. In 1586 a new wharf was made, and sundry small
expenses were at various times incurred for keeping the dock in order,
but sometimes for years in succession the only expenses relating to it
are the salaries of the officers in charge. The yard was nearly destroyed
by a fire on 4th August 1576, and was probably not fully restored.
It was, moreover, contemned by the chief officers, who considered it
expensive and defenceless.[684] For a few years, from 1601, the Hansa
steelyard was handed over to the Admiralty and used for storage purposes.

In early times the Bridport district had supplied most of the cordage
used in the English service; in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
it had mostly come from abroad. In 1573 there was an attempt to secure
independence in this respect, and £800 which he was to repay by £100 a
year, was advanced to Thomas Allen to build ropehouses at Woolwich.[685]
Allen was ‘Queen’s merchant,’ _i.e._, crown purchaser, for Dantzic
cordage. The experiment was probably a failure, since there is no other
reference to it, and was not renewed until the next reign.


In addition to the forts at Upnor and Sheerness the ships lying in the
Medway required some further protection, as relations with Spain became
more critical and rumours of plots to fire the vessels frequent. This
was given by means of a chain, an old and well known form of defence. In
a letter to Burghley, of March 1585, Hawkyns suggested the chain with
two or four pinnaces stationed by it, and the _Scout_ and _Achates_ at
Sheerness to search everything passing.[686] In October the work was
nearly completed; it had been ‘tedyous and cumbersome but now stretched
over the river in good order yt dothe requyre many lyghters for the
bearynge of it which are in hand.’[687] One end was fixed to piles, the
other worked round ‘two great wheels to draw it up;’ it was supported by
five lighters, and pinnaces were stationed at each shore end. The Council
ordered, as well, that whereas Her Majesty was ‘advertysed that some
practyce and devyce ys taken in hande to bourne and destroye the navye,’
the principal officers were to sleep on board at the anchorage in turn,
for a month at the time, and see that the shipkeepers did their duty.

The Elizabethan drawing of the Medway and surrounding district, partly
reproduced in this volume, does not show the chain at Upnor and is
probably therefore of a date between 1568-85. It is seen that the ships
are moored athwart stream in three groups, from Upnor towards Rochester,
the larger ones being at Upnor. They must have been moored across
stream from considerations of space; and the accuracy of the placing is
corroborated by a much later drawing of 1702 which shows vessels in the
same position, and by the fact that we know from other sources that the
first-rates were nearest Upnor. These latter carried lights at night[688]
and the whole were in the especial charge of the principal masters of
the Navy of whom, after 1588, there were six and who were allowed three
shillings a week for their victualling. The first sign of the dockyard is
possibly shown between Chatham Church and St Mary’s creek. The vessels
are shown dismantled as would have been actually the case.

[Sidenote: Shipwrights.]

In 1559 shipwrights’ wages were from eightpence to a shilling, and in
1588 from a shilling to seventeenpence a day; they were also provided
with free lodging, or lodging money at the rate of a shilling a week,
with three meals a day and as much beer ‘as shall suffice them,’ and,
between 25th March and 8th September, an afternoon snack of bread,
cheese, and beer.[689] From 1st November to 2nd February, they worked
from daylight till dark; for the rest of the year from five o’clock,
in the morning till 7 at night, and, on Saturdays till 6 o’clock. They
were allowed one hour at noon, and work was started and stopped by bell;
anyone ringing it except by order of the master shipwright was fined a
day’s pay and put into the stocks.[690] The three principal constructors,
or master shipwrights were Peter Pett, Mathew Baker, and Richard
Chapman. Pett died in 1589 and was succeeded by his son Joseph, and then,
in 1600, by his better known younger son Phineas, who had been sent to
Cambridge but who did not think it unbecoming his university standing to
start in life as a carpenter’s mate on a Levant trader. Although Pett
has the greater reputation, at least one officer of the Admiralty well
qualified to judge—William Borough—considered Baker his superior. John
Davis, the explorer, also specially speaks of him as, ‘Mr Baker for
his skill and surpassing grounded knowledge in the building of ships
advantageable to all purpose hath not in any nation his equal.’[691]
Baker became master shipwright by Letters Patent of 29th August 1572, and
by virtue of the patent, received a fee of one shilling a day for life
from the Exchequer. Peter Pett already held a similar patent, Richard
Chapman obtained one in 1587 and Joseph Pett in 1590. Little is known of
Chapman beyond the fact that from the ships he built his reputation must
have been equal to that of the others, and practically all the important
building of the reign was done by these three men.

[Sidenote: Ships’ Officers and Pay.]

There are but few notices of the ships’ officers of this period. In all
ranks the majority seem to have been disposed to add to their pay by
irregular methods. Some of the accusations made against them have been
noticed, and on service, whether the prize was a captured town or a small
merchantman, discipline was at an end until all, from captains downwards
had taken their fill of pillage. At sea captains obeyed or disobeyed,
deserted or remained with their admiral, without usually being afterwards
called to account for their conduct. In only one case was a captain,
William Borough, tried for insubordination in 1587, and as this is the
first instance of a court martial the proceedings are here printed in
full.[692] If Drake intended to disgrace Borough he failed, for no result
followed, and the delinquent, two years later, became Comptroller of
the Navy. Until 1582 the old system of paying the officers the wages of
a ‘common man’ per month, and adding to this by a graduated proportion
representing the dead shares and rewards, still continued. However
when wages were raised in that year the dead shares and rewards were
abolished, except as a form of expression, and each officer had a fixed
sum per month, according to the rate of his ship.[693] But sometimes
the scale of pay depended not upon the rate, but was ‘according to the
greatness of his charge,’ _i.e._, on the nature of the work for which the
vessel was commissioned.[694] Wages were again raised about 1602,[695]
and the two scales of payment are thrown together in the following

  |                  |     First-rates     |     Second-rates    |
  |                  +----------+----------+----------+----------+
  |                  |   1582   |   1602   |   1582   |   1602   |
  |                  +----------+----------+----------+----------+
  |                  | £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.|
  |_Master_          | 2   1   8| 3   2   6| 2   0   0| 3   0   0|
  |_Master’s Mate_   | 1   1   8| 1  10   0| 0  16   8| 1   5   0|
  |_Boatswain_       | 1   1   8| 1  10   0| 0  16   8| 1   5   0|
  |_Boatswain’s Mate_| 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Quartermaster_   | 0  16   8| 1   5   0| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Do. Mate_        | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0   9   2| 0  13   9|
  |_Purser_          | 0  16   8| 1   0   0| 0  11   8| 0  16   8|
  |_Master Carpenter_| 0  16   8| 1   5   0| 0  16   8| 1   5   0|
  |_Carpenter’s Mate_| 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Master Gunner_   | 0  10   0| 0  15   0| 0  10   0| 0  15   0|
  |_Gunner’s Mates_  | 0   7   6| 0  11   3| 0   7   6| 0  11   3|
  |_Surgeon_         | 0  15   0| 1   0   0| 0  15   0| 1   0   0|
  |_Pilot_           | 1   0   0| 1  10   0| 1   0   0| 1   5   0|
  |_Cook_            | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Yeomen of the   }|          |          |          |          |
  |Tacks and Jeers_ }| 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  14   0|
  |_Cockswain_       | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Trumpeter_       | 0  15   0| 1   0   0| 0  15   0| 1   0   0|
  |_Steward_         | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|

  |                  |     Third-rates     |     Fourth-rates    |
  |                  +----------+----------+----------+----------+
  |                  |   1582   |   1602   |   1582   |   1602   |
  |                  +----------+----------+----------+----------+
  |                  | £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.|
  |_Master_          | 1  16   8| 2  10   0| 1  11   8| 2   5   0|
  |_Master’s Mate_   | 0  16   8| 1   5   0| 0  11   8| 1   0   0|
  |_Boatswain_       | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Boatswain’s Mate_| 0   9   2| 0  13   9| 0   9   2| 0  13   9|
  |_Quartermaster_   | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Do. Mate_        | 0   9   2| 0  13   9| 0   9   2| 0  13   9|
  |_Purser_          | 0  11   8| 0  13   4| 0  11   8| 0  13   4|
  |_Master Carpenter_| 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Carpenter’s Mate_| 0   9   2| 0  13   9| 0   9   2| 0  13   9|
  |_Master Gunner_   | 0  10   0| 0  15   0| 0  10   0| 0  15   0|
  |_Gunner’s Mates_  | 0   7   6| 0  11   3| 0   7   6| 0  11   3|
  |_Surgeon_         | 0  15   0| 1   0   0| 0  15   0| 1   0   0|
  |_Pilot_           | 0  16   8| 1   5   0| 0  16   8| 1   0   0|
  |_Cook_            | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Yeomen of the   }|          |          |          |          |
  |Tacks and Jeers_ }|          | 0  14   0|          |          |
  |_Cockswain_       | 0   9   2| 0  17   6|          |          |
  |_Trumpeter_       | 0  15   0| 1   0   0| 0  15   0| 1   0   0|
  |_Steward_         | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|

  |                  |     Fifth-rates     |     Sixth-rates     |
  |                  +----------+----------+----------+----------+
  |                  |   1582   |   1602   |   1582   |   1602   |
  |                  +----------+----------+----------+----------+
  |                  | £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.| £  s.  d.|
  |_Master_          | 1   6   8| 2   0   0| 1   1   8| 1   7   0|
  |_Master’s Mate_   | 0  11   8| 1   0   0| 0  11   8|          |
  |_Boatswain_       | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Boatswain’s Mate_| 0   9   2| 0  13   9|          |          |
  |_Quartermaster_   | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Do. Mate_        |          |          |          |          |
  |_Purser_          | 0  11   8| 0  13   4| 0   9   2| 0  13   4|
  |_Master Carpenter_| 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0  11   8| 0  17   6|
  |_Carpenter’s Mate_| 0   9   2| 0  13   9|          |          |
  |_Master Gunner_   | 0  10   0| 0  15   0| 0  10   0| 0  15   0|
  |_Gunner’s Mates_  | 0   7   6| 0  11   3| 0   7   6| 0  11   3|
  |_Surgeon_         | 0  15   0| 1   0   0|          | 1   0   0|
  |_Pilot_           | 0  15   0| 1   0   0|          |          |
  |_Cook_            | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0   9   2| 0  17   6|
  |_Yeomen of the   }|          |          |          |          |
  |Tacks and Jeers_ }|          |          |          |          |
  |_Cockswain_       |          |          |          |          |
  |_Trumpeter_       | 0  15   0| 1   0   0| 0  15   0| 1   0   0|
  |_Steward_         | 0  11   8| 0  17   6| 0   9   2| 0  17   6|

  |                  | Seventh-rates |
  |                  +---------------+
  |                  |      1602     |
  |                  +---------------+
  |                  |   £  s.  d.   |
  |_Master_          |   1   0   0   |
  |_Master’s Mate_   |               |
  |_Boatswain_       |   0  13   9   |
  |_Boatswain’s Mate_|               |
  |_Quartermaster_   |               |
  |_Do. Mate_        |               |
  |_Purser_          |               |
  |_Master Carpenter_|               |
  |_Carpenter’s Mate_|               |
  |_Master Gunner_   |   0  13   4   |
  |_Gunner’s Mates_  |               |
  |_Surgeon_         |               |
  |_Pilot_           |               |
  |_Cook_            |   0  13   9   |
  |_Yeomen of the   }|               |
  |Tacks and Jeers_ }|               |
  |_Cockswain_       |               |
  |_Trumpeter_       |               |
  |_Steward_         |   0  13   9   |

Harbour pay was from 40% to 50% below these rates. There is nothing
known of the reasons moving the government to the relatively enormous
increase of the end of the reign, marked by a liberality contrary to the
traditions of nearly half a century. The relative pays would now, in some
cases, be considered extraordinary; surgeons and trumpeters are put on
the same footing, and sixth-rates of 1602 are given the option between
them but are not allowed both. A captain’s pay varied between 2s 6d and
6s 8d a day, and he was allowed two servants for every fifty men of his
crew, and if he were a knight four men. This really meant that he was
licensed to draw pay and rations, or the value in money of rations, for
the permitted number of servants whether or no they were actually on
board. In 1588 lieutenants at £3, and corporals at 17s 6d a month were
carried in some of the ships.

Although in 1564 it had been intended to nominate a pilot major to insure
a knowledge of seamanship and navigation in those responsible for the
safety of ships, further experience may have brought more efficient men
to the front and rendered it unnecessary. There are very few signs that
such a step could have been requisite, judging from the accounts of the
voyages of these years. Men seem to have handled their ships skilfully in
all conditions and under all difficulties, and in navigation landfalls
were made with accuracy, landmarks known and recorded, and the Channel
soundings as minutely mapped out and acted upon as now. The case was very
different with Spanish seamen. From 1508 there had been a great school
of cosmography and navigation at Seville, under the superintendence
of the Pilot Major of Spain, but it does not appear to have succeeded
in turning out competent officers. The records of the Spanish voyages
show how frequently gross errors in navigation occurred, and travellers
communicated their impressions to the same effect. One of these, writing
in 1573, says,

    ‘How can a wise and omnipotent God have placed such a difficult
    and important art as navigation into such coarse and lubberly
    hands as those of these pilots. You should see them ask one
    another, “How many degrees have you got?” One says, “Sixteen,”
    another “About twenty,” and another “Thirteen and a half.”
    Then they will say, “What distance do you make it to the
    land?” One answers, “I make it 40 leagues from land,” another
    “I a hundred and fifty,” a third, “I reckoned it this morning
    to be ninety-two leagues;” and whether it be three or three
    hundred no one of them agrees with the other or with the actual

[Sidenote: Ordnance and Ship Armament.]

In 1558 there were ordnance wharves and storehouses, connected with the
Navy at Woolwich, Portsmouth, and Porchester; Gillingham was shortly
after added to these. In her youth Elizabeth appears to have been fond
of fireworks as the ordnance accounts bear £130, 4s 2d expended, between
1558-64, to amuse her in that way. The report drawn up in 1559[697]
tells us that there were 264 brass and 48 iron guns, of all calibres
down to falconets, on board the ships, and 48 brass and 8 iron in store.
To these could be added upwards of 1000 small pieces, whole, demi, and
quarter slings, fowlers, bases, portpieces, and harquebuses.[698] Eleven
thousand rounds of cannon shot, 10,600 of lead, 1500 of stone and 692
cross bar shot, supplied the guns; other weapons were 3000 bows, 6300
sheaves of arrows, 3100 morrispikes, and 3700 bills. The heaviest piece
used on shipboard was the culverin of 4500 lbs., throwing a 17⅓ lbs.
ball with an extreme range of 2500 paces;[699] the next the demi cannon
weighing 4000 lbs., with a 30⅓ lbs. ball and range of 1700 paces; then
the demi culverin of 3400 lbs., a 9⅓ lb. ball and 2500 paces, and the
cannon petroe, or perier, of 3000 lbs. 24¼ lb. ball and 1600 paces.[700]
There were also sakers, minions, and falconets, but culverins and demi
culverins were the most useful and became the favourite ship guns. The
weights given differ in nearly every list found and were purely academic.
A contemporary wrote, ‘the founders never cast them so exactly but that
they differ two or three cwt. in a piece,’ and in a paper of 1564 the
average weights of culverins, demi culverins, and cannon periers are
respectively 3300 lbs., 2500 lbs., and 2000 lbs.

The equipment of a first-rate like the _Triumph_ (450 seamen, 50
gunners, and 200 soldiers) in small arms, was 250 harquebuses, 50 bows,
100 sheaves of arrows, 200 pikes, 200 bills, 100 corselets, and 200
morions.[701] There were 750 lbs. of corn, and 4470 of serpentine,
powder on board. The _Victory_ had 200 harquebuses, 40 bows, 80 sheaves
of arrows, 100 pikes, 180 bills, 80 corselets, and 160 minions; she
carried 600 lbs. of corn powder, and 4347 of serpentine. Twenty-four
was the number of ships usually taken as the standard to be prepared in
the numerous estimates of the equipment necessary for fleets; in 1574
there were 45 demi cannon, 37 cannon periers, 89 culverins, 142 demi
culverins, 183 sakers, 56 minions, and 66 falcons on board 24 vessels in
June of that year.[702] The first list giving the armament of the ships
individually is of 1585 and is as follows:[703]

  |             |Demi Cannon                                            |
  |             |    |Cannon Periers                                    |
  |             |    |    |Culverins                                    |
  |             |    |    |    |Demi Culverins                          |
  |             |    |    |    |    |Sakers                             |
  |             |    |    |    |    |    |Minions                       |
  |             |    |    |    |    |    |    |Fawcons                  |
  |             |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |Fawconets           |
  |             |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |Portpieces     |
  |             |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |Fowlers   |
  |             |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |Bases|
  +             +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+-----+
  |_Elizabeth_  |  9 |  4 | 14 |  7 |  6 |  2 |  8 |    |  4 | 10 | 12  |
  |_Triumph_    |  9 |  4 | 14 |  7 |  6 |  2 |    |    |  4 | 10 | 12  |
  |_White Bear_ | 11 |  6 | 17 | 10 | 10 |  4 |  4 |    |  4 | 10 | 12  |
  |_Victory_    |  6 |  4 | 14 |  8 |  2 |    |  4 |    |  6 | 10 | 12  |
  |_Hope_       |  4 |  2 |  6 | 10 |  4 |  2 |  1 |    |  4 |  6 | 12  |
  |_Mary Rose_  |  4 |  2 |  8 |  6 |  8 |    |    |    |  2 |  6 |  4  |
  |_Nonpareil_  |  4 |  2 |  4 |  6 | 12 |  1 |  1 |    |  4 |  6 | 12  |
  |_Lion_       |  4 |  4 |  6 |  8 |  6 |    |  2 |    |  4 |  6 | 12  |
  |_Revenge_    |  2 |  4 | 10 |  6 | 10 |    |  2 |    |  2 |  4 |  6  |
  |_Bonaventure_|  4 |  2 |  6 |  8 |  6 |  2 |  2 |    |  4 |  6 | 12  |
  |_Dreadnought_|    |  2 |  4 | 10 |  6 |    |  2 |    |  2 |  8 |  8  |
  |_Swiftsure_  |    |  2 |  4 |  8 |  8 |    |  4 |    |  2 |  6 |  8  |
  |_Antelope_   |    |  2 |  2 |  6 |  6 |  2 |  2 |    |  4 |  4 | 10  |
  |_Swallow_    |    |  2 |    |  4 |  8 |  2 |  6 |    |  4 |  4 | 10  |
  |_Foresight_  |    |    |  4 |  8 |  8 |  4 |    |    |  2 |  2 |  8  |
  |_Aid_        |    |    |    |  2 |  8 |  2 |  6 |  1 |  4 |  8 |  8  |
  |_Bull_       |    |    |    |  6 |  8 |  2 |  1 |    |    |  4 |  4  |
  |_Tiger_      |    |    |    |  6 | 10 |  2 |  2 |    |    |  4 |  4  |
  |_Scout_      |    |    |    |    |  8 |  2 |  6 |  2 |    |  2 |  6  |
  |_Achates_    |    |    |    |    |  2 |  4 | 10 |    |    |  2 |  4  |
  |_Merlin_     |    |    |    |    |    |    |  6 |  2 |    |  2 |  2  |

This appears to have been the existing or intended provision, ‘according
to Sir William Wynters proporcion of 1569,’ The system of heavily arming
ships, introduced by Henry VIII, had grown in favour with the lapse of
time. From a chance allusion we know that the _Victory’s_ waist was
ordinarily 20 feet above the water line; she only had a lower gun-deck,
therefore, the lower tier must have been more than the four feet above
the water allowed by Ralegh.

In only one paper have we any information as to the distribution of the
guns; from a schedule of October 1595, of iron ordnance to be provided
for the ‘lesser ship now building’ (probably the _Warspite_) we are able
to note their arrangement and the tendency to limit the varieties in
use.[704] But it differs considerably from the armament of the _Warspite_
as given in the next table.

  For the sides on the lower overloppe,           12 Culverins
  For the stern and prow on the lower overloppe,   4   do.
  For the capstan deck on the sides,               8 Demi Culverins
  For the stem and prow on the sides,              4   do.
  For the waist fore and aft,                      6 Sakers
  For the half deck                                2   do.

The next list drawn up two months after Elizabeth’s death, gives the
armament of the whole Navy.[705] Upnor Castle possessed, in brass, 1
demi cannon, 3 culverins, 1 minion, 3 fawcons and 4 fowlers; in iron, 4
culverins, 5 demi culverins and 1 saker. The ships:

  |                  | Demi  |Cannon  |           |   Demi    |           |
  |                  |Cannon |Periers | Culverins | Culverins |  Sakers   |
  |                  +-------+--------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
  |                  |Brass  | Brass  | Brs | Irn | Brs | Irn | Brs | Irn |
  |                  +-------+--------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
  |_Elizabeth_       |   2   |    3   |  18 |     |  13 |     |  19 |     |
  |_Triumph_         |   3   |    4   |  19 |     |  16 |     |  13 |     |
  |_White Bear_      |   6   |    2   |  21 |     |  16 |     |  12 |     |
  |_Merhonour_       |   4   |        |  15 |     |  16 |     |   4 |     |
  |_Ark Royal_       |   4   |    4   |  12 |     |  12 |     |   6 |     |
  |_Garland_         |       |        |  16 |     |  12 |   2 |   2 |   2 |
  |_Due Repulse_     |   3   |    2   |  13 |     |  14 |     |   6 |     |
  |_Warspite_        |   2   |    2   |  14 |     |  10 |     |   4 |     |
  |_Defiance_        |       |        |  14 |     |  14 |     |     |     |
  |_Mary Rose_       |   4   |        |  10 |   1 |   7 |   3 |   4 |     |
  |_Bonaventure_     |   2   |    2   |  11 |     |  14 |     |   4 |     |
  |_Nonpareil_       |   3   |    2   |   7 |     |   8 |     |  12 |     |
  |_Lion_            |   4   |        |   8 |     |  12 |   2 |   9 |     |
  |_Victory_[708]    |       |        |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |_Rainbow_         |   6   |        |  10 |     |   7 |     |   1 |     |
  |_Hope_            |   4   |    2   |   9 |     |  12 |     |   4 |     |
  |_Vanguard_        |   4   |        |  14 |     |  16 |     |   4 |     |
  |_St Mathew_       |   4   |    4   |  16 |     |  10 |   6 |   2 |   2 |
  |_St Andrew_[709]  |       |    2   |   4 |   2 |   7 |  14 |   4 |   4 |
  |_Antelope_        |       |        |   4 |     |   5 |   8 |   4 |   4 |
  |_Adventure_       |       |        |   4 |     |  11 |     |   7 |     |
  |_Advantage_       |       |        |     |     |   6 |     |   8 |     |
  |_Crane_           |       |        |     |     |   2 |   4 |   2 |   5 |
  |_Tremontana_      |       |        |     |     |     |     |  12 |     |
  |_Quittance_       |       |        |     |   2 |   4 |   2 |   4 |   3 |
  |_Answer_          |       |        |     |     |   2 |   3 |   2 |   4 |
  |_Moon_            |       |        |     |     |     |     |   5 |     |
  |_Charles_         |       |        |     |     |     |     |   4 |     |
  |_Advice_          |       |        |     |     |     |     |   4 |     |
  |_Superlativa_[710]|       |        |   1 |     |   2 |     |   2 |     |
  |_Mercury_         |       |        |   1 |     |     |     |     |   2 |
  |_Merlin_          |       |        |     |     |     |     |     |     |
  |_Lion’s Whelp_    |       |        |     |     |     |     |   2 |     |

  |                  |           |           | Fowlers | Portpieces |
  |                  |  Minions  |  Fawcons  |  [706]  |   [707]    |
  |                  +-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+------------+
  |                  | Brs | Irn | Brs | Irn |   Brs   |    Brs     |
  |                  +-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+------------+
  |_Elizabeth_       |   1 |     |     |     |     2   |            |
  |_Triumph_         |     |     |     |     |     4   |            |
  |_White Bear_      |     |     |     |     |         |            |
  |_Merhonour_       |     |     |     |     |     2   |            |
  |_Ark Royal_       |     |     |     |     |     2   |      4     |
  |_Garland_         |     |     |     |     |     2   |      2     |
  |_Due Repulse_     |     |     |     |     |     2   |      2     |
  |_Warspite_        |     |     |     |     |     4   |      2     |
  |_Defiance_        |     |     |     |     |     2   |      2     |
  |_Mary Rose_       |     |     |     |     |         |      4     |
  |_Bonaventure_     |   2 |     |     |     |     2   |      2     |
  |_Nonpareil_       |     |     |     |     |     4   |      4     |
  |_Lion_            |     |   1 |     |     |     8   |            |
  |_Victory_[708]    |     |     |     |     |     7   |            |
  |_Rainbow_         |     |     |     |     |     4   |            |
  |_Hope_            |     |     |     |     |     2   |      4     |
  |_Vanguard_        |   2 |     |   2 |     |         |            |
  |_St Mathew_       |   3 |   1 |   2 |     |         |            |
  |_St Andrew_[709]  |   1 |   1 |     |     |     4   |            |
  |_Antelope_        |     |     |   1 |     |     2   |      2     |
  |_Adventure_       |     |     |     |     |     2   |            |
  |_Advantage_       |   2 |     |   4 |     |         |            |
  |_Crane_           |   6 |     |     |     |     2   |            |
  |_Tremontana_      |   7 |     |   2 |     |         |            |
  |_Quittance_       |     |   4 |   2 |     |     2   |            |
  |_Answer_          |   2 |   4 |   2 |     |     2   |            |
  |_Moon_            |   6 |     |   2 |     |         |            |
  |_Charles_         |   2 |     |   2 |     |         |            |
  |_Advice_          |   2 |     |   3 |     |         |            |
  |_Superlativa_[710]|     |     |     |     |     2   |            |
  |_Mercury_         |     |     |     |     |     2   |            |
  |_Merlin_          |   2 |     |   6 |     |         |            |
  |_Lion’s Whelp_    |   7 |     |   2 |     |         |            |

Comparing this with the preceding list of 1585 it is noticed that there
is a large decrease in cannon and a corresponding increase in culverins,
demi culverins and sakers, which strained a ship less, were served more
quickly and by fewer men, and permitted a heavier broadside in the same
deck space. They were mounted on four-wheeled carriages and may have been
fitted with elevating screws, the latter probably recently introduced
as they are mentioned among Bourne’s _Inventions_. The length of a
cannon carriage was 5½ ft., and of a demi cannon carriage 5 ft., costing
respectively £1, 3s 4d and 19s 9d.[711] A ship’s anchors and guns had her
name painted on them.[712]

William Thomas, master gunner of the _Victory_, drew attention in 1584
to the lack of trained gunners he thought he perceived, nor was he the
only person who detected the same deficiency. The Spaniards who were,
under the circumstances, perhaps better judges thought differently, and
one of their Armada captains relates that the English fired their heavy
guns as quickly as the Spaniards did their muskets.[713] The grant of
the artillery ground by Henry VIII as a place of practice has already
been mentioned, and, in 1575, it is again brought into notice by an order
that sufficient powder and shot should be allowed to train ‘scollers’
there.[714] Until Wynter’s death in 1589 the supply of ordnance stores
for the Navy remained under his control, and the absence of remark shows
that the business progressed smoothly. It then became a part of the
ordinary work of the Ordnance Office, and that department did not belie
the unsavoury reputation it has always held. By 1591 outcry against it
ran high, and in 1598 and 1600 its corrupt and lax administration called
forth various projects of reform. The superior departmental officers
gave themselves allowances and, through brokers, sold to themselves
as representing the crown; the inferior clerks were in league with
the gunners in embezzlement.[715] With such encouragement it is not
surprising to find that

    ‘the master gunners who do usually indent for the provision
    of ships and fortified places do commonly return unreasonable
    waste of all things committed to their charge, which waste
    grows not by any of Her Majesty’s service but by the gunners
    themselves in selling Her Majesty’s powder and shot and other
    provisions, sometimes before they go to sea and most usually
    upon their return from the sea.’

Usually the captain shared the proceeds with the gunner and the clerks of
the Ordnance department, and the transaction leaves no mark. Occasionally
a captain refused and then we have the incident put on record as in the
case of the master gunner of the _Defiance_, who, when she returned from
sea in 1596 offered his commander £100 for permission to steal half the
powder remaining on board.[716] The patentee for iron shot was a prisoner
for debt and forced to sublet his contract; sometimes he bought shot sold
by the gunners, ‘so that Her Majesty buyeth her own goods and payeth
double for the same.’ When the pursuit of the flying Armada ceased want
of ammunition was as much a reason as want of provisions. But if the
deposition of John Charlton, who lived in a house adjoining to that of
Hamon, a master gunner of the _Ark Royal_, is to be credited, that ship,
at any rate, did not lack powder. Charlton informed Howard that he had
daily seen much powder taken into Hamon’s dwelling. Hamon confessed,
but according to Charlton, very incompletely, for, ‘where it was set
downe but iiii barrels I will aprove that after the fight there came to
his house fortie barrels which was to her Maiestie in that fighte greate
hinderance.’ It is significant that a labourer in the employ of the
Ordnance Office acknowledged that he had been hired to pick a quarrel
with Charlton and maim or kill him.[717]

The cost of cast iron ordnance was, between 1565 and 1570, from £10 to
£12 a ton; in 1600 it had fallen to £8 and £9 a ton. Brass ordnance was
from £40 to £60 a ton. The reputation of our founders stood so high that
the Spaniards were prepared to pay £22 a ton for iron guns and to give
a pension to the man who could smuggle them over.[718] The exportation
of ordnance was strictly prohibited, but an extensive underhand trade
went on notwithstanding the efforts of the government. In February 1574
all gunfounders were called upon to give bonds to £2000 apiece not to
cast ordnance without licence and not to sell it to foreigners. The seat
of the industry was Kent and Sussex and the requirements of the kingdom
exclusive of the Royal Navy and of the royal forts, were then estimated
at 600 tons a year.[719] There seem to have been only some six or seven
founders in the business, and in the following June, the Council ordered
that no one should enter into it without permission; that all guns should
be sent to the Tower wharf, there to be sold to English subjects who were
to give sureties not to sell abroad out of their ships; and that all
founders were to send in a yearly return to the Master of the Ordnance of
the number of guns sold, and to whom.[720] These orders were repeated in
1588 and 1601, but a founder estimated that 2500 tons of ordnance were
cast a year, being three times as much as could be used in England, and
it was supposed that, previous to 1592, out of 2000 tons yearly made 1600
were secretly sent abroad.

Although the saltpetre had been obtained from the continent powder had
long been made in England as well as bought abroad. In 1562 three persons
who had erected powder mills, tendered to supply it on a large scale—200
lasts a year—at £3, 5s a cwt. (of 100 lbs.) for corn powder, and £2, 16s
8d for serpentine powder.[721] This offer does not seem to have been
accepted although in 1560 the crown was paying £3, 5s 2d, the cwt. (of
112 lbs.) for serpentine powder, and in 1570, still higher prices. In
November 1588 there was ‘a reasonable store’ of round shot in hand and 55
lasts of powder; 100 tons of shot and 100 lasts of powder were required
to make good deficiencies, but in view of the amount remaining in stock
only the fatal blundering which has always characterised the departments
can explain the constant prayer for supplies that came, vainly, from the
fleet.[722] Wynter, whose province it was to attend to naval requirements
in these matters, was himself on service from 22nd December 1587 until
15th September 1588, in command of the _Vanguard_ and the _Ark Royal_.
How the business of his office was carried on in his absence we do not
know with certainty, but from some entries in the Privy Council Register
for 1588, it would appear to have been handed over to the Ordnance
Office. The cost of the powder was here estimated at £100 a last, but
in 1589 a tender from George Evelyn, John Evelyn, and Richard Hills, to
deliver 80 lasts a year for eleven years at £80 was accepted. In 1603
they, with some other partners, were still acting and furnishing 100
lasts a year. Round shot, from cannon down to fawcon, was obtained at an
average of £8 a ton; ‘jointed shot,’ and cross-bar shot were dear, from
2s 6d to 8s apiece, according to the size of the gun. Stone shot were
still used and cost from sixpence to two shillings each conformable to

[Sidenote: Naval Expenditure.]

The naval expenses, especially during the last fifteen years of her
reign, must have seemed appalling to Elizabeth and would have excused her
parsimony had she not been so lavish to herself. From the _Audit Office
Accounts_ we are enabled to give on the next page the amounts for which
the Treasurer of the Navy was answerable, but these by no means included
all the expenditure of the crown in various expeditions. The total cost
of the Cadiz and Islands voyages, for instance, of 1596 and 1597 is given
as £172,260 and this is only partly represented below.[724] If the Queen
took a share in an adventure the money she advanced was paid from the
Exchequer and is not borne on the Navy accounts.

The £12,000 a year allotted to Gonson, under Mary, for the working of
the naval establishments during peace was reduced from 1st January
1564 to £6000 a year, of which he was to pay Baeshe £165, 2s a month
for harbour victualling.[725] Of course war, or preparation for war,
upset all calculations of economy, but the attempt was steadily made
to keep the normal, everyday, expenses of the department separate from
the exceptional ones, and to reduce the former to as low a sum as
practicable. Gonson must have found the £6000 a year impossible, for in
1567 it was raised to £7695, 6s 2d. The economy could have been only
nominal, for on the same date as this new order[726] there is a warrant
to Gonson for £10,200 extra for stores and ship repairs which would have
formerly been included in the £12,000 a year. By a statement of 1585 the
average for these years was £10,946 yearly, when building, repairs, and
stores purchased were included.[740] From 1571 commences the division
into ordinary and extraordinary, which doubtless had a further saving
for its object, although how the process was to work, except as tending
towards clearer bookkeeping, is not now manifest.

  |         |        |           |              Dockyards                 |
  |         |        |           +--------+---------+---------+-----------+
  |         | Total  |Victualling|        |         |         |           |
  |         |received|   [727]   |Chatham |Deptford |Woolwich |Portsmouth |
  |         |    £   |   £       |    £   |     £   |     £   |       £   |
  |1559 }   |  106000| 43300     |   5157 |   26800 |    1400 |      2726 |
  |1560 }   |        |           |        |         |         |           |
  |1561     |   19757|  3200     |   2164 |   19528 |     866 |       265 |
  |1562[731]|        |           |        |         |         |           |
  |1563[732]|   53790| 19208     |   3701 |   19707 |     944 |      2529 |
  |1564     |   18000|  4492     |   2038 |    2912 |      14 |       268 |
  |1565     |    5318|  2149     |   4350 |     445 |      32 |       294 |
  |1566     |    5178|  1843     |   3612 |     247 |      10 |        77 |
  |1567     |   13129|  1999     |   6257 |     484 |      12 |        66 |
  |1568     |   12062|  2718     |   5843 |    1854 |      21 |       100 |
  |1569     |   17015|  7484     |   2653 |     343 |      12 |        50 |
  |1570     |   15138|  7162     |   3133 |     985 |      12 |       266 |
  |1571     |    8580|  2403     |        |         |         |           |
  |1572     |   12300|  2765     |        |         |         |           |
  |1573     |    8934|  2686     |        |         |         |           |
  |1574     |   14157|  2964     |        |         |         |           |
  |1575     |    6802|  2969     |        |         |         |           |
  |1576     |    9957|  4449     |        |         |         |           |
  |1577     |   12977|  3871     |        |         |         |           |
  |1578     |   14276|  5032     |        |         |         |           |
  |1579     |    8400|  4918     |        |         |         |           |
  |1580     |    5829| 11932     |        |         |         |           |
  |1581     |    9532|  3356     |        |         |         |           |
  |1582     |    8388|  3230     |        |         |         |           |
  |1583     |    6694|  2274     |        |         |         |           |
  |1584     |    8020|  2615     |   3680 |         |         |           |
  |1585     |   12934|  5786     |        |         |         |           |
  |1586     |   25691|  8636     |        |         |         |           |
  |1587     |   46300| 29563     |        |         |         |           |
  |1588     |   80666| 59221     |   5387 |         |         |           |
  |1589     |   52317| 15949     |   3864 |         |         |           |
  |1590     |   61168| 20379     |   2257 |         |         |           |
  |1591     |   35626| 13198     |   7046 |         |         |           |
  |1592     |   29937| 11657     |   7442 |         |         |           |
  |1593     |   26000|  9872     |        |         |         |           |
  |1594     |   49000| 16241     |        |         |         |           |
  |1595[735]|   59700| 14665     |  12328 |    5631 |         |           |
  |1596[736]|   37421| 16387[737]|        |         |         |           |
  |1597     |   64705| 28630     |        |         |         |           |
  |1598     |   69000| 22100     |        |         |         |           |
  |1599     |   67116| 32426     |        |         |         |           |
  |1600     |   37780| 21355     |        |         |         |           |
  |1601     |   56500| 28866     |        |         |         |           |
  |1602     |   62457| 40945     |        |         |         |           |

  |         |           |           |        |          |               |
  |         |    Sea    |           |        |          |               |
  |         |  Charges  |   Total   | Stores | Ordinary |               |
  |         |   [728]   |   Spent   | [729]  |  [730]   | Extraordinary |
  |         |   £       |    £      |    £   |      £   |        £      |
  |1559 }   | 23380     |           |        |          |               |
  |1560 }   |           |           |        |          |               |
  |1561     |           | 27485     |        |          |               |
  |1562[731]|           |           |        |          |               |
  |1563[732]| 16021     | 63290     |        |          |               |
  |1564     |  1497     | 21471     |        |          |               |
  |1565     |           |  7844[733]|        |          |               |
  |1566     |           |  6244     |        |          |               |
  |1567     |           | 19000     |        |          |               |
  |1568     |   743     | 15115     |        |          |               |
  |1569     |  2820     | 17800     |   6354 |          |               |
  |1570     |  2332     | 17527     |   3834 |          |               |
  |1571     |           |  8598     |        |     5752 |     2846[734] |
  |1572     |           |  8559     |        |     5646 |     2913      |
  |1573     |           | 10686     |        |     5940 |     4746      |
  |1574     |           | 12877     |        |     6143 |     3776      |
  |1575     |           |  6893     |        |          |               |
  |1576     |           | 10660     |        |     5631 |     5029      |
  |1577     |           | 12899     |        |          |               |
  |1578     |           | 14956     |        |     5712 |     8727      |
  |1579     |  1351     |  8100     |        |     3849 |     1481      |
  |1580     |  4110     | 14602     |        |     3833 |     6172      |
  |1581     |           | 11902     |        |          |               |
  |1582     |           |  8663     |        |     4015 |     4624      |
  |1583     |           |  7486     |        |          |               |
  |1584     |           |  8515     |        |     3934 |     4581      |
  |1585     |           | 11602     |        |          |               |
  |1586     |  8905     | 29391     |        |          |               |
  |1587     |  7355     | 44000     |        |          |               |
  |1588     |           | 90813     |        |     2283 |    88530      |
  |1589     | 12650     | 47836     |        |     4756 |    43057      |
  |1590     | 16109     | 60370     |   3248 |          |               |
  |1591     |  4141     | 31000     |        |     6172 |    24868      |
  |1592     |  6789     | 28585     |        |     5554 |    23031      |
  |1593     |  5400     | 22269     |        |     4974 |    17224      |
  |1594     |           | 49300     |        |          |               |
  |1595[735]| 15293     | 59000     |        |    10425 |    48588      |
  |1596[736]| 21204[738]| 38379     |        |    10363 |    27935      |
  |1597     | 40680[739]| 76513     |        |    14906 |    60702      |
  |1598     |  9229     | 53300     |  18000 |    14203 |    39000      |
  |1599     | 15749     | 66665     |        |     7137 |    59504      |
  |1600     | 14039     | 35200     |   8600 |     8170 |    19028      |
  |1601     | 14166     |           |  22910 |     7047 |    45326      |
  |1602     | 26270     | 60832     |  20104 |     6976 |    53840      |

In October 1579 ‘bargains’ were made between the Queen and Hawkyns, and
with Pett and Baker.[741] Twenty-five vessels of all classes were named
in the agreement and Hawkyns undertook to provide their moorings, to keep
spare cables and hawsers on board, and to furnish other cordage necessary
for ordinary harbour and sea use, for £1200 a year, the contract being
terminable at six months’ notice. He was not to be called upon to account
for the £1200 and therefore evidently expected, and was at liberty, to
make a profit. The agreement with Pett and Baker was to the effect that
they should ground and grave the ships at least every first, second, or
third year, according to size; that they should repair or replace all
faulty masts and yards that became defective in harbour, except the lower
masts and yards of the sixteen largest vessels; that they were to pay
wages, victualling and lodging of the men they employed and provide all
materials and tools; they were to supply carpenters’ stores to vessels
in commission, and pay all carriage and hire of storehouses. For this
they were to have £1000 a year. It was these two contracts that brought
such a storm of obloquy on Hawkyns. On the one hand, the other officers
found the greater part of their occupation gone, and their interference
in some of the most important transactions an unwarrantable intermeddling
with agreements approved by the government. On the other Hawkyns and
the shipwrights expected to make a profit, and circumstances seem to
suggest that the way in which Hawkyns insisted on the work being done
did not leave Pett and Baker that margin they anticipated. These two men
subsequently became his bitter enemies, and in 1588 sent in a report
on his management, to which events at that time were daily giving the
lie. The effect of the new arrangement was to make Hawkyns supreme in
all the branches of administration, and therefore every contractor or
middleman, with whose arrangements he interfered, swelled the outcry. The
result of the commission of inquiry of January 1584 was not to displace
him, but apparently it did abrogate these contracts, and in 1585 a new
one was entered into with Hawkyns alone. For £4000 a year he defrayed
the repair of ships in harbour, found moorings, paid shipkeepers and
the garrison of Upnor, repaired wharves and storehouses, finding in
all cases materials, victuals, and lodgings for the workmen.[742] The
object of this and the preceding agreement was to get the ordinary done
for £4000 a year, devoting the money saved to the purchase of cordage,
masts, etc., which had formerly been extra. Hawkyns maintained that he
had performed it successfully; his opponents denied it. It was the last
contract, from which they were excluded, that Pett and Baker reported
upon. He gave notice to terminate it at Christmas 1587 in consequence of
the great increase in naval operations, and no third bargain was engaged
in. From 1st January 1589 the amount allowed for the ordinary was raised
to £7268[743] which then only restored it to the standard of 1567; in
January 1599 it was increased to £11,000 a year.[744]

The year to which the reader will turn with most interest is 1588, and
the figures here given, representing the payments of Hawkyns only, deal
with the expenditure through him and probably do not represent the whole,
even of the naval expenses. A document printed by Murdin[745] makes the
naval disbursements, between the beginning of November 1587 and the end
of September 1588, exclusive of victualling and the charges borne by
London and other ports, reach the much larger sum of £112,000. Powder and
shot were used to the value of £10,000, while £20,000 was required to
replace stores and put the fleet in seaworthy condition again. Another
estimate puts the expenses of the year at £92,370.[746] It gives the cost
by fleets: the Lord Admiral’s £31,980; Seymour’s £12,180; coasters and
volunteers £15,970; Frobisher’s £840; Drake’s £21,890, etc. Finally we
have the items stated in a different way[747]: wages £52,557; conduct and
discharge money £2272; tonnage (hire of) £6225; other expenses £15,003;
extraordinary allowances and rewards £854. The compensation paid for
the eight vessels converted into fireships and sent among the Spaniards
during the anxious night of 28-29th July was £5111, 10s, perhaps the
cheapest national investment that this country has ever made.[748] Two of
them were of 200 tons apiece, in all they measured 1230 tons.

[Sidenote: Preparation and Cost of Fleets.]

There were in pay during the struggle in the Channel 34 Queen’s ships
and 163 merchantmen, but all through the year merchantmen had been taken
up or discharged, and men-of-war put in and out of commission as the
need seemed more or less urgent. There were 8 admirals, 3 vice-admirals,
126 captains, 136 masters, 26 lieutenants, 24 corporals, 2 ensign
bearers, 2 secretaries, 13 preachers, and 11,618 soldiers, sailors, and
gunners.[749] Other authorities give a larger number of men, in one
instance 15,925; and only 95 merchantmen appear in the _Audit Office
Accounts_ as paid by the Treasurer. In this case the in and out working
must have puzzled the authorities considerably, but ordinarily experience
had enabled them to calculate with fair accuracy the probable cost of
sending a fleet to sea. In October 1580—Drake had returned in September
and Mendoza was vapouring—such an estimate was prepared for twenty
men-of-war, to be manned by 4030 seamen and gunners, and 1690 soldiers.
The press and conduct money of the seamen amounts to £1410, 10s, that of
the soldiers and their coat money to £676; sea stores of ships £800, and
wages of officers and crews for one month £2669, 6s 8d. The discharge
money for both soldiers and sailors is £1462, and one month’s provisions
£4004. In all the charges make a total of £11,449 for the first month.
As there would be no cost of preparation, nor press, conduct, coat, or
discharge money to be reckoned in the following months, the cost for the
second and succeeding months would be £6773 each. For another £12,000
twenty-two armed merchantmen, of 5200 tons and 2790 men, could be joined
with the men-of-war for three months. The last years in which foreign
ships appear to have been ‘stayed’ by the authority of the crown for
service with its fleets were 1560, 1561, and 1569. There is a payment of
£300 in 1560 for ‘putting the Venetian’s hulk and ship that be staied for
our service in warre in like order and sorte.’[750] In 1569 another £300
was paid by Gonson to two Ragusan masters whose ships were stayed but do
not appear to have been used.[751] Some other foreign vessels are also
referred to but their names do not occur in any naval paper.

The expenses of the semi-private, semi-royal, expeditions of various
years are not borne on the navy accounts and the references to them in
the State Papers are frequently incomplete and contradictory. That of
Frobisher, in 1589, cost upwards of £11,000, of Frobisher and Hawkyns in
1590, £17,000,[752] and of Lord Thomas Howard in 1591, £24,000.[753] The
outlay attendant on Essex’s fleet in 1596 was £78,000,[754] and that of
the Drake-Hawkyns venture in 1595, £42,000.[755] Here the Queen provided
six men-of-war and, according to one statement,[756] was to have had
one-third of the booty, but it is difficult to disentangle the actual
facts from the several discrepant versions. The voyage was a disastrous
failure financially, treasure to £4907 only being brought home; worse
still it cost the lives of Drake and Hawkyns. The lower ranks, however,
did not fare so badly; it was said that £1000 was embezzled from the sale
of powder alone, and some of the men, being drunk, ‘showed a great store
of gold’ on their return.

[Sidenote: Division of Prize Money.]

In the seventeenth century Monson noticed that, notwithstanding the
destruction they brought on Spanish commerce nationally, the majority
of the Elizabethan adventurers not only made no fortunes but ruined
themselves by their enterprises. So far as pecuniary receipts were
concerned there were only two really great captures during the Queen’s
reign. Her share of the _St Philip_, taken by Drake in 1587, was £46,672;
Drake’s own, £18,235; the Lord Admiral’s, £4338; and private adventurers,
£44,787.[757] A still richer haul was made in the _Madre de Dios_, taken
in 1592, which, by the account of her purser, carried 8500 quintals of
pepper, 900 of cloves, 700 of cinnamon, 500 of cochineal, and 450 of
other merchandise, besides amber, musk, and precious stones to the value
of 400,000 crusados, and some especially fine diamonds.[758] In this case
there was only one Queen’s ship among the ten entitled to share, and the
services rendered by that one were questioned, but Her Majesty demanded
the lion’s share of the proceeds. If the men were not paid wages the
usual arrangement for the division of prize money was that if ships were
cruising, and ‘thirds’ were agreed upon, the spoil was to be divided into
three parts, viz., tonnage (_i.e._, owners), one part, the victuallers
the second part, and the men the remaining third. But if ships joined in
‘consortship,’ their takings were to be first divided ton for ton, and
man for man, then each vessel’s proportion was to be joined and divided
into shares as before.[759] By the second mode ships belonging to the
squadron, but absent from a particular capture, would still share the
pillage. The captain took ten shares, the master seven or eight, and
most of the remaining officers three to five each; if the cruiser was
a privateer the Lord Admiral received a tenth from each of the thirds.
For the twelve years 1587-98 Nottingham’s tenths amounted to upwards of
£18,000.[760] The following computation shows the proportions due on this
system of division assuming the value of the carrack’s cargo to have been

       _Foresight_     Tonnage 450,            £8092  9  8½ }
    (Queen’s Ship)     Men 170,                 7505 10  4  } £23103 10  4½
                       Victualling as for men,  7505 10  4  }

        _Roebuck_      Tonnage 350,             6294  3  1½ }
   (Sir W. Ralegh)     Men 160,                 7064  0  4½ }  20422  3 10½
                       Victualling as for men,  7064  0  4½ }

         _Dainty_      Tonnage 300,             5394 19  9½ }
   (Sir J. Hawkyns)    Men 100,                 4415  0  2½ }  14225  0  2½
                       Victualling as for men,  4415  0  2½ }

       Five Ships      Tonnage 1235,           22209  7  6½ }
  (Earl of Cumberland) Men 500,                22075  1  1½ }  66359  9  9½
                       Victualling as for men, 22075  1  1½ }

       Two Ships       Tonnage 260,             4675 13  2  }
       of London       Men 127,                 5607  1  3½ }  15889 15  9
                       Victualling as for men,  5607  1  3½ }

There was thus a total of 2595 tons. One third of £140,000 is £46,666,
13s 4d and this, divided by 2595, gives a unit of £17, 19s 6d a ton. For
the _Foresight_ 450 times £17, 19s 6d yields roughly the £8092, 9s 8½d
to which her tonnage entitles her; the same formula gives the shares of
the other ships, and of the men, substituting in the latter case 1057
for 2595. The Earl of Cumberland, one of the most persistent and one of
the most unlucky of the private adventurers of his day got only £36,000,
and in the end, after much bickering, Elizabeth took nearly £80,000 of
the plunder. There is no doubt that the fleet was in ‘consortship,’[762]
but it did not suit her interests to allow that form of division. The
official belief, and one apparently well founded, was that enormous theft
went on, both among officers and men, before the prize was brought into
port. Robert Cecil, who had been sent into Devonshire to make inquiries,
wrote to his father that, approaching Exeter, he ‘cold well smell them
almost such has been the spoils of amber and musk among them ... there
never was such spoil.’ Officers and men pillaged first, the captains took
what they could from them, and when the admiral, Sir John Burroughs,
came up, he plundered the captains. Among other items the Commissioners
found that an emerald cross three inches long, 62 diamonds, and 1400
‘very great’ pearls had been stolen. It is not known what became of the
_Madre de Dios_, but possibly an offer from the mayor and burgesses of
Dartmouth to pay £200 and build a hospital for the poor in return ‘for yᵉ
carrick’ may refer to it.[763]

[Sidenote: Merchant Shipping and Trade.]

In 1584 Hawkyns wrote to Burghley ‘I ame perswydyd that the substance of
this reallme ys treblyd in vallew syns her Maiesties raygne.’ So far as
the carrying trade, as exemplified in the increase of merchant ships,
was concerned, the statement was more than justified. The legislation
that had long been directed in a more or less perfunctory manner to the
encouragement of English merchant shipping by protective enactments was
enforced more stringently. Such enactments were varied or renewed by the
1st, 5th, 13th, 23rd, 27th and 39th of Elizabeth. The coast fisheries
were assisted by permission being granted to export fish in English
bottoms, free of custom, subsidy, or poundage,[764] while the internal
consumption was increased by the more rigid exaction of the observance
of fish days. The coasting trade was confined to English owned ships,
and the earlier statutes bearing on exportation or importation in
foreign vessels were put into active operation. These measures were not
fruitless. For 1576 is a list of fifty-one ships built in the preceding
five years and attributed, rightly or wrongly, to the statute ordering
abstinence from flesh on Wednesdays.[765] In 1581 the authorities of the
Trinity Corporation sent in a certificate showing a large increase in
the number of fishing boats, there being in a short time, an addition
of 114 on the east and south-east coasts alone between Newcastle and

The bounty of five shillings a ton, for vessels of 100 tons and upwards,
only paid occasionally during preceding reigns is now of common
occurrence. The Exchequer warrants name 162 ships on which it was given
during the reign, and the series is probably far from complete. Certain
names frequently recur in these entries; the Hawkyns family of Plymouth;
Olyff Burre, a coppersmith of Southwark, who obtained the bounty on 790
tons of shipping in two years; the Fenners of Chichester; Philip and
Francis Drake; and William Borough. Sometimes seamen were both owners
and masters but more frequently the owners are described as merchants.
Towards the later years of the century, when the volume of ocean trade
had greatly increased, the bounty payments become almost continuous, and
then owners had to give surety not to sell their ships to foreigners.
Between 1581 and 1594 there had been built—or rather had received the
premium—46 such vessels of which 25 belonged to London, 7 to Bristol, 2
to Southampton, 3 to Dartmouth, and 1 each to Hull and Liverpool.[767]
The _Galleon Ughtred_ of Southampton, built by John Ughtred of Netley,
was of 500 tons, and when she was sent to sea under Fenton was valued at
£6035, fitted, victualled, and munitioned.[768]

It is perhaps indicative of the results of the years 1587-8-9 that while
only 46 such vessels had been built in thirteen years, there were,
between 1592 and 1595, 48 large ships of 10,622 tons receiving a sum
of £2683, 5s. In one year—1593—London owners were paid on 16 ships of
3248 tons; Dartmouth, as in the preceding century, is ahead of the other
southern ports with seven vessels of 1460 tons.[769] From September 1596
to September 1597 the bounty was paid on 57 ships of 11,160 tons; two
were of 400 tons, four of 320, two of 310, thirty-two of between 200 and
300 tons, and the general increase in the tonnage of individual ships is
another noticeable fact in the growth of the shipping industry.[770]

But probably the bounty was not always paid. At the foot of a list of
merchantmen for the years 1572-9, the owners of which had given bond that
they should not be sold to the subjects of a foreign power, the clerk
writes: ‘whether all these or how many of them have had any allowance of
Her Majesty I cannot tell for that there is no record of the allowance
in this court.’[771] The total is 70 ships of 12,630 tons; the largest
are, one of Bristol of 600 tons, one of London of 450, and one of
Dartmouth of 400 tons. One entry, on 9th July, 1577, is that Francis
Drake of Plymouth gives bond for the _Pelican_ of 150 tons.[772] Very
often the five shillings a ton was not paid but allowed on the customs,
as in 1595, when 636 crowns were granted to three London merchants ‘to
be allowed on the customs of merchandise brought by the said ships.’ It
was of course to the interest of the owner to have his vessel rated at
the highest possible tonnage, both for the bounty and for service with
the royal fleets. For the latter the hire remained at one shilling a ton
till about 1580 when it was raised to two shillings and even then the
measuring officers, we are told, usually allowed the Queen to be charged
for a third more than the real tonnage.[773]

Besides the stimulus of general trade and the requirements of the crown
for ships to serve with the fleets, there was a further encouragement
to building in the action of the great chartered associations then
in possession of so much of the over sea trade. The Russia Company,
chartered in 1555, traded to Russia, Persia, and the Caspian, and, late
in the century, commenced the whale fishery; the Turkey, or Levant
Company, founded in 1581, to the dominions of the Sultan, the Greek
Archipelago, and, indirectly, to the East Indies; the Eastland Company
trading through the Sound to Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark;
the Guinea Company to the west coast of Africa, and the Merchant
Adventurers along the northern coast of continental Europe. Many of the
largest ocean-going ships either belonged to, or were hired by, these
corporations, and owners who had entered into the prevalent spirit of
shipbuilding felt that they had a right to have their vessels hired by
the companies. Olyff Burre, the speculative owner before mentioned,
petitioned the Council in 1579 to the effect that he had obtained a
living for forty years ‘cheefely by the maynteyninge of shippinge and
the navygacon,’ that he now had a number of vessels unemployed, and that
he trusted they would order the Spanish Company to hire his ships.[774]
In 1581 the Levant Company possessed fourteen ships varying in size from
200 to 350 tons; they complain, in a petition, that the new import duties
levied by the Venetians are destroying their trade, and that their ships
are too big to be employed in any other work.[775] In the five years
1583-7 this company employed nineteen vessels and 787 men in twenty-seven
voyages, and paid £11,359 in customs. In 1600 they owned thirteen of 2610
tons and hired seventeen of 2650 tons. Their agent at Constantinople
cost £1000 a year, besides presents to the Turks, and in 1591 they
calculated that, first and last, they had been compelled to spend £40,000
in maintaining agents, consuls, etc.[776] The profits made by these
companies were sometimes enormous and their risks were fewer than those
of individual owners, for their large, well-armed and manned ships were
less exposed to the dangers of navigation and piracy, the latter a factor
to be always reckoned with.

Notwithstanding piracy, warfare, and the risks of navigation in little
known seas, the returns show a steady increase in the size and number of
English vessels. The necessities of distant trading explain the increase
in size both in view of a relatively smaller cost of working and a larger
number of partners interested in the cargo, and the results of successful
maritime war were shown in a carrying trade which it may almost be held
to have founded. But an extension of commerce was sometimes thrust
unwillingly on the English merchants. Some of them petitioned in 1571
that the trade with Portugal was of more value than that with the East
Indies, and that an agreement should be come to with the King of Portugal
by which Englishmen would undertake not to trade with the East if a free
opening were given by that monarch in his European dominions. They said
that the traffic to the East Indies ‘often attempted hath taken small
effect,’ that in fifteen years no merchants had made any profit, ‘except
such as being spoiled there have made great gain by the recompense
here.’[777] They did not foresee the future subjects of spoliation,
but although trade was progressing it moved onwards tentatively and
with hesitation; and but for the cessation of trade with Portugal the
formation of the East India Company might have been long deferred.

If a merchantman escaped the ordinary risks of the sea as they were
understood in the sixteenth century, risks that included much more than
is comprised in the expression to-day, the owner’s troubles were by no
means over. Commerce with the East could only be carried on by constant
bribery; if he traded to Spain he had to reckon with the suspicious
bigotry of Church and State, and when returned to England he had to deal
with the more selfish dishonesty of custom-house officials, and sometimes
of persons of higher rank. Three victims of Spanish procedure petition

    ‘In this moste wofull manner sheweth unto your Honour your
    suppliantes John Tyndall and Robert Frampton of Bristowe and
    William Ellize of Alperton ... late marchants and the Quenes
    Maiesties naturall subjectes late in case right good to
    live and nowe in state most miserable. That where your said
    suppliantes did trade into Spayne in the way of marchandise—soe
    it is Right Honourable that besydes longe and miserable
    imprisonment besydes the intollerable torment of the Strappadoe
    there susteyned by the authoritie of the Inquisition of Spayne
    your said suppliantes are there spoyled of all their goodes to
    the vallew of ˡⁱ2228 10ˢ 6ᵈ, to their utter undoing.’[778]

Their ship was seized and they were tortured because a Cato in English
was found on board—Spain and England being at peace. They go on to ask
that they may have restitution out of Spanish goods in England. In 1588,
of the crew of a Scotch ship just arrived at St Lucar, ‘accused to be
protestantes and fleshe eaters on dayes prohibite,’ three were burnt and
the rest sent to the galleys, upon accusation, without any trial.[779]
As the knowledge of these and other stories spread, one does not wonder
at the massacres of Smerwick and Connaught; it is only a matter for
surprise that any Spanish prisoner received quarter.

It was a usual clause in a charter-party that a merchantman should carry
ordnance and small arms. In the peaceful Bordeaux fleet of 1593, the
three largest vessels carried from 17 to 21 guns, and all the others
have from 3 to 16 pieces of various sizes. Owners whose vessels had
escaped the perils of the voyage had to be prepared for trickery at
home. Accusations of dishonesty were general against the officers of
the customs; ‘they alter their books leaving out and putting in what
pleases them’; the wages of the waiters were £12, 16s a year, but some of
them kept large establishments, the officers were said to attend about
two-and-a-half hours daily, and the chief ones seldom came at all. These
latter, says the writer, appointed clerks who grew rich the same way, and
these again took under clerks who made a living out of the merchants;
the chief posts were sold at high prices, while, in the country, the
Queen was defrauded of half the customs.’[780] Another person, writing to
Robert Cecil in 1594, says ‘there has been transported out of Rye within
twelve months not less than £10,000 of prohibited wares. The customs
officers not only connive but help.’[781] Other examples might be cited
to show that there had not been much improvement in these years, although
the service had been reorganised in 1586 when the Customer, Sir Thos.
Smith, who farmed some of the imposts, had been compelled to disgorge
a portion of his profits. The revenue from the customs was £24,000 in
1586, in 1590 £50,000, and £127,000 in 1603. If the merchant escaped the
extortions of the custom house he might find that persons of the highest
rank did not disdain to avail themselves of the organised chicane of the
law. In 1586 Leicester sent a cargo to Barbary, and in the return lading,
the factor thought it safer, on account of pirates and other enemies, to
mark all his employers’ goods with Leicester’s mark. On the arrival of
the ship Elizabeth’s favourite claimed the whole cargo and, the law being
on his side, the owners were compelled to compound with him for their own

[Sidenote: Returns of Merchant Ships and Seamen.]

There are more detailed lists of merchant ships for the period under
review than for any other reign. By these lists, equivalent to a return
of vessels now built to Admiralty requirements, the government knew, from
time to time, how many ships could be relied on as fighting auxiliaries
and how many could be used as tenders and transports. They also enabled
the Council to judge whether the measures taken for the protection and
encouragement of native shipping were successful. The first of these
returns is for March 1560 and is incomplete since there is no entry for
such a port as Bristol, and Somerset and the Welsh counties are also

  |                |Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|
  |                | 100| 120| 140| 160| 180| 200| 260| 300|
  |                +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
  | London         | 1  | 2  | 6  | 4  | 3  | 2  | 1  | 2  |
  | Saltash        |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Fowey          | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Northam        | 1  | 1  | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Plymouth       | 2  | 1  |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |
  | Salcombe       | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Dartmouth      |    | 1  | 3  |    |    | 1  |    |    |
  | Cockington     | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Kingswear      |    | 2  | 1  | 1  |    |    |    |    |
  | Southampton    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Christchurch   |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Sandwich       |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Brightlingsea  | 1  |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Walderswick    | 2  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Southwold      | 1  |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Cley           |    |    | 1  |    |    | 1  |    |    |
  | Wells          |    |    | 2  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Grimsby        | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Scarborough    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Hull           | 4  | 1  | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Newcastle      | 12 |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  | Chester        | 1  |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |

Here there are seventy-six ships and although some towns, such as
Southampton, may not have their full complement given, there was probably
no other port, with the exception of Bristol, possessing vessels of 100
tons or upwards. During the early years of the reign the country was
impoverished and the people little inclined to effort. Mary left the
crown deeply indebted and, concurrently with an increase of national
expenditure, there was, for the moment, a general decline of commerce,
and a shifting of the centres of commercial distribution, especially
felt by some of the older seaports. Yarmouth petitioned in 1559 for
relief from payment of the tenths and fifteenths on account of loss of
trade; their harbour had cost them £1000 a year and was not yet finished,
the town walls £100 a year, and the relief of their poor yet another
hundred.[784] In 1565 Yarmouth had 553 householders; 7 seagoing ships,
of which the largest was 140 tons; 25 smaller ones, and 81 fishing boats
together with 400 seamen.[785] Doubtless the burgesses did not minimise
their calamities but similar complaints came in from all quarters. Hythe
had, from 80 vessels and fishing boats sunk to 8; Winchilsea, ‘there
is at this present none, and the town greatly decayed.’[786] Between
1558 and 1565 Dartmouth owners had lost four and sold eleven ships,
and seemingly had no intention of replacing fifteen others worn out by
service. The complaints of Chester are chronic in the same sense; its
merchants had lost £22,000 in seven years from piracies and shipwrecks;
and Hull in a shorter period had lost £23,000 from the same causes.

The next list, of 1568,[787] gives seventy-three vessels of 100 tons
or more but from this many important places, such as London, Bristol,
Hull, and others are wanting so that it may be assumed that a marked
improvement had already commenced. There are many isolated certificates
of ships belonging to various ports scattered through the State Papers,
and from one of them we find that ‘Hawkyns of Plymouth’ possessed, in
1570, thirteen of 2040 tons; one of them was of 500 and another of 350
tons. There is a certificate of vessels trading between September 1571
and September 1572,[788] which gives eighty-six of 100 tons and upwards,
including forty-nine of 6870 tons belonging to London, but this is not a
complete list of ships owned in the various ports, but only of those that
had been engaged in trade. For February 1577 there is a full return which
yields the following results:—[789]

  |           |Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|
  |           |100|110|120|130|140|150|160|180|200|220|240|260|300|350|500|
  |           +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  |London     | 10|  6|  7|  4|  4|  1|  3|   |  4|  2|  1|   |  1|  1|   |
  |Bristol    |  1|   |  1|   |  2|  1|  1|   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |  1|
  |Chester    |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Newport    |  2|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Chepstow   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Barnstaple |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Fowey      |  1|   |  1|   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Looe       |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Plymouth   |  2|  1|  1|  1|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Dartmouth  |  1|   |  1|   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|   |
  |Exmouth    |  3|   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Weymouth   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Poole      |  2|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Southampton|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |     &     |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  | Portsmouth|  1|  1|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Dover      |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Harwich and|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  | Ipswich   |  7|   |  2|   |  1|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Woodbridge |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Orford and |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  | Aldborough|  3|  1|   |   |  5|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Walderswick|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Yarmouth   |  4|   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Lynn       |  2|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Hull       |  3|  1|  3|   |   |  2|   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Newcastle  |  6|  1|  3|   |  2|   |  1|   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |

The total is 135 and the report says that there are 656 more between 40
and 100 tons besides ‘an infinite number’ of small barks. Yet this return
can hardly be complete as it does not correspond, in many instances, with
the tonnage measurements of a list of March 1576 which is a schedule of
such vessels built since 1571.[790] This list is of value as showing the
rapid progress now being made in the construction of comparatively large
vessels, a progress which could only be the result of a demand caused by
increasing trade:—

  |             |Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|Tons|
  |             | 100| 120| 130| 140| 150| 160| 170| 180| 200| 240| 260|
  |             +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
  |London       |    | 3  | 3  | 3  | 1  |    | 1  | 1  |    |    | 2  |
  |Lee          |    |    | 2  | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Exmouth      | 1  |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Kingsbridge  |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Bristol      |    | 1  |    |    |    | 1  |    |    | 1  |    |    |
  |Plymouth     |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    | 1  | 1  |    |    |
  |Hull         |    |    | 1  |    | 1  |    |    | 2  |    |    |    |
  |Newcastle    |    |    | 2  | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Southwold    |    |    |    |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |
  |Cley         |    | 2  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Yarmouth     | 2  |    |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Orwell       |    |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Chester      |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Ipswich      |    | 2  |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Looe         |    |    |    |    |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Fowey        |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    | 1  |    |
  |Aldborough   |    |    |    | 2  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Harwich      |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Wells        |    |    |    | 1  |    | 1  |    |    |    |    |    |

In the year ending with Easter 1581 there were 413 English ships, of
20 tons and upwards ‘coming from ports beyond seas’ and discharging in
London, but no doubt many of the smaller of these, making short voyages,
were reckoned more than once.[791]

The authorities encouraged merchants and shipowners not only by
legislation but with that personal interest to which the human heart
responds more promptly than to legal enactments however profitable
the latter may promise to be. When the Levant Company was founded its
promoters were called before the Council, thanked and praised for
building ships of suitable tonnage for the trade, and urged to go forward
‘for the kingdom’s sake.’ The Levant Company returned at first 300%
profit to its shareholders but in the sixteenth century ‘the kingdom’s
sake’ was a factor, always more or less present, in the action of the
merchant class, nor was the commendation of the lords of the Council
considered a matter of small importance. In a national as well as in a
private sense it was fortunate that most of these chartered Companies
were originally successful. The next certificate is of 1582 and gives:—

  |           |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |    Between|
  |           |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |80 |
  |           |Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|Ton|and|
  |           |100|110|120|130|140|150|160|180|200|220|240|250|300|500|100|
  |           +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  |London     | 10|  5| 11|  7| 14|  1|  6|  3|  2|   |  3|   |   |   | 23|
  |Harwich    |  6|   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|
  |Lee        |  2|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  2|
  |Cley       |  2|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|
  |Wiveton    |  4|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  2|
  |Blakeney   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  2|
  |Lynn       |  1|   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|
  |Yarmouth   |  3|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |  2|
  |Wells      |  2|   |   |   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  3|
  |Aldborough |  4|   |  3|   |  1|  1|  3|  1|  2|   |   |   |   |   |  4|
  |Ipswich    |  8|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  6|
  |Southampton|  3|   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |  1|   |  1|   |  1|  1|  2|
  |Bristol    |  2|   |  2|   |   |  1|  1|   |  1|   |   |  1|  1|   |  2|
  |Hull       |  2|  2|  1|  2|  2|   |   |  1|   |  1|   |   |   |   |  7|
  |Newcastle  |  1|   |   |  2|  6|  3|  1|  2|  1|  1|   |   |   |   |  8|
  |Poole      |  2|   |  2|  1|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|
  |Topsham    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |
  |Southwold  |   |   |   |   |  1|   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  2|
  |Orford     |   |   |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Fowey      |   |   |  3|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Exmouth    |   |   |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Kenton     |   |  1|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Cockington |   |   |   |  2|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |  1|
  |Northam    |  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
  |Weymouth   |   |   |  1|   |  1|  1|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |

The number of vessels of 100 tons and upwards is therefore 177, a very
respectable increase from 1577, allowing for wrecks and other sources
of loss. Besides the 70 vessels between 80 and 100 tons there are 1383
measuring from 20 to 80 tons. Another return, a year later, is made out
on the same system as regards division of tonnage, but by counties; it
will be observed that the results do not altogether coincide:—[792]

  |               |100 tons|Between |Between |
  |               |  and   | 80 and | 60 and |
  |               |upwards |100 tons|80 tons |
  |               +--------+--------+--------+
  |London         |    62  |    25  |    44  |
  |Essex          |     9  |    40  |   145  |
  |Norfolk        |    16  |    80  |   145  |
  |Suffolk        |    27  |    14  |    60  |
  |Cornwall       |     3  |     2  |    65  |
  |Yorkshire      |    11  |     8  |    36  |
  |North Parts    |    17  |     1  |   121  |
  |Lincolnshire   |     5  |        |    20  |
  |Sussex         |        |        |    65  |
  |Devonshire     |     7  |     3  |   109  |

  |               |100 tons|Between |Between |
  |               |  and   | 80 and | 20 and |
  |               |upwards |100 tons|80 tons |
  |               +--------+--------+--------+
  |Dorsetshire    |     9  |    12  |    51  |
  |Bristol        |     9  |    12  |   327  |
  |Isle of Wight  |        |        |    29  |
  |Southampton    |     8  |     7  |    47  |
  |Kent           |        |        |    95  |
  |Cinque Ports   |        |        |   220  |
  |Cumberland     |        |        |    12  |
  |Gloucestershire|        |        |    29  |
  |Lancaster   }  |        |        |        |
  |and Chester }  |        |        |    72  |

There is a certificate, said to be of 1588,[793] but it bears too close a
resemblance to the _Harleian MS._ to be considered trustworthy. The 1582
list and the _Harleian MS._ differ somewhat but they are sufficiently
alike in classification and totals to show that they belong to nearly the
same period; the _Cottonian MS._ is the same in form and almost exactly
the same in results, and must be wrongly dated. There is no other list of
ships belonging to this reign, but there are occasional references which
show that the subject was not neglected. For February 1589 there is a
note of large merchantmen at sea during that month; thirteen of 2940 tons
are ‘in the Straights,’ five in ‘Barbaria’ and three bound there, five
for Bordeaux, eleven for Middleburgh, and six at sea ‘adventuring.’[794]
The total tonnage is 7220. Evidently the government was kept well
informed of the position of the trading vessels it might possibly require
for transport or warfare. Notwithstanding the various encouragements
to native owners the foreign carrying trade was by no means destroyed
for, in the year ending September 1596, no fewer than 646 ‘strangers’
ships’ came to London.[795] In Jan. 1597 there were 197 vessels entered
inwards at London; two were from Stade, two from Tripoli, one from
Venice, six from Spain, twenty-six from Bordeaux, ten from Dantzic, three
from Hamburg, one from Scotland, and most of the others from the Low

With the certificates of ships there was sometimes a return of the men
available to man them. It has been noticed that there was seldom much
difficulty in obtaining crews, and the table below points to a growth of
the maritime population commensurate with the increase of shipping:—

  |                 | 1560[797]|1565-6[798]| 1570[799]| 1582[800]|
  |                 +----------+-----------+----------+----------+
  |Cornwall         |   1703   |           |    1064  |    1918  |
  |Devon            |   1268   |           | 1264[801]|    2165  |
  |Dorset           |    255   |    347    |     318  |     645  |
  |Hampshire        |    296   |    167    |     342  |     470  |
  |Sussex           |    400   |           |     321  |     513  |
  |Cinque Ports     |    396   |   1024    |          |     952  |
  |Essex            |    565   |   1549    |     385  |     693  |
  |Suffolk          |    415   |   1161    |    1156  |    1282  |
  |Norfolk          |    178   |    975    |    1112  |    1670  |
  |Lincolnshire     |    229   |    234    |          |     449  |
  |Kent             |          |           |          |     243  |
  |Yorkshire        |    542   |           |     505  |     878  |
  |Cheshire[802]    |    135   |           |          |     324  |
  |Gloucestershire  |    203   |           |          |     220  |
  |Pembrokeshire    |    392   |           |          |          |
  |Northumberland   |     37   |           |          |     851  |
  |Somerset         |          |           |      63  |     512  |
  |London and      }|          |           |          |          |
  |River of Thames }|          |           |          | 2286[803]|
  |Cumberland       |          |           |          |     212  |

The certificate from which the last column is taken shows that in 1582
there were 1488 masters, 11,515 seamen, 2299 fishermen, and 957 London
watermen available for service. A fleet of 24 Queen’s ships required
about 3700 seamen; an auxiliary fleet of 24 armed merchantmen about
3000, so that except when exposed to the strain of a year like 1588 the
resources of the country in men were fully equal to any demand likely to
be made upon them.

[Sidenote: Piracy and Privateering.]

During the reign of Elizabeth piracy appears to have almost attained the
dignity of a recognised profession, and some notice of its extent is
necessary to enable us to recognise the difficulties amid which commerce
was extending. In 1563 there were some 400 known pirates in the four
seas; and men of good family, who subsequently acquired official rank
in the royal service—Champernounes, Killigrews, Careys, Horseys, and
Oglanders—had made their earliest bids for fortune as Channel rovers.
Occasionally, when an important personage was inconvenienced, a spasmodic
effort was made and dire punishment followed. In 1573, the Earl of
Worcester, while travelling to France as the bearer of a christening
present from Elizabeth to the infant daughter of Charles IX, was attacked
between Dover and Boulogne and, although he saved the gold salver he
was entrusted with, eleven or twelve of his attendants were killed and
wounded and property stolen to the value of £500. This led to steps that
resulted in the capture of some hundreds of pirates, but only three
were hanged. On the whole, Elizabeth made fewer efforts to deal with
the evil than either her sister or brother did; sometimes ships were
sent to sea for the purpose but there were no continuous endeavours
such as they made. And although pirates were frequently taken few were
executed, and their aiders and abettors on shore, a class that included
merchants, country squires, and government officials, were always let
off with a fine. In truth the English rover was more than half patriot;
if he injured English commerce he did infinitely more hurt to that of
France and Spain, and he only differed in degree from the semi-trading,
semi-marauding expeditions on a large scale, in which the Queen herself
took a share, and for which she lent her ships.

At first Elizabeth sent out even fewer ships than her predecessors had
commissioned to clear the Channel; she tried, as usual, to make those
principally interested do the work of the crown. Commissions were
granted to merchants to equip vessels to catch pirates, their reward
taking the form of a permission to recoup themselves out of captured
cargo. But even if pirate plunder was recaptured the owners were little
better off as the men were commonly serving ‘for the spoyle onely without
any wagies allowed them by hir Hignes,’ and the spoil seldom covered
their wages. In 1574 both Hull and Bristol were authorised to equip
ships at their own expense to deal with the scourge, and as late as 1600
petitioners were cynically informed that Royal ships could not be spared
for convoy duty and that the merchants interested should get together
ten or twelve vessels ‘by voluntary contributions from subjects.’[804]
Proclamation followed proclamation without effect and it was not until
1577 that a really serious attempt was made to crush the freebooters;
Palmer and Holstock were sent to sea with a squadron, and searching
inquiries were instituted to ascertain the persons who dealt with them
ashore and helped them. Southampton was a flourishing centre; not only
did the mayor release captured men, but there were brokers in the town
who made a business of negotiation between owners and pirates for the
return of ships and merchandise taken by the latter.[805] Among the
persons fined for dealing with pirates we find the mayor of Dartmouth,
the lieutenant of Portsmouth, the deputy searcher of the customs there;
the deputy of the Vice-Admiral of Bristol trading with them and taking
bills from them,[806] the sheriff of Glamorganshire, and Wm. Wynter, a
relative of the Surveyor of the Navy. Wm. Hawkyns, brother of the Navy
Treasurer, and Rich. Grenville, the famous captain of the _Revenge_,
were both up before the Council for piracy.[807] A well-known pirate,
Atkinson, escaped from Exeter gaol, it was supposed with the connivance
of the mayor; the mayor accused the sergeant of the Admiralty, and the
evidence seems to show that they were both involved. Sometimes a pirate
cargo must have been very valuable; one was made up of 434 ‘elephants’
teeth,’ cochineal, wine, and ‘Spanish aquavitæ.’ If in need of supplies
the pirate captain could always reckon on sympathy and assistance ashore,
and Cardiff was a recognised headquarters where necessaries could be
obtained. If caught by weather and in distress he could usually rely on
local help. One vessel, being driven ashore, was deserted by her crew,
a proceeding which, if due to fear, was unnecessarily hasty. A local
magnate, Sir Rich. Rogers, got assistance, refloated the vessel, and
restored her to the captain, accepting a tun of wine and a chest of
sugar in acknowledgment.[808] Yet the government dealt tenderly with
these men. Of the many names of pirate captains continually recurring
in the Elizabethan papers there is not one known to have been executed
although some were captured.

In 1584 it was said that ‘wee and the French are most infamous for
our outrageous, common, and daily piracies,’ and naturally the State
Papers are full of petitions for redress and compensation, and with
commissions of inquiry issued to the various local authorities. Claim and
counterclaim from Englishman, Scotchman, Frenchman, Dane, and Hamburger,
follow in endless confusion. In 1586 a correspondent wrote to Burghley ...

    ‘being at St Malo last month he heard that sixteen of their
    ships had been rifled or taken by Englishmen ... and that their
    hatred of the English was such that our merchants dared not
    walk about in public ... men in authority to recover their
    unthriftiness sell their lands, buy ships, and command the
    captain and company not to return without assurance of a very
    great sum.’[809]

On the other hand, Bristol, in 1574, had formally complained of St Malo
in that ‘by common consent’ they had set forth seven vessels to prey upon
Bristol commerce. The court of Admiralty had granted Bristol merchants
permission to seize St Malo ships and goods, which perhaps explains the
letter to Burghley just quoted.[810] In 1584 the French ambassador stated
that in the preceding two years English pirates had plundered Frenchmen
of merchandise to the value of 200,000 crowns; the only answer given was
the general statement that Englishmen had lost more by French pirates.
There is a list, 47 pages long, of piracies committed by the English on
Portuguese subjects alone.

Between 1564 and 1586 Englishmen had spoiled the Scotch—who were said to
‘take it unkindly’—of goods valued at £20,717, and restitution had been
made to the amount of £3483. But between 1581-5, the Scotch had plundered
the English to the sum of £9268, and had restored only £140; from this
proportion it may be concluded that the Scot was more successful than
the Frenchman in adapting himself to the fashionable pursuit of the
time.[811] Nor were the injured persons exposed only to the loss of
their property. A Bayonne ship was captured by a Bristol privateer in
1591 and the owners came to England to obtain redress, but after vainly
expending 500 crowns they were, ‘fain to leave off their suit and return
to France and save their lives.’ But the Englishman did not fare better
in France. In 1572 the _Pelican_ of London, belonging to alderman Wm.
Bond and others, was seized by French pirates, the master and crew,
twenty-three in number, murdered, and goods valued at £4000 taken with
her. The thieves and the receivers were both well known and the owners
commenced a suit in the parliament of Brittany; but after fruitlessly
expending £1000 prefer to ‘leave all in the hands of God rather than
prosecute any more suits in France.’[812] Frequently there was little
disguise about ownership. In 1580 three Hamburg merchants petition that
their ships were despoiled by ‘one called the _Henry Seckforde_ whereof
is owner, Henry Seckforde, Esq., one of the gentlemen of your Majesty’s
privy chamber.’[813] If business at sea was languishing, the pirate did
not disdain to vary his methods; some Dunkirkers planned, and nearly
succeeded in carrying out, the abduction of Sir John Spencer, known as
‘rich Spencer’ on his way to his country house at Islington.

Occasionally, but very rarely, the pirate changed his allegiance.
Nicholas Franklin deposes:—[814]

    ‘A year ago was with Captain Elliott when they took a flyboat
    of which captain Elliot made a man-of-war: they went to
    Helford in Cornwall and brought in a Dieppe prize.... John
    Killigrew, captain of the castle there, warned them to be off
    as he was expecting the _Crane_ one of the Queen’s ships;
    thereupon Elliott gave him nine bolts of Holland cloth and a
    chest and they sailed to Cork ... thence back to the Channel
    and took four Scotch and Irish ships, thence to the Isles of

Here they met some Spaniards, and his crew wanted to fight, but Elliot
and his officers drew their swords and forced the men to surrender.
Elliot was given the command of a Spanish galleon and, from another
paper, it appears that he was afterwards the cause of some Englishmen
being racked.

If letters of marque were given they only faintly veiled the real
character of the proceedings. In 1586 letters of reprisal were granted
to Diggory Piper in the _Sweepstakes_ of London, an appropriate name for
a privateer. He was authorised to attack Spanish and Portuguese ships;
he commenced with some Flemings, continued with two French traders,
and finished with a Dane having goods worth £3000 on board.[816] In
view of the fact that at various times letters of reprisal to the
amount of £140,000 were issued to only a few places,[817] the amount of
unlicensed robbery done under cover of such letters can be imperfectly
imagined. Sometimes the proceedings were straightforward enough and, as
an illustration of their manner of dealing with Spanish ships and the
privateersman’s contempt for odds, a relation of one of these encounters
is given subsequently.[818]

[Sidenote: Stores.]

In 1579 the stores, such as canvas, cordage, masts, anchors, etc., at
Deptford and on board the ships were valued at £8000, and it was only
considered necessary to replenish the stock up to £14,000.[819] For some
time whatever was used in any given year was replaced the following
year; thus stores to £1662, 11s 8d and £831, 11s 1d were used in 1580
and 1581, and were ordered to be made good in 1581 and 1582. The heavy
expenses caused by the war upset this arrangement, and in 1589 we find a
payment of £8921, 8s 8d for the balance, still owing, of stores bought in
1587. In 1602 there were at Deptford, 551 cables and hawsers, 26 bolts
of canvas, 45 masts and 660 spars, 31,220 ft. of timber, 36 barrels of
pitch and tar, besides compasses, flags, etc. Chatham had only 10 cables
but 54 bolts of canvas, 124 masts and 1076 spars; Woolwich had timber
only.[820] Masts were obtained from the Baltic and varied in length
from twelve to thirty-four yards, the latter size being twenty-eight
hands in circumference at the partners, and eighteen and two-thirds at
the top end. Anything under six hands at the partners was accounted a
spar.[821] In 1588 masts of twenty-nine and thirty yards were £26, and
£31. In the year of Elizabeth’s accession Dantzic cordage cost £13, 6s
8d a ton. Subsequently cables were chiefly purchased from the Russia
Company and went up in price until in 1597 Russian cordage ‘of perfect
good stuff’ was costing £23, 10s a ton.[822] For the heaviest anchors
the rule was to give a half inch in the circumference of the cable for
every foot of beam; a ship with thirty-eight feet of beam would therefore
have some cables nineteen inches in circumference. The length was 100
fathoms, and the weight of one fourteen inches round was 34 cwt. 3 qrs.
14 lbs. in white, and 43 cwt. 35 lbs. tarred. A large number of cables,
cablettes and hawsers were carried. Although in the preceding table on p.
124 the _Merhonour_, like the other big ships, is allowed seven cables,
there were ordered for her in 1589, two of 18 inches circumference
weighing five tons; four of 17 inches weighing nine tons; two of 16
inches weighing four tons; and one of 12 inches weighing one ton and a

Until about 1585 the custom of the principal Officers themselves to
sell the Queen minor stores, such as canvas, tar, etc., if it excited
comment or suspicion, does not seem to have been stopped; from Burghley’s
notes on the subject it appears from that time to have been no longer
allowed.[824] Nevertheless in 1589 Hawkyns and Borough were accused of
still selling to the crown through third persons, but the force of the
charge is vitiated by the usual proposal of the informer, that he should
act as an inspector of canvas, of course with a salary.[825] The heaviest
anchor made was of 30 cwt., but they were usually much smaller; the
_Merhonour_ had one of 25 cwt., four of 22 cwt., three of 20 cwt., and
one of 12 cwt.[826] The price of these was £1 10s per cwt. as against £1
2s in the beginning of the reign. The following is an abstract of the
prices of other stores but there were many different qualities in each
article which explains large variations in the price:—

         { Polldavy (1558) 40s a bolt
         { English Midrenex (1569) 28s a bolt
  Canvas { British[827] do. (1569) 33s 4d a bolt
         { British    do. (1581) 28s a bolt
         { English    do. (1581) 30s a bolt
         { Ipswich canvas (1590) 29s a bolt

         { Compass and straight } (1567) 8s and
         { Oak and elm          } 9s a ton
  Timber { Oak (1587) 18s a load
         { Elm (1594) 18s a load
         { Oak knee (1594) 20s a load
         { do. (1598) 22s to 27s a load

  Spanish Iron (1567) £13 a ton
  English  do.   do.  £10 a ton
  Spanish  do. (1572) £14 a ton

  Rosin (1567) £8 a ton
   do.  (1590) £8 a ton

  Tar (1567) £4 and £5 a last[828]
  do. (1592) £6 a last
  do. (1598) £8 a last

  Train oil (1567) £11, 10s & £14 a ton
    do.     (1587) £20 a ton
    do.     (1590) £17 a ton

             { 12 inch (1571) 1s per 100
  Tree-nails { 36 inch (1571) 3s per 100
             { 36 inch (1590) 4s 6d per 100

[Sidenote: Flags, etc.]

Men on deck were sheltered by waistcloths of canvas above the bulwarks
which were painted in oil colours; the _Merhonour_ required 542 yards.
Sometimes the waistcloths were used for the forecastle and poop while
the waist itself was protected by nettings.[829] Men-of-war alone seem
to have been entitled to wear a flag at the main, ‘the earl’s ship after
the taking of the carrack very undutifully bore his flag in the main top
which no subject’s ship ought to presume to do.’ The St George’s cross
was generally used; the flag shown on the ensign staff of the Elizabethan
man-of-war is of green and white, the Tudor colours, and is one that was
in common use during the sixteenth century. In 1592 the Levant Company
was permitted to use ‘the armes of Englande with the redd crosse in
white over the same as heretofore they used.’[830] Representations of
saints on flags had ceased but other emblems were still in use; falcons,
lions, the royal arms, and ‘her Maiesties badges in silver and gold,’ are
mentioned. We have ‘sarcenets of divers colours’ for ensigns, red and
blue say for banners, red say for streamers, and red and white cloth for
flags.[831] The Cadiz fleet of 1596 had four large flags, one white, one
orange tawney, one blue, and one crimson, ‘which were appointed to be so
made for the distinguishing of the four squadrons of the flete.’[832]
This appears to have been the earliest distinction of squadrons by flags,
afterwards shown by the red, white, and blue. The salute to the flag was
upheld under circumstances where it might have been more diplomatic to
escape the necessity of claiming it. When Anne of Austria was expected to
travel by sea to Spain to marry Philip, De Guaras wrote, ‘although it is
quite incredible it is generally affirmed that when our fleet passes, the
English fleet will force it to salute. This absurdity sounds like a joke
but it is asserted by persons of weight who assure us that the admiral
bears orders to do all manner of wonderful things if our fleet does not
salute.’ It is said, however, that they had to salute.

It speaks sufficiently for the courage of the Elizabethan sailor that
during the whole of the reign only two English men-of-war were captured
by Spain, and then only after desperate fighting against overwhelming
superiority of force.[833] It speaks equally well for his seamanship
afloat and the skill and good workmanship of shipwrights ashore that,
with the exception of the small _Lion’s Whelp_, no dockyard built ship
was lost by stress of weather, by fire, or by running aground. During the
same years, and sometimes during the same gales, that the English ships
weathered successfully, whole Spanish fleets foundered at sea.



[Sidenote: The Condition of the Navy.]

On 24th March 1603 the weapon forged by Henry VIII, and wielded by
Elizabeth, fell into the feeble hand of James Stewart. Elizabeth left
England supreme at sea; the Royal Navy bequeathed by the Queen to her
successor was by far the finest fleet of men-of-war then afloat, for it
was not until the close of the sixteenth century that Spain and Holland
commenced to build ships for purely fighting purposes.[834] The men who
manned it were renowned for hardihood, daring, and smart seamanship; and
its organisation as controlled by the great seamen of her reign was more
efficient and smoother in its working than any other of the departments
of state.[835] Even in 1558 the days were in reality long past when
Spanish fleets were to be feared, and when the Bay of Biscay could be
proudly called ‘the Spanish Sea’; but it was due to Elizabeth’s sagacity
that the weapon which was to slay the Goliath threatening European
civilisation was at once recognised and unhesitatingly used. Until 1558
the supremacy even of the Channel, often hardly contested, had been
only occasionally gained. Elizabeth was the first of English sovereigns
throughout the whole of whose reign the national flag flew supreme and
triumphant in the English Channel. That she was aided by the legacy of
a fleet, by the helplessness of France, by changing economic conditions
at home, by the revolt of the United Provinces abroad, and possibly by
the wisdom of far-seeing advisers, may have made her task easier, but
these things do not detract from the praise due to her discernment. The
student, perhaps too often reasoning with a knowledge of results, may
sometimes feel anger with Elizabeth but hardly contempt. James arouses
no qualification of emotion. He commenced his reign with a fleet ‘fit
to go anywhere and do anything;’ he allowed it to crumble away while
spending on it more money during peace than Elizabeth did during war;
he chose the most unfit men to manage it at home and command it abroad,
and the results of his weak and purposeless rule were seen in the
shameful fiasco of 1625 and the degradation of English prestige. Had not
Buckingham reorganised the Admiralty in 1618 there would shortly have
been no Navy to rouse the jealousy of foreign powers. The Regency of 1423
deliberately destroyed the Navy either from ignorance or from motives
now unknown; James followed the same course with the best intentions and
could doubtless have justified all his actions in choice Latinity. It
will be seen that he took an even keener personal interest in the Navy
than did Elizabeth, but the lack of controlling capacity so disastrously
shown in other affairs was equally fatal to naval administration. The
naval records of his reign are but a sorry collection of relations of
frauds, embezzlements, commissions of inquiry, and feeble palliatives.

The first wish of the new monarch was to obtain peace with Spain, a
desire for which modern historians have unanimously praised him, although
it may be at least a matter for debate whether the continuance of war
until Spain was bled to death would not have been ethically justifiable,
politically expedient, and commercially profitable. On 23rd June 1603,
a proclamation was issued recalling all vessels which had been sent
out with hostile intent, and thus ending the lucrative privateering
speculations which, when undertaken on a small scale, had so long
provided occupation and profit for English sailors and merchants. The
last important prize taken by the Queen’s ships was the _St Valentine_, a
Portuguese carrack captured by Sir R. Leveson in 1602, and its cargo was
sold in 1604 for upwards of £26,000.[836]

[Sidenote: Shipbuilding.]

The improvements in construction that marked the close of the sixteenth
century have already been noticed and first, among these may be placed
the increase in length and decrease in height above water attributed to
Sir John Hawkyns. But the greater demand for faster and more seaworthy
ships had not produced models satisfactory to the more critical experts
of this generation. Shipbuilding was not yet a science and seemed in
some respects to have even retrograded from the standard of the last
years of Henry VIII. The subsequent tendency to overload ships, however
small, with towering poop and forecastle structures, although it can be
explained by the necessity for providing increased accommodation, can
scarcely be considered an improvement on the earlier type. Captain George
Waymouth, who appears to have been considered an authority on the theory
and practice of shipbuilding and navigation, and who was several times
called to report independently on the workmanship displayed on the royal
ships, was very severe on his professional contemporaries, and writes
that he

    ‘Yet could never see two ships builded of the like proportion
    by the best and most skilful shipwrights though they have
    many times undertaken the same ... because they trust rather
    to their judgment than their art, and to their eye than their
    scale and compass.’[837]

He says that they are too high out of the water, crank, and cannot carry
their canvas or work their guns in a seaway; that they will not steer,
and sometimes ‘their sides are not of equal proportion the one to the
other,’ Waymouth, among other improvements, suggested a turret on the
upper deck, moving on swivel and armed with ‘murtherers.’ In another
paper he says that ‘the shipwrights of England and Christendom build
ships only by uncertain and traditional precepts and by deceiving aim
of their eye,’ and the resulting vessels, ‘cannot bear sail nor steer
readily ... for want of art in proportioning of the mould and fitting of
the masts and tackling.’[838]

It must, however, be borne in mind that for at least a quarter of a
century English men-of-war had outsailed their antagonists, had weathered
gales and fought actions, just as successfully as though they had been
built on the most scientific modern principles. Waymouth himself was
not successful as a commander at sea; perhaps he knew too much. But he
was not alone in his criticisms. Ralegh, in his ‘Observations on the
Navy,’ addressed to Prince Henry, says that there are six principal
things required in a man-of-war, viz.: that she should be strongly built,
swift, stout-sided, carry out her guns in all weathers, lie-to in a
gale easily, and stay well. None of these things did the King’s ships
do satisfactorily and ‘it were also behoofeful that his Majesty’s ships
were not so overpestered and clogged with great ordnance ... so that
much of it serves to no better use but only to labour and overcharge
the ship’s sides.’ As a practical illustration of the shipwrights’
loose methods of calculation it may be mentioned that when the _Prince
Royal_, the largest vessel of the reign, was built, Phineas Pett and
Bright estimated that 775 loads of timber would be required, whereas 1627
loads were actually used, and the general increase in her cost by this
error of judgment was £5908.[839] These laments did not lead to any
great improvements in construction. Only a few of the vessels were in
any way sheathed; in 1624 Dutch men-of-war could, literally, sail round
English ones,[840] and their crankness was only imperfectly remedied by
furring or girdling,[841] a method says the writer of the _Nomenclator
Navalis_,[842] which is ‘a loss to owners and disgrace to builders and
deserves punishment.... In all the world there is not so many furred as
in England.’ That the advance was slow may be judged from the fact that
in 1635 the _Merhonour_ of 1589, and rebuilt in 1613, was still regarded
as one of the fastest sailers in the Navy. The desire for more scientific
construction and the growing importance of the shipbuilding industry may
however be inferred from the incorporation of the Shipwrights’ Company
in 1605. The association had existed as a fraternity from, at least, the
fifteenth century, and was now of sufficient consequence to obtain a

[Sidenote: The Seamen.]

An onlooker[843] said that the English were ‘good sailors and better
pirates.’ Whatever their quality as seamen, or however doubtful their
maritime morality, no greater care was taken now to preserve their health
or improve their morals than had formerly been the case. It is true that
the first article in every commission laid stress on the performance of
divine service at least twice a day, while the singing of psalms at a
change of watch was an old custom, but such humanising details as the
punctual payment of wages,[844] a supply of eatable provisions, hospitals
for the sick, and suitable clothes, had not yet recommended themselves to
the authorities as modes either of obtaining men or of keeping them in
the service. Ralegh writes, ‘They go with as great a grudging to serve
in his Majesty’s ships as if it were to be slaves in the galleys.’ James
I made no use of the Navy beyond fitting out the Algiers expedition
of 1620, and commissioning a few ships, year by year, to serve in the
narrow seas; but for these few vessels it was found equally difficult to
obtain men and to retain them when caught, now that the incitements of
Spanish prizes were wanting, while the mortality afloat was equal to that
of the worst days of Elizabeth. The only occasion when a large number
of men were required was for the fleet preparing in 1625, before the
death of James, and then the Navy Commissioners wrote to Buckingham that
‘the pressed men run away as fast as we send them down.’[845] Captain
Christian of the _Bonaventure_, almost a new ship, serving on the east
coast, in 1623, wrote of ‘the weak, and I may truly say miserable state
of this ship ... of 160 men there are but 70 persons of all sorts that at
present is either fit or able to do the least labour in the ship.’[846]
There was also a great infection and mortality on board the _Garland_.
Captain Christian complains too of the quality of the men pressed; ‘of
all the whole company when they are at the best there are not twenty
helmsmen and but three that can heave a lead.’

These instances belong to the end of the reign but matters had not
changed: they had only continued. In 1608 it was said that ‘the navy
is for the greatest part manned with aged, impotent, vagrant, lewd,
and disorderly companions; it is become a ragged regiment of common
rogues.’[847] In the Algiers fleet one ship put ashore ninety-two sick
men at Malaga at one time. A hospital ship, the _Goodwill_, accompanied
this fleet but she was afterwards ‘commanded for other purposes’ and the
invalids thrust ashore on the cold charity to be found in a Spanish port.
But of course statistics of sickness and death are everywhere rarely
referred to in comparison with salutes, state visits, and other affairs
of personal dignity.

Although the sailor was not properly fed and paid even if he behaved
well, he suffered sufficiently severe penalties for bad conduct. Flogging
was so common that ‘some sailors do believe in good earnest that they
shall never have a fair wind until the poor boys be duly ... whipped
every Monday morning.’ Ducking, keelhauling, tongue-scraping, and tying
up with weights hung round the neck ’till heart and back be ready to
break’ were common punishments. ‘These will tame the most rude and
savage people in the world,’ says Monson. If these punishments were
older than Elizabeth they were semi-illegal customs and if connived at
were not publicly recognised. They were now part of ordinary discipline
and mark the downward progress of the sailor in self-respect and social
estimation. They were easier and cheaper to apply than good government
but they bore their Nemesis in the next reign. The old custom of
lashing to the bowsprit a sailor who had four times slept on watch,
and letting him drown or starve still existed.[848] Small wonder that
the men ‘abhorred’[849] the employment of the crown, and that in 1625
the shipkeepers at Chatham included weavers, barbers, tailors, bakers,
shoemakers, etc., ‘most of whom had never been to sea.’[850]

[Sidenote: The Administration:—The Navy Officers.]

The disorganisation of a service commonly presses most hardly on its
weakest members; those of higher rank have usually sufficient influence
to preserve their rights or, if unscrupulous, to help themselves to
unlicensed gains in the general scramble. Nottingham was still at
the head of the Navy as Lord Admiral, a post he retained till 1618.
Englishmen will always remember him with respect as the commander
of 1588, but a perusal of the various papers relating to the naval
administration of this period compels one to conclude that while
always ready to do his duty _en grand seigneur_, to command fleets,
and to accept responsibility and decide when referred to, he took but
a fingertip interest in those details of which successful organisation
consists, while his implicit confidence in his subordinates was a
disastrous weakness. Moreover he was now growing very old and had
doubtless lost much of his former clearness of mental vision. During
the lifetime of Hawkyns and under the keen supervision of the Queen and
her ministers this neglect mattered little, but from 1596 onwards the
conduct of the Navy Office degenerated rapidly. Langford had possessed no
authority and Grevill, if weak, had not been Navy Treasurer long enough
to do much good or harm, although signs were not wanting during the
closing years of Elizabeth’s life that the able control that had made the
Navy so terrible to England’s foes was relaxing. But the appointment in
1604[851] of Sir Robert Mansell was most unfortunate. Mansell, who was
an indifferent seaman and an incapable and dishonest administrator, and
whose only claim to the place was his relationship to, and favour with,
Nottingham, remained in office until 1618, and the greater portion of
this section is practically a record of his unfitness for his important

Under a different Treasurer the other officers might have performed
their duty sufficiently well. As it was they fell in with the prevailing
spirit. Trevor remained Surveyor until 1611 when he was replaced by Sir
Richard Bingley and in the same year Sir Guildford Slingsby succeeded
Palmer. In the victualling branch Marmaduke Darell, now a knight,
surrendered his former patent and received a fresh one, on 16th August
1603, directed to him and Sir Thomas Bludder. As the fee still remained
at its original £50 a year the profit came out of the provisions and
was unwillingly provided by the men. In 1612 this patent was in turn
surrendered and replaced by one of 31st January appointing Sir Allen
Apsley in conjunction with Darell. By this new patent all the storehouses
and other buildings at Tower Hill, the dockyards, and elsewhere were
henceforth attached to the department; hitherto they had been held by
the crown and only lent at pleasure. Marmaduke Darell died in 1622, and
a new patent of 8th January 1623 nominated his son Sampson Darell to act
with Apsley. There was no change in the victualling rate until 1623, when
it reached sevenpence halfpenny and eightpence, for harbour and sea rates

In 1617, shortly before they were superseded, the functions of the
officers were thus defined. The Comptroller’s duties were to check the
accounts of the Treasurer, and Surveyor of victualling, to inspect stores
and storekeepers’ books. The Surveyor to inspect ship, wharves, houses,
chain, and ships on return from sea, and draw out indents for ships’
stores. The Clerk to keep minutes of resolutions and attend the yearly
general survey. The Treasurer’s duties were financial and involved a
general superintendence.[852]

Mansell’s delinquencies can be best treated separately, but both he and
Nottingham dealt liberally with officers employed at sea or ashore.
Nottingham himself obtained in 1609 and 1611 two pensions from James
I, during the supremacy of the Howard faction with the king, amounting
together to £2700 a year; and it is characteristic of James that
the larger of these pensions, of £1700 a year, was granted when the
commission of 1608 was sitting and when its disclosures must have been
well known. As though all ranks knew what was coming the festivities
commenced with the death of Elizabeth. High festival was held on the
ships and the pursers petitioned for an allowance of £200, being the
cost of general entertainment given by the captains for a month to all
who came on board.[853] When Mansell went to sea, he gave himself, as
rear-admiral, thirty shillings a day, although Sir Fulke Grevill, when
discharging the same office in 1599, received only sixteen and eightpence
a day. Admirals were appointed for the north, south, east, and west
coasts, for the narrow seas, and for Ireland, all at liberal rates of
pay. In one year, when only seven ships were in commission, there were
three admirals and four vice-admirals serving, ‘so that the navy was like
an army of generals and colonels.’[854] In 1602, with twenty-six vessels
at sea the pay of the superior officers was less than during any one of
the four or five years before the storm burst on Mansell and Nottingham
in 1618. Again, ‘we find ... that these admirals and vice-admirals with
their twenty shillings and ten shillings per diem, together with the
allowance of their retinue and other advantages, are ... so contented
on land that they cannot brook the seas and get captains under them as
substitutes in their absence.’[855]

Lavish travelling expenses were allowed, and even some of the inferior
officers were generously permitted to benefit by the stream of wealth
circulating among the higher officials. Worn out ships were put in
commission both to use up stores and to provide appointments for the
dependants of those in place; the only result being that they lay in
harbour as a ‘safe sanctuary for loose persons.’ The cost of piloting the
thirteen ships which took the Princess Elizabeth over to Flushing was
£208, and thereon it is remarked that the whole piloting charges for 286
ships during the last five years of Elizabeth did not amount to more. The
Comptroller of the Navy, when he went from London to Chatham, charged £9,
9s 11d for travelling expenses, and the Surveyor required £19, 16s for
the same journey, ‘it being the duty of his place,’ the Commissioners
indignantly annotate, while even a deputy took £8 or £10 when he went.
Mansell himself was almost sublime; he afterwards claimed £10,000 for
travelling expenses during his term of office.[856] New posts were
freely created and equally freely paid. Besides the various admirals who
did nothing, there were a captain-general and two vice-admirals of the
narrow seas, a storekeeper at Woolwich at £54, ‘while the store not worth
forty shillings,’ and a surveyor of tonnage whose duty it was to survey
merchant ships of 100 tons and upwards claiming the bounty, and who was
accused on all sides of embezzling half the sums paid by the crown to the

[Sidenote: The Administration:—Sir Robert Mansell.]

When Mansell resigned, he sent in to the Commissioners of 1618, only an
uncertified abstract of his payments for the preceding five years. The
Commissioners remarked that ‘they being noways vouched or subscribed by
the officers we can give no satisfaction of the state of his accounts,
being only his own assertions,’[857] and the criticism fairly generalises
Mansell’s system of financial control even where not tainted with
absolute fraud. Notwithstanding his defiance of the abortive order for
inquiry issued in 1613, and his consequent temporary imprisonment, he was
sufficiently in favour three years later to receive a present of £10,000
from the king on the occasion of his marriage.[858] Proved dishonesty or
incapacity barred no one from the favour of James I, provided the culprit
was sufficiently good-looking or had influential friends; and although
the evidence laid before the Commission of 1608 and the Commissioners’
report thereon should have amply sufficed to send Mansell to the Tower,
his ascendancy with Nottingham enabled him to continue in office for a
further ten years. Shortly after his appointment he and Sir John Trevor,
the Surveyor of the Navy took steps to provide all the requisite stores
themselves, thus making large gains on the articles sold by them to the
king, and in direct contempt of the rules made by Burleigh twenty years
before. Not only was timber ordered three or four times over for the
same purpose,[859] but on that item alone Mansell was accused of making
a fraudulent profit of £5000 in some four years, and, in conjunction
with Sir John Trevor, of obtaining upwards of £7000 in the same time by
the differences between the prices paid for pitch, tar, masts, etc., and
those charged to the crown.[860] He, Pett, and Trevor, were joint owners
of a ship built of government materials and furnished with government
stores, which was hired to the king as a transport to go to Spain when
Nottingham went there as ambassador in 1605, and for which the State
paid, but ‘the same ship was at that time employed in a merchant’s voyage
and so entered in the custom-house books.’[861]

Hawkyns had introduced the practice of paying over money at once to
merchants supplying the various requisites for the Navy on deduction of
threepence in the pound, an allowance they were well pleased to make in
view of the prompt payment, while he had to wait long for his accounts
to be settled. Mansell still deducted the threepence but did not pay.
He stopped sixpence a month from the seamen’s wages for the Chatham
Chest, but ‘falls presently into raging passions and pangs when they call
for it.’[862] But Mansell was by no means the only one of the superior
officers who helped himself out of this fund. Charges of embezzlement,
in its crudest form, were made against him in that he certified for
more wages than were actually paid—£1000 in one year alone—and that he
retained the proceeds of such government stores as were sold.[863] It
must be remembered that these accusations were not anonymous attacks,
such as were made against Hawkyns, but charges deliberately formulated
by a court of inquiry which he never dared to face. It may be truer
to say that he was indifferent; it is possible that a portion of his
ill-earned fortune went in purchasing immunity. And it is an argument in
favour of this view that his dismissal from office did not destroy his
influence at court. He was chosen to command the expensive and resultless
Algiers expedition of 1620-21, and his subsequent disgrace was due to
causes independent of his failure as a seaman or his dishonesty as an

[Sidenote: The Administration:—Abuses and Remedies.]

Norreys, writing to Sir John Coke about the Navy in 1603, says ‘To say
truth the whole body is so corrupted as there is no sound part almost
from the head to the foot; the great ones feed on the less and enforce
them to steal both for themselves and their commanders.’[864] Abuses
unknown during the lifetime of Hawkyns had sprung into existence shortly
after his death, although they might have been then easily checked had
Grevill been succeeded by one determined to destroy them. Delay in
paying off ships, to the discontent of the men and extra expense of the
government, combinations between captains, pursers, and victuallers
to return false musters, and the practice of selling appointments to
minor posts were all, according to reliable evidence begun about 1597
or 1598.[865] We know that theft was prevalent enough under Elizabeth,
but it occurred in the shape of peddling offences, committed by the
delinquents at their peril, that the authorities did their best to crush,
instead of an organised system in which the latter took the lion’s share.
Under James ‘the chief Officers bear themselves insolently, depending on
powerful friends at court;’ and ‘the shipwrights and others are ordered,
commanded, and countermanded in their work by chief Officers who know
nothing about it, so that the meanest merchantman is better rigged
and canvassed than the royal ships.’ The insolence and ignorance here
described speak of conditions very different from those that had obtained
under the iron hand of Elizabeth. In 1608 the scandal caused by these
and other circumstances was so great as to compel inquiry, whether the
determining cause was the contrivance of Sir Robert Cotton or of others.
A commission was issued to the Earls of Nottingham and Northampton, Lord
Zouch, Sir Ed. Wotton, Sir Julius Cæsar, Cotton, and others, of whom
only Nottingham was an experienced seaman, and he never attended their
meetings.[866] The sittings of the commission extended from May 1608
until June 1609; they commenced with an ‘elegant’ speech from the Earl of
Northampton, a voluminous report was compiled, and the only punishment
the culprits experienced was that of suffering ‘an oration’ from James,
in which he trusted that the guilty persons would behave better in
future, and with that patient and saintly hope the proceedings ended. How
some of his hearers must have longed for one hour of the dead Queen.

Among the malpractices examined into at some length by the commissioners
was the sale and purchase of places, already referred to. Hugh Lidyard
was made clerk of the checque at Woolwich by Sir John Trevor, for which
he was to pay Trevor £20 yearly and a hogshead of wine; another witness
deposed that ‘of late years the general way of preferment is by money and
few that he knoweth ... come freely to their places.’ Pursers paid from
£70 to £120 for their posts, boatswains £20, and cooks £30. Robert Hooker
gave Edward Masters, of Nottingham’s household, £130 for the pursership
of the _Repulse_, this he sold for the same amount and bought that of
the _Quittance_ for £100. His profit he made by victualling the men for
sixpence a day, and he admitted that at least ten more men were carried
on the books than were on board. Naturally, as promotion went by length
of purse,

    ‘the officers put in and keep in whom they list though they be
    never so unfit, and put out whom they list though never so fit,
    and woe be to him that taketh exception to any man though he
    be never so unruly ... it breaketh the hearts of them that are

It was equally natural that men who had paid heavily for their
employments were unscrupulous in recouping themselves. ‘The captains
being for the most part poor gentlemen did mend their fortunes by
combining with the pursers,’ who were in league with the victuallers to
send in returns of more men than were on board the ships. Boatswains
and gunners sold their stores, shipwrights stole timber, and captains
sheltered and took bribes from pirates, or turned their vessels into
merchantmen to enable owners of goods to evade payment of customs. The
Surveyors of victualling were accused of overcharging and of frauds to at
least £4000, in four years.

[Sidenote: The Reorganisation of 1618.]

James had every reason to sharply check the waste going on, for the crown
debt, which was only £400,000 at his accession, had mounted to £1,000,000
in 1608, while the deficit in revenue was £70,000 a year.[867] But ‘an
oration’ in broad Scotch from the lips of the conceited pedant staggering
under the weight of the Tudor crown did not prove an effective method of
reform. The old knaveries continued even as though James had not made a
speech. In 1613 Cotton attempted, through the intervention of Northampton
and Rochester, to obtain another inquiry; but his efforts failed through
the influence of Nottingham and the intrigues of Mansell. In 1618
the naval administration was worse than ever, and other departments
were equally corrupt; ‘the household was one mass of peculation, and
extravagance.’[868] Even now Sir Lionel Cranfield, who was the moving
spirit in the endeavour to purify the public service, might have failed
had not Buckingham himself desired to occupy the post of Lord Admiral.
Nottingham at last retired with a gratuity of £3000 and another pension
of £1000 a year. Mansell was succeeded, from the 10th May 1618, by Sir
William Russell, a merchant, who paid him for his place and who was
wealthy enough to advance subsequently £30,000 towards fitting out the
Cadiz expedition of 1625.[869] It is probable that, from his lack of
technical knowledge, Russell’s direction, if more honest than Mansell’s,
would have been as unsuccessful had he been entrusted with control, but
his duties were financial only and confined to the keeping of accounts.
The other officers were ‘sequestered from their posts’ and their business
entrusted to a board of Navy Commissioners, appointed for five years
and responsible to the Lord Admiral. Of the Commissioners, Sir John
Coke was the leading spirit and received £300 a year; one was in charge
of Chatham, with a salary of £200 a year; another, William Burrell,
a shipbuilder, was placed at Deptford to supervise all building and
repairs, for which he received £300 a year; and Thomas Norreys acted as
Surveyor with £200 a year.[870] Immediate benefit was obtained from the
reform; the fleet and dockyards were kept in repair, theft was checked,
and two new ships a year were built in five consecutive years, all for
less money than Mansell had squandered in doing nothing efficiently.
Buckingham appears, also, to have not only given his subordinates a loyal
support but to have been honestly anxious to obtain the best men for
the service, and to render officers and sailors contented. The chronic
emptiness, however, of the treasury, for which he was largely answerable,
made his endeavours in this last direction of less avail.

[Sidenote: The Navy Commissioners.]

The new Commissioners,[871] on entering office, sent in a report
of the state of affairs they found existing in the various naval
departments;[872] all the frauds of 1608 were still flourishing, with
some new ones due to the lapse of time. Places were still sold, and
at such high prices that the buyers ‘profess openly that they cannot
live unless they may steal’; the cost of the Navy had of late been some
£53,000 a year, ‘that could not keep it from decay.’ For building a new
ship in place of the _Bonaventure_ £5700 had been allowed but, although
£1700 had been paid on account of it, no new vessel had been commenced,
and though this same ship ‘was broken up above seven years past yet the
King hath paid £63 yearly for keeping her.’ Further, ‘the _Advantage_ was
burnt about five years since and yet keepeth at the charge of £104, 9s
5d; the _Charles_ was disposed of in Scotland two years since and costeth
£60, 16s 10d for keeping.’ For repairing the _Merhonour_, _Defiance_,
_Vanguard_, and _Dreadnought_, £23,500 had been paid

    ‘for which eight new ships might have been built as the
    accounts of the East India Company do prove; yet all this while
    the King’s ships decayed and if the _Merhonour_ were repaired
    she was left so imperfect that before her finishing she begins
    again to decay.’

In nine years £108,000 had been charged for cordage, and the
Commissioners express their intention of reducing the expenditure on this
item by two-thirds.

At a later date some of the Commissioners themselves did not escape
suspicion. In 1623 Sir John Coke, still the leading member, wrote to
Conway that all went well until the Algiers voyage, but that he then
suspected that some of his colleagues were selling their own wares to the
government. They, of course, denied the allegation when Coke was frank
enough to openly tax them with it, but ‘ever since I carried a watchful
eye over them and employed fit persons to discover their dealings.’[873]
A man like Coke was probably not popular even among those with whom he
was associated, still less with the gang whose deceits and illicit gains
he had greatly helped to terminate. We may read something of the temper
and feelings of the discarded Navy Officers in his appeal for protection
against Sir Guilford Slingsby, a year later, who had threatened that,
unless he was restored to office by Lady day, Coke should not outlive
that date.[874] Slingsby was reappointed Comptroller by Charles I and
then again gave evidence of his peculiar qualifications for the exercise
of authority over others. But there is no doubt that the administration
of the Commissioners was pure enough compared with that of Mansell. Their
failures were due to causes they were unable to deal with, such as want
of money and the bad treatment of the men. So far as the latter were
concerned the Commissioners did not—and probably had no power to—reverse
the disposition to employ landsmen of influence as captains who were
out of sympathy with their men and had no care for their feelings or
interests. It was in this and the succeeding reign that there grew up
that bitter hatred and contempt for gentlemen captains, to which seamen
so often gave expression for a century afterwards, and of which traces
are to be found in the present century.

At the close of their first five years of office the Commissioners sent
in a report of the work done by them.[875] They said that whereas they
found in 1618 twenty-three serviceable and ten unserviceable ships, of
altogether 15,670 tons, four decayed galleys and four hoys, costing
£53,000 a year, they have now thirty-five serviceable vessels of 19,339
tons, besides the hoys and galleys, and the expense has been little more
than £30,000 a year, including the charges for building ten new ships.

[Sidenote: Naval Expenditure.]

This last amount does not coincide with those given in the table below,
from the _Pipe Office Accounts_, but that may be from the inclusion
in the latter of extraneous expenses, such as the Algiers expedition,
considered by the Commissioners to be outside the range of their

  |    | Amount |Victua-|    Sea    |  Total    |Stores|Ordinary  |Extra- |
  |    |received| lling |  Charges  |  spent    |      |          ordinary|
  |1603| £42619 |£32920 |£13247     |£42271     |      |          |       |
  |1604|  24000 | 12469 |  6248     | 24002     |£9616 |£6789     |       |
  |1605|  29000 | 16042 |  9760     | 28672     | 7312 |          |£22493 |
  |1606|  22100 | 10156 |           | 18984     |      |          |       |
  |1607|  21000 |  9452 |  2896     | 25200     |11000 | 5242     | 19900 |
  |1608|  38424 | 12103 |  6859     | 36554     |      |          |       |
  |1609|  42400 | 10200 |           | 43396     |      |          |       |
  |1610|  36607 | 10432 |           | 36358     |      |          |       |
  |1611|  42300 |  8670 |  3428     | 40153     |25520 | 8143     | 31921 |
  |1612|  34200 |  8672 |  3934     | 33930     |      | 8867     |       |
  |1613|  50355 | 19625 |  8814     | 55987[877]|25000 |10100     | 45786 |
  |1614|  48463 | 15275 |  7996     | 56848     |      |          |       |
  |1615|  45643 | 15387 |  7764     | 57968     |16295 | 8313     |       |
  |1616|  40515 | 12886 |  7800     | 41269     |15268 | 4625     |       |
  |1617|  31213 | 13716 |           | 25548     |      |          |       |
  |1618|        | 10465 |  5165     | 27489     | 8000 |          |       |
  |1619|  31606 |  6324 |           | 32610     | 2355 | 5789     |       |
  |1620|  38300 | 14680 |  2960[878]| 35872     | 5936 |          |       |
  |1621|  54264 | 23369 |  2945[879]| 51000     |      |10723     |       |
  |1622|  52385 | 11143 |  7765     | 45450     |      |13011[880]|       |
  |1623|  59200 | 23414 | 24000     | 62000[881]|      |          |       |
  |1624|  26529 |  6430 |  3079     | 31125     |      |          |       |

Seamen’s wages remained unchanged till the end of the reign when the
rate reached fourteen shillings a month, and the pay of the officers
was raised in 1618. Not only was it difficult to keep the men on board
the ships, but the expensive and wasteful system of impressment made
the eventual outlay even heavier. In 1624 an estimate was drawn up of
the expenses for fitting out a fleet of twelve men-of-war: 3000 men
were required, of which number the river was to supply 800 at press and
conduct money of 2s 6d a man, the remaining 2200 being obtained from
‘remote places’ at a cost of eight shillings a man. At their discharge
one shilling and seven shillings a man conduct money respectively, for
the river and country districts would again have to be paid. The total
estimate for twelve men-of-war for five months, and fifty merchantmen for
six months, was, £94,874, a sum which shows the great increase in prices
since the days of Elizabeth, and partly explains the rise in the yearly

[Sidenote: Piracy.]

Piracy, though still a school for seamanship, was no longer the
flourishing business it had been under Elizabeth; the trade, to use a
modern phrase, was ‘cut up.’ Spanish commerce was almost destroyed in
northern latitudes, and the Dutch was well able to protect itself, while
new competitors were found in the Mediterranean rovers who hovered round
the English coasts and even stretched out into the North Atlantic, and in
the fast sailing Dunkirk privateers who swarmed in the Channel. In 1605
Hannibal Vivian wrote from the west country, ‘let it not offend you that
I inform you from time to time of the piracies and depredations daily
committed on this coast.’ However repugnant piracy may have been to some
of the officials it commended itself still to many natives of the western
counties. Out of one pirate crew, thirty-five in number, seventeen
belonged to Dartmouth and Kingswear, and the mayor and others of Plymouth
were accused of buying the stolen goods and favouring the escape of the
men. The government appeared helpless; if they sent ships to sea the
captains ‘pretend to pursue, and when well away in some distant port
write up that a leak had been sprung, obtain warrants to repair in port,
and so remain for the captain’s benefit.’ Sometimes they even took the
pirates’ goods on board and sheltered the criminals themselves. If any
of the corsairs were caught the general opinion among them that they
were only liable ‘to a little lazy imprisonment,’ was usually justified
by results. Ireland was said to be ‘the nursery and storehouse of
pirates,’[883] for, besides providing its own quota of sea-rovers it
offered the hospitality of its ports to those vessels belonging to the
Barbary corsairs that required repair.[884]

In 1616 the weakness of the Crown was shown by a warrant being granted
to two London merchants to prepare a ship to go pirate hunting with
permission to retain for themselves three-fourths of the goods
seized.[885] About this time there was a fleet of thirty Turkish ships
in the Atlantic, and another Salleeman had recently been captured in
the Thames;[886] between 1609 and 1616 the Algerines had captured 466
British ships and reduced their crews to slavery,[887] and in the latter
year Sir Francis Cottington wrote to Buckingham that their strength
and boldness exceeded all previous experience. Mansell’s voyage of
1620-21 cost at least £34,000, and probably much more, but ‘such was the
misgovernment of those ships,’[888] that within a few weeks of his return
an Algerine fleet was at work again in the narrow seas. The inhabitants
of Swanage seem to have been especially nervous since they petition
for a block-house, ‘the Turks being grown exceedingly audacious.’
Matters grew even worse towards the close of the reign. Some Weymouth
merchants desired to fit out ships of their own to deal with the incubus
terrorising commerce, but permission was refused, mainly because it was
injurious to the Lord Admiral’s profits and ‘dishonourable to the King.’
Others, however, of the Weymouth tradesmen dealt with the robbers, and
the local Admiralty officers were supposed to connive at the traffic.[889]

The Lizard light was objected to because ‘it will conduct pirates,’ and
to most people it will read strangely now that it was forbidden at the
instance of the Trinity Corporation. The Newfoundland Company, in asking
for assistance, said that since 1612 damage to the amount of £40,000 had
been committed by the marauders, and that over 1000 men had been forced
or persuaded to join them.[890] One of the freebooters was admiral of
a large pirate fleet. In 1624 the Navy Commissioners were desired to
certify how many men-of-war would be required to clear the southern and
western coasts, just as they had often enough before been required to
certify; the process seldom proceeded further.

[Sidenote: The Merchant Marine.]

That ‘merchantmen dare hardly sail’ was scarcely a condition of things
conducive to commercial enterprise. Piracy was becoming a more serious
drawback than formerly because ships were bigger and more costly, the
network of commerce more sensitive and complex, and losses could no
longer be recouped by successful privateering on a small scale. Little
can be said of the merchant shipping of these years, as the returns of
available ships, so frequently occurring among the Elizabethan papers,
are entirely absent for this period. But all the notices of trade met
with, are invariably characterised by lamentation. The Dutch were said
to be obtaining the carrying trade owing to the greater cheapness with
which their vessels were built and worked, the difference in their favour
being as much as one-third of the English owner’s demand for freight.
In 1620 it was stated that the number of London-owned ships had fallen
to one-half of that of former years, and, as accounting for part of the
decrease, we have a certificate for 1618 of vessels belonging to the
river but lately sold for want of employment.[891] The list in question
shows an enormous depreciation in value, since none of them could have
been very old:—

  |                 |Tons|Guns| Cost |Sold for|
  |                 |    |    |  £   |  £     |
  |                 +----+----+------+--------+
  |_Neptune_        | 500| 30 | 5000 |  1500  |
  |_Paragon_        | 280| 24 | 3200 |  1000  |
  |_Martha_         | 250| 20 | 2400 |  500   |
  |_Industry_       | 350| 26 | 4500 |  2000  |
  |_Clement and Job_| 300| 24 | 3600 |  1000  |

The building price here almost certainly does not include the cost of
ordnance, while it is probable that the sale price does, and it will
be noticed that these merchantmen are nearly as strongly armed as
men-of-war. Complaints came from all quarters: the Muscovy Company had
employment for only two instead of seventeen ships, as in former days,
and the Norway trade was ‘in pawn to the Dutch’; the Levant Company found
its trade destroyed by piracy, and still more by the competition of the
Dutch, who now sent one hundred ships a year to the Mediterranean. The
greater portion of the Newcastle coal traffic was carried on in foreign
bottoms; there were some twenty vessels trading to Spain and Portugal,
and fifty or sixty to the North German ports, but in both cases the Dutch
trade was now far greater than ours; and the fisheries in English waters
were entirely in the hands of the Hollanders who were reputed to make a
profit of £1,000,000 a year from that which under a stronger sovereign
would have been held for England. The Newfoundland and Iceland fisheries,
which employed 150 and 120 sail respectively, were still chiefly in
English hands, but the Greenland, to which fifteen sail were sent, had to
face the ubiquitous Dutch competitor.[892]

During this reign the most flourishing association was the East India
Company, although its profits were not so large as were those of its
Dutch rival.[893] In twenty years it had despatched eighty-six ships,
of which eleven had been seized by the Dutch, and fourteen had been
wrecked or worn out, and the estimation in which it was held is shown
by its being more heavily assessed towards the expenses of the Algiers
expedition than was any other company. This association attempted, in
1613, to start iron and shipbuilding works near Cork, but was forced,
by the hostility of the natives, to discontinue the enterprise. The
largest merchantman built during the reign of James, the _Trade’s
Increase_ of 1100 tons, was constructed for the East India Company.
With a smaller ship, the _Peppercorn_ of 250 tons, it was launched in
January 1610, and there are some curious notes by the captain of the
_Peppercorn_ describing the event.[894] On Saturday, 30th December the
king came down to name the two ships, but every attempt to launch them
failed, and continued efforts on the Sunday, ‘God made fruitless that
day.’ On 1st Jan. the _Peppercorn_ was launched, and it was only then
found that the dockhead was too narrow to let the _Trade’s Increase_
pass. On the Wednesday, however, she was got clear and the captain of the
_Peppercorn_ complains that ‘on this ship was all the Company’s pride
set; she was altogether regarded, tended and followed while the other,
the _Peppercorn_ was left in manner desolate.’ The _Trades Increase_
was wrecked in 1613 on her first voyage. The hire of merchantmen taken
up for government service was still two shillings a month per ton; and
the bounty of five shillings a ton on new and suitable vessels ceased in
1624, only to be renewed early in the next reign for similar ships.

Merchants, generally, were liable to the exactions and dishonesty of the
officials of the Customs department as much as in the previous reign. But
by this time the two formerly antagonistic interests seem to have come to
a working arrangement. We are told that merchants and the farmers of the
customs were now in partnership, and that goods were cleared on payment
of little or no duty. The importation or exportation of prohibited wares
was only a matter of terms; and, altogether, the king was frequently
defrauded of 75% of the customs.[895] The collection of light dues was
placed in the hands of the customs’ farmers, and, when a licence to build
a lighthouse at Dungeness was granted to Sir Edward Howard in 1615, they
had to receive the one penny a ton payable from all ships passing it.
At Winterton there was also another light, and the receipts were £1000,
of which, £350 went in expenses.[896] As the Trinity House claimed the
control of the coast lights as a part of its privileges, there was a good
deal of litigation on the subject during the reign.

[Sidenote: The Navy List.]

In the following list[897] certain vessels, the _Defiance_,
_Dreadnought_, _Merhonour_, and _Repulse_ have been admitted as rebuilt
and new, although it is quite possible that, notwithstanding the large
sums spent upon them, they were only more or less badly repaired.

  |                      |Built| Re- |Burden|Ton and|Guns|Keel|Beam |Depth|
  |                      |     |built|      |Tonnage|    | ft.| ft. | ft. |
  |                      +-----+-----+------+-------+----+----+-----+-----+
  |_Nonsuch_[898]        |     | 1603|      |  636  | 38 |  88|34   | 15  |
  |_Assurance_[899]      |     | 1603|      |  600  | 38 |  95|33   | 14.6|
  |_Speedwell_[900]      |     | 1607|      |  400  |    |    |     |     |
  |_Anne Royal_[901]     |     | 1608|      |  800  | 44 | 103|37   | 16  |
  |_Lion’s Whelp_        |     | 1608|      |   90  |    |    |     |     |
  |_Red Lion_[902]       |     | 1609|      |  650  | 38 |  91|35.2 | 16  |
  |_Due Repulse_         |     | 1610|      |  700  | 40 |  97|37   | 15  |
  |_Prince Royal_        | 1610|     |      | 1200  | 55 | 115|43.6 | 18  |
  |_Phœnix_              | 1612|     |      |  250  | 20 |  70|24   | 11  |
  |_Primrose_            |     | 1612|      |       |    |    |     |     |
  |_Merhonour_[903]      |     | 1612|      |  800  | 44 | 104|38   | 17  |
  |_Dreadnought_         |     | 1612|      |  450  | 32 |  84|31   | 13  |
  |_Defiance_            |     | 1612|      |  700  | 40 |  97|37   | 15  |
  |_Vanguard_            |     | 1615|      |  650  | 40 | 102|35   | 14  |
  |_Seven Stars_         | 1615|     |      |  140  | 14 |  60|20   |  9  |
  |_Convertine_[904]     | 1616|     |      |  500  | 34 |    |     |     |
  |_Desire_              | 1616|     |      |   80  |  6 |  66|16   |  6  |
  |_Rainbow_[905]        |     | 1618|      |  650  | 40 | 102|35   | 14  |
  |_Antelope_            |     | 1618|      |  450  | 34 |  92|32   | 12.6|
  |_Happy Entrance_      | 1619|     |  437 |  582  | 32 |  96|32.6 | 14  |
  |_Constant Reformation_| 1619|     |  564 |  752  | 42 | 106|35.6 | 15  |
  |_Victory_             | 1620|     |  656 |  875  | 42 | 108|35.9 | 17  |
  |_Garland_             | 1620|     |  512 |  683  | 34 |  93|33   | 16  |
  |_Swiftsure_           | 1621|     |  650 |  887  | 42 | 106|36.10| 16.8|
  |_Bonaventure_         | 1621|     |  506 |  675  | 34 |  98|33   | 15.8|
  |_St George_           | 1622|     |  671 |  895  | 42 | 110|37   | 16.6|
  |_St Andrew_           | 1622|     |  671 |  895  | 42 | 110|37   | 16.6|
  |_Triumph_             | 1623|     |  692 |  922  | 42 | 110|37   | 17  |
  |_Mary Rose_           | 1623|     |  288 |  394  | 26 |  83|27   |     |

Two other third-rates, the _Mercury_ and _Spy_, were built in 1620 by
Phineas Pett—who went as captain of one of them—for some London merchants
to go with the Algiers fleet. By a warrant of August 1622 they were
ordered to be taken into the Navy, but their names do not appear in any
list of James or Charles.

Of the nineteen vessels added to the Navy during Mansell’s term of office
two were commenced before his appointment, one was bought, two of the
five new ones were mere pinnaces, and of the remainder most were very
expensive repairs rather than rebuildings.

[Sidenote: The New Ships.]

In 1603 James had resolved to have three ships built, but the _Nonsuch_
and _Assurance_, both ordered before his accession, were the only quasi
new ones. Although no real accessions were made for some years James
took sufficient pride in his fleet to be eager to show it to visitors;
in 1606 he ordered all the available vessels ‘to be rigged and put in
warlike order’ preparatory to a visit from himself and the King of
Denmark, which took place in August. In 1610 the Prince of Brunswick
came to see the Navy. In 1608 the _Ark Royal_, Nottingham’s flagship in
1588, was rebuilt, and her name which should have lived in popular memory
with that of the _Golden Hind_, changed to the _Anne Royal_, in honour
of the commonplace Queen. She was rechristened by Sir Oliver Cromwell.
The _Swiftsure_, rebuilt and renamed the _Speedwell_, is noteworthy as
being the first important English man-of-war lost by misadventure at sea
since the _Mary Rose_ foundered in 1545. She went ashore near Flushing
in November 1624, a mischance that her captain—Chudleigh—attributed to
a drunken pilot.[906] He, at any rate, lost all control over his crew,
whose discipline seems to have been quite unequal to the sudden strain of
an unexpected accident. Of Mansell’s rebuildings the most striking points
are the amounts spent—nearly £60,000 can be traced in the _Pipe Office
Accounts_—and the time taken, ships being usually two, three, or four
years in hand.

It was probably due to the express desire of James that on 20th October,
1608 the keel was laid of the _Prince Royal_ of 1200 tons, the largest
ship yet designed for the Navy. Under the new rules of measurement in
force in 1632, she was certified as of 1035 net, and 1330 gross tonnage.
Her construction was assigned to Phineas Pett, and many intrigues,
reaching even the Court, centred round her. The other shipwrights were
both jealous and critical, and openly expressed their disapprobation
both of the material used and the manner in which it was employed. In
1609, Baker, now an old man of seventy-nine years, but still in active
employment, William Bright, Edward Stevens, and some other shipwrights,
with Waymouth as an unofficial expert, were ordered to report on the
execution of the work. Pett did not like Waymouth, whom he describes in
his autobiography as ‘great kilcow Waymouth,’ and ‘a great braggadocio,
a vain and idle fellow.’ Baker, and perhaps some of the others must have
been chosen on the governmental principle of setting personal enemies to
inspect each other’s performances, seeing that he had not long before
stated on oath that he thought both the Petts ‘simple’ and quite unfit
to be entrusted with the production of a large ship.[907] Pett naturally
had little love for Baker, although he had years before attempted to be
friendly with the veteran, begging him not to so easily credit malicious
reports, and ascribing all his knowledge of his art, ‘if I have any,’ to
the elder man.[908] But the system that made it to each man’s pecuniary
interest to obtain as many ships as possible to build and repair, and to
exert all his personal influence to that end, converted the dockyards
into nests of intrigue.

Pett was protected by Nottingham and Mansell, and ‘he is reported to be
their right hand and they cannot do without him,’ said Bright, another
of Pett’s competitors, and who was therefore chosen to sit in judgment
upon him. Nottingham, Suffolk and Worcester were then appointed to make
further inquiry, and their report being satisfactory, and therefore
displeasing to Northampton, the latter desired another investigation,
which the King acceded to by naming a day when he would examine the
vessel and hear the conflicting evidence himself. He and Prince Henry
came to Woolwich on 8th May 1609, and after a long day of scrutiny and
discussion, Pett emerged triumphant from the ordeal. Time, however, was
on the side of the objectors. The _Prince Royal_ was never subjected to
any serious work, but in 1621 the Commissioners wrote to Buckingham that
she was then only fit for show, that she cost in the first instance,
£20,000, and would require another £6000 to make her fit for service, and
that she was built of decaying timber and green unseasoned stuff.[909]
These were the very points on which Baker and his fellows had insisted,
and on which they had been defeated in 1609. She attracted universal
attention when building. The King, the Prince of Wales, Princess
Elizabeth, and the French ambassador came several times to visit her when
approaching completion, and ‘nobles, gentry, and citizens from all parts
of the country round,’ resorted to Woolwich. An attempt to launch her
was made on the 24th September 1610, the whole of the Royal family being
present, but, as in the case of the _Trades Increase_, the dockhead was
too narrow to permit her to pass. A second essay was more successful.

The _Prince Royal_ was the first three-decker built for the English
Navy.[910] She was gorgeously decorated, according to the taste of the
time, with carvings and ‘curious paintings, the like of which was never
in any ship before.’ She was double-planked, ‘a charge which was not
formerly thought upon, and all the butt-heads were double bolted with
iron bolts.’[911] There is one payment of £868 for her painting and
gilding, work done by Robert Peake and Paul Isackson, the latter of whom
belonged to a family for several generations employed in decorating
men-of-war. The four upper strakes were ornamented with gilt and painted
badges, arms and ‘mask heads,’ and the Prince’s cabin was ‘very curiously
wrought with divers histories.’ Carving cost £441, and included fourteen
‘great lions’ heads for the round ports.’[912]

[Sidenote: The Commissioners’ Improvements.]

It was possibly the result of Cotton’s abortive effort in 1613 to procure
a further inquiry into the administration, that several of the old ships
were rebuilt about that time, but, as the Commissioners subsequently
remarked, at prices that would have more than provided new ones in their
stead. It was not until the Navy Commission took control in 1618 that the
systematic production of new ships was commenced. It will be seen from
the preceding list that from that date they carried out for five years
their expressed intention of adding two ships a year to the Navy. They
also made certain recommendations, to be kept in view by themselves and
their successors, that embodied improvements, perhaps the result of the
trenchant criticisms of the beginning of the reign.[913]

The fleet was to average thirty seagoing ships, and building was
to be confined to Deptford, where two vessels could be worked upon
simultaneously. The length of keel was to be treble the breadth, ‘but not
to draw above sixteen feet because deeper ships are seldom good sailors,’
besides, ‘they must be somewhat snug-built, without double galleries and
too lofty upperworks, which overcharge many ships and make them loom
fair but not work well at sea.’ It is no reproach to the Commissioners,
who could but act on the best professional advice obtainable, to have to
remark that their ships were nearly as crank as their predecessors, and
all required to be furred or girdled to make them at all trustworthy in a
seaway; and at a later date, even the smaller stern galleries given them
excited much adverse criticism.

They continue,

    ‘For strengthening the ship we subscribe to the new manner of
    building—1st, making three orlops, whereof the lowest being
    placed two feet under water, strengtheneth the ship though her
    sides be shot through; 2nd, to carry this orlop end to end;
    3rd, the second or main deck to be sufficiently high to work
    guns in all weathers.’

From this it is evident that the orlop deck as built in the _Merhonour_,
_Garland_, and _Defiance_ of 1589 did not run the whole length of the
ship, and that if the ‘new manner’ is to be accepted literally, even the
_Prince Royal_ was not a two-decker. Cooking galleys were to be placed in
the forecastle, as the weights carried at each end with a comparatively
empty midship section caused ‘hogging,’ besides wasting valuable stowage
space and producing other inconveniences. Wynter had recommended this
forty years before, but the new regulation remained inoperative for some
time longer. The lower ports were now to be at least four and a half feet
above the water line. Most of the Commissioners’ ships were built with
three decks, but with smaller and lower superstructures on the upper deck
than had been previously customary. Bad as they were they seem to have
been steadier than their predecessors.

An undated State Paper, calendared under 1627, but which from its
arguments in favour of a third deck—a question finally closed long before
1627—more probably belongs to this period, gives us some particulars of
the internal arrangements of a man-of-war. The lowest deck was to carry
the bread and other store-rooms, the cables and officers’ cabins, besides
a certain number of the crew who were also to be berthed upon it. The
second deck was to be laid five and a half or six feet above this, and
in a ship like the _Lion_ was to be pierced for nine ports a side, and
four chase-ports fore and aft. The ports were to be at least two feet
three inches square, ‘and that there be built between every two ports
hanging cabins to fold up to the decks for the lodging of men.’ Otherwise
this deck was to be kept clear instead of being hampered by the cables
stowed upon it in two-decked ships. Readers desirous of technical details
relating to the position and dimensions of floor, timbers, riders, butts,
carlings, clamps, foot and chain waling, standing and running rigging,
etc., will find much exact information in the State Papers of the next
reign dealing with the surveys taken of most of the new and old ships in
1626 and 1627.

The Commissioners ordered that the _Elizabeth_ and _Triumph_ should be
sold; £600 is entered in the accounts as received for their hulls in
1618, although as late as 1615, £537 had been spent in repairing them.
The _Mercury_ had been sold in Ireland in 1611, the _Foresight_ condemned
in 1604, the _Quittance_ and _Tremontana_ were to be broken up, and
the hulls of the _Garland_ and _Mary Rose_ were to be used for a wharf
in conjunction with a proposed new dock at Chatham. The _Bonaventure_,
_Charles_, and _Advantage_ had long ceased to exist, and the _St Andrew_
and _St Matthew_ had been given to Sir John Leigh in 1604 as being then
no longer servicable. The _Victory_ is said to have been rebuilt into
the _Prince Royal_, but the connection is not altogether clear. In one
paper[914] of 1610, there is a distinct, and apparently conclusive
statement, occurring twice over, ‘The _Victory_ now named the _Prince
Royal_.’ On the other hand Cotton, in his report of 1608,[915] writes, in
discussing the waste and embezzlement of material,

    ‘Thus did the _Victory_ for the transportation, dockinge, and
    breaking uppe stand the King in fower or five hundred poundes
    and yet noe one parte of her serviceable to any use about the
    buildinge of a new as was pretended for a coulour. To conclude,
    though we set her at the rate of 200ˡⁱ yet it had been better
    absolutely for the King to have given her away to the poor than
    to have bin put to the charge of bringing her from Chattam to
    Wollich noe other use having bin made of her than to furnish
    Phinees Pette (that was the only author of her preservation)
    with fewell for the dyette of those carpenters which he

This also appears conclusive. A possible explanation lies in the fact
that, the _Victory_ having ceased to exist, the _Prince Royal_ may
have been laid down in that name, and afterwards changed to the later

The four galleys were a source of constant expense, one or the other
being in continual need of repair, rebuilding, or shed protection from
the weather. They were never used, and in 1629, having ‘been long laid
aside as useless vessels’ were ordered to be sold. The new _Antelope_
and _Rainbow_ of 1618 were not claimed by the Commissioners as among
the vessels of which they should have the credit although they were
both completed after their entry into office. The _Happy Entrance_ and
_Constant Reformation_ were launched in the presence of the King at
Deptford, and were named by him with intent to commemorate Buckingham’s
accession to his post and the good effects to be expected from it. In
1624 no new vessels were built and the last Navy list of James I is as

  | First rank   | Second rank     | Third rank       |  Fourth rank  |
  | _Prince_     | _Repulse_       | _Dreadnought_    | _Phœnix_      |
  | _Bear_       | _Warspite_      | _Antelope_       | _Seven Stars_ |
  | _Merhonour_  | _Victory_       | _Speedwell_      | _Charles_     |
  | _Anne Royal_ | _Assurance_     | _Adventure_      | _Desire_      |
  |              | _Nonsuch_       | _Convertine_     |               |
  |              | _Defiance_      | _Happy Entrance_ |               |
  |              | _Lion_          | _Bonaventure_    |               |
  |              | _Vanguard_      | _Garland_        |               |
  |              | _Rainbow_       | _Mary Rose_      |               |
  |              | _Constant       |                  |               |
  |              |   Reformation_  |                  |               |
  |              | _Swiftsure_     |                  |               |
  |              | _St George_     |                  |               |
  |              | _St Andrew_     |                  |               |
  |              | _Triumph_       |                  |               |

There were also the four galleys and some hoys; eleven of the vessels
were noted as needing more or less substantial repairs and most of the
old ones were broken-backed. The ten new ships cost £6 a ton for the
larger and £5, 6s 8d for the smaller ones, against £16 a ton under
Mansell’s improvident management, but these prices were for the hulls
and spars alone.[917] According to the _Pipe Office Accounts_ the cost
of the _Happy Entrance_ and _Constant Reformation_ was £8850; of the
_Victory_ and _Garland_ £7640, which included masts and spars, carving
and painting; of the _Swiftsure_ and _Bonaventure_ £9969, and here an
additional £1169 was paid for sails, anchors, and fittings; of the _St
George_ and _St Andrew_ £9632, and £1306 more for fittings down to boats
and flags; and £8106 for the _Triumph_ and _Mary Rose_. Taking them from
Deptford to Chatham varied between £73 and £418, doubtless depending on
the number of men employed and the time occupied. Burrell’s contracts for
1619 were at £7, 10s and £8 a ton, and the £5, 6s 8d and £6 quoted above
were only due to the fact that the ten ships measured 1899 tons more than
was expected which reduced the average.[918] He apparently had to bear
the loss; no alteration was made in the way of calculating tonnage during
the reign.

There is little to be said about any improvements in rigging or canvas
during this period. Fore and aft sails are still absent; studding sails
and booms are spoken of in the _Nomenclator Navalis_,[919] but are not
alluded to in any naval document. It may be of interest to quote from the
same manuscript the rules governing the proportions of masts and yards.

  Mainmast             three times four-fifths of the beam.
  Foremast             four-fifths of mainmast.
  Bowsprit                  do.          do.
  Mizenmast            one-half of mainmast.
  Topmasts             half the length of lower masts.
  Main yard            five-sixths of length of keel.
  Fore yard            four-fifths of mainyard.
  Top yard             three-sevenths of mainyard.
  Cross-jack yard      four-fifths of mainyard.
  Spritsail yard           do.           do.

[Sidenote: Shipwrights.]

Baker, Pett, and Burrell were the three chief shipwrights of the
reign; Ed. Stevens, John Adye, Wm. Bright, Clay, Hen. Goddard, and
Maryott were less known men. Baker died on 31st August 1613 at the age
of eighty-three. As a boy and man he had seen the rise of the modern
Navy, and had himself largely helped by his skill to produce the type
of ship that was found sufficient for that age. That during the whole
of his long life he appears, so far as existing records show, to have
quarrelled with, or spoken ill of, equals, inferiors, and superiors may
be charitably attributed rather to the unfortunate conditions governing
a shipwright’s position than to any natural bent of character. The
writings or utterances of other shipwrights, that have come down to us,
show them to have been in no way superior to Baker in these respects. The
ships built by him represented sound and honest work. He died in harness
while in charge of the repairs of the _Merhonour_ which had been built
under his superintendence twenty-four years previously, and he was long
remembered as ‘the famous artist of his time.’

Pett had been favoured by Nottingham and Mansell but does not appear to
have experienced the same partiality from the Commissioners. They chiefly
employed Burrell, who had previously been master shipwright to the East
India Company, but during the next reign Pett came again into favour, and
was made a principal Officer and Commissioner for the Navy shortly after
Burrell’s death in 1630. The master shipwrights received two shillings
a day and lodging money, but all these men had extra allowances, partly
dating from the last reign. Baker had a pension of £40 a year, besides
his Exchequer fee and payments from the Navy Treasurer. Bright had one
shilling and eightpence a day which had been originally given to Richard
Chapman for building the _Ark Royal_, and had been continued in whole or
part to him. Pett’s Exchequer fee had been retained in the family since
it was first granted in the second year of Mary’s reign.[920] Probably
the orthodox scale of wages would not alone have retained these men in
the royal service and the pensions were used to make their posts more

[Sidenote: Dockyards.]

Deptford was still the principal yard, but Chatham was rapidly coming
into greater importance; Portsmouth is hardly mentioned. In 1610 the dry
dock at Deptford was enlarged and a paling made round the yard,[921]
and in the same year there is a charge of £34, 19s for tools to make
cordage at Woolwich. By 1612 cordage was being made there at £28 a ton,
and in 1614 the ropehouse was extended at a cost of £368, and 305 tons
of cordage made there in the year.[922] It was, however, still far from
supplying the needs of the Navy since in 1617 cordage to £10,400 was
bought. A Dutchman, Harman Branson, superintended the rope factory, at a
salary of £50 a year. In 1619 the wooden fence at Deptford was replaced
by a brick wall; the only reference to Portsmouth is for the cost, in
1623, of ‘filling up the great dock there, and ramming the mouth of the
said dock with rock stones for the better preserving of the yard against
the violence of the sea.’[923] This was the end of the earliest dry dock
in England. A dock had been frequently urged for Chatham, but it was not
until the Commissioners came into power that the matter was seriously
taken up. They at once devoted their attention to the Medway, for which
one reason may have been the great cost attendant on the removal,
backwards and forwards, of ships between Chatham and Deptford. It has
been mentioned that the hulls of the _Garland_ and _Mary Rose_ were used
to support a dock wharf at Chatham; they were joined there by an old
antagonist, the _Nuestra Señora del Rosario_. A sum of £61, 1s 3d was
paid to

    ‘Thomas Wood, shipwright, and sundry other ... employed in
    digging out the old Spanish ship at Chatham, near the galley
    dock, clearing her of all the stubb ballast and other trash
    within board, making her swim, and removing near unto the
    mast dock where she was laid, and sunk for the defence and
    preservation of the wharf.’[924]

The old Spaniard, however, was not even yet at rest. In 1622 occurs the
concise entry, ‘The hull of the ship called Don Pedroe broken up and
taken away.’ The men of the seventeenth century were not emotional and
saw no reason in a useless trophy. They did, in 1624, have a new wharf
‘made at Sir Francis Drake’s ship,’ but there were fees attached to the
preservation of that.

In 1619 and 1620, two mast docks were made at Chatham, each 120 feet
long, 60 feet broad, and five ‘flowers’ deep, and six acres of ground
were enclosed with them.[925] A further great extension followed in the
shape of a lease from Sir Robert Jackson of 70 or 80 acres of land,
called ‘Lordslands,’ on a term of 100 years at £14 a year. Part of this
was used for a new dock, part for a ropehouse now put up, and part for
brick and lime kilns, etc.[926] The dock cost £2342, and a path, 137 rods
long, was made to it from Chatham church.[927] From a new road having
been necessary it would seem to have been quite apart from any previously
existing buildings. In 1623 another dock was building under the direction
of the shipwrights, and the lease of a house on Chatham Hill, for the use
of the Officers, bought from the Dean and Chapter of Rochester.[928] In
1614 the principal Officers were lodged at Winchester House as there is a
charge of £138, 8s 6d for its repair for their use, and a rent of £70 a
year was paid; stores were also kept there.

The chain, placed by Hawkyns across the Medway at Upnor, is not again
referred to until 1606, when it was partly repaired and partly renewed.
But some time before 1623 it must have become worn out, as in that year
it was replaced by a boom made of sixteen masts and forty-three cwt. of
iron with cordage proportionate, at a cost of £238, 10s 5d; the hulls
of two ships and two pinnaces were also devoted to the strengthening of
the barricade. At the same time the water-way through St Mary’s creek
was again blocked at a cost of upwards of £400.[929] This boom must have
been very light, and its history was short and unfortunate, for in 1624
it was broken by ice and carried out to sea. It must have been quickly
replaced since, from an incidental reference it existed in 1625, and in
1635 two small vessels, the _Seven Stars_ and the _Moon_, were moored
at each shore end for its protection. In the latter year it was said
to be causing deposits of gravel and closing the fairway, and opinions
oscillated between a new boom and an iron chain.

The dockyards shared the disorganisation of the other departments;
notwithstanding the exposures of 1608 ten years later the storehouses
at Deptford were said to be ‘full of rotten wood and bad cordage,’ the
scales were light by one pound in the cwt., and while bad materials
were knowingly received, the good were sold to boatswains and other
ships’ officers at low prices. In 1624 Chatham yard remained uninclosed
so that strangers came and took away timber, nails, or any portable
article. In 1604 the stores at Deptford included 210 masts, 322 loads of
timber, 41,000 feet of plank, 171 cables, 499 hawsers, 15 serviceable
and 28 unserviceable anchors, 24 compasses, 40 bolts of canvas, 24,000
tree-nails, and many other articles down to ‘a decayed pitch pot,’ and
it is likely that they were larger in number and better in quality at
this date than at any time during the succeeding fifteen or sixteen
years.[930] The value of Deptford yard was estimated at £5000, and it was
at one time proposed to remove the whole plant to Chatham.[931]

So far as the staff were concerned the ‘ordinary’ of a dockyard
included shipkeepers and inferior officers attached to ships lying
up, Upnor Castle (for Chatham), clerical work, rents, watchmen,
clerks, storekeepers, and the superior officers; the ‘extraordinary,’
shipwrights, carpenters, joiners, pumpmakers, sawyers, sailmakers, and
bricklayers. In 1622 wages, per day, were: shipwrights 1s 2d to 2s;
caulkers 7d to 2s; carpenters 1s 3d to 1s 10d; pumpmakers 1s 6d to
2s; joiners 1s 4d to 1s 8d; sailmakers 1s 8d; sawyers 1s 2d to 1s 4d;
bricklayers 10d to 1s 6d; and labourers 8d or 9d.[932] All these men,
except the labourers, had lodging money, varying from 5s 4d in the case
of the master shipwrights to so small a sum as twopence, and probably as
an allowance by the week.

[Sidenote: Ordnance and Ship Armament.]

The armament of ships was still very heavy for their tonnage and
accounted in some measure for their rolling proclivities and the
impossibility of obtaining a comparatively steady gun platform. Sometimes
it was necessary to dismount some of the guns,

    ‘The _Dreadnought_ carries 36, yet four of them for seven
    years have been buried in her ballast, as some are also in the
    _Answer_ and other ships.’[933]

This stowage of the guns strained the vessel dangerously and caused
leaks, and, as gravel ballast was still employed, an injury was a very
serious matter from the difficulty in reaching the damaged part. The
following gives the number of guns carried by some of the ships, and
their weights:—[934]

  |                      | Cannon| Demi |         |   Demi  |      |
  |                      |Periers|Cannon|Culverins|Culverins|Sakers|
  |                      |       |      |         |         |      |
  |_Prince Royal_        |   2   |  6   |   12    |    18   |  13  |
  |_White Bear_          |   2   |  6   |   12    |    18   |   9  |
  |_Merhonour_           |   2   |  6   |   12    |    12   |   8  |
  |_Anne Royal_          |   2   |  5   |   12    |    13   |   8  |
  |_Victory_             |   2   |  2   |   16    |    12   |   4  |
  |_Swiftsure_           |   2   |  2   |   16    |    12   |   4  |
  |_Constant Reformation_|   2   |  2   |   16    |    12   |   4  |
  |_St George_           |   2   |  2   |   16    |    12   |   4  |
  |_St Andrew_           |   2   |  2   |   16    |    12   |   4  |
  |_Triumph_             |   2   |  2   |   16    |    12   |   4  |
  |_Defiance_            |   2   |  2   |   14    |    12   |   4  |
  |_Repulse_             |   2   |  2   |   14    |    12   |   4  |

  |                      |       |          |       |                    |
  |                      |Fawcons|Portpieces|Fowlers|       Weight       |
  |                      |       |          |       |Tons cwts. qrs. lbs.|
  |_Prince Royal_        |       |     4    |       | 83    8    0    21 |
  |_White Bear_          |       |     4    |       | 77    9    3    23 |
  |_Merhonour_           |       |     4    |       | 66   16    1     0 |
  |_Anne Royal_          |       |     4    |       | 64   15    2     4 |
  |_Victory_             |   2   |          |   4   | 42    0    0    25 |
  |_Swiftsure_           |   2   |          |   4   | 46    8    0    19 |
  |_Constant Reformation_|   2   |     4    |       | 53    2    0    23 |
  |_St George_           |   2   |     2    |   2   | 47   15    2    24 |
  |_St Andrew_           |   2   |          |   4   | 52    2    3    20 |
  |_Triumph_             |   2   |          |   4   | 50   10    1    21 |
  |_Defiance_            |   2   |     4    |       | 55   17    0    25 |
  |_Repulse_             |   2   |          |   4   | 52    7    0     1 |

Comparison of the rebuilt ships with the armament they carried under
Elizabeth is vitiated by the fact that we do not know whether they were
again of the same size. If, as is possible, they were bigger there seems
to have been a tendency to reduce the weight of ordnance—there is also an
inclination towards greater uniformity.

The price of ordnance was from £12 to £15 a ton, and the manufacture was
still retained in a few hands, its exportation without licence being
strictly forbidden. In 1619 orders were issued that casting was to be
confined to Sussex and Kent, that guns were to be landed at or shipped
from the Tower wharf only, and that East Smithfield was to be the one
market place for their sale or purchase. These were practically the
Elizabethan regulations, now perhaps fallen into neglect, renewed. Guns
could be proved only in Ratcliff fields, and all pieces were to have on
them at least two letters of the founder’s name, with the year and the
weight of the gun. The founders had still to give bond for £1000 as a
surety against illegal exportation, and once a year to send in a report
of the number and description of the guns cast and to whom they had been
sold.[935] These precautions were not unneeded, but did not prevent the
secret sale to foreign buyers any more than similar restrictions had
availed during the reign of Elizabeth. The royal forts themselves were
turned into marts for these and other unlawful transactions. Upnor Castle
is described as ‘a staple of stolen goods, a den of thieves, a vent
for the transport of ordnance.’ The person holding the post of ‘King’s
Gun-founder,’ and therefore licensed purveyor of government ordnance, was
accused of transgressing largely.[936] The method was to require payment
beforehand, the purchaser taking the risk of seizure; the guns were then
shipped under cover of a warrant authorising them to be sent to London,
but once at sea they went to the Continent instead of the river.

[Sidenote: Salutes and Flags.]

A few stone shot were still carried and the price of iron shot varied
between £10 and £13 a ton,[937] and its expenditure in saluting was
liberal. It was only about this time that gunners were directed to
fire blank charges in these marks of respect, an order that was long
disregarded. Attempts were made to check the too lavish use of munition
for salutes, the amount of which depended mainly on the goodwill of the
officers and the stores of the ship. Gunners were ordered not to shoot
without the captain’s permission, and they were forbidden to fire at
‘drinkings and feastings.’ They were further directed to ‘salute no
passengers with more than one piece, or three at the most, except the
person be of quality and the occasion very great, and that for volleys
of honour no bullets be spent,’ and the captain was not to fail to lock
up the powder room if he went ashore. These regulations were not very
effective. In 1628 the fleet lying at Plymouth ‘shot away £100 of powder
in one day in drinking healths.’[938] Another writer says that salutes
should be ‘always of an odd number but of no particular number.’ An even
number signified the death of the captain, master, or master gunner at
sea during the voyage. Of a kindred nature to the love of display by
noise was that of display by flags. The _Prince Royal_ was supplied with
eight flags, five ancients, and fifty-seven pennants; these however were
of some use in the primitive attempts at signalling, which, however,
do not appear to have advanced in complexity beyond the point reached
a century before. Night signalling had progressed to a greater extent.
Two lights from the flagship, answered by one from the others, was the
order to shorten sail; three lights astern, placed vertically, to make
sail; a ‘waving’ light on the poop, to lie to; and a ship in distress was
expected to hang out ‘many’ lights in the shrouds.[939] An order of 13th
April 1606 authorised all ships to wear a flag containing the St George’s
and St Andrew’s crosses in the main top; at the fore top the flags of
their respective countries were worn.

[Sidenote: Men-of-war Crews and Discipline.]

One great alteration was made in this reign in the manning of men-of-war.
It had always been customary to place soldiers, in the proportion of
one-third of the total complement, on board vessels equipped for service.
This practice no longer obtained; in 1619 the Commissioners wrote:—

    ‘Indeed till the year ‘88 soldiers and mariners were then
    usually divided but that and later experience hath taught us
    instead of freshwater soldiers (as they call them) to employ
    only seamen.’[940]

This marks the completion of the change from the days when the sailors
were not called upon to be more than spectators of the actual fighting.
The crew as a whole was not reduced, ships being heavily armed and the
spars of a man-of-war being equal to those of a merchantman of much
greater tonnage.

We have now the ‘station list’ of the _Speedwell_ of thirty guns which
gives the following division of duties in action: eighteen gunners and
forty-eight men for the battery, fifty small arms men, fifty to work
the ship and man the tops, four in the powder room, four carpenters
below, three trumpeters, three surgeons and mate, four stewards, three
cooks, and three boys. Complaint, however, was more than once made that
nearly one-third of a crew were officers or non-combatants. It will be
noticed from this list that the vessel was only prepared to man one
broadside at the time—in this resembling much later practice—and that
the arrangements implied plenty of sea room and a stand-off fight. At
this time English seamen shrank from boarding; memories of the enormous
Spanish galleons with their overpoweringly strong crews, and the tactics
that had defeated them, were too fresh in the mind of the English sailor
to permit him to have that confidence in his ship and himself that he
subsequently obtained. It has already been noticed that when this ship,
the _Speedwell_, was lost there was an utter absence of subordination
among the crew, but this lack of discipline appears to have been more or
less present at all times. In 1625, when we were at war with Spain, the
_Happy Entrance_, _Garland_, and _Nonsuch_ were left lying in the Downs,
with no officers and only a few men on board, because it was Christmas
time and everyone was on shore merrymaking.[941] At an earlier date Coke
said that ships rode in the Downs or put into port while the captains
went to London, or hardly ever came on board, and the men ran away.[942]

[Sidenote: The Results of the Reign.]

Fortunately the services of the Royal Navy were never needed in earnest
during the reign of James. How it would have broken down under the
direction of Mansell may be inferred from the steady decrease in the
number of seaworthy ships, and the increasing disorganisation of
every department, during each year of his retention of office. The
administration of the Commissioners was both competent and honest, but
the grievous results of Mansell’s treasurership were too plainly shown
during the earlier years of the next reign, when fleets were once more
sent to sea. Ships might be replaced and open peculation checked, but
the deeper wounds of spirit and discipline caused by fourteen years of
license among the higher officials, and fourteen years of heartless
chicanery suffered by those more lowly placed were not so readily healed,
and bore their fruits for long afterwards in the habitual dishonesty of
officials and workmen, in the disloyalty and half-heartedness of the
seamen, and later, in the shameless knaveries that disgraced the Navy
office at the close of the century, many of which had their origin under
Mansell’s rule. The Commissioners were hampered in their efforts by want
of money, an embarrassment from which Mansell suffered little.

Nor can the King be absolved from the responsibility of permitting
Mansell’s misdeeds. He knew at least as early as 1608 of the iniquities
daily occurring in every branch of the service, but he contented himself
with making ‘an oration.’ He was ready enough to act as an amateur
arbiter on technical details, to superintend launches, to visit the
ships, and to give them euphuistic names, but that portion of his kingly
office which involved protecting the helpless and punishing the guilty
was sufficiently satisfied by ‘an oration.’ And had not Buckingham
desired to be Lord Admiral, we have no reason to suppose that James I
would have seen any cause for interference merely on behalf of seamen who
were starved and robbed, or of the English people whose chief defence was
being destroyed, and whose money went to enrich a ring of thieves. So far
had the traditions of Plantagenet and Tudor kingliness degenerated into
Stewart ‘kingcraft.’




The life of Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham and Earl of Nottingham,
commander of the English fleet in 1588, and for thirty-three years Lord
Admiral of England, may be regarded as the link between the mediæval
and the modern navy. Born in 1536, and dying in 1624, his era connects
the cogs and crayers, carracks and balingers of the Plantagenets, then
hardly out of use, with the established Royal Navy of James I, a fleet
divided into rates; controlled on present principles, and differing but
little in essentials from that existing up to the introduction of armour
and machine guns. His period of authority included the struggle which
shaped isolated maritime essays into an organised navy, and fashioned a
school of seamanship of which the traditions have never since been lost.
Although we cannot point to any important measure known to be directly
due to his initiative, his influence, during at any rate the earlier
half of his time of office, must, judging by results, have been always
exercised towards the selection of capable men for command, towards the
adoption of any promising invention or improvement, and towards the
encouragement and welfare of the seamen on whom the stress of work and
danger must fall, and for whom he always showed a humane sympathy. At
the time of trial he proved himself equal to his responsibilities; and
that he was so well served by his subordinates of all grades implies a
confidence and respect on their part not given merely to a peer and an
officer of the crown, but to one in whose skill, care, and kindliness,
experience had already taught men of all ranks to confide. Then, as now,
only an able leader had good officers and willing men. He clung too
long to office, and his old age was sullied by an eagerness for money
amounting almost to avarice, and by the unwavering support given to one
as unworthy of it as Mansell; no allegation, however, was ever made
against his own honesty, either of act or purpose, and for the rest his
years are his best excuse. He has a right to be judged by his season of
vigorous manhood, when acting with the other sea heroes of the age of
Elizabeth, among whom he holds an honourable place.

[Sidenote: The new Political Conditions.]

The reign of James I may be looked upon as a maritime truce, during which
old antagonisms remained latent while new ones were springing into life.
The contest with Spain was practically terminated, that power having been
vanquished not so much by English superiority of seamanship as by the
national decay due to causes patent to all students of history. But now
other and more dangerous rivals were to be faced in France and the United
Provinces, both wealthier than England, the former temporarily strong
in a centralised monarchy of which the resources were to be wielded by
Richelieu, and in an army reorganised and a navy created by him, the
latter spiritually strong from the same sources as had stirred English
thought, with traditions of mercantile supremacy reaching back to the
dawn of European commerce, and proud of a successful contest with the
greatest of European states. Moreover the fresh strife was to be waged
under less favourable conditions than heretofore. Against Spain England
occupied a position of strategical advantage; her fleets concentrated
at any western port could strike at either the mother country or at the
straggling, disconnected colonies of the new world. Against France and
the Low Countries she was between hammer and anvil, her own harbours
continually threatened, her commerce exposed to constant attack, and her
fleets quite insufficient in strength for their new duties. Nor had the
interval of peace been utilised in view of the approaching conflict,
although it cannot be said that warnings were wanting. The royal ships
were fewer in number and of little greater strength than at the death
of Elizabeth; few improvements had been effected in their construction,
while seamanship had greatly deteriorated, owing to the decay of the
fishing industry, the lack of enterprise and long voyages, and the bad
treatment of the men. England was still greatly dependent on Russia for
cordage and other naval necessaries, an administrative weakness of which
Spain had endeavoured to take advantage in 1597 by negotiating with the
rulers of Russia and Poland for a cessation of such exports to England
and Holland,[943] but a weakness which might have formidable results
with enemies planted on the line of communication. The Dutch had taken
the lesson to heart, for, since that year, they had made their own

[Sidenote: England, France, and Holland.]

An examination of the comparative wealth and state revenues of the
three countries would show the relative position of England to be still
less favourable. Although the commerce of this country had increased
during the reign of James, the royal revenue, except that drawn from the
customs, had remained nearly stationary, while the administration was
more extravagant than that of Elizabeth, and the salaries of officials
and the prices of materials and labour were higher, owing to the influx
of the precious metals. The wars of France and the Netherlands had
indirectly given room for expansion to English commercial and speculative
activity; but, in the one case, the reign of Henry IV, and, in the other,
the truce with Spain had enabled both countries to meet their rival
on more equal terms. The same causes operated throughout the reign of
Charles, for it may be held that the place of England as a naval power in
1642 was even relatively lower than in 1625; and this without reference
to the question of good or bad government, for any attempt to maintain a
maritime supremacy comparative to the last years of the sixteenth century
would have entailed national bankruptcy. That strength was a temporary
and, in a sense, artificial condition, attributable not to the actual
power or resources of the country, but to the momentary cessation of the
compression of mercantile rivalry and competition, to the stimulus due
to the increase of circulating coin, and in a lesser degree, to the wave
of moral exaltation then moving the Teutonic races.[945] Indeed, it may
be said in favour of the ship-money writs that but for the fleets they
enabled Charles to send to sea, and so present a semblance of power, the
strife with France and Holland might have been precipitated by nearly
half a century. That they had some such intimidating influence was shown
by the care taken by the French fleets, also cruising, to avoid meeting
them, and the efforts of the French court to evade the question of the
dominion of the narrow seas.

It was fortunate for England that the troubles of the Fronde coincided
with the first Dutch war, for had the strength of France been then
thrown into the balance against fleets and dockyards still organised on
a Tudor scale, which had undergone little expansion during two reigns,
the maritime glory of this country might have had an early end. Even
if Charles had not quarrelled with his parliaments, no grants of theirs
could have kept pace with the rapid growth of French prosperity; in
1609, after paying off an enormous amount of crown debts, the yearly
revenue was 20,000,000 livres,[946] and in 1645 it was £3,560,000.[947]
The ordinary revenue of the English crown in 1610 was £461,000, in 1623
£539,000, in 1635 £618,000,[948] and for the five years from 1637 to 1641
it averaged £895,000 a year, exclusive of ship money.[949] It has been
difficult to obtain any statistics for the United Provinces, but, as the
trade and commercial marine on which they relied were greater than those
of England, it is obvious that a contest with France alone would have
overwhelmingly strained our resources during the reign of Charles I, and
that an alliance of the two states would, in all probability, have been
most disastrous to us. M. Lefèvre Pontalis indeed, in the first chapter
of his ‘Vie de Jean de Witt,’ states exactly that the Dutch merchant
marine comprised 10,000 sail and 168,000 men; but, as he gives no
authority and may be referring to any one of the first seventy-five years
of the seventeenth century, the information in that form is valueless for
purposes of comparison.[950]

[Sidenote: The Cadiz Fleet of 1625]

The accession of Charles led to a more active prosecution of the war with
Spain, signalised by the Cadiz expedition of 1625, and the administrative
incidents of this voyage enable us to measure the decadence of seamanship
and the utter collapse of the official executive during the twenty years
of peace. Efforts had been made to get the fleet away during the summer,
but owing to want of money, stores, and men, it did not sail till 8th
October, too late in the season to do effective service. Disease raged
among the soldiers and sailors assembled at Plymouth, and not a boat
went ashore but some of its men deserted. Of 2000 recruits sent first to
Holland and then to Plymouth only 1500 arrived at the sea-port, of whom
500 were ill;[951] and the few professional sea captains there, who saw
the unpromising material in men and supplies being collected, continually
warned the Council and Buckingham of the results to be expected from
the quality of the men and provisions and the want of clothing.[952]
When the expedition finally sailed, its equipment appears to have been
rather that of a defeated and disheartened fleet returning home after
long service than of a long planned and prepared enterprise. The ships
were leaky and their gear defective; the _St George_ was fitted with
sails which were used by the _Triumph_ in 1588, while her shrouds were
‘the old _Garland’s_ and all starke rattan.’ The _Lion_ was in such bad
condition that she had to be left behind. The cordage supplied was rotten
but ‘fairly tard ovar.’ An officer writes: ‘There was great wrong done
... by pretending the ships were fit to go to sea.’[953] Even before they
left port the casks were so faulty that beer came up in the ships’ pumps,
so that by November they were reduced to beverage of cider ‘that stinks
worse than carrion, and have no other drink.’ A few days after leaving
Plymouth it was already thought necessary to put five men on four men’s
allowance, and by December they were on half rations which ‘stinks so as
no dog of Paris Garden would eat it.’ Men ill fed and ill clothed, sent
across the Bay in early winter, easily broke down, and when they arrived
off Cadiz, after a twenty-one days’ voyage, and before even seeing the
enemy, one-fourth of the men on six of the men-of-war were on the sick
list.[954] The _Convertine_ had only fifteen men in a watch. In November
‘the sickness is so great that there are not seamen enough to keep the
watches,’[955] and a month later there were not ten men fit for duty on
board the _St George_.[956]

Sir Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbledon, the commander-in-chief, was a
soldier of only average capacity accustomed to the methodical Dutch
military discipline, and he was aghast at the ways of his officers, who,
besides being ignorant of their work, shared with their men what plunder
there was. Many of the captains were landsmen who depended on their
subordinates to handle their vessels, and these men, unaccustomed to
large ships and to sailing in comparatively close order, were constantly
in difficulties. If the subordinates were good seamen, they were mostly
contemptuous of their commanders. Sir Thos. Love, captain of the _Anne
Royal_, issued orders to the whole fleet without Cecil’s knowledge;
the master of the _Reformation_ flatly refused to obey his captain’s
commands. It does not seem to have occurred to Cecil or his advisers that
any sailing orders were necessary during the voyage out, and the result
of independent management was that collisions were frequently occurring;
beakheads, galleries, and bowsprits were carried away, and ‘the confusion
was such that some had their starboard when other had their larboard
tacks on board.’[957] Sometimes the ships chased each other, under the
impression that they were enemies, although the differences between the
English and Spanish schools of shipbuilding were almost as great as
those to be observed in a cruiser of the middle of this century and a
merchantman of the same time. Two transports with 300 soldiers on board,
perhaps thinking that they had better prospects of success by themselves
than with Cecil, deserted and turned pirates.[958]

The flagship was the _Anne Royal_, Nottingham’s _Ark Royal_ of 1588, of
which he lovingly said that she was ‘the odd ship of the world for all
conditions.’ She was handy enough for the Elizabethan seamen who built
her and knew how to work a ship at sea, but she did not win favour in
the eyes of Cecil and his officers, who complained that they could not
make her lie to and that she rolled too much for their dainty stomachs.
Nottingham’s opinion of them might have been even more scathing than
theirs of the _Anne Royal_. More justly Cecil expressed his astonishment
at the amount of theft which prevailed. He could not prevent his captains
pillaging the cargoes of prizes, ‘a thing of such custom at sea that
I cannot see how it will be remedied.’ The men he considers the worst
ever seen; ‘they are so out of order and command and so stupefied that
punish them or beat them they will scarce stir.’[959] Sick and starving
it was not their fault if they were dull and inefficient, but neither
Cecil nor those next him in rank were the men to rouse English sailors
to those efforts which, when well led, they can be moved to make under
circumstances of surpassing distress.

Perhaps this Cadiz expedition indicates the low water mark of English
seamanship. There have been many previous and subsequent occasions
when fleets were sent to sea equally ill found and ill provided, but
never, before or since, have we such accounts of utter incapacity in
the mere everyday work of a sailor’s duties. The shameful picture
of that confused mass of ships crowded together helplessly, without
order or plan, colliding with each other, chasing or deserting at
their own will, the officers losing spars and sails from ignorance of
the elementary principles of their art, is the indictment against the
government of James I which had allowed the seamanship of Elizabeth
to die out in this generation. It was the first time that the new
system of the commissionership had been tried by conditions of active
service, and on the side of stores and provisions, for which they were
mainly responsible, the breakdown was as complete as on the side of
navigation. Assuming their honesty, which was probable, but of which
some of their contemporaries hint doubts, they were mostly merchants or
court officials, unacquainted with naval matters, and evidently unable
to adapt the routine peace control to which they were accustomed to the
wider requirements of war time. As even the normal method of inspection
was almost nominal, depending mainly on subordinate officials of little
character, capacity, or responsibility, such stores as were now bought,
under the pressure of immediate necessity, usually proved expensive
and bad. Among the higher officials the impression given by the State
Papers, now and afterwards, is that their chief desire was to get money
sent to them on some pretext—purchase of clothes or arms, payment of
wages, etc.—and that they could then trust to their own ingenuity to
account for its expenditure, possibly for the benefit of the service,
certainly for their own. Not even a nominal system of inspection existed
in the victualling department. The two contractors, Apsley and Darrell,
appear, when the Commissioners had once given their orders, to have sent
what provisions they pleased on board the ships, quite independently of
any supervision or of any way of calling them to account, for supplies
infinitely more deadly to our men than the steel and lead of the

[Sidenote: The Disorganisation:—The Return of the Fleet.]

Naval historians have usually considered the condition of the seaman,
a mere pawn in the game, as of little account compared with graphic
descriptions of sea fights and the tactics of opposing fleets. He had,
however, not only existence but memories, and an examination of his
treatment under the government of Charles I, will systematise scattered
references, and may go far to explain why the Royal Navy ‘went solid’ for
the Parliament in 1642. We have seen that there was little demand for
his services during the reign of James I, though the few men employed
had reason to be mutinous and discontented under their scanty fare and
uncertain wages. With Charles on the throne the seagoing population was
called away from the fisheries and trading voyages to man the royal
fleets, although the attitude of Parliament caused smaller resources
to be available to support their cost. The sailor, being a despised
and inarticulate quantity, soon felt the result. When the ships of the
Cadiz fleet straggled ignominiously home in midwinter, some to Kinsale,
some to Milford, Falmouth, Plymouth, and other western ports, a cry
for help went up from the captains and officials concerned. The _Anne
Royal_ with 130 dead and 160 sick, had scarcely fifteen men in a watch;
a vessel at Milford had not sufficient to man her long boat, and the
dried fish remaining was ‘so corrupt and bad that the very savour thereof
is contagious.’[961] Pennington, who was usually more intelligible than
grammatical, wrote from Plymouth that ‘the greatest part of the seamen
being sick or dead, so that few of them have sufficient sound men to
bring their ships about,’[962] and ‘a miserable infection among them,
and they die very fast.’ St Leger told Conway that it would not be
possible to move the men till they had recovered some strength, ‘they
stink as they go, and the poor rags they have are rotten, and ready to
fall off,’ and that many of the officers were in nearly as bad case as
their men.[963] But the government had expended all its available means
in the preparation, such as it was, of the expedition, and could neither
pay the men off nor provide them with clothes, victuals, or medical aid.
Moreover, the attention of Buckingham was fixed rather on the equipment
of another fleet than on the plight of the men, a condition which he
doubtless regarded as one they should accept naturally, and a detail
unworthy of _la haute politique_ in which he and his master intrepidly
considered themselves such proficients. Pennington had orders to collect
forty sail at Plymouth, but as yet had only four ships.[964] There were
no stores, no surgeons, and no drugs, he reported; and everything on
board the returned vessels would have to be replaced, even the hammocks
being ‘infected and loathsome;’ the mayor of the town would not permit
the sick men to be put ashore, so that contagion spread among the few
healthy remaining. He hints that there is little hope of getting fresh
men to go when they had their probable fate before their eyes. All the
remedy the Council seemed to find was to order the Commissioners to
prepare estimates for fleets of various strengths, while the _Anne Royal_
and four other ships were lying in the Downs with ‘their companies almost
grown desperate,’ the men dying daily and the survivors mutinous. In
March, Pennington, who was an honest, straightforward man and a good
seaman, and who wrote to Buckingham in an independent and even reproving
way, which reflects some credit on both of them in that servile age, says
that he has twenty-nine ships, but neither victuals, clothes, nor men;
that those sent down run away as fast as they are pressed. ‘I wish you
were a spectator a little, to hear their cries and exclamations; here die
eight or ten daily,’ and, if something is not done ‘you will break my
heart.’[965] Under James the men considered that the galleys were better
than the royal service; thus early in the reign of his son they had come
to the conclusion that hanging was preferable.[966]

But Buckingham was quite superior to all such particulars. Complaints
had been made to him that merchantmen were chased into the Downs by
Dunkirkers, while the men-of-war lying there did not even weigh anchor.
He sharply censured Palmer, who was in command, but Palmer’s reply was
a variation of the old legal defence; they had not been chased, and if
they had been he was without victuals or necessaries enabling him to
move.[967] As the captain of one of his ships wrote to Nicholas that
he had no sails, and that he could not obtain their delivery without
cash payment, the second portion of his statement was probably true.
The greatest stress, however, fell upon Pennington at Plymouth. It need
hardly be said that there was not yet a dockyard there; but there was not
even a government storehouse, the lack of which mattered less as there
were no stores, such provisions as were procured being urgently needed
for the daily requirements of the crews. In April Pennington heard that
there was £2000 coming down, but he was already indebted £2500 for which
he had pledged his own credit, and his estate ran risk of foreclosure
unless the mortgage was cleared.[968] He adds: ‘I pray you to consider
what these poor souls have endured for the space of these thirteen or
fourteen months by sickness, badness of victuals, and nakedness.’

Official routine worked, in some respects, smoothly enough. If some of
the officers and men—like those of the _St Peter_, a prize in the royal
service—petitioned Buckingham direct, begging for their discharge,
saying that they could get neither pay nor food, and would have perished
from want if they had not been supplied by their friends, they were
referred to the Commissioners, who suavely remarked: ‘there are many
other ships in the same predicament.’[969] If others applied direct to
the Commissioners, they were told to go to those who hired them, as the
Navy Board would ‘neither meddle nor make’ with them, ‘which answer of
theirs I find strange,’ says Pennington.[970] One day the crew of the
_Swiftsure_ mutinied and went ashore, intending to desert in a body. He
went after them and persuaded them to return, but ‘their cases are so
lamentable that they are not much to be blamed for when men have endured
misery at sea and cannot be relieved at home in their own country, what
a misery of miseries is it!‘[971] Not all the officers of rank were
as kindly as Pennington; Sir John Watts could only see in the clamour
of ragged and starving men ‘insolent misdemeanours.’ At Harwich the
mutineers vowed that they would no longer shiver on board, but would lie
in the best beds in the town, all the elysium the poor fellows aspired
to. It almost seemed as though the naval service was disintegrating
and that such organisation as it had attained, was to be broken up,
since the shipwrights and labourers at the dockyards were also unpaid,
although they did not find it so difficult to obtain credit. Pennington
was now almost despairing, and said that having kept the men together
by promises as long as he could, only immediate payment would prevent
them deserting _en masse_, and ‘it would grieve any man’s heart to hear
their lamentations, to see their wants and nakedness, and not to be able
to help them.’[972] There is a curious resemblance between these words
and those used nearly forty years before by Nottingham in describing
the condition of the men who had saved England from the Armada, and
who were likewise left to starve and die, their work being done. But
any comparison is, within certain limits, in favour of Charles and
Buckingham. Elizabeth had money, but all through her life held that men
were cheaper than gold. In 1626 the sailors were the first victims of
the quarrel between King and Parliament, a struggle in which, and in its
legacy of foreign wars, they bore a heavy share of the burden, and from
which even to-day they have reaped less benefit than any other class of
the community.

The original estimate for the Cadiz fleet was under £300,000, but in
1631 it was calculated that altogether, for the land and sea forces,
it had amounted to half a million,[973] and as the government found it
impossible to procure this or any serviceable sum they resorted to the
expedient of nominally raising wages all round.[974] The seaman’s monthly
pay, ten shillings during the reign of James, had been temporarily raised
to fourteen for the attack on Cadiz; in future it was to be permanently
fifteen shillings, subject to a deduction of sixpence for the Chatham
chest, fourpence for a preacher, and twopence for a surgeon, and as the
scale remained in force till the civil war, and was eventually paid with
comparative punctuality, the full list for all ranks, per month may be
appended here:[975]

                           _£_ _s_ _d_      _£_ _s_ _d_

  Captain[976]              4  14   4   to  14   0   0
  Lieutenant[977]           3   0   0   ”    3  10   0
  Master                    2   6   8   ”    3  13   9
  Pilot                     1  10   0   ”    2   5   0
  Master’s mate             1  10   0   ”    2   5   0
  Boatswain                 1   3   4   ”    2   5   0
  Boatswain’s mate          1   0   8   ”    1   6   3
  Purser                    1   3   4   ”    2   0   0
  Surgeon                   1  10   0
  Surgeon’s mate            1   0   0
  Quartermaster             1   0   0   ”    1  10   0
  mate                      0  17   6   ”    1   5   0
  Yeomen of {jeers     }    1   1   0   ”    1   5   0
            {sheets    }
            {tacks     }
            {halliards }
  Carpenter                 1   1   0   ”    1  17   6
  Carpenter’s mate          0  18   8   ”    1   5   0
  Corporal[978]             0  18   8   ”    1  10   4
  Gunner                    1   3   4   ”    2   0   0
  Gunner’s mate             0  18   8   ”    1   2   6
  Cook                      1   0   0   ”    1   5   0
  Master Trumpeter          1   5   0   ”    1   8   0
  Other trumpeters          1   3   4
  Drummer                   1   0   0
  Fifer                     1   0   0
  Armourer                  1   1   0
  Gunmaker                  1   1   0
  Seaman                    0  15   0
  Gromet                    0  11   3
  Boy                       0   7   6

The purpose in appointing lieutenants was

    ‘to breed young gentlemen for the sea service.... The reason
    why there are not now so many able sea-captains as there is
    use of is because there hath not been formerly allowance for
    lieutenants, whereby gentlemen of worth and quality might be
    encouraged to go to sea. And if peace had held a little longer
    the old sea captains would have been worn out, as that the
    state must have relied wholly on mechanick men that have been
    bred up from swabbers, and ... to make many of them would cause
    sea service in time to be despised by gentlemen of worth, who
    will refuse to serve at sea under such captains.’[979]

According to this view the original naval lieutenant was equivalent to
the modern midshipman, in which case his pay seems very high, unless
it is to be explained by the tendency to favour social position. The
midshipman, introduced somewhat later, was at first only an able
seaman with special duties. The foregoing extract is in itself a
vivid illustration of the reasons for the loathing, yearly growing
in intensity, the seamen, or ‘mechanick men,’ had for their courtier

[Sidenote: The Disorganisation:—Poverty of the Crown.]

As at the time the crown was making these liberal promises it had not
sufficient money to fit out two ships required for special service on
the Barbary coast, and as vessels were being kept in nominal employment
because even a few hundred pounds could not be raised wherewith to pay
off their crews, it is not surprising that the men showed no renewed
eagerness to die lingeringly for their country, and that the proclamation
of April needed a corollary in the shape of another threatening deserters
with the penalty of death. This was issued on 18th June, and a week
later the crew of the _Lion_ at Portsmouth, 400 or 500 strong, left the
ship with the intention of marching up to London. The officers read the
last proclamation to them and promised to write about their grievances;
but the men, quite unappalled, replied that ‘their wives and children
were starving and they perishing on board.’[980] Wives and children were
neglected factors in the dynastic combinations of Charles and Buckingham,
and husbands and fathers might consider themselves amply rewarded if
their efforts enabled the King to restore the Palatinate to his nephew.
The Commissioners complained despondingly that they were unable to
progress with the new fleet while the back wages were unpaid, and ‘the
continual clamour ... doth much distract and discourage us.’[981] The
_Swiftsure_ at Portsmouth had only 150 instead of 250 men, of whom 50
were raw boys, and all the other ships there were but half manned.
Palmer, commanding in the Downs, had never suffered such extremity even
in war time, he said, and his men flatly refused to work unless they were
fed, a really justifiable form of strike. At this date there were six
men-of-war and ten armed merchantmen at Portsmouth, but, says Gyffard,
the men ‘run away as fast as they are sent ... all things so out of order
as that I cannot see almost any possibility for the whole fleet to go to
sea in a long time.’[982] The intensity of Captain Gyffard’s feelings
somewhat obscured his clearness of expression.

The lessons of the previous year appear to have taught nothing; the
victuallers were still sending in provisions of the old bad quality,
and the beef sent to Portsmouth weighed only 2 lbs. the piece, instead
of the 4 lbs. for which the crown was charged. The Chatham shipwrights
threatened to cease work unless they were paid, and Pennington, now
at Portsmouth, wrote that after all the preparations, extending over
some months, there were no hammocks and not even cans or platters to
eat and drink from. All these requests and complaints poured in nearly
daily on Buckingham who should have been an organising genius to deal
with the complex disorder, instead of merely a man of some talent and
much optimism, also troubled by a refractory Parliament, perverse
continental powers scornful of his ingenuous diplomacy, and the varied
responsibilities of all the other departments of the government. In
September the Commissioners pointed out to him that a debt of £4000 a
month was being incurred for want of £14,000 to pay off the men, who were
now reduced to stealing their daily food; those in the river were so
disorderly that the Board could not meet without danger, as the sailors
threatened to break the doors down on them, and the shipwrights from
Chatham had besieged them for twenty days.[983]

By this time, however, as the result of requiring the coast towns to
provide ships, forced loans, and other measures, Willoughby was at sea
with a fleet, but one which was a third weaker in strength than had been
intended. Before reaching Falmouth he found twenty tuns of ‘stinking
beer’ on his own ship, and the rest of the squadron was as ill off. The
men were ‘poor and mean’ physically, and deficient in number, the stores
generally bad and insufficient, there being only enough provisions to
go to the Straits of Gibraltar and back again, and the excursion being
useless, because too late in the year, when all the enemies’ fleets had
returned home.[984] The complaint of want of men was met by an order that
he should take on board 500 soldiers to help in working the ships; in two
vessels intended for him two-thirds of the men had run away, being too
glad to escape at the cost of forfeiting five months’ wages due to them,
and the Commissioners proposed to fill their places ‘by forcing men to
work with threatenings, having no money to pay them.’[985] The artless
belief of their kind in the efficacy of threats once more placed them in
a foolish position. The crew of the _Happy Entrance_ refused to sail,
saying that they would rather be hanged ashore than starve at sea,[986]
but even the relentless egotism of Charles was not equal to hanging them.

It may be said for the Commissioners that their situation was not
a happy one, seeing that they were continually ordered to perform
impossibilities. When they were told to provide fresh ships and men, they
retorted that they were already keeping twelve vessels in pay for want of
money to discharge the crews, the wages bill alone running at the rate
of £1782 a month.[987] Other men sent away with tickets, which could not
be paid when presented, congregated round their house whenever they met
for business, shouting and threatening and causing them actual personal
fear. There was £20,000 owing to the victuallers, and they, in December,
refused any further supplies until they had some money, the result
being that, at Portsmouth, ‘the common seamen grew insolent for want of
victuals,’ wrote Sir John Watts, who, in his own person, only suffered
from the insolence of a well-lined belly. Sir Allen Apsley, the chief
victualling contractor, justified himself to the council and pointed out
the serious consequences to be feared:[988]

    ‘By the late mutinous carriage of those few sailors of but
    one of H.M. ships the _Reformation_, the humours of the rest
    of the fleet may be conjectured.... What disorder, then, may
    be feared if twenty times that number, having no promise of
    speedy payment, no victuals, fresh or salt, nor ground for
    the officers to persuade or control—for alas! say they, when
    men have no money nor clothes to wear (much less to pawn), nor
    victuals to eat, what would you have them do? Starve? This is
    likely to be the condition of the ships now in the Downs and
    those at Portsmouth, having not two days’ victuals if equally
    divided ... not having any victuals at all but from hand to
    mouth upon the credit of my deputies who are able to trust no
    longer, so as this great disorder may be seen bearing very near
    even to the point of extremity.’

About 2200 men were in this plight, and matters must indeed have been bad
when it was no longer to the Victualler’s profit to supply the carrion
beef and fetid beer useless for any other purpose than to feed seamen.
Punishment and promises were becoming equally useless. An officer at
Portsmouth had to confess that punishing his men only made them more
rebellious, and they revenged themselves by cutting his ship’s cable, in
hopes that she might drift ashore; like Apsley, he remarked that they
were only victualled from hand to mouth, but adds, ‘with refuse and old
stuff.’[989] Charles was going to recover the Palatinate by means of
his fleet, but Pennington’s opinion of the armed merchantmen which made
up the bulk of the royal force was not high. He considered that two
men-of-war could beat the fifteen he had with him, as their ordnance was
mostly useless and they had not ammunition for more than a two hours’
fight.[990] Nor, from incidental references, can the discipline on these
auxiliary ships have been such as to promise success. In 1625 they had
to be forced under fire at Cadiz by threats; in 1628, at Rochelle, they
fired vigorously, but well out of any useful or hazardous range. In this
year the captain of one of them killed, injured, and maltreated his men,
while he and five gentlemen volunteers consumed sixteen men’s allowance
of food every day; and in January 1627, when some of them lying in Stokes
Bay were ordered westward, they mutinied and would only sail for the

[Sidenote: The Disorganisation:—The Remedies.]

In despair the Council resorted to the expedient of a special
commission[991] to inquire into the state of the Navy, nineteen in number
and including eight seamen, perhaps in the hope of gaining time, but
probably from sheer prescription of routine. While the naval organisation
was crumbling, they took careful measurements of the dimensions of
each ship, and anxiously examined whether Burrell had used his own or
government barges for the conveyance of stores. When they inquired at
what cost ships were built, the answer came in a petition from the
Chatham shipwrights that they had been twelve months,

    ‘without one penny pay, neither having any allowance for meat
    or drink, by which many of them having pawned all they can,
    others turned out of doors for non-payment of rent, which with
    the cries of their wives and children for food and necessaries
    doth utterly dishearten them.’[992]

John Wells, storekeeper to the Navy, had 7½ years’ pay owing to him, and
it may be inferred that, unless he was more honest than his fellows,
the crown, if it did not pay him directly, had to do so indirectly. The
Treasurer of the Navy, like the Victualler, had refused to make any more
advances on his own credit, but when the Chatham men marched up to London
in a body, he promised to settle their claims, a promise which was not
fulfilled. Then the special commissioners had to deal with the crews of
the _Lion_, _Vanguard_, and _Reformation_. The men of the _Vanguard_
told them that they were in want of food, clothing, firing, and lodging,
‘being forced to lie on the cold decks.’[993] The sailors, like the
shipwrights, came to London in the hope of obtaining some relief, but
with even less success. Their ragged misery was an outrage on the curled
and scented decorum of the court, and Charles perhaps feared that they
might not confine themselves to mere vociferation, and, heroic as he
looks on canvas, had no liking for the part of a Richard Plantagenet in
face of a threatening mob. He confined himself to ordering the Lord Mayor
to guard the gates and prevent them coming near the court, and Apsley, in
his other capacity as lieutenant of the Tower, was directed to ‘repress
the insolencies of mariners’ by ‘shot or other offensive ways.’[994]
Probably death from Apsley’s ‘shot’ was, even if as certain, a less
painful fate than that from his victuals. As for Charles, we may suppose
that the lesson in kingly honour, justice, and responsibility was not
thrown away on those of his seamen who lived till 1642.

Notwithstanding the financial straits of the government large schemes
relating to the increase of the number of ships and the construction of
new docks were being continually planned. In naval as in other affairs
Buckingham’s vision was fixed on the future, careless of the present.
Such money and supplies as were obtained did not go far towards relieving
the necessities of the sailors. In May, Mervyn found that his own crew
came unpleasantly ‘’twixt the wind and his nobility,’ for, ‘by reason
of want of clothing, they are become so loathsome and so nastily sick
as to be not only unfit to labour but to live.’[995] Among the State
Papers, undated but assigned to this year, occurs the first instance of a
round robin yet noticed; the men signing it refuse to weigh anchor until

[Sidenote: The Disorganisation:—Its Continuance.]

Despite all these drawbacks Buckingham had contrived to get together the
Rhé fleet of 1627, by various means, although the pecuniary receipts were
not nearly adequate to the requirements. Some 3800 seamen were employed,
and when they came home were worse off than ever, and the monotonous
sequence of complaints was continued with greater intensity. The crew
of the _Assurance_ deserted in a body; the sailors at Plymouth were
stealing the soldiers’ arms and selling them to obtain bread,[997] and
wages were running on at the rate of £5000 a month, because there was no
money wherewith to pay off the men.[998] By December 500 sailors of the
returned fleet had died at Plymouth, and both there and at Portsmouth the
townspeople refused to have the sick men billeted ashore, for at Plymouth
they professed to have never shaken off the infectious fever spread by
the men of the Cadiz fleet. If we had any statistics at all of the death
and disease on board the fleets of 1625-8, the figures would probably
be ghastly in the terrible mental and physical suffering they would
represent. In this century the ‘wailing-place’ on the quays of Amsterdam,
where the friends and relatives of Dutch sailors bid them farewell, was
well known, but in another sense, and too often for a longer farewell,
every royal ship was a wailing-place for English wives and mothers.
Nicholas, as Buckingham’s secretary, sometimes had franker communications
than were sent to his master. Mervyn wrote to him that the king would
shortly have more ships than men, there being commonly twenty or thirty
fresh cases of sickness every day, and

    ‘the more than miserable condition of the men, who have neither
    shoes, stockings, nor rags to cover their nakedness ... all
    the ships are so infectious that I fear if we hold the sea one
    month we shall not bring men enough home to moor the ships.
    You may think I make it worse, but I vow to God that I cannot
    deliver it in words.... The poor men bear all as patiently
    as they can.... I much wonder that so little care be taken
    to preserve men that are so hardly bred. I have used my best
    cunning to make the _Vanguard_ wholesome. I have caused her
    to be washed all over, fore and aft, every second day; to be
    perfumed with tar burnt and frankincense; to be aired ’twixt
    decks with pans of charcoal; to be twice a week washed with
    vinegar.... Yet if to-day we get together 200 men within four
    days afterwards we have not one hundred.’[999]

Watts, at Portsmouth, who, in the intervals of solicitation of money for
himself and preferment for his son, wrote abusively of men who asked
at least food and clothing in midwinter, was a man after Charles’s
own heart, for he also had arranged with the governor of the town to
use ‘shot,’ if necessary, when the seamen came showing their tattered
clothes and making ‘scandalous speeches.’[1000] Mervyn, in the letter to
Nicholas quoted above, admits that he has overdrawn his pay, but asks
for another advance, and doubtless officers who had friends at court,
or who could afford to bribe, had little difficulty in obtaining their
salaries. Nicholas, for instance, who subsequently developed into a
knight and secretary of state, had an itching palm on occasion. On the
other hand, even in later years, when the pressure was not so great,
if the paymaster or pursers advanced any portion of the wages already
due to the mere sailor, a discount of 20 per cent. was deducted for the
favour. The merchant was also competing with the royal service, owners
paying 30s a month; therefore the need for men caused boys and weakly
adults to be pressed, and during the winter the mortality among them was
great.[1001] In January 1628 Mervyn reported from Plymouth that there
were no hammocks, and

    ‘the men lodge on the bare decks ... their condition miserable
    beyond relation; many are so naked and exposed to the weather
    in doing their duties that their toes and feet miserably
    rot and fall away piecemeal, being mortified with extreme

A few days later he said that things were worse than ever, that the
vessels were full of sick men, they being refused ashore.[1003]
Notwithstanding the refusal to have them ashore their diseases spread so
rapidly on land that both Plymouth and Portsmouth were ‘like to perish.’

A striking feature in this wretched story is the want of sympathy shown
by nearly all the officials, high or low. These extracts are taken
principally from the letters of those officers who felt for their men and
endeavoured to obtain some alleviation of their distress, but many of
the despatches contain only dry formal details or, as in the instances
of Watts and Sir James Bagg—Eliot’s defamer and, from his absorptive
capacity in relation to government money, known as the Bottomless
Bagg—are filled with cowardly gibes and threats directed at men who could
not obtain even their daily bread from the crown. It has long been held a
point of honour with officers to share the dangers and hardships of those
under their command, but in those years the superiors to whom the men
looked for guidance and support left them to suffer alone, ‘the infection
so strong that few of the captains or officers durst lie on board.’[1004]
The sailors in the river were somewhat better off. Perhaps their
proximity to the court, and potentialities of active protest, stirred the
most sensitive portion of Charles’s conscience, and arrangements were
made to billet them on the riverside parishes, at the rate of 3s 6d a
man per week, till money could be provided to pay them. This was a plan
which relieved the crown at the expense of the householder; nor does it
appear to have been very successful, since a proclamation was issued on
17th February to repress the disorderliness of such billeted mariners and
warning them not to presume to address the Commissioners. In March the
pressed men at Plymouth armed themselves, seized the Guildhall, and there
prepared to stand a siege.[1005] The issue is not stated, but although
mutinies were continually happening they usually had little result, for
if the men got away from the ship or town the endeavour to reach their
homes would have been almost hopeless. They were only frantic outbursts
of desperation by isolated bodies of a class which has always lacked the
gift of facile expression, and has never learnt to combine. An official
describes plainly the causes of these mutinies, and his paper is worth
quoting in full:[1006]

    ‘1st. They say they are used like dogs, forced to keep aboard
    without being suffered to come ashore to refresh themselves.
    2nd. That they have not means to put clothes on their backs to
    defend themselves from cold or to keep them in health, much
    less to relieve their poor wives and children. 3rd. That when
    they happen to fall sick they have not any allowance of fresh
    victuals to comfort them, or medicines to help recover them.
    4th. That some of their sick fellows being put ashore in houses
    erected for them are suffered to perish for want of being
    looked unto, their toes and feet rotting from their bodies, and
    so smelling that none are able to come into the room where they
    are. 5th. That some provisions put aboard them is neither fit
    nor wholesome for men to live on. 6th. That therefore they had
    as lief be hanged as dealt with as they are.’

Gorges suggests that some of these complaints are frivolous and some
untrue, and recommends the remedy, dear to the official soul, of a
commission. The commission of 1626 had hardly ceased sitting, and how far
the complaints were frivolous and untrue, can be judged by the evidence
brought forward here.

[Sidenote: Murder of Buckingham.]

In April, 1628, Denbigh sailed to relieve Rochelle, and returned without
having effected his purpose. Preparations then went on apace for the
great fleet Buckingham proposed to command himself in August. The
difficulty in obtaining provisions, and their quality, may be inferred
from a petition of Sir Allen Apsley’s addressed directly to the king. He
says that he has sold and mortgaged all his property, and that he and
his friends had pledged their credit to the extent of £100,000.[1007]
These were unpromising conditions under which to engage to supply a fleet
which was intended to be as large as that of 1625, and as the crown could
not suddenly replace the mechanism organised by the Victualler and his
deputies, it was practically dependent on his efforts. It was probably
due to the poverty of Sir Allen Apsley that in this fleet water was,
for the first time, taken from a home port as what may be called a
primary store.[1008] Hitherto, although water had been taken for cooking
purposes, beer, as has been shown, had always been the recognised drink
on ship board. In June the ships were being collected at Portsmouth,
but with the usual troubles. There were two mutinies. ‘God be thanked,
they are quieted,’ writes Coke, but the men ‘have no shift of clothes.
Some have no shirts, and others but one for the whole year.’ There were
few surgeons, and those few ‘haunt the taverns every day.’[1009] In
one party of 150 pressed men sent down in July there were to be found
saddlers, ploughmen, and other mechanics; some were old and weak and the
majority useless. Pettifogging tricks were employed to trap the men.
In one instance Buckingham ordered that certain vessels were not to be
paid off till the _Swiftsure_ and other ships were ready, and that then
Peter White was to be present to at once press the crews for further
service.[1010] Fire ships were required, but Coke found that they could
not be had without £350 in cash, as no one would trust the Crown.[1011]

Buckingham himself did not intend to share the hardships of the beings
of coarser clay under his command. A transport was fitted to serve as
a kitchen and store ship for him, and the bill for his supplies came
to £1056, 4s. It included such items as cards and dice, £2; wine,
etc., £164; eight bullocks and a cow, £59; eighty sheep, £60; fifteen
goats, £10; ten young porklings, £5; two sows with pig, £3; 980 head
of poultry, £63, 1s.; 2000 eggs, £2, 10s; and pickled oysters, lemons,
damask tapestry, and turkey carpets.[1012] Then came Felton’s knife, and
we may hope that some of the sailors made an unwonted feast on the more
perishable articles of this liberal collection. In any case, Buckingham’s
murder was an unmixed good for them, although had he spared to the men
some of that energy and care he gave, at least with good intention, to
the improvement of the _matériel_ of the navy, the verdict might have
been different. But in his neglect of their rights or welfare he was
not below the standard of his age, in which the feudal feeling remained
without its sense of reciprocal obligation, and in which only a very few
were impelled by conscience to more than the defence of their own rights.

[Sidenote: Its Results.]

One result of the shuffling of the political pack which followed
Buckingham’s death was the appointment of Weston as Lord Treasurer.
Weston, Mr Gardiner tells us, was neither honest, nor amiable, nor
popular, but he was at any rate determined to re-introduce some order
into the finances, and the sailors were among the first to reap the
benefit. When the Rochelle fleet, which had sailed under Lindsey,
returned, the men were as surprised as they were delighted to find
that they were to be paid. ‘The seamen are much joyed with the Lord
Treasurer’s care to pay them so suddenly.’[1013] All the same the civic
authorities of Plymouth desired that the ships should be paid off
somewhere else. They wrote to the Council that when the Cadiz expedition
came back, 1600 of the townspeople died of diseases contracted from the
soldiers and sailors, that many also perished after the return of the Rhé
fleet, and that they heard that this Rochelle one was also very sickly,
and if so, ‘it will utterly disable this place.’[1014] Either there was
a relaxation of Weston’s alacrity in paying, or mutinous habits had
become too natural to be suddenly discarded, as in November the crews of
three of the largest of the men-of-war were robbing openly, for want of
victuals, they said. Nevertheless we do not hear of many difficulties in
connexion with the Rochelle fleet, and the work of payment may be assumed
to have progressed with unexpected smoothness.

[Sidenote: After Buckingham.]

With the cessation of ambitious enterprises the demand for the services
of the maritime population became less, although the smaller number of
men employed were treated no better than when the government had the
excuse, such as it was, of large expenditure. In 1629, Mervyn, commanding
in the narrow seas, wrote to the Lords of Admiralty: ‘Foul winter
weather, naked bodies, and empty bellies make the men voice the King’s
service worse than a galley slavery.’[1015] It should be remarked that
although hammocks were provided for over-sea service in the proportion of
one for every two men, they were not yet furnished to ships stationed in
home waters, a want which must have affected the health and contentment
of the seamen even when they were properly fed. Again, Mervyn protests:—

    ‘I have written the state of six ships here in the Downs, two
    of which, the _Dreadnought_ and 3rd whelp, have neither meat
    nor drink. The 10th whelp hath drunk water these three days.
    The shore affords soldiers relief or hope, the sea neither.
    Now with what confidence can punishment be inflicted on men
    who mutiny in these wants?... These neglects be the cause that
    mariners fly to the service of foreign nations to avoid his
    majesty’s.... His majesty will lose the honour of his seas,
    the love and loyalty of his sailors, and his royal navy will

They were prophetic words, and as another illustration of the methods
which were to secure the sailors’ love and loyalty we find in October,
among the notes of business to be considered by the Lords of the
Admiralty, ‘poor men’s petitions presented above six months, and never
read.’ Mutiny had become merely a form of protest, and captains looked
forward to it as only a sign of dissatisfaction. One of them writes
to Nicholas that his crew are in ‘an uproar’ about their offensive
beer, and that if he finds no fresh supply at Plymouth he is sure of a
mutiny;[1017] another commander was forced to pawn his spare sails and
anchors to buy food for his men.[1018] Apsley died in 1630, leaving
his affairs deeply involved, the crown still owing him large sums. His
coadjutor, and then sole successor, Sir Sampson Darell, did not fare
better at the hands of the government, although his requirements were
so much less. In June 1632 he informed Nicholas that he would be unable
to continue victualling unless he was paid, having raised all the money
he could on his own estate.[1019] If he received anything on account it
was evidently not enough to insure permanent improvement, since a year
later we hear that the cruisers are ‘tied by the teeth’ in the Downs for
want of provisions.[1020] During these years the debts incurred from the
early expeditions of the reign were being slowly discharged, and the
scantiness of the available resources for fresh efforts is shown by the
way Pennington complains that six or seven weeks of preparation were
needed to collect three months’ victuals for four ships.[1021]

From the absence of references in the State Papers to the non-payment
of wages it would seem as though they were now paid with comparative
regularity, but the expressions of disgust at the quality of the
provisions are as continuous and vigorous as before. Besides methods of
cheating in the quantities served out, for which the victuallers and
pursers were answerable, ‘the brewers’—of course with the connivance of
the victuallers—‘have gotten the art to sophisticate beer with broom
instead of hops, and ashes instead of malt, and (to make it look the
more lively) to pickle it with salt water, so that while it is new it
shall seem to be worthy of praise, but in one month wax worse than
stinking water.’[1022] The same writer says that the English were the
unhealthiest of all ships, in consequence of the practical application
of the proverb that ‘nothing will poison a sailor.’ Then he laments that
English mariners, formerly renowned for patience and endurance, were now
physically weak, impatient, and mutinous—and blames the sailor for the

[Sidenote: The Ship-money Fleets.]

The first systematic issue of ship-money writs was in October 1634, and
in the summer of 1635, the resulting fleet was at sea. As usual the
provisions were an unfailing source of indignation, and Lindsey, who was
in command, told the Lords Commissioners that much of the beef was so
tainted that when it was moved ‘the scent all over the ship is enough
to breed contagion.’ The crews were made up with watermen and landsmen
ignorant of their work, and many were weak and sickly; three men-of-war
and several of the hired merchantmen were quite disabled by the sickness
on board them.[1023] A special matter of complaint was the large number
of volunteers and their servants who went for a harmless summer cruise
on Lindsey’s ships. That they were useless and in the way was of less
importance than that officers were aggrieved by finding their cabins
taken from them to house these people in comfort, and that the seamen
were irritated by seeing the idlers given the first choice of food,
having to wait for their own till the visitors were served.[1024] If the
greater part of the beef was fetid, and the officers and volunteers had
right of selection, what could have been left for the men?

Apparently the sailors had as little liking as ever for the royal
service, since, in 1636, the old difficulties were renewed in obtaining
seamen for the second ship-money fleet under Northumberland. In April
the men were said to be continually running away; in June out of 250 men
turned over from the _Anne Royal_ to the _St Andrew_ 220 deserted.[1025]
When Northumberland returned in the autumn, typhus was rife in his
squadron, and Mervyn reported that the men ‘in this weather fall sick
for want of clothing, most of them barefoot and scarcely rags to hide
their skins.’[1026] Northumberland, not content with merely commanding in
state, attacked the shortcomings of the naval administration furiously
when he came ashore. Many of his strictures relate to subjects to be
noticed, subsequently, but concerning the men he said that they were
incapable both bodily and in their knowledge of seamanship; that out of
260 men in the _James_ not more than twenty could steer, that in the
_Unicorn_ there was hardly a seaman besides the officers, that nearly
one-third of the _Entrance’s_ crew had never been to sea, and that of
150 men in the last-named ship only twelve could take the helm.[1027]
The provisions, he said, were bad and meagre, and the men defrauded of a
fourth or fifth of their allowance. Moreover sick men must either be kept
on board ‘or turned ashore in danger of starving, not to be received into
any house, so as some have been seen to die upon the strand for lack of

Such was the tender care monarchy by divine right, with its paraphernalia
of Commissioners and Lords of the Admiralty, vouchsafed to that class
of its subjects which happened to be voiceless and helpless. But if the
coming struggle between divine right and capitalist right was to render
the sailor’s assistance valuable, and temporarily improve his position,
the experience of succeeding generations was to show that to him it made
little difference whether life and health were sacrificed under the
stately forms of monarchical procedure, or by the more obviously sordid
processes of mercantile traffic. There was no ‘glorious revolution’ for
men whose welfare depended on a legislature influenced by merchants
and shipowners, and ignoble with the soulless ethics of the eighteenth

[Sidenote: Victualling.]

According to official documents the victualler, Sir Sampson Darell,
must have died not long after Apsley, as his accounts for five years
are passed by his executrix.[1028] The absence of professional control
did not probably cause any extra mismanagement; at any rate no murmurs
are heard on that score. It is impossible to say now whether Apsley
was a victim, or only received his deserts, in having claims for
£69,436 in 1626 and £94,985 in 1627 rejected because his books were
signed by only three instead of four Commissioners and on account of
insufficient particulars. As they were not finally refused until 1637
his representatives were allowed plenty of time to prove their case. In
February 1637 John Crane, ‘chief clerk of our kitchen,’ was made Surveyor
of marine victuals, his appointment dating from 20th Nov. 1635. The
allowance of drink and solid food was the same as in the last century,
and sugar, rice, and oatmeal were medical luxuries theoretically provided
for sick men in the 1636 fleet, on the equipment of which Northumberland
expressed such trenchant criticisms. Crane undertook the victualling at
the rate of eightpence halfpenny a man per day at sea, and sevenpence
halfpenny in harbour, but in March 1638 he gave the necessary year’s
notice to terminate his contract.[1029] He found that during 1636 and
1637 he had lost a penny three farthings a month on each man, and owing
to the general rise in prices, anticipated a further loss of as much as
3s 4¾d a head, per month, in 1638. He entreated an immediate release from
his bargain, or he would be ruined, and he had thirteen children. In all
these memorials one invariably finds that the petitioner possesses an
enormous family.

In 1637 the Earl of Northumberland was again at sea in what Sir Thomas
Roe expected would be ‘one turn to the west in an honourable procession,’
and the Earl himself wrote, ‘No man was ever more desirous of a charge
than I am to be quit of mine.’[1030] He was, however, the first competent
admiral among the nobility that Charles had been able to find. From
the absence of any accounts of mutiny and disorder we may take it
that either the men were better treated this year or that the superior
officers were tired of complaining. In 1638 Northumberland was ill, and
all the work the ship-money fleet did was to convoy two powder-laden
vessels through the ships blockading Dunkirk.[1031]

[Sidenote: Discipline.]

We have seen that men like Pennington and Mervyn had not the heart to
punish for insubordination under the circumstances of privation which
made their crews seditious and disobedient, and the normal discipline
on a man-of-war was, in all likelihood, sufficiently lax. Some of the
regulations, however, if they were carried out, were strict enough,
although they will compare favourably with the bloodthirsty articles
of war of the succeeding century, and they show some difference from
previous customs. Prayer was said twice daily, before dinner and after
the psalm sung at setting the evening watch, and any one absent was
liable to twenty-four hours in irons. Swearing was punished by three
knocks on the forehead with a boatswain’s whistle, and smoking anywhere
but on the upper deck, ‘and that sparingly,’ by the bilboes. The thief
was tied up to the capstan, ‘and every man in the ship shall give him
five lashes with a three-stringed whip on his bare back.’ This is, I
think, the first mention of any form of cat. The habitual thief was,
after flogging, dragged ashore astern of a boat and ignominiously
dismissed with the loss of his wages. For brawling and fighting the
offender was ducked three times from the yardarm, and similarly towed
ashore and discharged; while for striking an officer he was to be tried
for his life by twelve men, but whether shipmates or civilians is not
said.[1032] If a man slept on watch three buckets of water were to be
poured upon his head and into his sleeves, and any one except ‘gentlemen
or officers’ playing cards or dice incurred four hours of manacles. It is
suggestive to read that ‘no man persume to strike in the ship but such
officers as are authorised.’[1033]

There was no specially prepared fleet in 1639, but in October Pennington
was in command of a few ships in the Downs, watching the opposed Dutch
and Spanish fleets also lying there. Both he and Northumberland had
pressed the King, but in vain, for instructions as to his course of
action in certain contingencies. At last directions were given him that
in the event of fighting between them he was to assist the side which
appeared to be gaining the day, a manner of procedure which Charles
doubtless thought was dexterous diplomacy, but which most students of
the international history of his time will consider as ignominious as
it was futile. The Dutch attacked the Spaniards as they were taking in
500 barrels of gunpowder, supplied with the connivance of the English
government[1034]—again Charles’s trading instincts were too strong—drove
a score of their vessels ashore, and scattered the remainder.
Unfortunately Pennington, instead of also attacking the Spaniards, fired
into the Dutch, who did not reply.[1035]

[Sidenote: The Seamen and the Civil War.]

During 1640 and 1641 Charles was fully occupied with his Scotch and
parliamentary difficulties, and naval business was again falling into
disorder. In July 1641 Northumberland tells Pennington that he does
not see how the insubordination the latter reports is to be remedied,
as there is no money with which to pay wages.[1036] In October Sir
William Russell, one of the Treasurers of the Navy, had been a long
time out of town, and the other, Sir Henry Vane (the younger), ‘seeing
there is no money in the office, never comes near us.’ Perhaps it was
not altogether displeasing to the parliamentary leaders that, in view
of the arbitrament towards which King and Parliament were tending, the
seamen should be rendered discontented and rebellious. In January 1642,
2000 sailors offered their services and protection to Parliament, and
when, in July, the King appointed Pennington, and Parliament Warwick, to
the command of the fleet, the men in the Downs, apparently without any
hesitation, followed Warwick, although the former must have had with them
the influence of a trusted and favourite officer. In several instances
the crews of ships on outlying stations forced their captains to submit,
or put their royalist officers ashore and themselves took charge. It is
difficult to speak with absolute certainty, but an examination of the
data available leads to the conclusion that only one small vessel, the
_Providence_, adhered to the royal cause.

We need not conclude that this unanimity implied any deep feeling about
the general misgovernment of Charles or the important constitutional
questions at issue. The sailor, contrary to the impression apparently
prevailing among feminine novelists, is usually an extremely
matter-of-fact individual, with the greater portion of his attention
fixed on the subjects of his pay and food. All he could associate with
the crown were memories of starvation and beggary, of putrid victuals
fraught with disease, and wages delayed, in payment of which, when he
at last received them, he found a large proportion stick to the hands
of minor officials. The Parliament paid him liberally and punctually,
and he, on his side, served it honestly and well. For him was not
necessary—perhaps he was not capable of feeling—the curious psychical
exaltation of the ‘New Model,’ but in a steady, unimaginative way,
without much enthusiasm but without a sign of hesitation, he kept his
faith and did more to destroy royalist hopes than historians, with
few exceptions, have supposed. Under the administration of the Navy
Committee there were no recurrences of the confusion and unruliness which
had before existed, and until the Rainsborow mutiny of 1648, speedily
repented, the seamen showed no symptom, for six years, of discontent or
of regret for the part they had chosen.

[Sidenote: Parliament and the Seamen.]

Without feeling an indignation which would have been in advance of
their age at the hardships and dishonesty of which the sailor had been
the victim, the position of the parliamentary chiefs compelled them to
treat him with a discreet consideration. He was fed decently; wages
were raised to nineteen shillings a month, and were given in full
from the date of his joining his ship, instead of from that of its
sailing; and an attempt was made to raise a sufficient number of men
without impressment, the officers responsible being only directed ‘to
use their best persuasion.’[1037] Seamen, however, had been too long
accustomed to compulsion to enter into the principles of voluntaryism,
and an act allowing pressing and punishing contumacy with three
months’ imprisonment, must have been received by them as something
they could understand.[1038] The utter absence of difficulties or
remonstrances during the years of the civil war shows how smoothly the
naval administration worked, and Parliament appeared to place even more
reliance on the sailors than on their officers, since on 18th Oct. 1644,
Warwick issued a proclamation ordering that ‘none shall obey the commands
of their superior officers ... if the same commands be tending towards
disloyalty towards the Parliament.’ This was a dangerous power to place
in the hands of the men, unless it was felt that their discipline and
fidelity could be depended upon.

The late Mrs Everett Green speaks of ‘the inherent loyalty of the sailors
to their King,’[1039] making this remark in connection with, and as
explanatory of, the difficulty experienced by the Council of State in
obtaining men in 1653. I must confess that, notwithstanding the weight
justly attaching to her opinions, I am quite unable to see during these
years any sign of this loyalty. Under the government of Charles they had
been compelled to serve by force, and had lost no opportunity of venting
their anger and discontent; when the occasion came they eagerly and
unanimously fought against the sovereign to whom they were supposed to be
inherently loyal, without one instance of desertion or dissatisfaction
of sufficient mark to be noticed in the State Papers. When a mutiny
did at last occur it was due to circumstances connected not with the
rights of the King, but with the narrower personal jealousies of naval
command; it happened when the fighting was done, and, in all probability,
would not have happened at all under the stress of conflict. During the
Commonwealth they continued to serve the state under conditions of great
strain and trial, which might well have tried men of greater foresight
and self-control than seamen, without, with perhaps one exception, more
than slight and unimportant outbursts of insubordination of a character
which, allowing for the looser discipline of that time, occur to-day
in all large standing forces. Whatever, at any time, their momentary
irritation against the Parliament, it never took the form of loyalty
to Charles II. It may be suggested that a more likely explanation of
the difficulties of 1653 lies in the fact that the estimates required
16,000 men against the 3000 or 4000 sufficient for the fleets of Charles
I.[1040] At the most liberal computation the returns of 1628,[1041] do
not give, allowing for omissions, more than 18,000 men available for the
royal and merchant marine; at least double that number would have been
necessary to supply easily the demands of the two services in 1653. In no
case under the Commonwealth did the men show that despairing recklessness
of consequences which characterised their outbreaks between 1625 and
1642. More significant still is the fact that the savage fighting of
the first Dutch war, against the most formidable maritime antagonist
we have ever faced, was performed in a fashion very different from the
perfunctory and half-hearted service rendered to Charles I. And it is a
further curious illustration of their hereditary loyalty that while they
endured much hardship and privation rather than serve either under Rupert
or Tromp against the Commonwealth, we are told by Pepys that they manned
the Dutch ships by hundreds—perhaps thousands—during the wars of Charles

If, on the other hand, we are to really believe that ‘inherent loyalty’
was continuously latent in the English sailor, what words are fitting
for the selfish and reckless indifference to the simplest human rights
which tortured him into twenty years of consistent rebellion? On sea as
on land Charles’s misdeeds followed him home. In his days of power he
had been deaf to the appeals of men who perished that he might attempt
to be great, and to the cries of their suffering wives and children.
In 1642 the sailors were deaf to his commands. What might—in all human
probability would—have been the result after Edgehill if, during the
winter of 1642-3, he had been able to blockade the Thames?

[Sidenote: Merchant Seamen.]

Private shipowners have always paid higher wages than the crown, and for
several centuries the latter offered no compensatory advantages. From
various chance allusions the rates of merchant seamen’s wages during
this period are found to vary between 22s and 30s a month. The stores
provided for them could not have been worse than those of a man-of-war;
but they had special difficulties, peculiar to the merchant service,
to expect when in private employment. In 1628 among their grievances
they complained that they were liable to make good any damage done to
cargo, even after it had left the ship, until it was safely stored in
the merchant’s warehouse.[1042] In 1634 they petitioned, in view of the
dulness of trade, that exportation of merchandise in foreign bottoms
should be prohibited,[1043] but a year later a more important matter
occupied their attention. All engagements were made by verbal contract,
and it often happened at the end of the voyage that the owner disputed
the terms, when the sailor was left helpless, having no proof to bring
forward.[1044] Moreover, if, as frequently occurred, he was pressed
out of a homeward bound vessel, his position was still more hopeless,
while if he died at sea there was small chance of his family obtaining
anything. In 1638 it was intended to form a Trinity House fund, on
the plan of the Chatham Chest, for the benefit of merchant seamen and
officers; one shilling a month was to be deducted for this purpose, from
the wages of officers, and fourpence from the pay of the men, except
those belonging to coasters, who were to give sixpence.[1045] The matter
progressed so far that there was a proclamation issued in accordance with
these views,[1046] but the scheme did not come into operation till 1694.
In that year it was enforced in connection with Greenwich Hospital at the
rate of sixpence a man; in 1747 this was raised to one shilling and so
continued until 1834. The whole story belongs to a later volume, but the
merchant sailor never received the least benefit from the levy extorted
from his scanty earnings, and at a moderate computation was robbed of
at least £2,500,000 during that period. But he helped to endow many fat
sinecures and to thus support the Constitution.

If from one case referred to a court of law we may infer others, the
form and amount of punishment on a trader was left to the discretion of
the captain. On a Virginia ship an insubordinate boy was hung up by his
wrists with 2 cwt. tied to his feet, with what results we are not told.
The boy’s complaint came before Sir H. Martin, judge of the Admiralty
court, who refused any redress, because of the necessary ‘maintenance of
sea discipline.’[1047] But notwithstanding hard fare, hard usage, and
sometimes doubtful wages, the position of the sailor on a merchantman was
infinitely preferable to his fate when compelled to exchange it for a
man-of-war. We meet with no instances of mutiny on merchant ships until
they are hired by the crown, and the traditional hardihood and courage of
the English seaman were always evinced when he was free of the crushing
burden of the royal service. Sir Kenelm Digby, when commanding a squadron
in the Mediterranean in 1628, noticed that while foreigners invariably
ran from him, the English, without knowing his nationality, always
stopped and prepared to fight ‘were they never so little or contemptible

[Sidenote: The number available.]

With proper organisation there were sufficient men available at the
beginning of the reign to have manned both the royal and merchant
marine, as will be seen from the following returns made in 1628, but it
is probable that the numbers did not increase much during subsequent

  |                   | Seamen | Fishermen |
  |London             |  3422  |    302    |
  |Kent               |   181  |    231    |
  |Cinque Ports       |   699  |    193    |
  |Essex              |   309  |    357    |
  |Suffolk            |   804  |    326    |
  |Norfolk            |   600  |    436    |
  |Lincoln            |    66  |    126    |
  |Devon              |   453  |     86    |
  |Northumberland     |    33  |    260    |
  |Cumberland         |    72  |           |
  |South Cornwall     |   731  |    393    |
  |North    ”         |   154  |     88    |
  |South Wales        |   753  |           |
  |Southampton and }  |        |           |
  |  Isle of Wight }  |   321  |    209    |
  |Dorset             |   958  |     86    |
  |Bristol            |   823  |           |

There were 2426 watermen in London, also liable to impressment. Of the
seamen two-thirds were at sea, one-third at home, their favourite abiding
place being Ratcliff. Yorkshire, North Wales, Chester, and some parts of
Sussex are omitted, and the figures for Northumberland cannot include the
Newcastle coal traffic, which in 1626 employed 300 colliers;[1050] it may
be, however, that their crews are reckoned in the London total.

In various ways, during the war time, Parliament showed its satisfaction
with the work done by officers and men, and occasionally rewarded them
by extra gratuities of a month’s pay, or presents of wine. Doubtless
these donations were also in the nature of bribes on the part of a power
without much historic prestige compared with its opponent, and depending
for existence on the goodwill of men who served with a closer regard to
pay than to sentiment; but that the parliamentary authorities considered
their relations with the Navy fairly secure is shown by the fact that
in 1645 they ventured to place the service under martial law.[1051] In
1647 wages, per month, were raised for officers, according to rates, as

                 £  _s_ _d_    £  _s_ _d_
  Captain        7   0   0 to 21   0   0
  Lieutenant     3  10   0  ”  4   4   0
  Master         3  18   8  ”  7   0   0
  Master’s mate  2   2   0  ”  3   5   4
  Pilot          2   2   0  ”  3   5   4
  Carpenter      1  15   0  ”  3   3   0
  Boatswain      1  17   4  ”  3  10   0
  Gunner         1  15   0  ”  3   3   0

[Sidenote: The Chatham Chest.]

The Chatham Chest, founded by Hawkyns and others in 1590, for the relief
and support of injured or disabled sailors, was not of so much use to
them during these years as it should have been. The original contribution
was sixpence a month from able, and fourpence from ordinary, seamen,
with threepence from boys. In 1619 the gunners joined the fund, and from
1626 all, whether able and ordinary, seamen or gunners, were to pay
sixpence.[1053] The sixpences were unfailingly deducted from their wages,
but the distribution was more irregular. Every formality was employed for
the safe custody of the money, and in 1625 an iron chest with five locks
was ordered for this purpose, the keys to be kept by five representative
officers of different grades, who could only open it when together,
and who were to be changed every twelve months. As an illustration of
the value of these precautions the Treasurer of the Navy, Russell, the
very next year took £2600, out of the Chest with which to pay wages,
subsequently excusing himself by the ‘great clamours’ then being made
and the poverty of the state. He did not commence to return this money
till 1631, and in 1636 £500 of it was still owing. Sir Sackville Crowe,
when Treasurer between July 1627 and December 1629, took out £3000, and
this sum, with the accruing interest, is regularly carried forward as a
good asset till 1644, when there is a gap of ten years in the accounts,
and in 1654 it no longer appears. From the character of the man it is
very unlikely that he ever paid. In 1632 a commission of inquiry issued,
but if any report was ever made it has not come down to us. In January
1636 the Chest had £542 in hand and possessed Chislett farm producing
£160 a year,[1054] but it was said that its narrow resources were further
depleted by money having ‘been bestowed on men that never were at sea.’

Sir John Wolstenholme and others were directed, in December 1635, to
inquire into the administration, and their report was sent in by April
1637.[1055] The yearly receipts from land were now £205; since 1617, when
there was £3145 in hand, £2580 had been received in rents and £12,600
from the sixpences. Out of this £3766 had been expended in purchasing
land and £10,621 in relieving seamen; £159 remained in the Chest, and
£3780 was owing to it. Of the £3780 some of the items went back to
Elizabethan days, and Roger Langford, Sir Peter Buck, some of the master
shipwrights, and two ladies were among the debtors. Between 1621 and
1625, inclusive, there was paid £1722 in gratuities and pensions, and
between 1625 and 1629, £1372;[1056] as the first series were mostly
peace, and the second war years, the men were either very successful
in avoiding injury between 1625 and 1629 or, as is more likely, were
defrauded of the benefits they could rightly claim. The result of the
commission was that fresh rules, signed by Windebank, were shortly
afterwards made, directing the Treasurer of the Navy to pay over the
sixpences within one month of their deduction from wages, to make up the
accounts yearly and ‘publish them to all the governors,’ that no pension
was to exceed £6, 8s 4d a year, although an additional gratuity might be
given, and that the keepers of the keys were to be changed yearly.[1057]
As the last regulation was only a repetition of the one made in 1625, it
is to be presumed that it had been previously ignored.

Neither now nor afterwards, neither in official papers nor in the sheaves
of ephemeral publications which enlightened this and the succeeding
century, does it seem, with one exception, to have entered into the minds
of those who ruled or those who tried to teach that the cost of providing
for the wants or age of men disabled by service should in justice fall
upon the country they had spent their youth and health in protecting,
instead of on an accident fund maintained from their own meagre earnings.
The one government which in this, as in other matters, had a higher
perception of its duties was that of Cromwell, and even here only in a
limited sense. The host of pamphleteers who in the succeeding reigns
lamented the condition of the royal and merchant marine, or aired their
universal panaceas for its ills, only rang the changes on further methods
for the exploitation of the seaman to the private profit of the shipowner
and the general profit of the state. For him to carry the burden of
empire was to be its own reward.

The only consecutive accounts preserved for this reign are contained in
two volumes kept in the Museum at Greenwich.[1058] They extend from 14th
April 1637 to 23rd April 1644, and, in round figures, give the following

  |             | Owing |Received|Expended| Received  |    No. of      |
  |             |  to   |        |        |   from    |Pensioners[1059]|
  |             | chest |        |        |   land    |                |
  |             +-------+--------+--------+-----------+----------------+
  |             |    £  |    £   |    £   |   £       |                |
  |1637-8       |  3768 |  1545  |  1361  |  248      |      62        |
  |1638-9       |  6215 |  1609  |  1215  |           |      59        |
  |1639-40      |  5600 |  1849  |  1364  |           |      59        |
  |1640-1       |  5200 |  2371  |  2019  |           |      35        |
  |1641-2       |  4800 |  2761  |  2635  |  479      |      55        |
  |1642-3       |  4400 |  2108  |  1738  |           |      60        |
  |1643-4[1060] |  4400 |  1238  |   958  |           |      61        |
  |1644[1061]   |  4400 |   845  |   483  |  321[1062]|                |

We do not know on what principle donations were allowed, but, besides
being slow and uncertain, gratuities were frequently dispensed by favour
rather than by merit. In 1637 a man hurt in 1628 received £2, and Apslyn,
a shipwright, had £5, 3s 4d, being compensation for the loss of his
apprentice’s services during 62 days, a sort of loss certainly never
intended to be indemnified by the founders of the Chest. The majority
of the men on the pension list, had £5 or £6 each, but most of the
payments to injured men were of a donative character not involving any
further responsibility. Medical charges relating to the dockyards were
also met from the Chest, a Chatham surgeon being paid £43, 1s 4d in 1638
for attending to shipwrights injured while working on the _Sovereign
of the Seas_. The next year has a somewhat belated entry of £3 to Wm.
Adam, barber-surgeon, ‘for sundry hurts and bruises received in Queen
Elizabeth’s service,’ and again we find £33, 11s 4d paid to a Woolwich
medical man for care of shipwrights injured in rebuilding the _Prince_;
in 1640 surgeons were attached to the dockyards whose salaries of £40
a year were paid from the Chest money. The compensation for a bruise
ranged from £1 to £2. Sometimes widows were granted burial money and a
further small sum for ‘present relief,’ but never, apparently, pensions.
A normally recurring item is a gift of £4, 10s a year to the almshouse
founded by Hawkyns at Chatham, and with equal regularity there is an
annual outlay of some £5 for the governors’ dinners.

However open to criticism may have been the administration of the Chatham
Chest at this time, it was undoubtedly in a condition of ideal purity
compared with the depths of organised infamy to which it sank during the
eighteenth century.

[Sidenote: The Rainsborow Mutiny.]

The reign of Charles I commenced with mutinies; it ended in 1648 with
another which deserves examination, since upon it some writers have
based an inference of general unfaithfulness to the Parliament, while in
reality, whatever conclusions may be deduced, that, so far as the bulk of
the men were concerned, is not one of them. From the days of Elizabeth,
when they were accustomed to be led by captains who were seamen by
vocation and sometimes by descent, often of their own class, and who
understood them and their wants, the men had shown an intense dislike to
the landsmen who by a change of system in later years had been placed
over them, who obtained their posts mainly by rank or influence, were
ignorant of maritime matters, and were associated with a succession of
disasters and years of abject misery. Manwayring, writing in the reign
of James I, says that volunteers usually returned knowing as little as
when they sailed, since the professional seamen hated them, and gentlemen
generally, and would give no instruction. Another seaman attributed the
disasters of the early years of the reign to the appointment of landsmen
as captains and officers.[1063] The experiences of more recent years were
not likely to have lessened that feeling.

During the war, therefore, the fleet had been commanded chiefly by
admirals and captains who were trained seamen of no exceptional social
position, but, judging from subsequent events, there must have been a
sufficient leaven of landsmen in places of trust to keep alive the old
prejudices. When, therefore, Wm. Batten, an experienced officer of many
years’ standing, who was vice-admiral and commanding in the Channel, and
who had done good service to the state, was displaced in 1647, and his
responsible charge given to Colonel Rainsborow, who began actual control
in January 1648, there was doubtless some murmuring, although no evidence
of it has survived. Nothing occurred during the winter, and in May 1648
there were forty-one ships in commission, of which only three were
commanded by military officers; but the appointment of Rainsborow may
have been regarded, as it actually proved to be, as the commencement of a
return to the old system. Moreover the Navy, generally, was presbyterian
in feeling, while Rainsborow was a fanatical Independent and, judging
from one of the accusations brought against him, does not appear to have
exercised his authority with tact or discretion. In addition to this a
certain amount of ill-feeling existed between the army and the Navy, the
latter not being inclined to coerce the Parliament to the extent desired
by the army, and Batten, in the ‘Declaration’ which explained his reasons
for desertion, dwelt on the efforts of the army leaders ‘to flood the
ships with soldiers.’ If the accusation was true, it would be a certain
way, in the state of feeling between the two services, to give fresh life
to the latent antagonism existing. We have no details of the workings of
discontent which led up to action any more than we have of the secret
cabals which preceded the Spithead mutiny of 1797, but in each case the
outbreak was equally sudden. Towards the end of May the crews in the
Downs put Rainsborow ashore, giving as their reasons:—

    1st. The parliament of late grant commissions to the sea
    commanders in their own names, leaving out the King. 2nd.
    Several land-men made sea commanders. 3rd. The insufferable
    pride, ignorance, and insolency of Col. Rainsborow, the late
    vice-admiral, alienated the hearts of the seamen.[1064]

Rainsborow had made his mark as a soldier, but he was not a stranger to
the sea, for he had commanded a man-of-war in 1643. It is noticeable that
no complaints are made about their treatment by the government, about
their pay or victuals, and succeeding events showed how little the great
majority of the fleet were in sympathy with the grandiloquent threats of
the ringleaders on the King’s behalf. Warwick was at once sent to resume
the command of the fleet and adjust the differences existing. Whitelocke
says that the men ‘sent for the Earl of Warwick’ and that ‘the Derby
House Committee, to follow the humour of the revolters,’ directed Warwick
to go, so that at this stage it is evident that having rid themselves of
Rainsborow, they looked to Warwick rather than to Charles. We do not know
what measures the earl took, but, in the last days of June, the crews of
nine ships,[1065] perhaps terrified at finding they received such slight
support from the others and fearing punishment, possibly also influenced
by Batten, went over with him to the Prince of Wales in Holland. That so
long an interval elapsed between the commencement of the revolt and their
desertion shows how little the latter was at first contemplated.

It has been recently said: ‘While the army was so formidable the navy
scarcely existed. The sailors generally were for the King. Many had
revolted and carried their ships across to Charles II in Holland, while
in the crews that remained disaffection prevailed dangerously.’ It would
be difficult to mass more inaccuracies in so many words. There were
forty-one fighting-ships actually at sea, a larger number than had been
collected since the days of Elizabeth, and immeasurably superior as a
fighting machine to anything which had existed since 1588. The ‘many’
which had revolted were nine, and of these three were small pinnaces
of an aggregate of 210 tons and 180 men; of the others, one was a
second and the rest third and fourth-rates. If ‘disaffection prevailed
dangerously,’ it is strange that not only did none of the remaining ships
join the revolters, but they were known to be ready to fight them, and
Batten on one occasion avoided an action on account of ‘the very notable
resistance’ to be expected.[1066] Instead of being disaffected, Warwick
found that on board his own ship they prepared for fighting ‘with the
greatest alacrity that ever I saw ... which, as the captains informed me,
was likewise the general temper of the rest of the fleet.’ Finally the
sailors in the Downs, who ‘generally were for the King’ and were actuated
by ‘inherent loyalty,’ concurred in December in the Army Remonstrance,
requiring that Charles I, ‘the capital and grand author of our troubles,’
should be brought to justice for the ‘treason, blood, and mischief’ he
had caused. The after story of the revolted ships is just as instructive
on the point of their disaffection to the Parliament. No sooner had
they reached Holland than the men commenced to desert. By November five
vessels had been brought back to England, and the ill-will manifested on
the others was so pronounced that it was necessary to place strong bodies
of cavaliers on board to keep the seamen in subjection.[1067]

The outburst would have been serious had it been general. It was confined
to a small section of the naval force, was due to dissensions relating to
men rather than principles, and gives small countenance to the view that
the Navy repented the part it had taken. The loyalty of the majority and
the speedy penitence of the minority were the best tests of the temper
in which the Parliament was judged by those who upheld it afloat; and if
the disaffected minority loved Rainsborow and his employers little they
showed that they liked Charles Stuart less.




[Sidenote: The Royal Ships in 1625.]

When Charles I inherited the crown, his fleet consisted of 4 first, 14
second, 8 third, and 4 fourth rates;[1068] of these 1 first, 7 second,
6 third, and the 4 fourth rates were comparatively new ships, the
oldest being the _Prince_, launched in 1610. The others were originally
Elizabethan, had been repaired, rebuilt or patched up more or less
effectively at various times, and of them the _Lion_ of 1582 was the most
ancient. The recent accessions were, for reasons previously noticed, more
commodious and better seaboats than their predecessors, but the King had
yet to learn that the mere possession of a naval framework in the shape
of hulls, spars and guns was of little use without efficient crews, and
adequate knowledge and honest effort on the part of the subordinate
officials on whom fell the responsibility of preparation and equipment.
Whether due to a desire to save the royal ships as much as possible,
to want of men to man them properly, or to their generally inefficient
state, the expeditions of 1625-7-8 included a very large proportion of
armed merchantmen. In 1625 there were twelve men-of-war and seventy-three
merchantmen;[1069] in 1627 fourteen of the former, of which three were
small pinnaces and eighty-two of the latter[1070]; and in 1628 the second
Rochelle fleet, which Lindsey commanded, was made up of twenty-nine
King’s ships and thirty-one merchantmen.[1071] But under Lindsey, ten of
the royal ships were of the class known as ‘whelps,’ just built, and
measuring 180 tons each, and ten were pinnaces of 50 tons or under, so
that only nine vessels of the real fighting line were with him. We shall
see that the owners of merchantmen, who could neither escape the calls
made on their ships nor get paid for their services, by no means valued
the honour thus thrust upon them.

Charles, like his father, felt a keen interest in the Navy. In the case
of James I it was prized more as an imposing appurtenance of his regal
dignity than from any statesmanlike appreciation of its importance;
in that of his son the evidence goes to show that, while vanity was
sometimes a ruling motive,[1072] he was also fully alive to the weight
a powerful fleet gave to English diplomacy. The State Papers show that
he exercised a constant personal supervision in naval affairs, sometimes
overruling the opinions of his officials in technical details of which
he could have possessed no special knowledge. No new vessels were built
during the first years of the reign. Theoretically, with the assistance
of the hired merchantmen available, the Royal Navy was sufficient for
the duties it was called upon to perform. Practically, it was found that
even those that were seaworthy were too slow under sail, as were also the
merchantmen, to deal with the plague of Dunkirk privateers and Moorish
pirates, who swarmed in the narrow seas, and who almost blockaded the
coasts except for large and heavily-armed ships.

A chief article of accusation brought by the Parliament against
Buckingham was that he had neglected his duty in taking few or no
measures against these enemies, but if all the charges made against him
had as little foundation, his reputation would be higher than it now
stands. The Channel squadron had been increased, two special expeditions
had been sent out after them, and any prizes likely to prove fast sailers
had been taken into the Royal service for the purpose of being so
employed, but as the Turks and Dunkirkers, built for speed, could sail
at least twice as fast as the English, it was only under exceptional
circumstances that one was sometimes captured. In 1624 the Captain of one
of the Commissioners’ new and improved ships indignantly reported that
some Dutch men-of-war he met had deliberately and contemptuously sailed
round him. This was square rig _versus_ square rig. Remembering that the
Turks undoubtedly were lateen-rigged, that the Dunkirkers probably used
some modification of it, and that this is still the most effective spread
of canvas known for light vessels of moderate tonnage, we need not wonder
that the lumbering English third and fourth rates, built for close
action, could never get near them. During the Rhé voyage sixty English
ships chased some Dunkirkers, but only one pinnace could overtake them,
and that of course could not venture to attack.[1073] But there were also
other causes. In 1634 Pennington wrote to the Admiralty that he had just
met a fleet of seventeen Dutch ships,

    ‘all tallowed and clean from the ground, which is a course that
    they duly observe every two months, or three at the most ...
    which is the only cause which makes them go and work better
    than ours; whereas our ships are grounded and graved two or
    three months before they come out, and never tallowed, so
    that they are foul again before we get to sea with them, and
    then they are kept out for eight or ten months, whereby they
    are so overgrown with barnacles and weeds under water that it
    is impossible that they should either go well or work yarely
    ... all men-of-war, of what nation soever, whether Turk or
    Christian, keep this course of cleansing their ships once in
    two or three months but us.’[1074]

Therefore the first additions to the navy were small, fast-sailing
vessels, built or bought with this object, and the master shipwrights
were several times called upon to furnish designs of ships especially
adapted for chasing the privateers. Their first suggestion, in December
1625, was for a cruiser whose length, over all, would have been nearly
four-and-a-half times her breadth, and this is noticeable as a marked
step in the tendency now existing to increase the proportion between
length and beam.[1075] Again, in March 1627[1076] they proposed ‘a nimble
and forcible ship of 339 tons to meet the Dunkirkers;’ but in this case
the length was rather less than four times the beam, and eventually
pecuniary necessities compelled the government to be content with vessels
of a smaller model, called ‘whelps,’ contrived for sweeps as well as
sails, and whose length was nearly two-and-a-half times the breadth.
In merchantmen the keel was still only about two and a half times the
beam.[1077] Although English ships were slow, they were strong. Nathaniel
Butler, a naval captain, attributed their sluggishness as compared with
the Dutch to their being ‘so full of timber ... we building ours for
seventy years, they theirs for seven;’ and Northumberland, in 1636,
described some of them as ‘so clogged with timber’ that there was no room
for stores.[1078] Modern builders would probably ascribe their want of
speed to faulty lines rather than to excess of material; but if it was
a defect it was one of which we reaped the full benefit in the first
war with Holland, when the Dutch ships, splendidly as they were fought,
were riven and sunk by the more solid and more heavily armed English
men-of-war long before their crews were beaten.

[Sidenote: The Navy List.]

The following vessels were added to the Navy during the reign of Charles,
including such prizes as were taken into the service and remained in it
until useless:—[1079]

  |                        |     |     | Re- |  Keel |  Beam  |
  |                        |Prize|Built|built| in ft.| in ft. |
  |                        +-----+-----+-----+-------+--------+
  |_St Claude_[1081]       |1625 |     |     |       |        |
  |_St Denis_              |1625 |     |     |  104  |  32.5  |
  |_St Mary_[1082]         |1626 |     |     |       |        |
  |_St Anne_[1082]         |1626 |     |     |       |        |
  |_Espérance_[1083]       |1626 |     |     |       |        |
  |_Henrietta_[1084]       |     |1626 |     |   52  |  15    |
  |_Maria_[1084]           |     |1626 |     |   52  |  15    |
  |_Spy_[1085]             |     |1626 |     |       |        |
  |_10 Lion’s Whelps_[1086]|     |1627 |     |   62  |  25    |
  |_Fortune_[1087]         |1627 |     |     |       |        |
  |_St Esprit_[1088]       |1627 |     |     |       |        |
  |_Vanguard_              |     |     |1630 |  112  |  36.4  |
  |_Charles_               |     |1632 |     |  105  |  33.7  |
  |_Henrietta Maria_       |     |1632 |     |  106  |  35.9  |
  |_James_                 |     |1633 |     |  110  |  37.6  |
  |_Unicorn_               |     |1633 |     |  107  |  36.4  |
  |_Leopard_               |     |1634 |     |   95  |  33    |
  |_Swallow_               |     |1634 |     |   96  |  32.2  |
  |_Swan_[1089]            |1636 |     |     |       |        |
  |_Nicodemus_[1089]       |1636 |     |     |   63  |  19    |
  |_Roebuck_               |     |1636 |     |   57  |  18.1  |
  |_Greyhound_             |     |1636 |     |   60  |  20.3  |
  |_Expedition_            |     |1637 |     |   90  |  26    |
  |_Providence_            |     |1637 |     |   90  |  26    |
  |_Sovereign_             |     |1637 |     |  127  |  46.6  |
  |_Lion_                  |     |     |1640 |  108  |  35.4  |
  |_Prince_                |     |     |1641 |  115  |  43    |
  |_Crescent_[1090]        |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Lily_[1090]            |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Satisfaction_          |     |1646 |     |       |        |
  |_Adventure_             |     |1646 |     |   94  |  27    |
  |_Nonsuch_               |     |1646 |     |   98  |  28.4  |
  |_Assurance_             |     |1646 |     |   89  |  26.1  |
  |_Constant Warwick_[1091]|     |1646 |     |   90  |  28    |
  |_Phœnix_                |     |1647 |     |   96  |  28.6  |
  |_Dragon_                |     |1647 |     |   96  |  30    |
  |_Tiger_                 |     |1647 |     |   99  |  29.4  |
  |_Elizabeth_             |     |1647 |     |  101.6|  29.8  |
  |_Old Warwick_           |1646 |     |     |       |        |
  |_Falcon_[1092]          |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Hart_[1092]            |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Dove_[1092]            |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Truelove_[1092]        |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Concord_[1092]         |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Dolphin_[1092]         |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Fellowship_[1092]      |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Globe_[1092]           |     |     |     |       |        |
  |_Hector_[1092]          |     |     |     |       |        |

  |                        |Depth[1080]|Draught| Gross |     |
  |                        | in ft.    | in ft.|tonnage| Guns|
  |                        +-----------+-------+-------+-----+
  |_St Claude_[1081]       |           |       |  300  |     |
  |_St Denis_              |   11.9    |       |  528  | 38  |
  |_St Mary_[1082]         |           |       |       |     |
  |_St Anne_[1082]         |           |       |  350  |     |
  |_Espérance_[1083]       |           |       |  250  |     |
  |_Henrietta_[1084]       |    6.6    |       |   68  |  6  |
  |_Maria_[1084]           |    6.6    |       |   68  |  6  |
  |_Spy_[1085]             |           |       |   20  |     |
  |_10 Lion’s Whelps_[1086]|     9     |       |  185  | 14  |
  |_Fortune_[1087]         |           |       |  300  |     |
  |_St Esprit_[1088]       |           |       |       |     |
  |_Vanguard_              |   13.10   |       |  750  | 40  |
  |_Charles_               |   16.3    |  16.8 |  810  | 44  |
  |_Henrietta Maria_       |   15.8    |       |  793  | 42  |
  |_James_                 |   16.2    |  17.2 |  875  | 48  |
  |_Unicorn_               |   15.1    |  16.3 |  823  | 46  |
  |_Leopard_               |   12.4    |  12.9 |  515  | 34  |
  |_Swallow_               |   11.7    |  12.3 |  478  | 34  |
  |_Swan_[1089]            |           |       |       |     |
  |_Nicodemus_[1089]       |    9.6    |       |  105  |  6  |
  |_Roebuck_               |    6.8    |       |   90  | 10  |
  |_Greyhound_             |    7.8    |       |  126  | 12  |
  |_Expedition_            |    9.8    |       |  301  | 30  |
  |_Providence_            |    9.9    |       |  304  | 30  |
  |_Sovereign_             |   19.4    |       | 1522  |100  |
  |_Lion_                  |   15.6    |  17.6 |  717  | 52  |
  |_Prince_                |   18      |       | 1187  | 64  |
  |_Crescent_[1090]        |           |       |       |     |
  |_Lily_[1090]            |           |       |       |     |
  |_Satisfaction_          |           |       |  220  | 26  |
  |_Adventure_             |    9.11   |  14   |  385  | 38  |
  |_Nonsuch_               |   14.2    |       |  389  | 34  |
  |_Assurance_             |   11      |  13   |  341  | 32  |
  |_Constant Warwick_[1091]|   12      |  12.8 |  379  | 30  |
  |_Phœnix_                |   14.3    |       |  414  | 38  |
  |_Dragon_                |   12      |  15   |  414  | 38  |
  |_Tiger_                 |   12      |  14.8 |  447  | 38  |
  |_Elizabeth_             |   14.10   |       |  471  | 38  |
  |_Old Warwick_           |           |       |       | 22  |
  |_Falcon_[1092]          |           |       |       |     |
  |_Hart_[1092]            |           |       |       | 10  |
  |_Dove_[1092]            |           |       |       |     |
  |_Truelove_[1092]        |           |       |       |  6  |
  |_Concord_[1092]         |           |       |       |     |
  |_Dolphin_[1092]         |           |       |       |     |
  |_Fellowship_[1092]      |           |       |       | 28  |
  |_Globe_[1092]           |           |       |       | 24  |
  |_Hector_[1092]          |           |       |       | 20  |

The _James_, _Assurance_, _Elizabeth_, _Tiger_, _Nonsuch_, _Swallow_,
and _Henrietta Maria_, were built at Deptford, the first four by Peter
Pett, who also built the _Constant Warwick_ at Ratcliff. The _Sovereign_,
_Prince_, _Leopard_, _Greyhound_, _Unicorn_, _Roebuck_, _Adventure_,
_Phœnix_, and _Charles_, at Woolwich; the _Henrietta Maria_, _Vanguard_,
_Lion_, and _Dragon_, at Chatham. Phineas Pett, who built the _Sovereign_
and rebuilt the _Prince_, was a son, by a second marriage, of the Peter
Pett, master shipwright in the reign of Elizabeth; his son, Peter Pett,
junior, built the _Nonsuch_, _Adventure_ and _Phœnix_. The Peter Pett of
Deptford was a grandson of the Elizabethan Pett.

[Sidenote: The Ten Whelps.]

The first two pinnaces constructed, the _Henrietta_ and the _Maria_,
were, it is expressly stated,[1093] to be ‘carvel built,’ a distinction
which implies that hitherto such small vessels had been clinch or
‘clinker built;’ we have seen that large ones were mostly carvel, or
flush planked, in the reign of Henry VIII.[1094] We do not hear that
they proved satisfactory in either speed or power, and next year the
contract for the ten whelps was divided among nine shipwrights, some of
them private builders, at £3 5s a ton.[1095] They were to be able to use
sweeps, and were square rigged, with three masts, two decks and a round
house, as miniature copies of the large ships; like those also they
were too heavily sparred and ordnanced. Of heavy guns each was intended
to carry four culverins, four demi-culverins, and two brass sakers,
but subsequently two demi-cannon were added, and the strain of this
armament proved too great for both their sailing and seagoing qualities.
Their demi-cannon were mostly stored in hold at sea, instead of being
on deck.[1096] They were afterwards said to have been built in haste,
‘of mean, sappy timber, for particular service,’[1097] and to be weakly
constructed, costing relatively large sums to maintain in serviceable
condition; they were used a good deal for winter service in the four
seas, and only one of them lived into the days of the Commonwealth. Two
were lost returning from Rochelle; and by 1631 the sixth and seventh
whelps had disappeared from the lists, the seventh by the simple process
of sending the gunner into the magazine with a naked light while she was
in action with a Dunkirker. The fifth was lost in July 1637, and her
experience of straining till she took in water through her closed ports,
and opened her seams, was probably that undergone by most of those that
foundered.[1098] The fourth whelp was handed over ‘for a design to be
practised on by a Dutchman’s project,’ and she passes out of the Navy
list.[1099] These whelps were the first representatives, in intention,
although not in form, of the regular sloop and gunboat class afterwards
so largely used for minor police purposes.

During the years of foreign warfare it was found easier to turn suitable
prizes into men-of-war than to arrive at the money necessary for new
ships, but from 1632 until the commencement of domestic trouble it
will be seen that vessels were added in regular succession. It will be
observed in the preceding list of ships that a keel length of three
times the beam was, roughly, the ratio in favour during the middle of the
reign, while on reference to the Elizabethan Navy list, the proportion
in the majority is seen to be one of about two and a half times the
breadth. Whether the alteration was due to theoretical calculation or to
study of the lines of foreign ships we have no means of deciding, but
the increase in length is still more pronounced in the vessels launched
in 1646 and 1647, their keels being sometimes nearly three and a half
times their beam. According to Pepys this last improvement was due to
Pett’s observation of a French ship lying in the river, in which case
the French designers had already obtained that superiority in the art of
shipbuilding which they held until speed became a matter of engine power.

[Sidenote: The new Ships.]

The cost of the _Charles_ and _Henrietta Maria_ was £10,849, and of
launching and taking them from Woolwich to Chatham, £1222; that of the
_James_ and _Unicorn_ came to £12,632,[1100] the increased totals as
compared with the _St George_ and _St Andrew_, of the previous reign,
being attributed to sounder workmanship and higher prices for labour and
materials. A further sum of £4076, was paid on the _James_ and _Unicorn_
for ‘rigging, launching, furnishing, and transporting’ them from Woolwich
and Deptford to Chatham, work which included 65 tons of cordage at £35
a ton, 214 cwt. of anchors at £2 per cwt., suits of sails at £225 a
suit, waistcloths and top armours of red cloth for both £132,[1101] and
trumpeters and pipes at their launch, £15.[1102] The King and Queen were
present at the launch of these vessels, and £14, 5s 4d was spent in
sweetmeats for them and their attendants. Pennington wrote to the Lords
of the Admiralty that the _Vanguard_ and the _Henrietta Maria_ were both
good ships, although the latter was ‘extraordinarily housed in aloft;’
privately, to Nicholas, he said that there had been ‘great abuse both in
materials and workmanship.’[1103] When he had to try the _Unicorn_ he in
that instance gave his unfavourable report directly to the Admiralty.
On joining at Tilbury he found her so crank that she could carry no
sail. Three shipwrights on board—Ed. Boate, who built her, Pett, and
Austin—persuaded him to take in another hundred tons of ballast, and the
extra weight brought her so low that the gun-deck ports had to be caulked
up, as ‘in a reasonable gale of wind’ she would lay them under water.
Pennington was still unwilling to venture out with the ship, ‘but in
regard to the poor man’s disgrace that built her,’ he gave her a trial at
sea, and decides that she ‘is dangerous and unserviceable,’ cannot work
her guns, and will not live in a gale.[1104]

Under these circumstances the authorities naturally desired to be
informed by the Trinity House experts and the masters of the Shipwrights’
Company why they had given a certificate approving the _Unicorn_. They
answered that they thought she would be a failure, ‘but rather than
disgrace any workman they put their hands, hoping the ship might prove
well.’[1105] The defence sounds weakly benevolent, but that they were
either too ignorant themselves to judge, or that the ganglionic plexus
of fraud uniting most officials made them unwilling to venture on such
a dangerous novelty as an honest opinion, is much more likely than that
they were actuated by goodwill towards each other, a feeling they always
successfully suppressed where hostile criticism could be safely hazarded.
‘The bruits of this disaster have spread far and wide,’ wrote Edisbury,
and many opinions were obtained as to the best course to take, the
discussion ending in girdling her, a method which increased her stiffness
at the expense of her speed. The _Unicorn’s_ ports were intended to be 5
feet above the water line, but they proved to be but 3 feet 7 inches from
it. ‘The King’s ships are not built as they should be, nor like merchant
ships,’ Pennington complained.[1106]

The _Roebuck_ and _Greyhound_ of 1636 were built from the waste of the
_Sovereign_, then on the stocks, and the _Providence_ and _Expedition_
in 1637 were finished in time to join Rainsborow before Sallee, vessels
of lighter draught than those he had with him, but of some force, being
required. The other accessions of 1636, the _Swan_ and _Nicodemus_ were
both Dunkirk prizes, and added to the Navy as being the fastest vessels
afloat. Pennington recommended that the _Swan_ should be used as a model
by English builders, and the _Nicodemus_ was said to run away from
everything, ‘as a greyhound does from a little dog.’

[Sidenote: Shipwrights’ Errors.]

Noticing the general discrepancies between designs and results in
shipbuilding, Charles II remarked a generation later of Christopher Pett,
when he turned out a successful ship, ‘I am sure it must be God put him
in the way, for no art of his own could ever have done it.’ An observer
of this date, Kenrick Edisbury, who succeeded Sir Thos. Aylesbury as
Surveyor of the Navy, perhaps better qualified to judge, attributed
part of the apparent error rather to self-interest. ‘I never yet knew,’
he writes to Nicholas, ‘any ship built by day-work but the shipwrights
have made them of greater burden than their warrants mentioned, as you
may discern by this new ship now in building at Deptford, which I am
persuaded will prove 200 tons greater than was appointed.’[1107] Edisbury
was referring to either the _Leopard_ or the _Swallow_, and there is
an instructive paper relating to these two vessels which shows the
lack of exactness, whether due to ignorance or intention. It gives the
measurements as ordered by the King—the shipwrights intrusted with the
work received their instructions from him personally[1108]—and as they
actually were.[1109]

  |                                |         |         | ‘Dimensions |
  |                                |_Leopard_|_Swallow_|   given by  |
  |                                |         |         |his majestie’|
  |                                +---------+---------+-------------+
  |                                |  Feet   |  Feet   |   Feet      |
  |Keel                            |   95    |   96    |    93       |
  |Beam inside the plank           |   33    |   32.2  |    31       |
  |Depth from upper edge of keel  }|         |         |             |
  |   to diameter of breadth      }|   12.4  |   11.7½ |             |
  |Depth of keel                   |    1.7  |    1.8  |             |
  |Rake of stem                    |   30.6  |   28.4  |    27       |
  |Rake of stern post              |    4.3  |    4.8  |     4       |
  |The flat of the floor           |   13    |   13    |    13       |
  |Midship draught                 |   12.9  |   12.3  |    11.6     |
  |Distance of lower edge of port }|         |         |             |
  |   from greatest breadth       }|    5    |    4.10½|     5.6     |
  |Distance between ports          |8.6 and 9|    8    |     8       |
  |From deck to lower edge of ports|    2.1  |    2.1  |     2.2     |
  |Breadth of ports                |    2.4  |    2.4  |     2.4     |
  |Depth of ports                  |    2.2  |    2.2  |     2.4     |
  |From the diameter of breadth   }|         |         |             |
  |   to the top of the waist     }|   13.6  |   12.7  |             |
  |Between decks                   |    6.6  |    6.7  |     6.8     |
  |Gross tonnage                   |  515    |  478    |   384       |

[Sidenote: Report on the Ships.]

In January 1626-7 we have a report on the qualities of the new ships
added since 1618, and built under Burrell’s superintendence while he was
the Commissioners’ principal subordinate. The _Constant Reformation_ is
said to be strongly built and seaworthy, but cannot work her lower tier
in a moderate sea; the _Victory_ weakly built and crank, as is also the
_Garland_ which is a slow sailer as well. The _Swiftsure_, _Bonaventure_,
and _Mary Rose_ are all condemned as badly built, crank, or slow under
sail. The _St George_, _St Andrew_, and _Triumph_ are awarded faint
praise. It must, however, be remembered that this survey was made by
Burrell’s professional competitors, of whose envy and jealousy there
is incidental evidence yet remaining, and that at least five of these
vessels, after years of sailing and fighting round half the world,
are to be found still fit for service in the Navy lists of Charles
II. The Commissioners claimed that, with the exception of the earlier
_Bonaventure_, theirs were the first additions to the Navy that could
carry out their guns ‘in all fighting weathers.’

[Sidenote: The Sovereign of the Seas.]

It is unnecessary to describe the _Sovereign of the Seas_, accounts
of which, based on Thos. Heywood’s well-known tract,[1110] have been
several times given in various works. Some details, however, not known
to Heywood, may be given here. The suggestion must have been under
discussion for some time, but the first mention of her is in August
1634, when the masters of the Trinity House, apparently without being
asked for it, volunteered an opinion that such a ship was an impossible
dream.[1111] Their dogmatic statement that a three-decker was a thing
‘beyond the art or wit of man to construct,’ has already been quoted,
but they further insisted that, if built, there was no port, ‘the Isle
of Wight only’ excepted, in which she could ride, and no ground tackle
which would hold her. No notice seems to have been taken of their long
and poetically expressed effusion, and in January 1635 an estimate was
called for of a vessel of 1500 tons, (‘the king with his own hand hath
set down the burden;‘), and in March, Phineas Pett was ordered to prepare
a model of ‘the ship royal,’ and was told that ‘you principally are
appointed by his majesty for the building of the same.’[1112] A month
later Pennington, Mansell, Phineas Pett, and John Wells[1113] met, and
agreed on dimensions, which were substantially those afterwards adopted,
and the gross tonnage was to be by depth 1466 tons, by draught 1661 tons,
and by beam 1836 tons; but no explanation is given of the way in which
these figures are arrived at.[1114] Pett’s estimate of the cost was
£13,680;[1115] perhaps he really did not know, perhaps he did not wish
to frighten Charles, but the amount eventually spent on her, exclusive
of guns, was £40,833 8s 1½d.[1116] Comparing this sum with the £5500 to
£6500 which was the average cost of a forty-gun ship, there must have
been, even allowing for the much larger proportion spent in decoration of
various kinds, great extravagance in some respects.

Before commencing work Pett desired that the principal officers, who,
he said, had always shown themselves adverse, should neither provide
materials nor make any payments without his signed order. ‘Already
I find certain extraordinary unnecessary charges of new building of
dwelling-houses bestowed and employed in Woolwich yard, which I doubt
not will be brought upon the charge of the ship.’[1117] As this was
occurring while the trees which were to form her frame were yet in leaf
in Chopwell and Brancepeth woods, it gives us an interesting glimpse into
the habits of the chief Officers of the Navy, and the estimation in which
they were held by one who was brought into daily contact with them. The
keel was laid at Woolwich, in the presence of Charles, on 16th January
1636, and she was launched in October 1637. Pett had recommended that
the launching should be deferred till the spring, since the vessel would
grow foul lying in the river through the winter, and would then require
redocking. Pett’s proposal was annotated by the king, ‘I am not of your
opinion.’[1118] Charles had a dull optimism, unshaken by any number of
blunders, in the value of a royal opinion, whether applied to subjects
of general policy or to such a technical matter as the rate at which a
ship’s hull was likely to grow foul.[1119]

The wages bill on the _Sovereign_ amounted to £20,948, and joining,
painting, and carving to £6691; but in the case of this ship the large
sum spent in decoration has in popular imagination, as expressed in
pictures and descriptions, implied an equivalent expenditure on other
ships which did not really occur. Where details are given of the cost of
men-of-war, or of their repairs, the money spent on ornamental carving
and painting bears a very small proportion to the total; and it is quite
likely that the conventional representations of sixteenth and earlier
seventeenth century vessels are altogether wrong in this respect, and
that men-of-war of these times, at any rate those of the second, third,
and fourth ranks, were little more bedecked than modern merchantmen.
The manner in which the adornments of the _Prince_ and _Sovereign_ are
described and dwelt upon as out of the common points to the probability
that other ships possessed few of these external attractions. The
_Elizabeth_ and _Triumph_, the _Ark Royal_ and _Merhonour_ were as
relatively important in their day as the _Prince_ and _Sovereign_,
but, with the exceptions already noticed under the reign of Elizabeth,
allusion to any special ornamentation is in their case exceptional,
still less, then, would the smaller vessels be much beautified by gold,
colours, and carving. Decoration, perhaps, became much more general
and expensive after the Restoration; but John Holland attributed the
increased expenditure on it that began about now to the absence of
control over the master shipwrights, who were permitted to do much as
they liked and would not be outdone by each other.

The _Sovereign_ being afloat, the next proceeding was to arm her, and
for this purpose 102 brass guns were required, costing, by estimation,
£24,753, 8s 8d.[1120] They were thus divided:—

  |                       |        Number         |Length|Weight|  Total  |
  |                       |                       | each | each |         |
  |                       +-----------------------+------+------+---------+
  |                       |                       | Ft.  | Cwt. |Tons Cwt.|
  |_Lower tier_—          |                       |      |      |         |
  |  Luffs, quarters, and |                       |      |      |         |
  |    sides              |20 cannon drakes[1121] | 9    | 45  }|         |
  |  Stern chasers        |4 demi-cannon drakes   |12½   | 53  }| 64   16 |
  |  Fore chasers         |2     ”         ”      |11½   | 48  }|         |
  |  Bows abaft the chase |2     ”         ”      |10    | 44  }|         |
  |_Middle tier_—         |                       |      |      |         |
  |  Luffs, quarters, and |                       |      |      |         |
  |    sides              |24 culverin drakes     | 8½   | 28  }|         |
  |  Fore chase           |2 culverins            |11½   | 48  }| 45    4 |
  |  After chase          |4    ”                 |11½   | 48  }|         |
  |_Upper tier_—          |                       |      |      |         |
  |  Sides                |24 demi-culverin drakes| 8½   | 18  }|         |
  |  Fore chase           |2 demi-culverins       |10    | 30  }| 27   12 |
  |  After chase          |    ”      ”           |10    | 30  }|         |
  |Forecastle             |8 demi-culverin drakes | 9    | 20   |  8    0 |
  |Half-deck              |6     ”           ”    | 9    | 20   |  6    0 |
  |Quarter-deck           |2     ”           ”    | 5½   |  8   |      16 |
  |Bulkhead abaft the     |2 culverin drakes      | 5½   | 11   |  1    2 |
  |  forecastle           |                       |      |      |         |

The first estimate was for 90 guns, and here again we read, ‘His majesty
has since altered his resolution both in respect of the number and nature
of pieces.’ If Pett originally designed the ship for 90 lighter guns,
and Charles raised the number and weight by a stroke of the pen to 102,
trying to ignore, in the plenitude of his royal power, such things as
metacentres and centres of gravity, it is not surprising that she proved
topheavy at sea. It was one of those cases in which ignorance is bliss,
but, without reading modern scientific knowledge into the past, we know
he had professional advisers at hand whose empirical skill was sufficient
to enable them to warn him of the folly of such a change. The guns were
engraved—at a cost of £3 each—with the rose and crown, sceptre and
trident, and anchor and cable. In a compartment under the rose and crown
was the inscription, _Carolus Edgari sceptrum stabilivit aquarum_, ‘being
a scutcheon and motto appointed by his majesty.’[1122] In January 1640
occurs an estimate for a sister ship to the _Sovereign_; but of this, of
course, nothing more was ever heard.[1123]

We have no station list for the _Sovereign_, as for the _Henry Grace
à Dieu_ but, as a part of ordinary discipline, divisions or quarters
seem to have been usual. There is a station list of this period for a
vessel of 40 guns and 250 men which may be considered typical.[1124] The
heavy guns required 136 men, and 50 more formed the small arms company.
The boatswain and his mate had 40 under their command to work the ship
under the orders of the master and his mate, who were attended by 2 men.
The carpenter and his mates had 6 men, the cook, steward, and surgeon,
each 2 for assistants, and 4 men were told off to steer, and 4 to remain
with the trumpeters. Finally the captain and lieutenant had 2 men in
attendance. The heaviest guns were allowed 5 men each; and the number
varied down to 5 men between two of the smaller guns.

Of the eight vessels of 1646 and 1647 there is nothing to say beyond once
more noticing the marked increase in the ratio between length and beam.
There is not to be found, among the Commonwealth papers, any mention in
praise or dispraise of their weatherly and fighting qualities, and from
this silence we may infer that they were found to be, in essentials, all
that was expected.

Probably a sixteenth or seventeenth century ship was not a particularly
picturesque object. Instead of the graceful, beautifully proportioned
hulls, spars, and sails of to-day, the reader must imagine a short,
squat, hull, round-bowed and square-sterned, enormously high and broad
in comparison with its length, and the sides falling in towards each
other till the upper deck was perhaps only two-thirds of the width on
the water line. The stern was the highest part of the ship, and the bows
the lowest, so that she looked as though she was always premeditating a
plunge forward, and the longitudinal curve of the sides was broken by
huge channels opposite each mast to which were fastened the shrouds.
Above, the stumpy masts and spars must have looked ridiculously out of
proportion to the ponderous hull, although they were in reality usually
too heavy in relation to the badly designed and placed weights below. As
for the gilt and painting, a week of rough weather would have converted
the original tawdry splendour into a forlorn slatternliness.

[Sidenote: The remaining Elizabethan Ships.]

Most of the remaining Elizabethan ships passed out of the service. The
hull of the _Bear_ was sold in 1629 for £315, the _Answer_ and _Crane_
for £101, and towards the end of the reign, the _Dreadnought_, _Due
Repulse_, _Adventure_, and _Assurance_ were broken up. In 1635 Charles,
again exemplifying the very real interference, if not control, he
exercised in naval matters, ordered, against the recommendations of the
Principal Officers, that the _Warspite_ should be cut down into a lighter
for harbour service at Portsmouth. But the most serious loss in this
class was that of the _Anne Royal_, which in April 1636, when fitted as
Northumberland’s flagship, was bilged on her own anchor when bringing
to in the river. The disaster was attributed to the pilot and master
giving contradictory orders, and when she was lying on her broadside and
full of water her officers made matters worse by cutting holes in the
upper side to recover their belongings.[1125] Of course nine members of
the Trinity House at once certified that it was impossible to raise the
_Anne_, just as a year before they had petitioned against the Foreland
lights as ‘useless and unnecessary,’[1126] and just as on every point
referred to them they showed a persistence in being stultified by events,
extraordinary even in a corporation. Two townsmen of Great Yarmouth
offered to float the ship for £2000; the Principal Officers thought they
could do it for £1450, and eventually they did raise her, but with the
customary variation in official calculations, at a charge of £5355.[1127]
She was taken to the East India Company’s dock at Blackwall, and there,
being found to be too severely damaged for repair, broken up.

Of the later ships, the _Phœnix_ and _Nonsuch_ were sold; the
_Reformation_, _Antelope_, _Swallow_, and _Convertine_ were carried
off by the mutineers of 1648 and lost to the English Navy, and most
of the prizes of the earlier years were subsequently given to private
individuals or to commercial associations. The King had no fleet
after 1642, and seized upon any expedient likely to give him one. In
November 1643 he granted a commission to Jeronimo Cæsar de Caverle as
Vice-admiral, De Caverle contracting to obtain, man, and fit out five
ships for £2000 a month, to be paid out of any prizes he might take from
the supporters of the Parliament.[1128] This, like Rupert’s commission,
was a premium on piracy.

[Sidenote: The French Navy.]

Not the least interesting of the papers of this reign are those which
show what a close watch was kept on the growth of the nascent French
navy. In 1625 Louis was compelled to borrow vessels from Charles, but
in 1626 Richelieu bought up or confiscated local or opposing rights and
constituted himself head of the navy, assisted by a _conseil de marine_.
That which must have been the nucleus of his fleet, the purchase of four
vessels built for him in the Low Countries, is duly reported to our
King.[1129] Again in 1627 there are several notices of fresh purchases
from the Dutch, and in September Mervyn was ordered to intercept and
destroy them on their passage to France.[1130] By this time the French
had thirty-three ships before Rochelle, but eighteen of them were under
200 tons each, and probably most were hired merchantmen.[1131] In 1630
ten ‘dragones’ were being built at Havre in imitation of the whelps, and
a correspondent, writing from Bordeaux, says that there are ‘so many good
ships of the King of France’s navy that unless I had been an eye-witness
thereof I should not have believed it possible.’[1132] There were forty
ships ‘of good force’ there. In 1631 Charles appears to have obtained a
detailed list of the then existing French marine, thus classified:—[1133]

  |        | 900| 700| 600|  500  |  450  |  400  |  300  |  250  |  200  |
  |        |tons|tons|tons| tons  | tons  | tons  | tons  | tons  | tons  |
  |        |    |    |    |   &   |   &   |   &   |   &   |   &   |   &   |
  |        |    |    |    |40 guns|36 guns|34 guns|28 guns|23 guns|18 guns|
  |Brest   |  1 |  2 |  3 |   6   |       |   2   |   1   |       |   1   |
  |Bordeaux|    |    |    |   3   |   3   |   1   |       |       |   1   |
  |Blaye   |    |    |    |   1   |       |   1   |       |       |   1   |
  |Brouage |    |    |    |       |       |   1   |   2   |   1   |   2   |
  |St. Malo|    |    |    |   1   |       |   1   |   1   |       |       |
  |At sea  |    |    |    |   1   |       |       |   1   |       |   1   |

There were also two of 1400 and 700 tons, respectively, building. It
must be confessed that this force, created within five years and manned
by Breton and Norman seamen, was calculated to give pause to the rulers
of the painfully maintained English Navy. Still more significant was
the fact that only twelve were Dutch-built; Richelieu had soon freed
France from dependence on foreign artisans. The proportion of guns on
French vessels was smaller than that on English vessels of corresponding
tonnage, an excess of metal having been characteristic of our equipment
until the eighteenth century. In 1639 their strength had so far increased
that they had forty sail and ten fireships in the Channel, and there was
also a powerful Dutch fleet, so that Pennington was directed to stop any
suitable merchantmen and add them to his squadron.

A navy, however, which was not the result of natural growth, but depended
on the energy and will of one man, was predestined to decay. The French
marine, as Professor Laughton has pointed out, really began with
Colbert, and in 1661, when he took office, it was reduced to less than
20 seaworthy vessels, against some 150 carried on the English Navy list.
The rivalry still existing between the two nations commenced very early.
As soon as the _Sovereign_ was built, a similar ship was considered a
necessity for France, but for some reason it was not until 1657 that
their first three-decker was launched.[1134]

[Sidenote: Tonnage Measurement.]

Closely connected with shipping was the question of tonnage, and the
discussion which raged between 1626-8 on the methods of calculating it
would require a volume for its full elucidation. The existing rule was
recognised as imperfect, but the science of the time was not able to
formulate anything satisfactory in its place, for exact measurement has
been a matter only of the present century. The following paper, printed
in full, may be regarded as representing the various views existing, and
will at any rate show how little dependence can be placed on any positive
statement of a ship’s tonnage.[1135]

    There are three ways of measuring ships now in use:—

    _Mr Baker’s Old Way_—The old way, which was established in
    Queen Elizabeth’s time, and never questioned all King James his
    time, is this: The length of the keel, leaving out the false
    post, if there be any. Multiply by the greatest breadth within
    the plank, and that product by the depth taken from the breadth
    to the upper edge of the keel produceth a solid number which
    divided by 100 gives the contents in tons, into which add one
    third part for tonnage, so have you the tons and tonnage.

                    The _Adventure_ of Ipswich

    Length                      63·6  1802  7737
    Breadth                     26·2  1417  8037 Within yᵉ plank.
    Depth                       11    1041  3927 To yᵉ upper edge
                                                   of keel.
    Divisor                    100      70
    Tons                    182,80    1261  9701
    One third for tonnage    60,93[1136]
                            243,73 tons and tonnage.

    It is credibly averred by Sir H. Mervyn and Sir H. Palmer that
    the old way of measuring was to take the breadth without yᵉ
    plank and the depth from the breadth to the lower edge of the
    keel. And this was Baker’s way of measuring.

    _Second Way_—The second way is assumed by the shipwrights of
    the river to be the old way, but it is not, which makes the
    ship to be 28 in the hundred greater than the former, and is
    this: The length of the keel taken as before, or ought to be.
    The breadth from outside the plank to outside. The depth or
    draught of water from the breadth to the bottom of the keel
    all multiplied together and divided by 94 (say they) give the
    content in tons, into which add one third for tonnage.

    Length                      63.6  1802  7737
    Breadth                     26.8  1426   230 Without yᵉ timber
                                                   and plank.
    Depth                       12.3  1088  1361 To yᵉ lower edge
                                                   of keel.
    Divisor                     94    8026  8721
    Tons                    220,71
    One third for tonnage    73,57
                            294,28 tons and tonnage.

    If you divide this by 100 (which is said to be here done by 94)
    it is yᵉ true old way, called Baker’s way.

    _Third Way_—The third way was proposed by Mr Gunter, Mr Pett,
    Mr Stevens, Mr Lyddiard, and myself, who were required by
    warrant from my lord Duke of Buckingham and the commissioners
    for the navy (then being) to measure the _Adventure_ of
    Ipswich, the greatest bilged ship in the river, and from her
    dimensions to frame a rule that in our best judgments might
    be indifferently applicable to all kinds of frames. This we
    performed and yielded our reasons for it, which, to avoid the
    abuse of furred sides and deep keels and standing strakes,
    which increaseth the burden but not the hold, was thus: the
    length by the keel as the first; the depth in hold from the
    breadth to the seeling;[1137] the mean breadth within that
    seeling at half that depth multiplied together, and the product
    divided by 65, gives the tons, into which add one third part
    for tonnage.

    Length                      63.6  1802  7737
    Mean breadth                22    1342  4227  Within the
    Depth                        9.8   985  4265  To the seeling.
    Divisor                     65    8187  866
    Tons                    207,83    2317  7095
    One third for tonnage    69,27
                            277,10[1138] This increaseth 12 per
                                           100 above the old rule.

    There is a fourth way, devised by the shipwrights and Trinity
    masters, but exploded for the great excess which makes the
    ship 30 in the hundred greater than the first, and it is thus:
    length of the keel as at first, middle breadth beneath the
    greatest, viz. the breadth at the wrunghead, depth to the
    outside of the plank, all multiplied together and divided by 70.

    Length                      63.6  1372  5438
    Middle breadth              23.7  1051  1525  Without (_i.e._
                                                    outside) timber
                                                    and plank.
    Depth                       11.3  1802  7737  Without the plank.
    Divisor                     70    8154  9019
    Tons                    240,68    1381  3719
    One third for tonnage    80,22

Although this document is quoted at length as showing the opposing views,
the controversy began in May 1626, when Wells, Stevens, and others sent
in an interesting paper,[1139] which is the one referred to in their
‘third way’ of the preceding, too long to transcribe fully, but from
which some extracts may be given. The main question was whether the depth
and breadth should be taken from within or without board. In the second
case the King paid for more tonnage in a hired ship, especially if she
was furred or girdled, than he actually obtained, but the first was held
to be a direct incentive to owners to build flimsily. The _Adventure_ of
Ipswich was all through the subject of experiment. They say:—

    We consider the ship may be considered three ways—the first in
    cask, and so two butts or four hogsheads make a ton; the second
    in feet, and so forty feet of timber make a ton, the third in
    weight and so twenty hundred weight make a ton.... The first
    seems most rational to us.... We therefore first prescribe
    the hold of the ship to be the cavity of the vessel contained
    between the lines of her greatest breadth and depth withinboard
    ... supposing the lower edge of the (deck) beams to be pitched
    at the breadth.... We next consider what quantity of cask may
    be stowed in this hold first by drawing the bends and the form
    of the cask in each several bend; but this way being subject
    to error we sought the true contents thereof arithmetically,
    allowing 4½ feet to the length of a butt, and 2 ft. 8 in. to
    the depth of the first tier, but 2 ft. 4 in. for the rest of
    the tiers. This whole body we reduce into feet, and divide the
    product thereof by sixty, because we find by calculation that a
    ton of cask stowed to the best advantage will take up as much
    room as sixty feet solid, and by these means we produce the
    whole contents of the _Adventure’s_ hold to be 207 tons.

They then proceed to frame the rule they used in the ‘third way’ of the
paper of 1627, and notice that practically the _Adventure_ takes a cargo
of about 276 tons of coal, but that this brings her midship port within a
foot of the water line and renders her unfit for any service. In June the
masters of the Trinity House commented on the preceding statement,[1140]
and began by declaring that ‘truly to find the contents of the cavity of
the hold in cask is not possible.’ They strongly maintained that vessels
should be measured from without board, seeing that a furred ship could
carry more than if unfurred, ignoring the fact that one object of the
proposed new rule was to insure more accurate designing and building by
throwing the loss on the owner. ‘The old rule,’ they said, ‘is less true
for lately built ships, which have great floors, but true for old ships
with small floors.’[1141] Their protest evoked a derisive reply from the
government shipwrights, from which it is unnecessary to quote.[1142]
Finally an order was issued, 26th May 1628, that all the King’s ships and
those hired by him should be measured by taking ‘the length of the keel,
leaving out the false post, the greatest breadth within the plank, the
depth from that breadth to the upper edge of the keel,’ multiplying these
and dividing by one hundred.[1143]

The result of the change was to make vessels apparently smaller, but
whether nearer to, or further from, what we should now consider their
real tonnage we have no means of deciding conclusively. The comparative
measurements of two ships by the old and the new rules may serve as
example of the others:—[1144]

  |                 |     Keel     |     Beam    |  Depth   |Gross tonnage|
  |                 |Old    New    |Old      New |Old   New | Old   New   |
  |                 |rule   rule   |rule     rule|rule  rule| rule  rule  |
  |                 |              |[1145] [1146]|          |             |
  |                 | ft.    ft.   | ft.      ft.| ft.   ft.|             |
  |_Henrietta Maria_|106    106    |36.5     35.9|16.6  15.8|  848   793  |
  |_Charles_        |106.4  105.2  |36.3     35.7|16.6  16.3|  848   810  |
  |                 |       [1147] |             |          |             |

[Sidenote: The Merchant Marine.]

The extensive use made of hired ships between 1625 and 1628 led
to several lists being drawn up of the available merchant marine.
Before, however, dealing with these, there is another source from
which information may be gained. The Trinity House certificates, from
May 1625 to March 1638, of new ships requiring ordnance, and which
were necessarily sent to London to be armed, have fortunately been
preserved.[1148] These certificates probably include every new vessel of
any considerable size, and in most cases mention the tonnage and place
of construction, and from them, therefore, we can draw fairly reliable
conclusions concerning the relative importance of the shipping centres
where they were built, and the strength of the merchant navy. In these
thirteen years some 380 ships come under notice, inclusive of fifteen
prizes and twenty-two bought, mostly from the Dutch, but whether new or
old is not stated. The following table gives the number each year:—

  1625, 5
  1626, 124
  1627, 23
  1628, 5
  1629, 55
  1630, 37
  1631, 18
  1632, 11
  1633, 12
  1634, 12
  1635, 24
  1636, 25
  1637, 24
  1638, 5 (three months)

The sudden increase of 1626 is probably attributable to the number of
vessels taken up for the royal service, and to the proclamation of 26th
April of that year, by which the bounty of 5s a ton on craft of over
100 tons, and suited for warfare, was renewed. The subsequent falling
off, besides being a natural reaction, may have been also due to the
difficulty owners experienced in obtaining payment for their ships when
hired by the King. An analysis of the places mentioned yields, when the
port of origin is given, the results tabulated below. The expression
‘River of Thames’ comprises those from various ports, but mostly, perhaps
Newcastle colliers sent up for their ordnance; it may also include those
from such a place as Bristol, for which one new ship cannot be a complete
return. Ships of under 300 tons are not classified, and in some instances
the tonnage is not given in the certificate:—

  |                |Total|         Tons           |
  |                | No. +----+----+----+----+----+
  |                |     | 500| 450|400 | 350| 300|
  |London          |     |    |    |    |    |    |
  |  Limehouse     |  20 |    |  1 |  2 |  3 |  6 |
  |  Wapping       |  21 |    |    |    |  1 |  2 |
  |  Horseleydown  |  14 |    |    |  1 |  2 |  1 |
  |  Ratcliff      |  19 |    |    |  1 |  3 |  3 |
  |  Deptford      |   2 |  1 |    |  1 |    |    |
  |  Shadwell      |   1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |  Blackwall     |   1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Ipswich         |  48 |    |    |  1 |    |  7 |
  |Yarmouth        |  26 |    |    |  1 |    |  1 |
  |Aldborough      |  12 |    |    |    |    |  2 |
  |Hull            |  25 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Woodbridge      |  12 |    |    |  1 |  2 |  3 |
  |Colchester      |   7 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |River of Thames | 102 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Bristol         |   1 |    |    |    |    |  1 |
  |Harwich         |   2 |    |    |    |  1 |    |
  |Dartmouth       |   3 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Dover           |   2 |    |    |    |    |  1 |
  |Southampton     |   2 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Shoreham        |  14 |    |    |    |    |  5 |
  |Plymouth        |   1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Weymouth        |   3 |    |    |    |    |  1 |
  |Blakeney        |   1 |    |    |    |    |    |
  |Exeter          |   2 |    |    |    |    |    |

In July 1626, Buckingham was directed to procure returns of the number
and size of the ships belonging to the port towns, and the resulting
list, so far as the reports have survived, is as follows:—[1149]

  |                      |No. |Largest|100 tons|
  |                      |    |in tons|   or   |
  |                      |    |       |upwards |
  |Portsmouth            |  5 |  80   |        |
  |Gosport               | 11 |  40   |        |
  |Isle of Wight         | 10 |  70   |        |
  |Padstow               |  3 |  40   |        |
  |Chester               | 21 |  50   |        |
  |Boston                | 12 |  80   |        |
  |Yarmouth              | 97 | 320(2)|   26   |
  |Dartmouth and Tor Bay | 65 | 270   |   15   |
  |Fowey                 |  2 |  50   |        |
  |Sandwich              | 30 | 240   |   12   |
  |Lynn                  | 67 | 160   |   15   |
  |Wells                 | 26 |  80   |        |
  |Burnham               | 10 |  50   |        |
  |Blakeney              | 14 | 100   |    1   |
  |Plymouth              | 40 | 120   |    7   |
  |Stonehouse            |  6 | 120   |    1   |
  |Saltash and vicinity  | 24 | 200   |    4   |
  |Salcombe              | 11 |  50   |        |
  |E. and W. Looe        | 28 |  40   |        |
  |Penryn                |  7 | 180   |    3   |
  |Bristol               | 32 | 250   |   16   |

The principal point which the reader of this list will notice is the
small extent of change in the maritime relation of these places which had
occurred since the days of Elizabeth. In her time Dartmouth, including
Totnes, was the leading southern port, and, although Plymouth and
adjoining towns now run it close, it is hardly yet second. And so far as
the scanty materials for comparison allow us to judge, it does not appear
that the relation between the other ports had altered to any important
degree, although the aggregate of ships belonging to them is much
greater. Notwithstanding the obvious omissions in this roll, it includes
100 vessels of 100 tons and upwards, against 177 in 1588 for the whole of

In February 1628 there was a survey of such ships in the Thames as were
fit for the royal service.[1150] There were seven East Indiamen[1151] of
4200 tons and 218 guns, the largest being one of 900, one of 800, and two
of 700 tons; besides thirty-four other merchantmen of 7850 tons and 610
guns, and twenty-two Newcastle colliers of from 200 to 250 tons each. The
largest of the merchantmen were one of 500 and two of 450 tons. A year
later, in February and March 1629, there was another survey of London
and other ports, but only of ships of 100 tons and upwards, and there
were now in the river eight East Indiamen of 5700 tons, one being of 1000
tons, and forty-seven other merchantmen of 12,150 tons, and 906 guns;
there were also twenty-nine merchantmen of 7060 tons and 556 guns at sea,
thirty Newcastle vessels belonging to London owners, and eighteen other
ships of not more than 120 tons each and unarmed.[1152] The following
list of the remaining towns will complement that of 1626, on which it
shows some variations[1153]:—

  |               |100 tons|Largest|
  |               |  and   |       |
  |               |upwards |       |
  |South Cornwall |    6   |  200  |
  |Plymouth       |    8   |  160  |
  |Dartmouth      |   15   |  200  |
  |Weymouth       |    1   |  110  |
  |Poole          |    1   |  150  |
  |Southampton    |    1   |  100  |
  |Sandwich       |    6   |  200  |
  |Dover          |    7   |  260  |
  |Malden         |    2   |  160  |
  |Colchester     |    9   |  240  |
  |Woodbridge     |   17   |  300  |
  |Harwich        |   11   |  140  |
  |Ipswich        |   63   |  300  |
  |Aldborough     |   14   |  300  |
  |Lynn           |    5   |  120  |
  |Yarmouth       |   26   |  200  |
  |Bristol        |   30   |  250  |
  |South Wales    |    1   |  250  |

Including London there were, then, in 1629, more than 350 ships of over
100 tons, while Newcastle is only partly, and Yorkshire, Somerset,
Chester, and Sussex are not at all mentioned; but the writer of the copy
of 1634 remarks that in the five years that had elapsed since the survey
was made, ninety-five more such vessels had been built.

[Sidenote: The Ports.]

All the fleets set forth by Charles contained a large proportion of
colliers, as their cost was supposed to be but one-third of that of
merchantmen. The growing importance of the coal trade is shown by the
shipment of 143,000 chaldrons (equal to nearly 200,000 tons) of coal from
Newcastle in 1626.[1154] On the other hand, leaving piracy aside for the
moment, the chances of war and tempest played havoc with the commercial
prosperity of not a few of the coast towns. In 1626 Bristol lost fifty
ships by wreck and capture. When, in 1627, these ports were required to
provide vessels for the King, most of them pleaded inability from these
causes and losses by pirates. By the embargo in France and Spain Poole
had lost £8500, and had to maintain 400 widows and children; Exeter,
from the same cause, had lost £80,000 and ‘in many parishes there is
not one man of ability to a hundred poor people.’ Barnstaple and Totnes
replied that the crown owed them money for billeted soldiers, and that
until payment was made they were powerless. Norwich was ‘in a desolate
and distressed condition,’ as was also Harwich; and Aldborough in three
years had lost thirteen ships, and had three hundred widows and children
to keep. The port of Boston was choked up, and its big ships all sold.
Dartmouth, Penryn, and Lyme Regis professed to be nearly ruined by the
embargo laid on their ships and goods in France and Spain, while most of
their remaining merchantmen were unemployed and they had many poor to
support. Plymouth was ordered to supply two vessels of 200 tons each;
they said they were in a distressed and miserable state, that since 1624
they had lost by pirates and embargo £44,000, that the crown owed £6000
in the town, and that the plague was causing ‘infinite misery.’[1155]
Weymouth and Melcombe, called upon to provide the same number as
Plymouth, answered that their losses by embargo came to £6000, besides
the expense of supporting many poor women and children; Colchester had
suffered from the plague for ten months and possessed no 200-ton ship,
and King’s Lynn had lost twenty-five ships to the Dunkirkers, while their
port cost them £350 a year.[1156] Yarmouth, in two years, had lost by
Dunkirkers ‘and sundry other casualties at sea’ £25,000; their port cost
them £600 a year, their haven and piers £1000 a year, and there was a
municipal debt of £2200 on which they paid £140 per annum interest.[1157]

Against these sorrows we must set the fact that the returns show that
these ruined ports were able to steadily build and increase, year by
year, the number of their large ships, and in at least one instance—that
of Dartmouth—while the townspeople said that they possessed no 200-ton
vessel, the papers of 1626-7 show that they had one of 270 and two
of 200 tons.[1158] The losses by wreck seem at one time to have been
exceptionally heavy; between 1625 and 1628 393 ships, valued at some
hundreds of thousands of pounds, perished at sea, the Eastland Company
losing £100,000 in eighteen months.[1159] But probably neither the
municipal authorities nor the government held themselves compelled to
strict truthfulness in making out a case. As in most generations, owners
appear to have overbuilt at the first sign of prosperous trade; in
1633 the Trinity House petitioned for an enforcement of the navigation
laws, as shipping to the extent of 6000 tons was lying idle in the
Thames.[1160] When in employment, captains did not neglect any chance of
trade. In 1638 the master of a Mediterranean trader took a Turk, and sold
fifteen men of its crew in a Spanish port; on his return he offered ‘the
duty payable to his majesty,’ a tenth of the proceeds.[1161] The rule of
requiring the shipowner to give a bond, before his vessel went to sea,
that it should not be sold abroad had been strictly enforced since 1625;
in fact before sale to a foreign subject could be effected the Lords of
the Admiralty, the Officers of the Navy, and the judge of the Admiralty
Court, had all to give their approval.

[Sidenote: Payment of Hired Ships.]

It has been noticed that several of the towns put forward the crown
debts incurred on behalf of the military and naval forces as an excuse
for their want of means when asked for ships in 1627. Private owners who
may have been encouraged to build by the renewal of the bounty and the
demand for hired ships soon found that as regards payment they were as
badly off as the towns in their corporate capacity. They may not have
expected very prompt settlement, but, by August 1627, the owners of ships
taken up for the Cadiz voyage of 1625 were beginning to petition somewhat
impatiently. Ipswich, for instance, had sent twenty-four vessels and had
not yet received anything. In December these and other owners petitioned
again, mentioning that 100 ships had been lost during the year, and
declining the offer of crown lands in liquidation of their demands.
They gave as the reason of their refusal the subdivision of ownership
in a vessel among many members, and that they did not understand land,
adding, ‘To be two years, and many of us three years, without pay
deserveth consideration, many of us undone and many more will be.’[1162]
By February 1628 it was noticed that ships were being purposely built
with less than the regulation space between decks, so that they should be
unfit for the service of the crown;[1163] and later in the year masters
of transports were asking double the ordinary rates, and were even then
so unwilling to serve that threats of impressment had to be used. In
March 1629 one unhappy man complains that he has had a vessel hired for
four years, that he has received in that time a bill[1164] for £200
which has been for three years dishonoured, and that he goes about in
daily fear of arrest himself. It was not until the receipts from the
ship-money writs brought relief to the treasury that these debts were
paid off. Under the government of Charles the hire of ships remained at
2s a ton per month, but after 1642 the Parliament adopted a different
system, that of paying £3, 15s 6d a month per man, the owner sending his
vessel armed and completely provided for sea; but the state accepted
responsibility in the event of loss.

[Sidenote: Inventions connected with Shipping.]

The demand for shipping naturally gave an impetus to the spirit of
invention in connection with maritime matters. In July 1625 Letters
Patent were granted to Wm. Beale for a cement intended to preserve
the hulls of ships from barnacles, the first of a long series of such
contrivances.[1165] In 1626 some one, unnamed, proposed attempting to
propel boats under water,[1166] and in 1630 David Ramseye, who may have
been the David Ramsey of 1618, a similar inventor, designed ‘to make
boats, ships, and barges go against wind and tide.’[1167] Again, in 1632,
Thos. Grent offered ‘an instrument’ for moving becalmed ships, which
he called the ‘Wind’s Majesty’; John Bulmer and Christopher van Berg
invented methods of raising sunken vessels and their cargoes, and in 1637
and 1640 other patents were taken out for appliances to move vessels
against wind and tide.[1168] In none of these cases was any specification
enrolled. In 1630 Stephen Gibbs was granted the exclusive use, for
fourteen years, of the means devised by him for clearing silted havens
and draining marsh lands.[1169] Perhaps the most useful device was one
which does not seem to have been patented. In July 1634 Edisbury wrote to
Nicholas, ‘There is now an invention found out to moor ships in the river
with iron chains.’[1170] If this was the beginning of the substitution
of iron for cordage in the various conditions where one could replace
the other, it was the commencement of a change which vastly extended the
possibilities of seamanship.

[Sidenote: Piracy.]

More deadly foes to the merchant than the chances of war and storm
were the Turkish and Dunkirk pirates, who held command of the Channel,
and for whom these were halcyon years until, in the next generation,
the Commonwealth navy swept the seas. For reasons already touched
upon, neither the ships nor the men in the royal service were capable
of dealing with these freebooters, and the appeals for protection,
which began within a week of the King’s accession, continued until the
strengthened parliamentary naval force was able to secure the coasts.

At first the Turks—all Mediterranean pirates were inclusively described
as Turks—were the most prominent enemy. In August 1625 they were reported
to have twenty sail on the southern coast, and according to the Mayor of
Poole, threatened that within two years they would not leave the King
sufficient seamen to man his ships. As the Mayor of Plymouth said that
during that year they had captured 1000 sailors, and within the ten days
before his letter, twenty-seven ships and 200 men, there was some force
in the threat.[1171] A year later some of the Navy Commissioners, then at
Plymouth, wrote to the Council that the successes of the Turks were ‘the
shame of our nation. The pitiful lamentations that are made by wives and
children ... is so grievous that we know if your lordships heard it as
we do, we are assured that it would move the same passion and grief in
your noble hearts as it does in us.’[1172] Their culminating success was
the seizure and sack of Baltimore, a thriving village port on the Munster
coast. There they landed on the night of 30th June 1631, and, besides
material spoil, bore off 237 English subjects, men, women and children
into slavery. There were not many vessels in commission that year, but
there was an inspection by the King at Chatham and Portsmouth, for which
the cost of preparation was £1275, an amount which expended in another
way could have saved these victims.

When any of the Turks were caught, fear of reprisals compelled the
government to treat them tenderly; some prisoners were tried in June,
but private instructions were given that they were not to be put to
death,[1173] and shortly afterwards the relatives of 2000 men, captives
in Sallee, petitioned for some redress, which explains the leniency of
the executive.[1174] Nor was this petition neglected, since, by a Council
order of October, guns were to be exported to Barbary to ransom English
prisoners. It was a poor way of upholding the honour of England, but
since the cruisers could not clear the Channel, and there was no fleet to
spare for a Mediterranean expedition, it was the only one open.

While the Turks operated in the south, the Dunkirkers, who, in addition
to their other misdeeds, supplied the former with provisions and stores,
practically blockaded the east coast. The Newcastle townspeople wrote
that they were destroying the coal trade, and at Ipswich trade had
altogether ceased, fifty-eight ships being laid up for fear of them,
and shipping to the value of £4000 having been taken in one year.[1175]
In August 1626, when the inhabitants of the coast of Suffolk were asked
for a ‘voluntary gift,’ they answered ‘with loud cries, that their
vessels were fired or taken in their havens before their eyes.’ At Lynn
1000 men, having 3000 women and children dependent upon them, were out
of employment, and here the pirate crews landed and plundered and burnt
houses near the shore. The inhabitants of the Cinque Ports petition
against the ‘force and fury’ of the Dunkirkers, and complain that they
are ‘miserably oppressed by them and dare not go about our voyages to
Scarborough and Yarmouth, or fish in the North Sea.’[1176]

There were many English sailors among the privateer crews, and the local
knowledge of these men was invaluable in enabling the ships to lie off
the mouths of the harbours or to chase close inshore. Duties of two and
five shillings a chaldron were levied, from February 1628, on all coal
laden at Newcastle or Sunderland, destined respectively for English or
foreign ports, to pay for a guard on the eastern coast, which was an
audacious mode of taxing a particular industry for general protection,
seeing that the tunnage and poundage was especially allotted to naval
purposes. The money thus obtained was probably not applied to naval
preparation at all, or, if it were it had small result, since, exactly a
year afterwards, the London fishmongers protested that nothing could pass
between Yarmouth and the river, and that the city would soon be deprived
of fish. Coincidently with this the Yarmouth people stated that they were
accustomed to send 300 fishing boats to sea, but that the Dunkirkers
were so numerous that they could not go out.[1177] Even when the first
ship-money fleet was cruising in 1635, coasters and Dover packet boats
were stopped and pillaged while the royal fleet was riding in the Downs.
Again, in September 1636, while Northumberland’s vessels were mostly
in the North Sea forcing the Dutch fishermen to take licences, the
shipowners of the western ports petitioned that the Channel was so full
of Turks that they dared not send anything to sea, that seamen refused to
sail or fishermen to fish.[1178]

Then in 1637 there is a sudden change. In July Nicholas was told,
‘The coast has been free all this summer, and is from all Turks and
pirates,’[1179] the explanation being that, in March, Rainsborow had
sailed on the too long deferred punitive expedition and was still before
Sallee. About this time a Protestant clergyman, who was four years a
captive at Algiers, wrote, ‘During my abode there ... their armadoes
kept an account of 1700 sail of Christian ships they had taken. The
Lord stir up the hearts of Christian princes to root out that nest
of pirates.’[1180] One Christian prince had at last been moved to an
elementary sense of duty, and the expedition of 1637, whereby 300 or
400 Englishmen were rescued from hopeless slavery, was, in design and
execution, the solitary success of Charles’s naval administration.[1181]
But its effect was only temporary, and the last notice in 1640, before
the Parliament took matters in hand, is a letter from the Mayor of Exeter
to the Council, stating that sixty sail of Turks were on the coast,
and that they had landed near Penzance and carried off men, women, and




[Sidenote: The Commissioners.]

The system, inaugurated in 1618, of governing the Navy by Commissioners,
acting under the Lord Admiral, remained in force until February 1628,
when the four Principal Officers resumed control under Buckingham.
Although the Commissioners’ direction was of course, both in ability and
honesty, immeasurably superior to that of Mansell, they cannot be said
to have risen to any great excellence of administration. In October 1627
Charles, in writing to the Duke, apologised for the slowness with which
supplies were furnished, ‘the cause whereof is ... the slow proceedings
of the Commissioners of the Navy (which all Commissions are liable
to).’[1183] If King and minister were both of this opinion, it would
account for the supersession which so soon followed. After Buckingham’s
murder the post of Lord Admiral was put into commission, and the new
Lords of the Admiralty[1184] were even more reliant on the capacity of
the Principal Officers than had been their predecessors; but they appear
to have been also suspicious and distrustful of them.

[Sidenote: Buckingham.]

Of Buckingham it may be said that, had he possessed less power, he
would have made a better chief. In the ten years he held office[1185]
he practically doubled the effective of the Navy, for the Commissioners
could have done little without his aid. So far as the emptiness of the
treasury would allow he enlarged and repaired docks and storehouses, and,
if he did not discover, he was one of the first to appreciate the true
naval importance of Portsmouth. He provided for the home manufacture of
cordage by inducing Dutchmen to settle here and teach Englishmen their
art; and he increased in number, and made permanent, the ropehouses
attached to English dockyards. He reintroduced lieutenants and corporals
on board ship, and was the first administrator who began systematic naval
and gunnery instruction in the service. It is difficult to apportion the
credit for the reforms which followed 1618 between the Commissioners and
Buckingham. Nicholas[1186] gives it to Buckingham; but Nicholas was his
private secretary, and we know that the Duke had no grasp of detail. On
the other hand he wrote in praise of Buckingham after the Duke’s death,
when he had nothing more to hope from him, and it is certain that the
Commissioners could not have stood for twenty-four hours against the
vested interests they attacked without Buckingham’s consistent support.
Unfortunately for his memory he must be judged, not as head of the
Navy, but as the all-powerful minister, and in that sense history has
pronounced its verdict.

[Sidenote: The Principal Officers.]

Since 1618 the duties of the Treasurer of the Navy had become, and
remained in the future, almost entirely financial. His salary was
increased, from 1630, by the grant of the poundage of threepence on all
payments made by him, including wages, instead of, as before, only on
those to merchants supplying stores; as well as a house at Deptford and
other advantages, and in 1634 his fixed fee was raised from £270, 13s 4d
to £645, 13s 4d.[1187] He even received the poundage on the salaries of
the other three Officers, and they were continually petitioning for an
advance in their rate of pay, which had remained unaltered since their
posts were created by Henry VIII. It is suggestive to find that, among
their reasons for the requested increase, they mention that before the
reforms of 1618 they had an allowance of £60 a year from the Treasurer
and Victualler for passing their accounts;[1188] and the Surveyor and
Comptroller estimated the total annual value of their perquisites before
that date at £384 and £430 respectively. This included the allowance
from the Treasurer and Victualler, commissions given by officers on
appointment, and dividends divided among them from the sale of old

In 1637 they appear to have been promised that if they could obtain their
augmentation without going to the royal coffers for it they were welcome
to whatever they could get. Accordingly they point out that in this year
they had prevented fraudulent overcharge on the part of owners of hired
merchantmen to the extent of £1874, and they therefore desired to divide
the whole of this sum.[1190] What advantage this would be to the crown
they omitted to say. They were exceptionally unlucky, seeing that most
officials had only to petition in order to receive. In one case £20 a
year was taken off the salaries of the masters attendant, but, when these
complained, they had each £40 a year added and with less work. Their ill
fortune was, perhaps, due to the disfavour with which the Lords of the
Admiralty seem to have usually viewed them, and it was not until the
era of the Long Parliament, when, from motives of fear, all wages were
raised, that they shared in the general increase.

None of these Officers was of any historic interest. For two and a half
years, between 1627[1191] and 1629, Sir Sackville Crowe was Treasurer,
but he, to put as favourable a construction as possible on what happened,
got his accounts into confusion to the extent of £1500.[1192] Before and
after Crowe, Sir Wm. Russell was sole Treasurer[1193] till 1639,[1194]
then for two years with the younger Vane,[1195] and again in 1642 by
himself till August, after which Vane alone was reappointed. Russell
was a mere man of affairs, who confined himself to his accounts, and
seems never to have ventured an opinion on anything outside them. Sir
Thos. Aylesbury was the first Surveyor of the Navy in 1628, and he,
when he resigned, was succeeded by Kenrick Edisbury,[1196] perhaps the
most observant and energetic of the chief Officers, who held the post
till his death in 1638, when he was succeeded by Wm. Batten,[1197] who
was appointed ‘during pleasure,’ instead of by patent for life, as in
preceding cases.[1198] Sir Guildford Slingsby had been Comptroller of
the Navy under Mansell, and was again given the same office in February
1628 by Charles. The main incidents of his second tenure which have come
down to us relate to his assaults on his inferiors, and his quarrels with
his brother Officers. Immediately after his appointment, John Wells, the
storekeeper of the Navy, petitioned that, although the other officers had
allotted him lodgings in the Navy Office, Slingsby, to accommodate his
family and servants, ‘hath violently taken his lodgings from him.’[1199]
In 1629 his colleagues complained to the Lords Commissioners that he had
felled with a pocket pistol, and otherwise maltreated, the man in charge
of the Navy Office, and kept him out of the house, notwithstanding their
wish to reinstate him.[1200] Slingsby died in 1632, and Sir H. Palmer
succeeded him. The most notable event in Palmer’s official career was his
excuse for selling government cordage and pocketing the proceeds—‘because
his predecessors had done the like.’ He subsequently amended this defence
by saying that he had spent the money on naval necessaries.[1201] Denis
Fleming and Thos. Barlow[1202] were successively Clerks of the Navy; and
Edward Nicholas, who had been Buckingham’s secretary, became secretary to
the Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Till 1628 William Burrell was in charge of all shipbuilding and repairs,
and in 1629 Burrell and Phineas Pett were made assistants to the
Principal Officers. Burrell died in 1630, and from January 1631 Pett
became himself a Principal Officer, being three months junior to Sir
Kenelm Digby, who had been appointed in the previous October. Neither
Digby nor Pett had any defined duties, and in Digby’s case the position
seems to have been almost entirely honorary, although at one time he was
treating with Mervyn for the latter’s command in the Channel. Mervyn
asked £5000, his arrears of pay, to his rights in which Digby would
presumably succeed, and the £3000 he had given for his admiralship of
the narrow seas.[1203] It would be a matter of some interest to know to
whom that £3000 was paid, but there had been obviously no secrecy in the

After Buckingham’s death the Lords Commissioners met twice a week,
sometimes at Wallingford House and sometimes in the Council Chamber at
Whitehall. In March 1638 the child Duke of York was made Lord Admiral
for life,[1204] and Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland, his
acting substitute during the King’s pleasure;[1205] the Navy therefore,
ceased to be governed by commission from that date. In 1628 the Principal
Officers met at St Martin’s Lane, but in March 1630 some rooms were taken
for them in a house in Mincing Lane at a rental of £30 a year.[1206]
Thenceforward expenses incurred in relation to that house appear in many
of the accounts. It cost £150 for furnishing, twelve months’ beer there
£13, 8s,[1207] yearly water rate £1, 6s 8d, but only 3s 6d for Christmas

Although in 1628 the four Officers had been reinstated in a portion
of their former authority, they by no means escaped the control of,
and occasionally severe censure from, the Lords of the Admiralty.
Sometimes my Lords considered that their sympathies ran rather with
their subordinates than with the King’s interests, and, as most of them
had been suspended for acts similar to those they were called upon to
condemn in minor officials, the charge was not unfounded.[1208] In the
fleet of 1637 embezzlement of stores by the boatswains had been very
general. There was nothing unusual in this, but the resolve of the
Lords Commissioners to punish the guilty persons appeared to strike the
Principal Officers as both unusual and unfair. Their pleas on behalf of
these men provoked the Commissioners to write, ‘We observe that you are
more apt to intercede for those that are most faulty than to certify
what you find against other boatswains ... it is time by due punishment
to break up this custom of the boatswains’ exorbitant wasting of his
majesty’s stores, the continuance whereof so long with impunity hath,
it seems, made the Officers think it almost lawful.’[1209] On another
occasion they were told, ‘If you were as careful of his majesty’s service
as you are to cast all such unfitting troubles on us, you would gain
much more reputation and esteem to yourselves’;[1210] and, once again,
reference was made to their ‘supine negligence.’ While they were exposed
to these snubs from their superiors, one of their inferiors certainly,
and others probably, expressed opinions of them with the same frankness.
They complained to the Lords that Francis Brooke, storekeeper at
Portsmouth, ‘used many base words of ourselves, calling us loggerheads.’
Perhaps the Admiralty agreed with him; at any rate it is not found that
Brooke was reprimanded, so that the only consolation left to them was
their salaries.

Observers who acquitted the Principal Officers of intentional fraud
accused them of incompetence. They were said not to know where their
respective duties began or ended, but the conditions under which they
worked were not favourable to success in management. Each one kept his
books at his own residence, and neither sufficient time nor assistance
was allowed for the various duties of inspection or bookkeeping which
fell to him. Moreover they were compelled to purchase stores from persons
holding patents for the sale of special articles such as iron, canvas,
etc., a necessity sufficient to account for any depth of badness in the

[Sidenote: Frauds and Thefts.]

Whether the confusion was due to neglect or overwork, the effect on
the lower ranks of naval employés was the same. From the first year of
the reign we have a continuous record of carelessness and fraud, which
neither Commissioners nor Lords Commissioners seem to have been able to
stamp out. In 1625, on board the ships at sea, pursers charged on the
full number of men supposed to be mustered, and shared the profits made
on those absent with their captains, while gunners and boatswains each
kept from two to five servants who were rated as seamen, but who were
boys and landsmen, and whose wages were retained by the officers. When
the vessels were laid up the shipkeepers were usually drunk or absent.
Captain Joshua Downing one night rowed down the Medway, and ‘might have
gone on board all ships but three and done any mischief,’ and ‘in these
twenty years last past all the navy hath not bred five able sailors nor
two able gunners.’[1211] Of 330 shipkeepers, in 1634, only 42 were ‘the
King’s own men’; the rest were hired servants or apprentices, their pay
being received by the ship, or dockyard, officers who hired them.[1212]
In 1638 matters were as bad. John Holland, then paymaster of the Navy,
wrote that the shipkeepers and apprentice servants of the officers
were coachmen, tailors, gardeners, etc., and that the apprentices were
dismissed at the end of their term as ignorant as when they joined.[1213]
Robberies were frequent. ‘Generally the watchman is the thief and the
shipkeeper the cabin-breaker;’ but the ship and dockyard officers dared
not prosecute, because such a course would have called attention to
their own delinquencies.[1214] Downing’s experience did not evoke much
attention, since, in the following year, it was reported from Chatham,
‘There are divers that are upon the king’s majesty’s charges both for
victuals and wages, but give no attendance nor do no service; neither
can we take any muster of any man but just at dinner time, for no longer
than they are tied by the teeth are they to be kept on board,’[1215] this
being in the full stress of war time.

When captains were turning their men-of-war into cargo boats, to enable
merchants to defraud the customs,[1216] we need not be surprised that
their inferior officers allowed themselves license in theft, and the
references to carpenters, gunners, boatswains, and pursers, about the
illicit sale of ships’ stores are innumerable. That fortunes were made
from ‘chips’ taken out of the dock yards is well known. ‘The infinite
abuse and prejudice the king has in all or most of his yards under
colour of chips is intolerable;‘[1217] again, ‘a great quantity of wood
is carried away by workmen when they go to breakfast, at dinner time,
and at night under colour of chips; they cut up good timber and call it
chips;‘[1218] and in some yards the shipwrights built huts in which to
store their plunder. In one case a lighter containing 8000 tree-nails,
said to be made from chips, but more probably stolen from Deptford
yard, was seized, and the destined receiver was found to be one of the
government shipwrights who also owned a private shipbuilding yard.
Some of the dockyard workmen converted the storehouses into lodgings
for themselves and their families, and this abuse continued until the
parliamentary Navy Committee made a clean sweep of them.[1219]

Of all the subordinate officials, the pursers, as in later times, were
the most acquisitive, having the greatest opportunities. Most places in
the Navy were for sale, but theirs were considered so profitable that
they were eagerly sought. In 1626 Nicholas was informed that a person,
lately mayor of Rochester, would give him £100 for the appointment to
the _Anne Royal_, or £60 for either of two others. As the ex-mayor could
only sell again, the eventual holder must have anticipated a handsome
income. One article on which he would make it was the beer; the brewer
delivered this by beer measure, but the purser served it out by wine
measure, pocketing the value of the difference.[1220] Sometimes he was
a pluralist. One man was cook of the _Bear_ and purser of the _George_,
and executed both places by deputy. Of course pursers like the others,
sold their stores ashore. But one of their particular sources of profit
was the men’s clothes. In 1623 wearing apparel was first ordered to be
provided for the men, and to be sold to them at cost price, subject to a
commission of one shilling in the pound for the purser. In 1628 it was
being sold, when obtained, at £1, 7s a suit, to be deducted from the
wages, but, as occurred with other naval requisites, the contractors
frequently refused to furnish supplies without prepayment. By 1636 the
commissions had increased. The merchant had to pay two shillings in
the pound for entering the clothes on board; the paymaster and purser
took each a further shilling on all articles sold, and of course the
unfortunate sailor had to meet all these extra and illegal perquisites,
the result being that ‘the men had rather starve than buy them.’ The
original purpose of the supply was ‘to avoyde nastie beastlyness by
contynuall wearinge of one suite of clothes, and therebie boddilie
diseases and unwholesome ill smells in every ship.’ The whole of the
clothes served out during the earlier years of the reign was not a
quantity likely to have much improved the unpleasantly suggestive
conditions of this passage.

In 1641 Northumberland, as Lord Admiral, took the business in hand, and
issued stringent regulations which forbade the sailor to purchase more
than fifty shillings’ worth of clothing a year, at fixed prices, and
reduced the commission to sixpence in the pound, which was to be paid to
the purser by the vendor.[1221] When, as rarely happened, a purser was
honest, he seems to have been assaulted and persecuted by his captain,
and his position on board rendered unbearable. Perhaps the key to the
situation is to be found in their petition of 1639, when many of the
pursers asked for increased pay, saying, ‘We know not how to subsist in
our places without the continuance of what has ever been tolerated, or
else the grant of a competent salary.’[1222] Corroborating this plea we
have Holland’s opinion that wages were too low, ‘most of them being for
want thereof necessitated ... either to live knaves or die beggars, and
sometimes both.’ It was however a sign of the times that when in 1640,
Thomas Smith, Northumberland’s secretary, took £40 for an appointment,
he found himself exposed to the taunts of his equals and had to defend
himself by asserting that he never bargained, but ‘what men voluntarily
give me my conscience assures me that I may take as mere gratuities.’
It was still no crime but was reaching the stage which precedes legal
condemnation. There is no trace of the sale of places during the
Commonwealth, but the custom was reintroduced with the other fashions of
the Restoration.

[Sidenote: Captains.]

Neither in their sense of honour nor in the extent of their professional
knowledge did the Navy captains of this generation favourably impress
their superiors. In August 1630 Mervyn, who was commanding in the
Channel, wrote to Nicholas that he had captains who knew neither how to
command nor how to obey; and a month later he requested that John Mennes
should be given a ship, so that he might at least have one captain who
had ‘passed his a b c.’ Men of such calibre usually owed their position
to, and obtained other advantages from, court influence and family
connections. Of one man who received £3000 as his 3 per cent. commission
on carrying treasure to Dunkirk we read, ‘You may see what a brother
or friend in the bedchamber doth.’ Another captain, his men said, was
‘fearful in oaths,’ plundered merchantmen, and threatened to kill any
one who complained of him; his crew refused to sail, because ‘for his
blasphemous swearing they feared the ship would sink under them.’ Others
were questioned for beating officers and men, but in no case does any
punishment appear to have followed. Another form of fraud which came into
existence now, and lasted till the present century, was the forging and
uttering of seamen’s tickets. The tickets were practically promises to
pay wages due, and in the state of the royal treasury were only saleable
at a heavy discount. Not only did the captains and pursers forge tickets
in the names of men who had never existed, but civilians carried on a
brisk trade in such articles, and, when Crowe was Navy Treasurer, they
were ‘such good merchandise that a penniless wag made out a ticket for
Ball, a dog ... and sold it with a letter of attorney to a man who lodged

[Sidenote: Changes during the Civil War.]

When the civil war commenced most of the non-combatant servants of the
Admiralty remained, like the officers and men, in the service of the
Parliament, which took control by means of committees, whose members
were constantly being changed. Subordinate to the Parliamentary Navy
Committee was a board called the Commissioners of Navy and Customs, whose
work was chiefly financial; and the functions of the Principal Officers,
except the Treasurer’s, were performed by another body known as the
Commissioners of the Navy. The Earl of Warwick was the parliamentary
Lord Admiral, appointed in July 1642, in place of Northumberland; he
resigned in April 1645, to be again appointed on 29th May 1648, when the
news of the Rainsborow outbreak was received. The Navy Commissioners,
during the earlier years of the war, were captains R. Cranley, John
Norris, Roger Tweedy, Wm. Batten, and Phineas Pett. Batten is still
styled Surveyor, but the old division of work was broken up, and the
official papers do not show that a Commissioner was continuously confined
to particular duties. In 1645 Batten was sent on active service, and, in
1646, Thomas Smith, probably Northumberland’s ex-secretary, and Peter
Pett, were added to the other Commissioners. The two Petts were the
Phineas Pett who built the _Sovereign of the Seas_ and Peter Pett his

In one matter the Parliament found itself better off than the previous
administration, for the question of timber had for years been a
difficulty, the royal forests having deteriorated from various causes.
Now, in spite of increased requirements, it was obtained more easily by
the process of seizing the timber on delinquents’ estates. In 1632 a
report was made on the condition of the forests, when that of Dean was
said to be ‘wasted and ruined,’ the New Forest was ‘so decayed’ that
there were not 2000 serviceable trees in it; there were not more in
Waltham Forest and hardly 400 in East Bere.[1224] Much of this wreck was
due to lavish grants made by James and Charles to private individuals; a
further cause was the open theft which went on, sufficient wood to build
ships being sometimes taken away without any attempt at concealment.
Still, in 1633, there were 166,000 trees left in the Forest of Dean of an
average value of twenty shillings a tree.[1225]

[Sidenote: Ordnance Powder and Shot.]

John Browne, who held the appointment of ‘King’s gunfounder’ under James
I, continued in that office during the whole of this reign. The price
of ordnance in 1625 was from £13 to £14 a ton, and did not afterwards
materially vary. Many complaints were made about the excessive solidity
and weight of naval guns, which caused much of the straining and rolling
at sea, and they were so unnecessarily strong that when sold abroad the
new owners rebored them for larger shot. In 1626 Browne was granted a
reward of £200 for casting lighter guns which had withstood a double
proof; but, notwithstanding this encouragement, he, like every one else
dealing with the crown, suffered in his purse. By June 1628 upwards of
£11,000 was due to him; and Evelyn, the powder contractor, had £2400
owing to him, and had refused to furnish anything more for three months
past. Coke thereupon suggested to Buckingham that Evelyn should be
compelled to resume his supplies, ‘but till the ceasing of Parliament
holds it best not to urge him too much,’ which throws an interesting side
light on general history.[1226] Notwithstanding these straits, and the
requirements of his fleets, Charles did not neglect his glorious heritage
in the crown jewels which were pawned to the Dutch, and Burlamacchi was
directed to sell 4000 tons of ordnance abroad and redeem the treasures.
As an appropriate part of the transaction Browne found himself obliged to
export in Dutch vessels, as they were provided with convoy.

In 1632 there were in store 81 brass and 147 iron pieces, presumably the
reserve behind those in the ships and forts, and 207,000 round and 3000
cross-bar shot.[1227] Stone shot are no longer mentioned. The allowance
for a second-rate was three lasts of powder, six cwt. of match, 970
round, 100 cross-bar, 70 double cross-bar shot, and 2000 rounds for small
arms.[1228] The musket trade had been gained from us by Holland since
the preceding reign, and now Sweden was underselling English founders
of big guns; in 1634 Browne, in petitioning the King for payment, said
that he had paid £1200 for a license to export ordnance, but that the
Swedes were now selling at half-price. This Swedish manufacture was
really worked by Dutch capitalists, and within twenty years the price of
English ordnance in the Low Countries had fallen from £36 to £14 a ton.
For the proper equipment of the fleet, exclusive of castles and forts, 96
lasts of powder were required in 1635, but in that year only 94 were in
store for all purposes; between 1628 and 1635 there had been no powder in
Southsea Castle, and doubtless many less important positions were equally
ill-furnished. Perhaps the crown could not supply the forts, because too
busy in private trade, the sale of gunpowder to merchants and others
being a royal monopoly. A handsome profit was made on it, the cost being
7½d per lb. and the selling price 1s 6d. In 1637 the year’s gains on this
article came to £14,786.[1229]

The Ordnance Office still retained that evil pre-eminence in sloth and
incapacity it had already earned and has never since lost, and its
situation in 1638 was that of

    the surveyor sick, the clerk restrained of his liberty, one of
    his clerks absent, the clerk of the deliveries out of town and
    his clerk absent, the master gunner dead, the yeoman of the
    ordnance never present, nor any of the gunners attendant, and
    the stores for ordnance empty.[1230]

Outcries, such as we have been also used to hear in this generation,
against their delays in serving the ships with guns and ammunition,
were loud and continuous, and, in 1639, it was proposed to return to the
original arrangement made by Henry VIII, and allow the naval authorities
to supply themselves with these necessaries. It is an illustration of
the meditative and weighty caution with which official wisdom can be
trusted to move onward from change to change that it was not until a few
years ago that the alteration suggested in 1639 was made. Finally we read
that ‘the accountant nor other officers keep no books, and the ancient
officers and clerks are adverse to all new propositions which meet their
inveterate frauds and defects.’[1231] The parliamentary leaders seem
at first to have doubted how far Browne was to be trusted, since on
30th Dec. 1645 it was ordered that his works, which had been managed by
deputies, should be given back to him.

[Sidenote: Salutes.]

Besides producing dangerous international friction, the matter of
saluting was a cover for theft and an excuse for waste at home. The Lord
Admiral seems to have been the only person whose reception was according
to distinct forms, and for him the royal standard was to fly at the main,
yards to be manned, and on his approach within musket shot of the ship
the trumpets were to cease, and ‘all who carry whistles are to whistle
his welcome three times, and in the intervals the crew to cheer.’[1232]
Butler notices the fondness of the English for making a noise as a mark
of deference, and the expenditure of powder in this way was described
as the ‘main excuse of gunners’ frauds,’ and as causing the waste of at
least a thousand barrels of powder a year. Every one stood closely on
his honour in the matter of salutes, and in 1631 Pennington was fired on
from Pendennis Castle for not striking his flag. No occurrence was of
too little consequence to be thus signalised. In one gunner’s accounts
we find: One faucon when the master’s wife went ashore.... One minion
the master commanded to be shot off to a ship his father was in.... We
shot two faucons in healths and three when Master Newton went ashore.’
Of another gunner it was remarked: ‘He cannot write, yet presents the
account here enclosed, in which you see the King’s powder spent in
salutations of ketches and oyster boats.... I shall shortly send far
greater and fouler examples of powder purloined by the last.’[1233]

The hired merchantmen in the royal pay had as much self-respect on
this question as men-of-war, and saluted towns on entering and leaving
harbour, the captain’s brother, and ‘the captain’s friends for their
farewell’ in orthodox service fashion. The large ones had, in some
respects, the advantage of the smaller men-of-war, since the captain of
one of the latter, in accounting for his consumption of ammunition, said
that ordinary traders ‘scorned to strike to a whelp,’ and he had to force
them to their duty. The result of all this firing was that in the two
and a half years, ending on 30th June 1627, out of 653 lasts of powder
issued to the various forts, there had been 300 used in saluting.[1234]
Nor were these proceedings devoid of danger, since the repeated orders
that guns should be fired with blank charges were still disregarded, and
there are several instances mentioned of persons on shore being struck
from vessels saluting at sea. The admirals were equally sensitive about
their dignity, and when Lindsey commanded the fleet of 1635, the question
of his flags appeared to weigh most on his mind. On 1st May he complained
that he had not enough flags and was not furnished with a standard; the
next day he repeats his wants, adding that he would like a kitchen ship,
and a week afterwards he thinks himself ‘a little maimed,’ still lacking
the standard. In April 1647 the Navy Committee called attention to the
great expense caused by the constant saluting, and ordered that it should
entirely cease among men-of-war except at their first meeting with each
other, or with an admiral. A merchantman’s salute might be answered in
the proportion of one for every three, or three for every five, shots
fired by the trader. If these regulations were obeyed it was only

Among foreign powers the Dutch were the chief victims to the requirements
of maritime decorum, here complicated by the dispute about the dominion
of the narrow seas. In July 1626 the captain of Deal Castle fired at a
Dutchman which came into the roads with colours flying, and made the
master pay ten shillings, the cost of the shot. In his report of the
affair he says, ‘The rather did I it because I have heard it imputed
that we have lost the jurisdiction of the narrow seas.’ Six years later
a man-of-war having been sent to Calais to fetch the body of Sir Isaac
Wake, her captain had the audacity to force the French to strike their
colours to him.[1235]

When Lindsey went to sea in 1635, his instructions ran that his
‘principal care’ was to make foreign fleets perform their ‘duty and
homage,’ and if they refused, to make them answer for their ‘high
contempt.’[1236] Remembering the state of Lindsey’s fleet, not only in
the absence of the standard that he deplored so sadly, but in more urgent
essentials, such as men, provisions and stores, it was perhaps fortunate
that Richelieu evaded the trial, and that the Dutch were content—for the
time—to salute all day long if Charles so pleased. Northumberland, the
next year, was told to insist on foreign ships yielding homage in Calais
and other harbours, if out of range of the forts.[1237] Wiser than his
master, if he did more than look into the French ports, he did nothing
to provoke a collision. Moreover Northumberland may have felt that he
was hardly in a situation to enforce compliance. Lindsey mentioned in
his journal that, in two days, eleven ships lost masts and topmasts,
with only ‘strong winds’ blowing, but had not thought the circumstance
deserved comment, although his vice-admiral, the old Elizabethan seaman,
Sir William Monson, was not so reticent. Northumberland’s fleet was
equally ill found, and on his return he charged the Principal Officers
with giving him ships leaky and out of repair, fitted with defective
masts and yards and bad cordage. Some, he said, were too old to be worth
repairing, and the new ones required girdling to make them fit for
sea.[1238] What the Earl thought of his men and stores has been already

However, English captains continued to carry matters with a high hand,
and in 1637, Stradling meeting a Dutch squadron which did not salute
with sufficient promptness, reported: ‘The captain of the rear-admiral
I have taken out of his ship and sent to Plymouth.’ As time wore on the
Dutch, seeing that Charles had enough to occupy his attention at home,
became more independent, and in 1639 they were searching English ships
and taking Spaniards out of them, a change from their former submissive
attitude. Parliament, however, carried on the claim to the salute. In
1647 a fleet of Swedes, 15 in number, passing down Channel refused to
lower their topsails to Captain Owen in the _Henrietta Maria_. Owen kept
up a running fight until Batten came up, and the Swedish fleet was taken
into Portsmouth.

[Sidenote: Prize Money.]

A precarious source of crown revenue was that obtained from the prize
tenths. In the two years ending with May 1626, seventy-three vessels had
been taken and proceeded against in the Admiralty Court, and Bristol paid
£7604 between 1628 and 1631. It was not until the civil war that the
crew of a ship belonging to the state had any fixed proportion of the
proceeds, but by a Council order of October 1626 ‘a competent reward’ was
to be given to the captors. On the other side seventy-seven vessels, of
100 tons and upwards, were taken by the enemy between 1625 and 1628, so
that the balance of profit was hardly with us. In another paper we are
told, the, presumably net, proceeds from Spanish prizes between July 1626
and August 1639 came to £38,158, 8s.[1239]

In October 1642 the Parliament announced that henceforth one-third of the
value of a prize was to be divided among officers and crew, in addition
to wages. Its effect was undoubted since from February 1643 to April 1649
prize goods were sold for £123,200, and this must represent an enormously
higher original value.[1240] But out of this sum officers and men only
got £14,465, while the two collectors, Thomas Smith and John Hall took
£4989, Warwick £5985, and the expenses of storage, lading and unlading,
etc., were £17,000. The delay and deductions in the payment of the thirds
were among the chief causes of the trouble the Commonwealth experienced
with the seamen in its earlier years, and in this account we see quite
extraneous charges borne upon it. The Treasurer of the Navy took £30,000
from it, Augier, the parliamentary agent in Paris, £610, the secretary
and usher of the committee of foreign affairs their salaries, and it had
to meet various other items which would now go under the head of secret
service money. The Dutch system of rewards for captures was in working
order long before ours, and was liberal enough in amount. Privateers were
allowed, beyond the value of the ship and goods taken, a state reward of
from 8000 to 30,000 guilders, the latter sum being given for any vessel
of more than 100 lasts burden.[1241] If the enemy was sunk at sea instead
of being brought into port, only half these sums were paid.

[Sidenote: Naval Expenditure.]

The following table, compiled from the _Audit Office Declared Accounts_
for the several years, gives the ordinary and extraordinary expenditure
in round figures, as well as that of ship money, of which £1,028,702 was
demanded by writ, and £716,528 was paid over to the Navy Treasurer.[1242]
The estimates for the ordinary and extraordinary are for routine, naval,
and dockyard work and the Channel squadron, and do not include the cost
of the expeditions of the first three years or of any of the later
fleets. The amounts in the last column but one are those actually paid
by Sir William Russell out of tunnage and poundage, anticipated revenue,
and other sources. For instance, in 1625 he spent £170,000, of which he
received £119,000 from the exchequer, £40,000 from tenths, fifteenths,
and subsidies, and ‘from the French king’s agent’ towards fitting out of
_Vanguard_ £4800.[1243] The last column gives the sums paid out of the
ship-money receipts for the corresponding fleets; no doubt much of the
balance went to clear off old debts, to pay for ship building, as in the
case of the _Sovereign_, and other purposes:—

  |                |Estimates for|                                    |
  |                |ordinary and |   Dockyard expenditure, ordinary   |
  |                |extraordinary|        and extraordinary           |
  |                |navy and     +-------+--------+--------+----------+
  |                |victualling  |Chatham|Woolwich|Deptford|Portsmouth|
  |                |      £      |    £  |    £   |    £   |    £     |
  |   1625         |    28,000   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1626         |    28,700   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1627[1244]   |    40,500   |  8445 |   1522 |  1714  |     370  |
  |   1628         |    40,800   |  5860 |    704 |  3171  |     359  |
  |   1629         |    47,000   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1630         |    34,700   |  4977 |    185 |  2141  |    1460  |
  |   1631         |    34,200   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1632         |    27,900   |  6700 |     97 |  1025  |    1591  |
  |   1633         |    28,600   |  7453 |    100 |  1233  |    1834  |
  |   1634         |    31,300   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1635         |    31,200   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1636         |    15,500   |  5050 |    625 |  3029  |    3000  |
  |   1637         |    14,200   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1638         |    20,300   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1639         |    38,100   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1640         |    38,800   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1641         |    38,500   |       |        |        |          |
  |   1642         |    28,700   |       |        |        |          |
  |13th May 1645 to|}            |       |        |        |          |
  | 31st Dec. 1646 |}            |       |        |        |          |
  |   1647         |             |       |        |        |          |
  |1st Jan 1648 to |}            |22,000 |   3414 |   2247 |    5189  |
  | 12th May 1649  |}            |       |        |        |          |

  |                |       |         |          |
  |                |       |Actually |Paid out  |
  |                |Cordage|expended |of        |
  |                |       |   by    |ship-money|
  |                |       |Treasurer|          |
  |                |   £   |    £    |    £     |
  |   1625         |       | 170,000 |          |
  |   1626         |       | 117,000 |          |
  |   1627[1244]   |       |  63,000 |          |
  |   1628         |       | 110,000 |          |
  |   1629         |       |  57,000 |          |
  |   1630         |  4805 | 102,000 |          |
  |   1631         |       |  46,000 |          |
  |   1632         |  4455 |  21,000 |          |
  |   1633         |  4145 |  69,000 |          |
  |   1634         |       |  48,000 |          |
  |   1635         |       |  85,000 |  88,000  |
  |   1636         |  3265 |  58,000 | 136,000  |
  |   1637         |       |  12,500 | 122,000  |
  |   1638         |       |  22,000 | 109,000  |
  |   1639         |       |  58,000 |  47,500  |
  |   1640         |       |  78,000 |  44,500  |
  |   1641         |       |  88,000 |          |
  |   1642         |       |  66,000 |          |
  |13th May 1645 to|}      | 392,000 |          |
  | 31st Dec. 1646 |}      |         |          |
  |   647          |       | 178,000 |          |
  |1st Jan 1648 to |}      | 336,000 |          |
  | 12th May 1649  |}      |         |          |

The disbursements during the civil war years by no means represented the
whole of the naval expenses, there being always hundreds of thousands
of pounds owing. The authorities, however, took care that the executive
branches should be comparatively punctually paid, owners of hired ships
and purveyors of stores being the principal sufferers by delay. There
is another paper[1245] which gives the amounts for the years wanting in
the official returns, and is perhaps more reliable than them in that it
includes the total expenses, both in money paid and liabilities incurred.
In view of the general belief that this country was vastly weaker in
ships than Holland at the outbreak of the first Dutch war of 1652, the
strength of the parliamentary fleets deserves especial notice:—

  |              |Men-of-|Armed   |Cost of      |Cost of     |Total[1246] |
  |              |war    |Merchant|Men-of-war   |Merchantmen |            |
  |              |       |-men    |             |            |            |
  |              |       |        |   £    s   d|  £    s  d |   £    s  d|
  |1642          |  19   |   23   |122,988 16  3|74,342  8 0 |204,810 16 3|
  |              | [1247]|        |             |            |            |
  |              |       |        |             |            |            |
  |1643, S.[1248]|  36   |   32   |133,760  3  0|74,881 11 6}|            |
  |1643, W.[1249]|  20   |        |             |           }|332,869 15 3|
  |              |       |        |             |            |            |
  |1644, S.      |  36   |   23   |106,349 10  4|49,088 15 0}|246,970 16 4|
  |1644, W.      |  18   |        |             |           }|            |
  |              |       |        |             |            |            |
  |1645, S.      |  34   |   25   | 93,161  3  9|43,947  4 6}|            |
  |1645, W.      |  29   |        |             |           }|256,495  5 0|
  |              |       |        |             |            |[1250]      |
  |1646, S.      |  45   |   20   |138,194  6  4|42,931  8 0}|            |
  |1646, W.      |  26   |        |             |           }|300,356 18 0|
  |              |       |        |             |            |[1250]      |
  |1647, S.      |  43   |   16   |124,395 12  0|44,743  8 0}|            |
  |1647, W.      |  29   |        |             |           }|244,655  0 0|
  |              |       |        |             |            |[1251]      |

Vane acted under an ‘ordinance of both houses of 8th August 1642,
concerning subsidy of tunnage and poundage,’ and simply continued the
forms and system used by his predecessors.[1252]

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Portsmouth.]

Among the dockyards the most noticeable change is the steady increase in
the use made of Portsmouth, while Woolwich was almost discarded, part of
it being leased in 1633 to the East India Company at £100 a year.[1253]
The rent was to be expended in building a wall round the yard, and in
the repair of buildings.[1254] It had long been pointed out that it
frequently cost a fleet as much time and trouble to get round from the
Thames to Portsmouth as from that place to the Mediterranean, and under
Buckingham’s administration it came into favour as a rendezvous for the
ships prepared for service. Very soon after the destruction of the old
dock the advisability of replacing it, came under discussion, and in 1627
the Duke caused estimates to be prepared for the construction of a double
dock, but his death deferred the question.[1255] In 1630 Pett, Sir Thos.
Aylesbury and others were sent down to report on its capabilities, and
they recommended that the men-of-war should ride in Fareham creek, at
the head of the harbour, about a mile and a half from Porchester, and
two miles from the then dockyard, a proposal which was adopted. They did
not advise the making of a dry dock, thinking the rise and fall of the
tide too little, and ‘there is no use of any there;‘[1256] but personal
interests were also in the way, the comfort and pecuniary advantages of
the shipwrights being bound up with the Thames and Medway yards.

From this date, however, a few ships were always stationed at Portsmouth,
but it was not until January 1638 that a master shipwright was ordered
to reside there permanently; before that time the shipwrights had taken
the duty in turns, and the absence of a dry dock, although several times
intended to have been commenced, was still causing inconvenience and
expense. Russell complained that ‘his Majesty cannot have a pennyworth of
work there done under twopence, in respect the King’s yard and the ships
be so far asunder for transporting materials.’ The dockyard consisted
chiefly of storehouses, and orders had been given that all private
houses near them were to be tiled instead of thatched, the former having
been once already burnt down during the reign of Elizabeth.[1257] It is
difficult to say what extent of ground belonged to the crown at this
time. No additions are known to have been made to the land since the
purchases of Henry VIII but between 1630 and 1640 various new buildings
were erected.

Another cause of hesitation in the adoption of Portsmouth as a permanent
naval station was the diverse opinions expressed as to the existence of
the _Teredo navalis_ in the harbour. This maritime pest, which begins
to be especially noticed during Elizabeth’s reign, played havoc with
ships mostly unsheathed, and whose sheathing, when it did exist, was ill
adapted to resist its ravages. In 1630 the chief shipwrights reported
that ‘no worm destructive to ships is bred in Portsmouth harbour;’ five
years later some of the same men turned round with, ‘We positively
conclude that there is a worm in that harbour.’ The decision was still
postponed till, in September 1645, a number of shipwrights were sent
down, and it thenceforward rapidly grew in naval importance, although the
dry dock, so often ordered, was not commenced till 1656.

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Chatham.]

Chatham was now the first of English dockyards, and in 1634 contained
the seventy or eighty acres, held on the lease of 1618, which was now
lost. In March 1627 Coke, at the request of the King of Denmark, sent
a Dane named Andersen there with a letter of recommendation to the
officials, desiring them to explain to him their methods of work. The
request was complimentary, but Andersen could hardly have been very
favourably impressed by all he saw and heard. The dockyard service
was as much disorganised as the rest of the administration; the
_Assurance_ had recently been repaired only by the expedient of selling
fifty-four guns to pay the expenses,[1258] and £7740 was owing to the
shipwrights and shipkeepers there, nearly eighteen months’ wages being
over-due.[1259] They had of course freely petitioned, but ‘a letter
to persuade the workmen to go on cheerfully’ had quieted them for the
time. One explanation of their patience may be found in the existence
of a rule under which persons in the naval departments could not be
proceeded against legally until permission was given by the authorities.
Just before Andersen’s visit work had been at a standstill for want of
materials to the value of £400, which the government could not obtain on
credit, and in April the workmen still had fifteen months’ pay due. Both
the Commissioners and Principal Officers confessed their inability in
face of these difficulties, since, if the men were discharged, they came
clamouring and threatening daily for their wages, and if kept on there
were not sufficient stores for them to work with.[1260] Matters did not
improve, and in 1629 Edisbury pointed out that, in addition to all this,
great waste and theft existed, many families living in the dockyards,
and cabins and other parts of the ships being daily ransacked, and the
materials stolen or used for fire wood, ‘every one almost being director
of his own work for want of some able, understanding man to regulate the
inferiors, as it was while the Commissioners had the government.’[1261]
This handsome testimonial to the merits of the Commissioners, lately
relieved, may be considered impartial, for the interests of Edisbury,
then paymaster, but shortly to be himself a Principal Officer, were bound
up with those of the Officers.

Another writer tells us that the master shipwrights rated their
subordinates according to favour, and that they themselves were
sometimes absent for one or two months at the time at their own private
yards.[1262] In thirteen years’ experience he had never known any
inferior suffer for delinquency, ‘although he had been convicted of
divers stealths.’ At the most they were suspended, and then restored, and
the entries in the State Papers bear out Holland’s assertions. He also
tells us that Fridays, being the Rochester market days, were kept as a
general holiday in the dockyard; the expenditure on ornamental carving
and painting had become four times as great as formerly, because the
amount was left to the master shipwrights who refused to be outdone by
each other; if work was done by contract, a bill was usually sent in
for ‘overworkes’ which exceeded the original contract amount, and, as
result, the shipwrights’ houses were ‘fitter for knights than men of
their quality,’ These houses had back doors opening into the dockyard—for
obvious purposes, the writer hints.

The almost incredible financial straits of the treasury may be measured
by the fact that some storehouses in Chatham yard having been damaged
by a storm in January 1630 the money necessary for the repairs—only
£20—had to be obtained by selling old cordage.[1263] Large sums, however,
were at various times expended on maintaining, improving, and enlarging
the yards. In 1629 there was spent £2197 on Portsmouth, Deptford, and
Chatham;[1264] and in 1634 there was a further estimate of £2445, for
the same places for additions subsequently carried out, one of them
being a brick wall round part of the yard at Chatham. The barricade
across the Medway at Upnor, although it had been allowed to become almost
useless, was still nominally maintained. It must have been an expensive
defence, since the estimate in 1635 for another, made like the earlier
ones of masts, came to £2305, besides involving a yearly outlay of £624
to keep it in good order. An iron chain weighing twenty-eight tons,
and held by eleven anchors, was recommended in its place, as costing
only £1500.[1265] It is not known whether either plan was carried out.
The Long Parliament further enlarged the dockyards, and cared for the
shipwrights spiritually as well as physically. In 1644 they ordered that
a lecture should be delivered at Deptford every Wednesday morning on
‘saving truths,’ and the time thus occupied was not to be deducted from
the men’s pay.

[Sidenote: Stores.]

In 1637 the stores at Woolwich, Deptford, Chatham, Portsmouth, and on
board the ships in harbour comprised 1446 tons of cables and cordage,
221 tons of anchors, 79 lasts of tar, sails made up to the value of
£4500, canvas not made up to £5000, 167 compasses, 2236 hammocks, 520
masts, 1200 spars, 3694 loads of timber, and 332,000 tree-nails.[1266]
This was in the full flush of the ship-money receipts, yet both cordage
and timber are far below the minimum considered necessary by either
Principal Officers or Commissioners. As in later years ships lying up
were dismantled, and in 1631 the Lords of the Admiralty ordered that,
instead of sails and rigging being kept in a confused heap at Chatham, a
room, with the ship’s name painted on the door, should be provided for
the belongings of each vessel. In 1637 Hildebrand Pruson died, he and
his father having been sailmakers to the Navy for sixty years. Edisbury
then tried, but in vain, to persuade the Lords Commissioners to have
the sails made at Chatham and save a fifth of their cost. So far from
undertaking fresh responsibilities they desired to transfer some of
those they already bore. They were at the time negotiating with Russell
about an offer he had made to provide the squadron for the narrow seas by
contract at £3 a man per month, that rate to cover all expenses except
those of repairs to the vessels.[1267] They were to be nine months out of
the twelve at sea, and doubtless Russell saw his way to a profit, but the
proposal was not carried into effect. There were few naval improvements
introduced under Charles. Deck ring-bolts for the lashing of ordnance
were first supplied in 1628;[1268] staysails came into use early in the
reign, one of the whelps having two in 1633, and in 1639 there were forty
in store at Portsmouth, but they seem to have been only fitted to the
smaller classes of ships. In 1633 studding sails are included among the
stores at Chatham.

[Sidenote: Flags.]

However badly off fleets might be in material necessaries, they should
have been well furnished with the æsthetic refreshment of flags,
judging from the number in store. In 1626 £1280 was spent in providing
them, and in January 1627 there were 415 of various kinds to be had at
Chatham alone, and however low in the future might fall the reserves of
powder every care was taken that the men should not lack this solace.
A proclamation was issued on 5th May 1634 commanding that English and
Scotch merchantmen were no longer to fly the Union flag of St George’s
and St Andrew’s crosses, but to each keep to its own national cross,
men-of-war alone flying the Union.[1269] The parliamentary committees
were just as fond of flags, for in the sixteen months ending with
November 1646 they spent £1178 on these articles, while sailors’ hammocks
for the same period cost of £777. For 1647 their bill for flags was £567,
and for hammocks £307. In February 1649 the parliament ordered that
men-of-war should carry a St George’s cross on a white ground, similar
to the present admiral’s flag, which, although the St George’s cross
had been in general use for many centuries, may be considered to be the
beginning of the present naval ensign in its special form.[1270]

[Sidenote: Prices.]

The following prices were paid for naval necessaries at various dates:—

  Cordage (1625), £26, 13s 4d a ton.
     ” (1629), £32 a ton.
     ” (1631), £30 ”
     ” (1640), ”  ”
  Tar (1631), £8, 10s a last.
    ” (1635), £10, a last.
  Rosin (1631), £13, a ton.
  Train oil (1631), £20 a ton.
  Crooked and straight timber (1631), £1, 10s a load.
  Knee timber (1631), £2, 10s a load.
  Elm    ”      ”     £1   6s    ”
    ”    ”    (1640), £1, 12s    ”
    ”  plank  (1626), £1, 18s    ”
  Oak    ”       ”    £2,  2s    ”
    ”    ”    (1640), £3, 11s    ”
  French canvas (1635), £22 a bale.
  Ipswich   ”   (1626), £1, 6s a bolt.
     ”      ”   (1635), £1, 10s a bolt.
  Powder (1627), £5 a barrel.
     ”   (1646), £4, 10s a barrel.
  Round shot (1627), £11 a ton.
  Musket shot (1627), £14 a ton.
  Hammocks (1625), 2s each.
     ”     (1642), 2s 7d each.
  Anchors (1626), £1, 10s to £2 per cwt.
     ”    (1631), £2 per cwt.
     ”    (1640), £1, 13s per cwt.
  Beer (1635), 28s to 34s the tun.
    ”  (1646), 38s the tun.
  Beef in 4-lb. pieces (1635), 9d and 10d the piece.
  Pork in 2-lb. pieces (1635), 5d and 6d the piece.
  Codfish (1635), £4, 3s the cwt.
  Biscuit    ”    13s and 14s the cwt.
  Seamen’s clothes (1628):—[1271]
    Shirts, 3s 4d each;
    caps, 2s each;
    cotton breeches, 2s 8d each;
    stockings, 1s 4d a pair;
    canvas suits, 6s each;
    cotton waistcoats, 3s each.



[Sidenote: The Events of the Interregnum.]

Among the many social and political developments which characterised
the era of the Commonwealth the most interesting, to the naval student,
is the sudden expansion of our maritime power and the extension of its
field of action. There was no previous experience to justify our rulers
in supposing that the drain in men and money necessary to the support
of a great navy—equal to that of the combined powers of Europe—could
be borne by a state already exhausted by civil war; and it may well be
that, although the sequence of events showed the maintenance of such a
force not to be beyond the national capacity, the strain on the national
resources between 1649 and 1660 was a large factor in creating the
popular discontent which welcomed the return of the Stewarts.

Under Charles I the pecuniary resources of the crown were unequal to the
construction of ships during war time, while the launch of one, or at
the most two, a year in the time of peace was thought to be sufficient
cause for legitimate pride and congratulation: under the Commonwealth
they were ordered by tens at the time, and in one year—1654—twenty-two
new men-of-war left the slips, besides the hired merchantmen in pay and
the numerous prizes fitted out for naval service. Under Charles the
preparation of a single fleet for a peaceful summer cruise in the narrow
seas necessitated a previous year of preparation, while the coasts were
supposed to be sufficiently protected by the occasional presence of a few
small vessels: under the Commonwealth, besides a powerful reserve kept
in the Downs ready for immediate action, besides the numerous cruisers
patrolling the coasts, we find for the first time that Mediterranean
station which has played so great a part in English history occupied in
force, a moderately strong West Indian squadron, and the small beginning
of the North American station. The rulers of the Commonwealth only did,
so far as home waters were concerned, what Charles vaguely desired to
do with the Navy; but the wildest dreams of Charles never pictured the
permanent Mediterranean and West Indian fleets.

It usually happens in statesmanship that administrative or executive
development on any particular line is due rather to circumstances than
intention, and the history of the republican Navy is an illustration
of this rule. At the close of the civil war it was proposed to reduce
the naval establishments, and measures were being already taken to that
effect when the Rainsborow mutiny occurred. The escape of Rupert from
Kinsale with the fleet, of which three of the revolted ships formed the
nucleus, together with the encouragement his presence at sea gave to
individual privateering, necessitated an immediate and large increase in
the Navy, which then had to protect the trade routes as well as chase
or blockade him. Rupert’s career made it obvious that the area of the
civil war had widened, and that henceforth it would be the duty of the
Navy to deal with the enemies of the republic at the circumference of
the circle, its internal foes being helpless without aid from abroad.
How little those in power anticipated the changes a few years were to
effect in our maritime strength, and how doubtfully they regarded the
means available to contend even with Rupert, they themselves frankly tell
us. In June 1649 they congratulated themselves that they had a fleet at
sea such as they scarcely hoped for or their enemies expected, but ‘how
the Commonwealth will be able to continue the same in successive years
is not easy to evidence.’[1272] But the episode of Rupert was followed
by the more expensive Dutch and Spanish wars, both of which required
the existence of large fleets at sea and an ample reserve, and their
sequel in the prolonged visits of Blake and his successor, Stokes, to the
Mediterranean, from which we may date the reappearance of England as a
European power.

The crucial difficulty of finance, which had wrecked the designs of
Charles I, presented fewer obstacles to Parliament and the Protector.
By means of the monthly assessments, delinquents’ compositions, sale of
lands, excise, and other methods, the sum of £95,000,000 is declared to
have been raised between 1642 and 1660.[1273] This gives an average of
upwards of five and a quarter millions a year, against far less than a
million a year raised by Charles, and, even allowing for the cost of
the army and the debts incurred during the civil war, enables us to
understand the comparative ease with which the heavy naval expenses were
met at first by the government, and why outbreaks of discontent on the
part of the men were few, and at once easily appeased by the payment of
wages which had been allowed to become too long over-due. The financial
system of the Commonwealth was reckless and improvident, inasmuch as it
largely consisted in living on capital by the alienation of private or
corporate property which, if confiscated, should have been held to the
profit of the state; but probably no system of taxation alone could have
met the demands of the army and Navy during those years. Not only the
naval but every other branch of the administration was overwhelmed with
debt in 1660.

[Sidenote: The Dutch War.]

By far the most important event of the interregnum was the Dutch War,
since our success in that struggle shaped the future course of English
commercial development and, in its results, caused English fleets to
be henceforward influential factors in continental politics. Although
the conditions were, in reality, not at all unequal, an attack made
on the richest and greatest maritime power in the world by a nearly
bankrupt state which, with the exception of the passable success of
1596, had failed in every important naval enterprise undertaken since
1588, and which in that year had only succeeded—so far as the fruits of
victory were concerned—by the chance of wind and wave and the aid of
the very nation now assailed, must have seemed to many contemporaries
a more than hazardous venture. When success seemed to be definitely
inclining towards this country, the _Weekly Intelligencer_ of 7th June
1653 soberly remarked that ‘our generals ... were the first who have
made it known that the Dutch are to be overcome by sea.’ The relative
position of England and the United Provinces was very similar to that
of England and France at present or recently—on the one hand a country
with a great commerce and a great navy, but a navy which, in the nature
of things, could only bear a percentage relation to the vast pecuniary
interests it was required to protect and the extent of sea it was called
upon to traverse; on the other a power which, with far less at stake
commercially, had for years been expending on its naval establishments a
sum which must have equalled or exceeded the total value of its merchant
marine,[1274] whose fleets had been yearly increased, and whose seamen
had been freshly trained by ten years of warfare. How ruinous the war
was to Dutch commerce may be measured from the fact that between 27th
July 1652 and 8th March 1653 Dutch prize goods were sold, probably much
below the normal market values, for £208,655, 3s 11d.[1275] For Holland
then, as would be the case for England now, it was not sufficient to
merely hold her own, for anything short of absolute maritime supremacy is
ruin to a nation whose existence depends on an unlimited carrying trade
and the unchecked export and import of material. The Dutch did not hold
their own, but their flag was by no means driven off the seas, and the
Dutch navy certainly not incapable of further action, when the miseries
undergone by a teeming population brought the republic to its knees in

Many circumstances and conditions coincided in weakening the position
of the United Provinces. Their share in the thirty years’ war, being
almost entirely confined to land operations, had resulted in attention
being devoted to the army at the expense of the navy, which had seen
little real service since the conclusion of the truce with Spain in 1609.
The country was distressed by the economies rendered necessary by the
heavy public debts, and was yet suffering from the results of a great
commercial crisis experienced in 1646-7.[1276] While in England faction
was, for the time, crushed, in Holland the attempts of the stadtholder
William II in 1650 and 1651 to seize supreme power had given rise to
personal and political animosities which had outlived their author,
and which are said to have had a disastrous influence on the way some
of the higher Dutch officers did their duty. But it was on the side of
the _personnel_ and administrative systems of the two countries that a
comparison is so favourable to England. The naval organisation of the
Dutch republic was directed by five distinct admiralty boards, each
exercising separate control, preparing its own ships, appointing its
own officers, and depending for co-ordinate action on the limited, and
frequently disputed, authority of the states-general. As might have been
expected, this system failed even to curb the Dunkirkers, from whom the
Dutch suffered nearly as much as did the English[1277].

Never, on the other hand, so far as administration was concerned, had
England been better prepared for war. Instead of officials who, as in
the preceding half-century, owed their posts to court influence, to
purchase, or to seniority, the work was in the hands of men chosen for
business aptitude and who, in most instances, had given proof of higher
qualifications on the field of battle or in parliamentary committees. Of
the latter class was the Admiralty Committee; but the Navy Commissioners,
and especially those Commissioners in charge of the dockyards, on whom
fell most of the duty of organisation, were officers who had been taught
by actual warfare. Prompt, capable, honest, and energetic, sparing
themselves neither in purse nor person, and frequently bringing religious
fervour as a spur to their daily service, they conveyed to war on another
element the same thoroughness and zeal which had made them victorious on

Victory in the civil war had only been gained when a weak and hesitating
commercialism, scared at its own audacity, and longing for a settlement
that would secure its own liberties at whatever sacrifices of the hopes
and consciences of others, had been steel-edged by Puritan vigour. The
men of that stern mental and moral creed were now in authority throughout
the kingdom and wielding its resources. Pitted against a nation of lower
ideals, sleekly prosperous, whose national genius had for years tended
more and more to take the one groove of trade, unwrought and unpurified
by the searchings of soul that all thinking Englishmen must have gone
through in those years, all the spiritual elements of success were on the
side of England.

Never, before or since, were the combatant branches of the Navy so well
supported. As a rule our seamen have had to beat the enemy afloat in
spite of the Admiralty ashore, but here they had every assistance that
foresight and earnestness could give. As a result of the political
troubles of 1650 and 1651 many of the oldest and most experienced of
the Dutch captains had been dismissed as adherents of the house of
Orange, and their places filled by men of whose cowardice and incapacity
bitter complaints were made by their admirals. The English captains were
officers practised by years of sea experience, or soldiers who brought
their traditions of hard fighting to bear in a fresh field. The United
Provinces had perhaps four times as many seamen as a reserve to draw
upon; but, ill paid and ill fed,[1278] devoted to peaceful pursuits, and
frequently discontented with the mercantile oligarchy governing them, the
men, although once in action they fought well, did not give that almost
enthusiastic service which characterised the Englishmen.

The news sheets of 1652-3 usually take the goodwill of the men for
granted, and this silence is itself significant; but occasionally actual
references are made, and these references, even if inventions, may be
taken as indicative of the spirit with which the men were reputed to
be imbued. They had for the Dutch that hatred their fathers felt for
Spaniards, and, for the first time for many years, they found themselves
well treated[1279]—comparatively punctually paid, properly clothed, well
fed, cared for when sick or wounded, and promised advantages in the
shape of prize money never previously allowed. What wonder they served
the Commonwealth, during its earlier years, as the crown had never been
served since the days of Elizabeth?

In number of ships England, even at the outbreak of the war, was not so
ill-matched as has been supposed. ‘You never had such a fleet as in the
Long Parliament,’ said Haselrig on one occasion,[1280] and political
necessities had as yet prevented any decrease in the strength maintained
up to 1648. During 1649-51 the magazines were kept well supplied and
forty-one new ships were added to the Navy list, practically doubling its
effective; besides these were the hired merchantmen in pay, or recently
discharged, and manned by trained crews accustomed to work together.
According to some accounts the Dutch navy had been allowed to fall to so
low a number as fifty men-of-war, and, although merchantmen were taken
into the service, their crews, hurriedly got together and new to their
surroundings, were no match, so far as skill went, for their opponents.
Throughout the war the Dutch, although they possessed many more ships,
never succeeded in sending to sea any materially larger fleets than ours.
Fifteen hundred prizes are said to have been taken from them during the
war, a number at least double the whole ocean-going merchant marine of
England.[1281] If they possessed more vessels a far larger proportion
of them were unfit for battle, and if ours were slower under sail they
were more solidly built and more heavily armed, advantages which told
in days when tactics were elementary, and when, for the first time for
a century, English seamen tried to fight yardarm to yardarm.[1282] Yet
another circumstance was most fortunate for England; for a greater part
of the year the prevailing winds gave us the weather-gage and the choice
of attack. Dutch merchant fleets returning from the westward had to run
the gauntlet of the south coast, and some of the most desperate actions
of the war were fought on account of—and hampered by—considerations for
the safety of these convoys. If they took the long and dangerous route
round Scotland, they were still liable to capture when almost within
sight of home. It will be seen, if these views are correct, that almost
the sole advantage held by the United Provinces was one of finance, and
that, although it might have caused political difficulties or revolt
under a monarchy, had no immediate influence in a country held down by a
victorious army.

[Sidenote: Prize Money.]

Charles I fell, throughout his reign, into the error of supposing that,
if ships and guns were provided, devotion to his person would ensure
loyalty and spontaneous service on the part of the men. He found, in
1642, that seamen are not sentimental, and that their sense of duty
drew them towards the best paymasters. That perception of their own
best interests, which had impelled the Long Parliament throughout the
civil war to treat the seamen liberally, had still stronger reasons for
existence in the years following 1648 when the maintenance, possibly
of the republic, certainly of peace at home, depended on the action of
the fleet. Throughout the history of the Navy any improvement in the
position of the man-of-war’s man is found to bear a direct relation to
the momentary needs of the governing classes, and in 1649 the necessity
of dealing with Rupert at once woke the tender conscience of the Council
to some further improvements that might be made in his condition. Gibson,
who was all through the war, says that ‘from the year 1641 the bread
and beer was of the best for fineness and goodness;’ but fresh orders
were issued by the Council of State to find out and prosecute any agents
supplying victuals of bad quality. Hitherto Lent had been strictly kept,
being pecuniarily advantageous to the crown as well as spiritually
profitable to the men, although physically ‘of much discontent to them;’
in future its observance was to cease, as was also the abatement of food
on Fridays, ‘being begotten by the covetous desires of the contractors
for victuals, though coloured with specious pretence of abstinence and

Besides raising their pay the Council also desired that ‘all just
satisfaction be given to seamen, and that they reap all the benefit of
the act passed for their encouragement in distribution of prize goods,’
and expressed themselves as anxious to appoint persons acceptable to
the men as commissioners of prize goods.[1284] The act referred to,
passed in February 1649, amplified and fixed authoritatively the merely
parliamentary resolution of October 1642, which gave the men, beyond
their wages, one-third of the value of a prize. Directed especially
at Rupert’s squadron and Stewart privateers, the new act gave the
officers and men of a state’s or hired ship one-half the value of a
man-of-war captured; the other half went to a fund for the relief of
sick and wounded and the wives and children of those killed, while if
the enemy was destroyed they were to be paid at the rate of from £12 to
£20 a gun, according to the size of the pieces it had on board. The net
proceeds, after condemnation in the Admiralty Court and sale of goods,
of a merchantman taken by a man-of-war were to be divided into three
parts, of which one went to the officers and men, one to the fund for
sick and wounded, and one to the state. If the merchantman were prize
to a hired ship in the state’s service, two-thirds went, as before, to
the crew and the sick fund, but the remaining third was divided into two
parts, of which one was taken by the owners of the ship, and the other
by the state. The tenths which had formerly been a perquisite of the
Lord Admiral were now to be devoted to rewards and medals; and owners of
English ships recaptured from an enemy had to pay one-eighth of the value
of vessel and cargo as salvage.

Doubtless both Parliament and the executive intended to work this
enactment loyally, but the needs of the treasury overcame their good
intentions, and the delay in the distribution of prize money was a
chronic source of discontent. Therefore from 1st January 1653 a new
scheme came into operation, which gave ten shillings a ton for every ton
the prize, whether merchantman or man-of-war, measured, and £6, 13s 4d
for every gun she carried; for every man-of-war destroyed, £10 a gun; and
the Lord Admiral’s tenths were to be devoted to the sick and wounded and
the relief of widows and orphans.[1285] These distributions were to be
made by the collectors of prize goods three days after payment of wages,
a regulation which must have savoured of irony to those who were waiting,
sometimes years, for wages. For the moment, however, the sailor was
considered in every possible way, and, in May, Blake and his colleagues
were ordered always to exchange prisoners if possible, ‘as it will tend
much to the satisfaction of the seamen when they see that care is had
of them.’[1286] Matters progressed smoothly enough till the Dutch war
strained our finance desperately, and from 1648 till May 1653 there are
but two instances of insubordination to be found.[1287]

When the Dutch war broke out the want of men was greater than the want of
ships, and it was decided to press all seamen between fifteen and fifty
years of age, a ticket being given to each man with his three halfpence
a mile conduct money, specifying his physical appearance, and which he
was called upon to present at the port where he joined his ship.[1288]
Attempts were made to keep crews in the service by carrying forward
thirty shillings of each man’s wages when he was paid off; but this,
wrote the Navy Commissioners, caused ‘so much clamour and discontent that
we are scarce able to stay in the office.’[1289] Under James and Charles
the men had been glad to get any pay at all, and they probably strongly
objected to any proceeding which was by way of a return to old customs.
Eventually, however, the government did this and more, for a couple of
years later it was customary to keep three months’ pay in hand if the men
were turned over to another ship.

[Sidenote: The Articles of War.]

A long step in advance towards the future discipline of the Navy was
made in 1652, when, on 25th December, the House of Commons enacted the
first articles of war to which the service had ever been subjected, and
which were grounded on some regulations for the government of Warwick’s
fleet passed by the House in March 1648-9.[1290] These articles have
escaped the notice of writers upon naval law, who begin their history
of the subject with those passed in 1661; these latter, however, were
only based upon those previously existing, which are the groundwork of
all subsequent modifications and additions experience has shown to be
necessary down to the present day. They were thirty-nine in number,
and, so far as paper penalties were concerned, were rigorous enough. No
punishment was adjudged for the infraction of the first article relating
to the due performance of divine service; and the thirty-ninth is only a
vague reference to offences not mentioned in the preceding articles, and
which were punishable according to the ‘laws and customs of the sea.’
Of the remaining thirty-seven thirteen carried the infliction of death
unconditionally, and twelve that of death or lesser punishment, according
to sentence of court-martial, or court of war, as it was then called.

The parliamentary bark seems to have been much more ferocious than
its bite since, in all the numerous courts-martial mentioned in the
State Papers and elsewhere, there is no instance to be found in which
the death sentence was carried out, and very few in which it was
pronounced. Moreover precautions were taken against the exercise of
tyranny by inferior officers, inasmuch as the promulgation of the code
was accompanied by an order that the accused was only to be tried for
serious offences in the presence of a flag officer, and that no finding
involving life or limb was to be carried out without the approval of the
Generals or the senior officer in command; and as trifling charges were
to be heard before the captain and seven officers of the ship in which
the offence was committed the offender had a fair chance of an impartial
trial. Very soon after the Restoration this regulation fell into abeyance
and prisoners obtained justice—too often Jeddart—at the hands of the
captain alone. Only one case of a really severe sentence on foremast men
is to be found. In December 1653, in the middle of the war, six seamen of
the _Portland_ were found guilty of inciting to mutiny and were sentenced
to death. This was commuted, so far as three were concerned, to thirty
lashes apiece, and for the other three to stand one hour with their
right hands nailed to the mainmast of the flagship with halters round
their necks.[1291] There is no record of the infliction of such severe
punishment by any other court-martial.

As might be expected in a mercantile community the thirty-fifth article,
relating to convoy duty, was the longest and most explicit. Under Henry
VIII, and later, convoy money had been a legal charge; recently it had
become difficult to obtain convoy protection at all, and when given
owners and captains had been exposed to vexatious and illegal demands.
Now, any man-of-war captains not performing such duty thoroughly and
efficiently, and defending ‘the ships and goods in their convoy without
either diverting to other parts and occasions, or refusing or neglecting
to fight in their defence if they be set upon or assailed, or running
away cowardly, and submitting those in their convoy to peril and hazard,’
were to make good to the owners any pecuniary loss so caused. As, in the
case of a valuable cargo and a penniless naval captain, such a sentence
might be equivalent to escaping scot-free, death was also added as a
possible punishment. Any captain or officer demanding or receiving a
gratuity was to be cashiered. From 19th October 1649 the House had
resolved that convoy should henceforth be provided without charge,
and in 1650 the east coast fishermen were gratefully acknowledging
the benefits resulting. Matters, however, did not progress altogether
smoothly. Sometimes merchantmen were independent, and when the government
provided men-of-war for the Mediterranean, would not ‘stay half a day’ to
obtain their protection.[1292] But when the owners belonging to Poole,
Weymouth, Dartmouth, and Plymouth united, nine months later, in begging
for a stronger guard than usual to Newfoundland the Council recommended
them to defer sending a fleet till next year, as a convoy could not
be spared.[1293] From other papers the truth seems to have been that,
although a vessel or two could have been found for the work, the Council
desired to obtain for national purposes the men who would have manned the

The option of sailing with or without convoy was not always left to the
discretion of owners. In February 1653 the Council sent orders to some
of the eastern ports that no vessel was to sail without protection, for
which preparations were being made; but in July the owners of three ships
destined for the Mediterranean petitioned for leave to send them without
the escort, which had been twice promised during sixteen months of delay,
and of which there was still no sign. Criticism must take into account
the fact that these things were happening during the strain of a great
war and that under ordinary circumstances, or when merely at war with
Spain, there was no want of promptness in the action of the authorities.
On 25th February 1656 Hull petitions for a convoy, and on the 29th it is
ordered; Newcastle on 10th February 1657 obtains an order the same day.
In January 1660 twenty-five ships were on convoy duty, one being sent
down to St Helena to meet the returning East Indiamen (this had been for
some years customary), two to the Canaries, and four to the Mediterranean.

[Sidenote: Wages.]

The articles of war seem in this generation to have troubled the
sailors but little, since, in nearly every instance, we find officers
the prisoners before the court. A court-martial would not enable the
Treasurer to pay wages and prize money too long over-due, or silence
men of whom one, who knew them well, said that they were ‘an unruly and
untamed generation,’ and that he found ‘no hope to satisfy them without
their full pay.’[1294] But there are signs that, notwithstanding delays
in payment, the men gave heartier obedience to the Commonwealth than they
had given to the crown under similar circumstances. On one occasion 180
men were sent down to join the _Fairfax_, but, not finding their raw
shipmates already on board to their liking, announced that they would
not go to sea ‘to do those men and boys’ work for them.’ But instead
of attempting to desert they betook themselves to other ships.[1295]
Three months afterwards the Navy Commissioners received the welcome
news that the men were coming in ‘cheerfully and in great numbers since
the publication of the late encouragement to them,’[1296] and from some
places they were coming up as volunteers. From Dover and Deal came the
information that the new arrangements were ‘much liked,’ and that the
greater number of the men were willing to serve.[1297] Commissioner
Peter Pett reported from Chatham that he found ‘the seamen in general
to be very tractable and complying, and begin to attend to their duties

So far as wages were concerned, the encouragement spoken of related to
the increased pay which took effect from 1st Jan. 1653. During the civil
war the rate had been 19s a month; in the fleets sent against Rupert
it had been raised to 25s for that particular service, and it was now
to be 24s for able seamen (‘fit for helm and lead, top and yard’), 19s
for ordinary, and 14s 3d for gromets,[1298] and 9s 6d for boys. Each
man’s capacity was to be marked on his wages ticket when paid off, the
first sign of the present discharge note. As a further inducement, by an
order of 29th Jan. 1653, 20 men in first-, 16 in second-, 12 in third-,
8 in fourth-, 6 in fifth-, and 4 in sixth-rates were to be rated as
midshipmen, with pay from £1, 10s to £2, 5s a month, according to the
class of ship, and from 14th Dec. 1655 no one was to be so rated unless
able to undertake an officer’s duties, if necessary.[1299] Of course
the increase by the government caused a corresponding rise in merchant
seamen’s wages; and at Ipswich, soon afterwards, the latter were so hard
to come by as to be obtaining master’s pay.

[Sidenote: Soldiers on board Ship.]

It was estimated, although the number proved to be insufficient, that
16,000 men would be required in 1653, and many of these were untrained
landsmen and boys, almost useless at sea. The remaining thousands
needed were drawn from the ranks of the army. It has been suggested
that soldiers were sent on board to keep the sailors in subjection,
but, beyond the quite adequate explanation of a war demanding a larger
number of men than the maritime population had ever before been called
upon to supply, there is not the slightest trace of ill-feeling between
soldiers and sailors such as would have inevitably occurred had the
latter understood it as an attempt at intimidation. The expressed purpose
was ‘to perform as far as they are able, all service as seamen, and to
be ordered in like capacity as the rest;’ evidently they were expected
to help in deck work and where no especial training was requisite.
Altogether some 3000 or 4000 soldiers were sent on board the fleet; and
it is significant of the different discipline, or the different spirit,
animating the army and the Navy, that, although the new comers suffered
the same vexations as the seamen in relation to postponed pay and prize
money, in addition to the hardships peculiar to the sudden change in
situation and duties, they do not appear to have troubled the executive
with a single complaint beyond one meek remonstrance about the absence of

[Sidenote: Causes of Discontent.]

The seamen appear to have decided that their duties began and ended
on salt water. Captain Taylor, at Chatham, informed the Admiralty
Commissioners that ships might be sent to sea in half the time and at
one-third of the cost if the men could only be persuaded to help in
their preparation; but ‘not one will help to get out ballast, or take it
in, or do almost anything tending towards dispatch.’ Instead of working
they haunted the beershops, which have always been the curse of their
class. Bourne, the Commissioner at Harwich, had ‘the beginning of an
ugly mutiny,’ attributable to drink; but Bourne eventually succeeded in
putting down the alehouses at Harwich. At Plymouth vested interests were
too strong for Hatsell, the agent there:—

    The men come tippling ashore, and then march away in their mad
    fits.... The abominable strong drink brewed in this town is of
    more prejudice to the state and to the poor men than the heads
    of all the brewers and alehouse keepers here are worth.... The
    government here protest they cannot remedy it, as the brewers
    have grown so rich they contend with them at law.... This
    strong drink is from 26s to 28s a hogshead, and stronger than
    sack, and when a sailor has drunk one bowl of it it makes him
    half out of his wits.[1301]

Such a letter explains many of the so-called mutinies.

The system of payment, again, exposed the men to every temptation, since
a ship might be a year or two at sea and no wages were given or expected
until she was ordered in for repairs or laid up, the result being that
when money was extraordinarily scarce cruisers were kept unnecessarily
in commission to postpone the settling day. Money was sometimes borrowed
when a squadron returned to port, and of £32,000 obtained in this manner
in 1657, £10,200 was still owing in 1659.[1302] There are numerous
expostulations from officers about their long over-due pay, but, read
by themselves, these lamentations are sometimes apt to leave a wrong
impression. Edward Larkin, for instance, gunner of the _Mayflower_,
petitions in 1655 for two and a half years of his ‘dearly earned wages,’
of which he has only received six months; his wife and family are turned
out of doors, his goods seized, and he himself arrested for debt. This,
taken alone, appears to be a pathetic indictment of the ways of the
administration, but here the corrective is supplied by another paper
which is an account of stores embezzled by the said Edward Larkin.

There was more difficulty, so far as willingness was concerned, in
manning the fleets during the war with Spain than during the Dutch war.
The men feared tropical climates, and ‘are so afraid of being sent to
the West Indies that they say they would as soon be hanged.’ Moreover as
the years went by the Commonwealth did not pay more promptly. There is
no sign, so far as their debates go, that Parliament, in improving the
position of the men, had ever been moved by other than purely selfish
motives, and it may have been felt that less now depended on the attitude
of the Navy, or that there was less likelihood, under any provocation, of
a serious outbreak. Slight ones frequently occurred and were invariably
attributed, by the officers on the spot, to the non-payment of wages
or prize-money, and were as invariably appeased when these claims were
settled. Sometimes discontent was rather an excuse than a cause; when the
crew of the _Ruby_ refused to sail, alleging that they had no clothes
and that the ship was defective, they were easily persuaded back to duty
when withdrawn from the influence of their landladies, who ‘have been
the greatest instruments to hinder their going on board.’ In the matter
of prize money officers of high rank fared little better in dealing with
the commissioners of prize goods. There are two letters on this subject
addressed in August 1654 to the commissioners. The first is mild in
tone; the second, signed by sixteen captains in the Downs, curtly points
out that their prize money for the three last actions with the Dutch is
still due and that unless it is immediately paid they will appeal to the
Protector.[1303] If captains were compelled to combine and threaten
we may imagine how the sailors raged vainly against official penury or

Poverty occasionally caused the prize money gained by one section of the
naval force to be applied to the payment of wages due to another; in
October 1655 Blake’s men were partly paid this way, and, vaguely, the
deficiency thus made ‘to be supplied some other way.’ There are hints
that the Admiralty Court itself was not above suspicion. Captain Kendal,
of the _Success_, wrote, in April 1654, that sixteen months previously he
had taken a Dutch ship, still uncondemned; ‘but I suppose the bribes do
appear very large in the Admiralty Court,’ and, ‘I fear there hath been
much corruption in the Admiralty Court.’

It is but fair, however, to the prize commissioners to notice that the
difficulties of the position were not altogether due to themselves. In
1654 they wrote to the Admiralty Court stating that they had sold ships
and goods to the value of £70,000, but could not keep the proceeds,
because compelled to meet the sums charged upon them by the Council of
State, notwithstanding the decrees of the Court ordering them to hold
the money. Being uneasy about their position they desired security or
indemnity.[1305] Another source of abuse was the custom by which crews
were allowed to plunder a prize, on or above the gun deck, of all
articles except arms, ammunition, and ship’s stores. English merchantmen
recaptured from an enemy sometimes experienced more loss from the rescuer
than from the original captor. The owners of the _Sarah_, recaptured by
the _Falmouth_, found that while the enemy had done five pounds of damage
the Englishmen had helped themselves to the value of £500, and five or
six other ships were similarly treated.[1306]

[Sidenote: The Protests.]

While the majority of the men made protest against their wrongs in the
useless and prejudicial form of riots, there seem to have been a thinking
minority who were able to apply to their own situation the principles
for which they had fought, and which had sent Charles to the block and
Cromwell to Whitehall. These men drew up a petition to the Protector,
which, before being forwarded, was considered, on 17th October 1654, by
a council of two admirals and twenty-three commanding officers, held on
board the _Swiftsure_ in the Downs, at which it was decided that it was
lawful for them to petition and that the grievances stated were real,
except the one relating to foreign service.[1307] It was a sign of the
times that admirals and captains should have acknowledged such a right
in the ‘common sailor,’ and that they did not think themselves warranted
in striking out the portion of which they disapproved; they decided that
it should be ‘so far owned by us’ as to be presented to the Generals.
The petition was as much a remonstrance as a prayer, and, after claiming
that they had done the country good service and borne with hardship,
sickness, and bad food for its sake, went on to remind the Protector
that Parliament had declared its intention of enlarging the liberties of
the people, ‘which we were in great hopes of.’ Their hopes have scarcely
yet, so far as regards seamen, been realised, but it is expressive of
the vast progress the events of a few years had caused in the political
education and self-respect of a class hitherto proverbially debased and
unreflecting, that constitutional declarations and logical applications
of the principles their rulers suited to themselves should have begun to
replace the hopeless, unhelpful turbulence of the last generation.

They seem to have objected to foreign service mainly because their
families were left without support for a longer period than usual, and
bitterly complained that, in accordance with a Council order of 6th Dec.
1652, they were not permitted to go on shore, nor visitors allowed to
come on board, when in the Downs, and presumably other places, keeping
them ‘under a degree of thraldom and bondage.’ This regulation was
then new to them, but it remained in existence long enough to be one
of the injustices the mutineers of 1797 desired to have redressed. The
conclusion arrived at was a prayer that

    they may be relieved in those grievances and may reap some
    fruits of all their bloodshed and hardships, and that they
    may not be imprested to serve, they humbly apprehending it to
    be inconsistent with the principles of Freedom and Liberty to
    force men to serve in military employments, either by sea or
    land; and that your petitioners may be as free as the Dutch
    seamen, against whom they have been such instruments in the
    Lord’s hands for the good of their country; but that if the
    Commonwealth have occasion to employ any of your petitioners
    they may be hired as the Dutch are, and that they, or their
    lawful attorney, may be paid every six months at the furthest,
    and that such other encouragement to their relations may be
    assured in case they are slain in the service as shall be
    agreeable to justice, etc., as their necessity calls for, and
    that all other liberties and privileges due to your petitioners
    as freemen of England may be granted and secured.

The Council of State must have felt that the world was indeed moving
when English seamen called themselves freemen, demanded the rights of
freemen, and no longer admitted prescription as sufficient reason for the
continuance of their wrongs. The fact that there is no reference, printed
or manuscript, to this petition does not, of course, prove that it was
not considered and replied to, but it is certain that if any promises
were made not the slightest practical result followed them. There is a
paper assigned to this date which may have had an indirect connection
with the affair.[1308] It is a report from the Admiralty to the Protector
and Council dilating on the state of the naval administration and the
difficulties with which they had to deal. Every sentence of their long
narrative has reference to the want of money, and may be abstracted into
the one particular that while £8000 a week was allowed to the Admiralty
the victualling and stores absorbed more than this amount, leaving
nothing for wages and other expenses.

Notwithstanding these embarrassments favourite captains and handy
ships seem to have had no difficulty in obtaining crews. Referring
to the _Speaker_ and the _Hind_, an official writes: ‘Men have been
on board seven or eight days in hopes of being entered, which I have
refused to do, having had very much trouble to reduce them to their
complement.’[1309] The _Sapphire_, when commanded by Heaton, was another
vessel in which men were eager to serve, and to such purpose that out of
84 prizes brought into Plymouth between August 1652 and December 1655
twenty were taken by her.[1310]

[Sidenote: Confusion after Cromwell’s Death.]

The death of Cromwell, and the intrigues which followed that event,
intensified the disorder existing in naval affairs, but even before
September 1658 the strong hand which had kept some sort of order seems
to have been losing its grip. In July the Commissioners of the Admiralty
told the Council that ‘the credit of your Navy is so greatly impaired
that, having occasion to buy some necessary provisions, as tallow and
the like, your ministers can obtain none but for ready money,’ and they
complained that out of the customs and excise, nominally set apart for
the Navy, half was diverted to the army, £2000 a week to the Protector,
and judges’ and other salaries taken from it.[1311] The navy debt on 1st
July was returned at £573,474, and of this £286,000 was due for wages,
so that we can understand why some crews had been for two and three
years unpaid. Yet the succession of Richard Cromwell was well received
by the fleet in the Downs, and the officers and crews of vessels on
outlying stations, such as the _Paradox_ at Milford and _Assurance_ at
Scarborough, hastened to announce their satisfaction. When Montagu wrote
to Stokes, commanding in the Mediterranean, for signatures to an address
promising fidelity to Richard, only one officer of that squadron, Captain
Saunders, of the _Torrington_, manifested any hesitation about signing

In their address to the new Protector the officers of the fleet, in
expressing their affection for the memory of Oliver, speak of ‘the
indulgence he showed to us who served him in his fleet’; but, unless
they were alluding to the higher scale of pay and the arrangements, to
be presently noticed, made for the care of the sick and wounded, one or
both of which may or may not have been owing to his initiative, it is
difficult to divine what indulgences they had to be especially grateful
to him for.[1313] By June 1659 there was owing for wages £371,930,[1314]
and it may be imagined that if the men, whom it was important to
conciliate, remained unpaid, merchants supplying stores, victualling
agents, and dockyard workmen fared still worse. In September the crew
of the _Marmaduke_ solicited some redress; they said they were abused
by their officers, cheated of their victuals and pinch-gut money,[1315]
and had to go begging about the streets, ‘scoffed and jeered at by other
nations.’ On 1st February 1660 the wages debt was £354,000, some ships
having been four years unpaid,[1316] and these figures, the correlatives
of which existed in every other branch of the administration, form the
best explanation of the equanimity with which the Restoration was viewed
by the seamen and others who may have seen in the return of Charles II
their only chance of payment.

[Sidenote: Care for the Sick and Wounded.]

Under the Commonwealth occurs the earliest attempt to afford the men some
of that attention to which, when ill or wounded, they were entitled. The
arrangements made in 1649 and 1652, although sufficient for ordinary
needs, were inadequate to the necessities of the Dutch war; and the
State was compelled to supplement the existing resources for the relief
of disabled men, and to provide additional aid for widows and orphans.
After the action of 28th and 29th September 1652 the Council ordered the
lord mayor to provide space for the wounded in the London hospitals,
and on 18th October £500 was assigned to the mayor of Dover to meet the
expense of the injured landed there. On 15th December the Admiralty
Committee passed a formal resolution that every care was to be taken
of the sick and wounded, both at sea and on shore, and that the London
hospitals were to receive some, and the most suitable port towns the
others. Every ship was to be allowed medical comforts—rice, oatmeal, and
sugar—at the rate of £5 per 100 men, every six months, and, for the first
time, men invalided ashore were continued in pay till death or recovery.
A special hospital was to be provided at Deal, and from 1st January 1653
half the space in all English hospitals, as they became empty, to be
reserved for the seamen.[1317]

In February and March 1653, Portsmouth, Deal and Dover were full of
wounded men; surgeons were sent down to these towns, and seven shillings
a week granted for the support of each man. Judging from the returns, the
death-rate among the injured was not so high as might have been expected,
if the conditions existing at Portsmouth also obtained elsewhere. There
the sick were mostly in private or beer houses, which were said to be
small and stifling, besides exposing their occupants to the temptation
of drink; of the town itself the governor, Nath. Whetham, had nothing
good to say, dwelling on ‘the filthy nastiness of this place,’ unpaved,
undrained, and enduring an epidemic of small-pox.[1318] The town must
have been continually full of suffering men, since for two months alone
of 1654 the cost of the sick and hurt there was £2300, of which £580 went
to the surgeons and £325 to the nurses.[1319]

Knowing that they would be repaid any outlay, the civic authorities of
the coast towns were attentive to the wants of the invalids, and, for a
time, the government spent liberally in this direction. In August 1653
there were 1600 men at Aldborough, Ipswich, and adjacent villages, whose
charges amounted to some thousands of pounds, cleared in due course,
while smaller sums of £958, £400, and £1366 were sent, on account, to
Dover, Weymouth, and Harwich; at Yarmouth between 3rd August 1653 and
6th February 1655 £2851 was expended in the town for the same purpose.
In some respects the sick men were better off than their able-bodied
fellows. Monk and Deane reproached the Admiralty Commissioners for
paying the former their wages, but not the latter, and ‘we think it
neither in reason nor conscience to employ men who must perish for want
of clothes lost in the service, and whose families are starving, and yet
their pay is due, their tickets signed, and their captains satisfied they
will not run away.’[1320]

Hitherto all the duty of superintendence had been thrown on the Navy
Commissioners, but, in view of their protests that they were overwhelmed
by their own more special work, a new department was created from 29th
September 1653, consisting of four commissioners at £150 a year each and
fifteen subordinate officers, who divided £1090 a year between them. They
took the title of ‘Commissioners of sick and wounded at Little Britain,’
where their office was situated, were to supervise the distribution
of invalided men, provide surgeons and medicines, and control the
authorities of the towns. They had also to take charge of prisoners, see
that the convalescent returned to their ships, and were authorised to
grant gratuities up to £10 and pensions up to £6, 13s 4d.

[Sidenote: Pensions.]

A pension or gratuity might be augmented by appeal to the Admiralty
Committee, although we may be certain that such a petition was rarely
successful, but the corresponding gifts to officers’ widows were on a
much more liberal scale. To seven captains’ widows sums ranging from
£400 to £1000 were granted in April 1653, and it seems a somewhat uneven
ascent from the seaman’s widow at £10 to the captain’s at £1000. So far
as applicants of inferior rank were concerned, the Commissioners must
have had their time fully occupied if they investigated every case as
closely as that of Susan Cane. They held that £5 was enough for her,
as she had not lived with her husband, led a loose life, and possessed
more than ordinary skill in making stockings. The institution of a new
benefaction caused new rogueries, and soon some of the office clerks
were levying commissions on the donations given to these women and
were in partnership with people who made real or false claims on their
behalf.[1321] In the two years ending with May 1656 some £12,000 had
been disbursed on behalf of men sent on shore ill or injured;[1322] but
it is apparent that, although the Commonwealth procedure compared very
favourably with the indifference which preceded it, the tender anxiety
the government displayed for the sailor’s welfare, when it had urgent
need of him, languished after the Dutch war and died away with the
Spanish one. Later, in the year 1656, the bailiffs of Yarmouth wrote to
the Admiralty Commissioners that the Commissioners at Little Britain were
now careless about paying for the men sent on shore, leaving it to the
bailiffs to spend the town money and get it back how or when they could.
The squadron before Mardike was considered very unhealthy, there being
usually about ten per cent. sick, and when these were sent home they were
simply laid on the ballast and shot about by the pitching and rolling of
the ship;[1323] and another paper mentions the ‘noisome smells’ produced
by the condition of these men. Fleets must, however, have been much
healthier than in earlier times, since on 24th March 1659 the number
of sick in nearly 3000 men under Montagu was only nineteen, and but
seventy-two in 2803 under Goodson.[1324]

In 1656 independent charities relating to the sick and maimed existed in
the shape of the Chatham Chest, Ely Place, the Savoy Hospital, and the
Commissioners, and it was then suggested that they should be amalgamated,
both on account of economy and the prevention of fraud, but this was
never done. For several years the Treasurer of the Navy paid £735 a week
for the support of pensioners, but in what proportion this was divided
among the foregoing charities is uncertain.

[Sidenote: The Chatham Chest.]

Of these institutions the only one of which we have any details is the
Chatham Chest. For the three years 1653-5 the accounts stand:—[1325]

           Revenue[1326]   Revenue from Lands[1327]   Expenditure
              £                 £  _s_ _d_             £  _s_ _d_
  1653       5653              433  6   8          10,065  0   0
  1654       4000[1328]        433  6   8            4531 18  10
  1655       4000[1328]        433  6   8            4500  0   0[1329]

There was thus an excess of outlay over receipts, for these three
years, of more than £4000, and Edward Hayward, then in charge, asks for
assistance from the central authority. He probably obtained it, as on
another occasion, Hutchinson was ordered to lend the Chest £3000.[1330]
In March 1656 a report was drawn up which made the income from land £382,
10s a year, and recommended the removal of the Chest to London to save
expense and the inconveniences experienced by the men. From this report
we learn that officers’ widows were entitled to pensions from it, but not
those of the men.[1331] In June 1657 there were 800 or 900 pensioners,
but half the arrears were unpaid; a year later the situation was worse
and the delay had reduced the men ‘to such extreme misery that I fear
many of them have perished of late,’ the writer, Pett, having been forced
to leave Chatham to escape these outcries. Pett adds, ‘If Rochester
Cathedral were given to the governors to be improved ... it might go
towards paying the arrears.’

There are two references in the Commonwealth papers which suggest that
Hayward did not escape suspicion then of having appropriated Chest money
to his own use, but in the inquiry into its management, begun in 1662,
the weight of scrutiny fell upon Pett. Hayward said that he had lost
all the books relating to the years 1648-55, although he afterwards
produced some of them. From the interrogatories addressed to Pett we may
infer that he and captain John Taylor, who was jointly responsible with
him, amicably passed each other’s accounts; that the accuracy of these
accounts was attested by only some of the officers who should have signed
them; that the same travelling expenses were entered three or four times
over; that he and Taylor had taken large sums from the Chest as salary,
no commissioner having ever before charged for his management; and that
such items occurred as £52, 13s 4d for the governor’s dinners, etc., at
one meeting, £10 a year salary to a ‘mathematician,’ and £9 to Taylor
‘for relief for a fall.’[1332]

[Sidenote: The Victualling.]

The quality of the food supplied to the men and the honesty of the
victualling agents both steadily deteriorated during the Commonwealth.
Complaints began to be frequent about 1650, and a fresh contract was
then entered into with Colonel Pride and others to undertake the duty at
eightpence per head at sea, and sevenpence in harbour, the government
bearing the cost of transport to fleets on service.[1333] The lax system
in force was not, however, calculated to act as a deterrent; in May 1650
a victualling office clerk, who had embezzled £137, gave security for it,
and was suspended, but, inferentially, only until the money was refunded.
It may be said that, generally, the object of the Navy authorities,
in cases of fraud and embezzlement by clerks or officers, was not so
much to punish as to obtain restitution. Possibly they found it to be
the most effective form of punishment. During 1652 the pressure caused
by the necessity of supplying an unprecedentedly large number of men
produced more disorders in this branch of the service, and in June the
contractors were called before the Council, told that their explanations
were unsatisfactory, and heard the Admiralty Commissioners directed to
continually watch and inspect the victuals furnished.

The story of the victualling arrangements during these eleven years
brings out the most striking point of difference between the Commonwealth
administration and those which were antecedent to it, in the fact that
matters affecting the health and comfort of seamen were not ignored
as in previous periods. This, we know, was greatly due to political
necessity, but the letters remaining, written by officials of all ranks,
show that a conscientious recognition of justice due to the sailors, and
of responsibility for their welfare, widely existed. This sentiment is
much more clearly marked among captains, admirals, and commissioners than
among the ruling politicians, although members of the government were
doubtless not unaffected by the prevailing spirit; the financial straits
of the country, however, first cramped, and then destroyed, reforms which
otherwise might have become permanent.

In 1652 new buildings for the Victualling department were built in
several ports; and from February 1650 the slaughterhouse at Deptford,
standing on ‘the poore’s ground’ and originally devoted to the service
of Greenwich Palace, was taken for that of the state.[1334] In 1653 the
rate rose to ninepence a head, and it may be roughly calculated that the
Victuallers were called upon to provide at least some 7,500,000 lbs. of
bread, 7,500,000 lbs. of beef and pork, and 10,000 butts of beer, besides
cheese, butter, fish, and other necessaries. The mechanism at their
command was little superior to that used by their predecessors under
Charles I, and English agriculture could hardly yet have recovered from
the effects of the civil war. The victualling contracts between September
1651 and December 1652 came to £332,000,[1335] a sum representing a
drain on the food resources of the country difficult to meet, not so
much, perhaps, in quantity as in suddenness, although since 1648 there
had been an unbroken series of years of dearth. Remembering commissariat
experiences of our own, happening under much more favourable conditions
within living memory, the wonder is, not that there should have been
complaints, but that there should have been comparatively so few under
circumstances, which might almost have excused absolute failure.
Pride and his associates were condemned because they were judged by a
higher standard than had previously existed, but under Charles I their
management would have been praised as highly successful.

When complaints came in they were not officially pigeon-holed but at once
inquired into, and, so far as lay with the Admiralty Committee, the wants
relieved. On 17th May 1653, a captain reported that he had no medical
extras; on the 19th the Navy Commissioners were ordered to examine into
this and remedy it; on 16th June the Generals of the fleet wrote about
the badness of the provisions, and on the 20th the Navy Commissioners
were directed to take the Victuallers to task. The beer was the most
frequent subject of protest, and the difficulty was met by sending water
in its place, to the extent of 500 tuns at a time, the men being allowed
twopence a day to reconcile them to the change. At least one brewer laid
the blame on the prices paid him, and frankly said he could give nothing
better for the money. Beer and other provisions, ‘decayed and unfit for
use,’ were licensed for export free of customs, perhaps in the hope that
such stores would go to Holland. In October 1654 Pride and his colleagues
gave notice of their intention to resign their contract, and, after some
debate, it was decided to constitute the Victualling a department under
the immediate care of the Navy Commissioners, captain Thos. Alderne being
made its head, with a salary of £500 a year.[1336] Alderne died 10th
April 1657, and was succeeded by three of the Navy Commissioners, majors
Robt. Thompson, Neh. Bourne, and Fr. Willoughby, who were thenceforward
styled ‘Commissioners of Navy and Victualling,’ and who received an
additional £250 a year each for their services.[1337]

Alderne and his successors may or may not have been competent, but they
had little chance of doing well under the financial embarrassments amid
which they worked; they considered themselves fortunate in being able
to continue supplies, of whatever quality, from hand to mouth. In June
1655 bakers and brewers were petitioning the Admiralty Committee, that
although in January they had been promised monthly cash payments, not
one penny had yet been paid them. The whole of one long despatch of
Blake’s[1338] is made up of complaints about the provisions sent out, and
censure of the officials at home. We, who have wider knowledge than Blake
could then have, now know that the defaults were due to the situation
rather than to the men. Orders might be given in London, but the local
contractors were either not properly controlled, or, more probably, were
defiant, knowing that the Admiralty could hardly go on provisioning the
fleets without the credit they gave it. If the seamen protested to those
individuals they obtained scant consideration. Some of the _Tiger’s_
crew went ashore at Harwich to show the victualling agent their bread
and beer which, their captain agreed, was not fit for food. The agent
sent for the baker and brewer, and the former told the men that they were
‘mutinous rogues,’ that it was good enough for their betters, and next
time should be worse. In another port the local agent told the purser of
the _Maidstone_, whose men had shown provisions absolutely putrid, and to
whom he had promised improvement when they were before him, that the more
they complained the worse they should have. This coming to the ears of
the men, some of the _Maidstone’s_ crew went ashore and wrecked his house.

As the end of the Commonwealth approached matters became as bad as they
could well be. At Plymouth, in January 1660, the victualler reported
that he had been obtaining stores hitherto on his own credit, but
would do so no longer; that there were six ships in port with starving
crews, and another six expected, and that the only way open to him was
to turn the men ashore to shift for themselves.[1339] In February the
Navy Commissioners warned their chiefs that, unless money was provided
within a week, there would be a failure of provisions everywhere, and
that having done their utmost by persuasion they must be acquitted of
blame. Judging from the number of their letters still existing, the Navy
Commissioners must, about this time, have been pressing the Admiralty
Committee for money nearly every day, either for wages or stores; it
was not their fault if any one remained unpaid. Warrants authorising
revictualling were posted freely, but, as captain Heaton wrote from
Plymouth, nothing was said about the money, without which they were of no
use. Heaton describes graphically the cruel poverty to which some of the
townspeople there, who had trusted the government, were reduced:—

    One cries, ‘For God’s sake spare me £20 to keep me out of
    prison;’ another begs for money to buy his family meat to eat,
    and to-day I saw a poor women beg of Mr Addis ten shillings of
    her due, to buy her four poor children bread, as for alms. Not
    long since a baker with sad complaints prevailed with Mr Addis
    for £23, and was as glad of it as though the money had been a
    free gift.’[1340]

While this letter was travelling up to London two others, of the same
date, were coming from Hull. One, from the captain of the _Bryer_ to the
Admiralty Committee, says that he has already written nine times to them,
and that his officers are compelled to buy their own food, and his men to
forage for themselves on shore; the other, from the victualling agent at
Hull, acknowledges the receipt of their warrant to furnish the _Bryer_
and _Forester_, but, before acting on it, desires to know how he is to
be paid. Truly the pious hope of captain Harman, of the _Kentish_, that
Lawson would ‘be an instrument of bringing the victualling to its former
splendour,’ was one not likely to lack fulfilment for want of occasion.

[Sidenote: Medals and Rewards.]

It had long been customary to give medals and chains to distinguished
officers, but Parliament, for the first time, extended this form of
distinction to the men. The first reference is a somewhat doubtful one,
being an order of the House of 15th Nov. 1649, for medals for ‘several
mariners’ who had done good service the previous year, but who may
possibly have been officers. About the second, however, there is no
question. In 1650 captain Wyard, of the _Adventure_, a hired merchantman,
fought a gallant action off Harwich against greatly superior force, and
he, his officers, and crew were awarded medals of different values,
ranging from the one of £50 intended for himself down to others worth 5s
for the men, each ‘with the service against five ships engraved on one
side and the arms of the Commonwealth on the other.’[1341] There were at
least 20,000 men employed during 1652-4, but the whole number of medals
for the war was only 169; of these 79 were small ones, and may have
been intended for the seamen, although, as they were all of gold, it is
unlikely. Nine of the larger ones were with chains, the smaller weighed
18dwt. 11gr. each, and the total cost was £2060. One alone had ‘the
service done in the _Triumph_ expressed on it.’[1342] Blake and Monk had
chains worth £300 a piece given them, and Penn one of the value of £100.
The government was never unduly liberal in dealing with naval men. Major
Fr. White, for bringing the news of Dunbar to London, was given £300;
capt. Young, for following the Spanish fleet for a week in 1657, and then
seeking Blake with the information which enabled him to destroy it at
Santa Cruz, was granted £100.

[Sidenote: Seamen’s Clothing.]

The sale of clothes to the men was not confined to any one vendor, and
scandals in this department, if they existed, do not appear to have
attracted the attention of the authorities till 1655. Then an order was
issued from the Navy Office that, ‘upon the consideration of the several
abuses done by those that serve the state’s ships with clothes, by
exorbitant prices and bad goods, to the prejudice of the poor seamen,’
the clothiers were not to send any on board ship without the permission
of the Navy Commissioners.[1343] Two months later prices were fixed as

                      _s_ _d_
  Canvas jackets       1  10 each
    ”    drawers       1   8  ”
  Cotton waistcoats    2  2 each
    ”    drawers       2   0  ”
  Shirts               2   9 each
  Shoes                2   4 a pair
  Linen stockings      0  10   ”
  Cotton    ”          0  10   ”

This outfit, if a complete one, does not seem all that could be desired
for winter service in the Channel, although it is a nearer approach
to a uniform than existed much later. The Commissioners were careful
to repudiate any responsibility for the clothes,[1345] though, as we
see, they interfered when they considered it necessary, and allowed a
sum, usually £2, to each man if his kit had been lost in action or by

[Sidenote: The Navy List.]

Compared with the accessions of previous reigns the following list of
new vessels is startling in its magnitude, and the cost of building
and maintenance is another item which helps to account for the chronic
difficulties besetting the Treasurer of the Navy[1346]:—

  |                       |Prize|Built|    At      |     By     |Net |Gross
  |                       |     |     |            |            | Tonnage
  |                       |     |     |            |            |    |
  |  1 _Fairfax_          |     | 1649|Deptford    |            | 789|
  |  2 _Guinea_(B)[1347]  |     | 1649|            |            | 375|  500
  |  3 _Jermyn_*          | 1649|     |            |            |    |
  |  4 _President_[1348]  |     | 1649|Deptford    |P. Pett, sr.| 445|  593
  |  5 _Speaker_          |     | 1649|Blackwall   |H. Johnson  | 778|  928
  |  6 _Old Success_      | 1649|     |            |            | 380|  506
  |  7 _Tiger’s Whelp_*   | 1649|     |            |            |    |
  |  8 _Advice_           |     | 1650|Woodbridge  |P. Pett, jr.| 516|  690
  |  9 _Amity_(B)         |     | 1650|            |            | 354|  472
  | 10 _Assistance_       |     | 1650|Deptford    |H. Johnson  | 521|  694
  | 11 _Concord_(B)       |     | 1650|            |            |    |
  | 12 _Centurion_        |     | 1650|Ratcliff    |P. Pett, sr.| 531|  690
  | 13 _Dover_            |     | 1650|Rotherhithe |Castle      | 571|  681
  | 14 _Eagle_            | 1650|     |            |            |    |
  | 15 _Elizabeth Prize_* | 1650|     |            |            |    |
  | 16 _Foresight_        |     | 1650|Deptford    |Shish       | 524|  698
  | 17 _Great Charity_    | 1650|     |            |            | 400|  553
  | 18 _Pelican_          |     | 1650|            |Taylor      |    |
  | 19 _Marigold_         | 1650|     |            |            |    |
  | 20 _Portsmouth_       |     | 1650|Portsmouth  |Eastwood    | 422|  600
  | 21 _Mary Prize_*      | 1650|     |            |            |    |
  | 22 _Reserve_          |     | 1650|Woodbridge  |P. Pett, jr.| 513|  688
  | 23 _Antelope_         |     | 1651|            |            |    |
  | 24 _Bryer_*           | 1651|     |            |            | 180|
  | 25 _Convertine_       | 1651|     |            |            | 500|  666
  | 26 _Discovery_(B)     |     | 1651|            |            |    |
  | 27 _Fortune_          | 1651|     |            |            |    |
  | 28 _Gilliflower_(B)   |     | 1651|            |            |    |
  |      [1349]           |     |     |            |            |    |
  | 29 _Laurel_           |     | 1651|Portsmouth  |            |    |
  | 30 _Martin Prize_*    | 1651|     |            |            |    |
  | 31 _Mayflower_(B)     |     | 1651|            |            |    |
  | 32 _Mermaid_          |     | 1651|Limehouse   |Graves      | 289|  385
  | 33 _Nightingale_      |     | 1651|Horseleydown|Shish       | 289|  385
  | 34 _Peacock_          | 1651|     |            |            |    |
  | 35 _Pearl_            |     | 1651|Ratcliff    |P. Pett, sr.| 285|  380
  | 36 _Old President_    | 1651|     |            |            |    |
  | 37 _Little President_ | 1651|     |            |            |    |
  | 38 _Primrose_         |     | 1651|            |Taylor      |    |
  | 39 _Sapphire_         |     | 1651|Ratcliff    |P. Pett, sr.| 442|  589
  | 40 _Tresco_*          | 1651|     |            |            |    |
  | 41 _Worcester_[1350]  |     | 1651|Woolwich    |Russell     | 629|  838
  | 42 _Adam and Eve_     | 1652|     |            |            | 200|
  | 43 _Advantage_        | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 44 _Arms of Holland_  | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 45 _Convert_          | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 46 _Crow_             | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 47 _Deptford_         |     | 1652|            |            |    |
  | 48 _Diamond_          |     | 1652|Deptford    |P. Pett sr. | 547|  740
  | 49 _Dolphin_          | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 50 _Drake_            |     | 1652|Deptford    |P. Pett     | 113|  153
  | 51 _Duchess_          | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 52 _Endeavour_        | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 53 _Falmouth_         | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 54 _Gift Major_       | 1652|     |            |            | 480|  653
  | 55 _Golden Falcon_    | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 56 _Golden Lion_      | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 57 _Heartsease_       | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 58 _Hound_            | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 59 _Hope_             | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 60 _Hopewell_(B)      |     | 1652|            |            |    |
  | 61 _Horseleydown_     |     | 1652|            |            |    |
  | 62 _Hunter_           | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 63 _Kentish_          |     | 1652|Deptford    |Johnson     | 601|  801
  | 64 _Marmaduke_(B)     |     | 1652|            |            | 400|  533
  | 65 _Martin_           |     | 1652|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    |  92|  124
  | 66 _Merlin_           |     | 1652|Chatham     |Taylor      | 105|  141
  | 67 _Middleburgh_      | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 68 _Oak_              | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 69 _Paul_             | 1652|     |            |            | 290|  384
  | 70 _Peter_            | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 71 _Plover_           | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 72 _Princess Maria_   | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 73 _Raven_            | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 74 _Recovery_         | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 75 _Ruby_             |     | 1652|Deptford    |P. Pett, sr.| 556|  745
  | 76 _Sampson_          | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 77 _Sophia_           | 1652|     |            |            | 300|  400
  | 78 _Stork_            | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 79 _Sun_              | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 80 _Sussex_           |     | 1652|            |            |    |
  | 81 _Swan_             | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 82 _Violet_           | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 83 _Waterhound_       | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 84 _Welcome_          | 1652|     |            |            | 400|  533
  | 85 _Weymouth_*        | 1652|     |            |            | 120|  160
  | 86 _Wildman_          | 1652|     |            |            |    |
  | 87 _Augustine_        | 1653|     |            |            | 359|  478
  | 88 _Bear_             | 1653|     |            |            | 395|  526
  | 89 _Black Raven_      | 1653|     |            |            | 300|
  | 90 _Bristol_[1351]    |     | 1653|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    | 532|  680
  | 91 _Cardiff_          | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  | 92 _Church_           | 1653|     |            |            | 300|
  | 93 _Elias_            | 1653|     |            |            | 400|  533
  | 94 _Essex_            |     | 1653|Deptford    |Ph. Pett    | 742|  989
  | 95 _Fairfax_[1352]    |     | 1653|Chatham     |Taylor      | 745|  993
  | 96 _Falcon Flyboat_   | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  | 97 _Fortune_          | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  | 98 _Golden Cock_      | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  | 99 _Hare_             | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |100 _Half moon_        | 1653|     |            |            | 300|
  |101 _Hampshire_        |     | 1653|Deptford    |Ph. Pett    | 481|  594
  |102 _Hector_           | 1653|     |            |            | 150|  200
  |103 _John Baptist_     | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |104 _Katherine_        | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |105 _King David_       | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |106 _Little Charity_   | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |107 _Lizard_*          | 1653|     |            |            | 100|  133
  |108 _Mathias_          | 1653|     |            |            | 500|  666
  |109 _Marigold Hoy_     |     | 1653|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    |  42|
  |110 _Newcastle_        |     | 1653|Ratcliff    |Ph. Pett    | 631|  841
  |111 _Orange Tree_      | 1653|     |            |            | 300|
  |112 _Ostrich_          | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |113 _Paradox_*         | 1653|     |            |            | 120|  160
  |114 _Pelican Prize_    | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |115 _Plover_           | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |116 _Plymouth_         |     | 1653|Woolwich    |Ch. Pett    | 741|  988
  |117 _Portland_         |     | 1653|Wapping     |Taylor      | 605|  806
  |118 _Redhart_*         | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |119 _Renown_           | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |120 _Rosebush_         | 1653|     |            |            | 300|  400
  |121 _Satisfaction_     | 1653|     |            |            | 220|  293
  |122 _Sparrow_          | 1653|     |            |            |  60|   80
  |123 _Swiftsure_[1353]  |     | 1653|Woolwich    |Ch. Pett    | 740|  986
  |124 _Tulip_            | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |125 _Westergate_       | 1653|     |            |            | 270|  365
  |126 _Wren_             | 1653|     |            |            |    |
  |127 _Yarmouth_         |     | 1653|Yarmouth    |Edgar       | 608|  810
  |128 _Adviser_          |     | 1654|            |            |    |
  |129 _Basing_           |     | 1654|Walderswick |Shish       | 255|  340
  |130 _Cat_*             | 1654|     |            |            |    |
  |131 _Colchester_       |     | 1654|Yarmouth    |Edgar       | 287|  382
  |132 _Fagons_[1354]     |     | 1654|Wivenhoe    |Page        | 262|  349
  |133 _Gainsborough_     |     | 1654|Wapping     |Taylor      | 543|  724
  |134 _Gloucester_       |     | 1654|Limehouse   |Graves      | 755| 1006
  |135 _Grantham_         |     | 1654|Lidney      |Furzer      | 265|  323
  |136 _Indian_           | 1654|     |            |            |    |
  |137 _Islip_            |     | 1654|            |            |    |
  |138 _Jersey_           |     | 1654|Maldon      |Starling    | 560|  746
  |139 _Langport_         |     | 1654|Horseleydown|Bright      | 781| 1041
  |140 _Lyme_             |     | 1654|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    | 769| 1025
  |141 _Maidstone_        |     | 1654|Woodbridge  |Munday      | 566|  754
  |142 _Marston Moor_     |     | 1654|Blackwall   |Johnson     | 734|  978
  |143 _Nantwich_         |     | 1654|Bristol     |Bailey      | 319|  425
  |144 _Newbury_          |     | 1654|Limehouse   |Graves      | 765| 1020
  |145 _Nonsuch Ketch_(B) |     | 1654|            |            |  60|   80
  |146 _Preston_          |     | 1654|Woodbridge  |Cary        | 550|  642
  |147 _Seahorse_         | 1654|     |            |            |    |
  |148 _Selby_            |     | 1654| Wapping    |Taylor      | 299|  398
  |149 _Sorlings_*[1355]  | 1654|     |            |            | 250|  333
  |150 _Taunton_          |     | 1654|Ratcliff    |Castle      | 536|  714
  |151 _Torrington_       |     | 1654|   ”        |Ph. Pett    | 738|  984
  |152 _Tredagh_          |     | 1654|   ”        |    ”       | 771| 1008
  |153 _Winsby_           |     | 1654|Yarmouth    |Edgar       | 607|  809
  |154 _Bridgewater_      |     | 1655|Deptford    |Chamberlain | 742|  989
  |155 _Cornelian_*       | 1655|     |            |            | 100|
  |156 _Dartmouth_        |     | 1655|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    | 230|  306
  |157 _Eaglet_           |     | 1655|Horseleydown|Huggins     |  60|   80
  |158 _Fame_*            | 1655|     |            |            |  90|  120
  |159 _Hawk_             |     | 1655|Woolwich    |Cooper      |  60|   80
  |160 _Hind_             |     | 1655|Waveney     |Page        |  60|   80
  |161 _Naseby_           |     | 1655|Woolwich    |Ch. Pett    |1229| 1638
  |162 _Norwich_          |     | 1655|Chatham     |Ph. Pett    | 246|  328
  |163 _Pembroke_         |     | 1655|Woolwich    |Raven       | 269|  368
  |164 _Portsmouth        | 1655|     |            |            |    |
  |      shallop_         |     |     |            |            |    |
  |165 _Redhorse Pink_    | 1655|     |            |            |    |
  |166 _Roe_              |     | 1655|Waveney     |Page        |  60|   80
  |167 _Wexford_*         | 1655|     |            |            | 130|  173
  |168 _Accada_(B)        |     | 1656|            |            |    |
  |169 _Beaver_*          | 1656|     |            |            |    |
  |170 _Blackmoor_[1356]  |     | 1656|Chatham     |Taylor      |  90|  110
  |171 _Bramble_          | 1656|     |            |            | 112|  160
  |172 _Cheriton_         |     | 1656|Deptford    |Challis     | 194|  261
  |173 _Chestnut_[1356]   |     | 1656|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    |  90|  110
  |174 _Dunbar_           |     | 1656|Deptford    |Challis     |1047| 1396
  |175 _Elias_[1357]      | 1656|     |            |            |    |
  |176 _Griffin_*         | 1656|     |            |            |  90|  120
  |177 _Harp_             |     | 1656|Dublin      |            |    |
  |178 _Hunter_*          | 1656|     |            |            |  50|   66
  |179 _Jesu Maria_       | 1656|     |            |            |    |
  |180 _Kinsale_*         | 1656|     |            |            |  90|  120
  |181 _Lark_*            | 1656|     |            |            |  80|  100
  |182 _London_           |     | 1656|Chatham     |Taylor      |1050|
  |183 _Oxford_           |     | 1656|Deptford    |Challis     | 240|  320
  |184 _Raven_*           | 1656|     |            |            |    |
  |185 _Vulture_*         | 1656|     |            |            | 100|  133
  |186 _Wakefield_        |     | 1656|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    | 235|  313
  |187 _Wolf_*            | 1656|     |            |            | 120|  160
  |188 _Cygnet_           |     | 1657|Chatham     |Taylor      |  60|   80
  |189 _Forester_         |     | 1657|Lidney      |Furzer      | 230|  306
  |190 _Greyhound_*       | 1657|     |            |            | 150|  200
  |191 _Hart_             |     | 1657|Woolwich    |Ch. Pett    |  55|   75
  |192 _Lily_             |     | 1657|Deptford    |Challis     |  60|   80
  |193 _Parrot_           |     | 1657|Chatham     |Taylor      |  60|   80
  |194 _Rose_             |     | 1657|Woolwich    |Ch. Pett    |  55|   75
  |195 _Swallow_          |     | 1657|Deptford    |Challis     |  60|   80
  |196 _Bradford_         |     | 1658|Chatham     |Taylor      | 230|  306
  |197 _Cagway_*          | 1658|     |            |            |  60|   80
  |198 _Coventry_*        | 1658|     |            |            | 200|  266
  |199 _Fox_*             | 1658|     |            |            | 120|  160
  |200 _Francis_*         | 1658|     |            |            |  90|  110
  |201 _Gift Minor_*      | 1658|     |            |            | 120|  160
  |202 _Lichfield_*       | 1658|     |            |            | 200|  266
  |203 _Maria_*           | 1658|     |            |            | 120|  180
  |204 _Richard_          |     | 1658|Woolwich    |Ch. Pett    |1108| 1477
  |205 _Leopard_          |     | 1659|Deptford    |Shish       | 636|  847
  |206 _Monk_             |     | 1659|Portsmouth  |Tippetts    | 703|
  |207 _Towing            |     | 1659|Chatham     |Taylor      |    |
  |      Galley_[1358]    |     |     |            |            |    |

     |Length |Beam  | Depth |Draught |Guns| Remarks                       |
     |of keel|      |of hold|        |    |                               |
     |  Ft.  | Ft.  | Ft.   | Ft.    |    |                               |
    1| 116   | 35.8 | 14.6  | 17.6   | 64 |Burnt at Chatham, March 1653.  |
    2|  90   | 28   | 14    |        | 30 |                               |
    3|       |      |       |        |    |Disappears before 1653.        |
    4| 102.9 | 29.6 | 12.6  | 15.6   | 42 |                               |
    5| 116   | 34.9 | 14.6  | 17     | 64 |                               |
    6|       |      |       |        | 34 |                               |
    7|       |      |       |        |    |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
    8| 100   | 31.2 | 12.3  | 15.7   | 40 |                               |
    9|  85   | 28   | 14    |        | 30 |                               |
   10| 102   | 31   | 13    | 15     | 40 |                               |
   11|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, Aug. 1659.               |
   12| 104   | 31   | 13    | 16     | 40 |                               |
   13| 100   | 31.8 | 13    | 16     | 40 |                               |
   14|       |      |       |        | 12 |Hulk at Chatham in 1660.       |
   15|       |      |       |        |    |Disappears before 1653.        |
   16| 102   | 31   | 13    | 14.6   | 40 |                               |
   17| 106   | 28.6 | 11.10 | 14     | 38 |                               |
   18| 100   | 20.8 | 15.4  |        | 38 |Burnt at Portsmouth, Feb. 1656.|
   19|       |      |       |        | 30 |Sold, 1658.                    |
   20|  99   | 28.4 | 14.2  | 15     | 38 |                               |
   21|       |      |       |        | 36 |Sold, June 1657.               |
   22| 100   | 31.1 | 12.4  | 15.6   | 40 |                               |
   23| 120   | 36   | 16    |        | 56 |Wrecked on coast of Jutland,   |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  30th Sept. 1652.             |
   24|       |      |       |        | 18 |                               |
   25|       |      |       |        | 40 |                               |
   26|       |      |       |        | 20 |Burnt at Jamaica, 1655.        |
   27|       |      |       |        |    |Captured by Dutch, Aug. 1652.  |
   28|       |      |       |        | 32 |Sold, June 1657.               |
   29| 103   | 30.1 | 15    |        | 38 |Lost on Newarp Sands, 1657.    |
   30|       |      |       |        |    |Sold before Sept. 1653.        |
   31|       |      |       |        | 20 |Sold, 1658.                    |
   32|  86   | 25.2 | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
   33|  86   | 25.2 | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
   34|       |      |       |        |    |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
   35|  86   | 25   | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
   36|       |      |       |        |    |Sold, Aug. 1655.               |
   37|       |      |       |        | 12 |Sold, 1657.                    |
   38|  86   | 25.2 | 10    | 12     | 22 |Wrecked on the Seven Stones,   |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1656.                        |
   39| 100   | 28.10| 11.9  | 13.6   | 38 |                               |
   40|       |      |       |        |    |Wrecked, 1651.                 |
   41| 112   | 32.6 | 14    | 16     | 48 |                               |
   42|       |      |       |        | 20 |Sold, June 1657.               |
   43|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, August 1655.             |
   44|       |      |       |        | 32 |Blew up in West Indies, July   |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1656.                        |
   45|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1659.                    |
   46|       |      |       |        | 36 |Sold, 1656.                    |
   47|       |      |       |        |  4 |Sold, 1659.                    |
   48| 105.6 | 31.3 |  3    | 16     | 40 |                               |
   49|       |      |       |        | 30 |Disappears before 1658.        |
   50|  85   | 18   |  7    |  9     | 14 |                               |
   51|       |      |       |        | 24 |Sold, 1654.                    |
   52|       |      |       |        | 36 |Sold, 1656.                    |
   53|       |      |       |        | 20 |Sold, 1659.                    |
   54|  90.8 | 30.8 | 11.6  | 13.6   | 26 |                               |
   55|       |      |       |        | 28 |Sold, 1658.                    |
   56|       |      |       |        |    |Sold, 1653.                    |
   57|       |      |       |        | 36 |Sold, 1656.                    |
   58|       |      |       |        | 36 |                               |
   59|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1657.                    |
   60|       |      |       |        | 20 |Sold, 1656.                    |
   61|       |      |       |        |  4 |Sold, 1655.                    |
   62|       |      |       |        |    |Lost in action of July 1653.   |
   63| 107   | 32.6 | 13    | 15     | 40 |                               |
   64|       |      |       |        | 32 |                               |
   65|  64   | 19.4 |  7    |        | 14 |                               |
   66|  75   | 18   |  7.8  |  9     | 14 |                               |
   67|       |      |       |        | 32 |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
   68|       |      |       |        |    |Lost in action of July 1653.   |
   69|  84   | 26   |  9.6  | 10.6   | 22 |                               |
   70|       |      |       |        | 32 |Sold, 1653.                    |
   71|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sunk in action of Feb. 1653.   |
   72|       |      |       |        | 36 |Wrecked on the Goodwins, 1658. |
   73|       |      |       |        | 36 |Recaptured by Dutch, April     |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1654.                        |
   74|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1655.                    |
   75| 105.6 | 31.6 | 13    | 16     | 40 |                               |
   76|       |      |       |        | 32 |Sold, 1658.                    |
   77|       |      |       |        | 26 |                               |
   78|       |      |       |        |    |Hulk at Deptford in 1660.      |
   79|       |      |       |        | 12 |Sold, 1654.                    |
   80|       |      |       |        | 46 |Blew up at Portsmouth, 9th Dec.|
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1653.                        |
   81|       |      |       |        | 22 |Sold, 1654.                    |
   82|  98   | 28   | 11    | 12.6   | 44 |Hulk at Woolwich in 1660.      |
   83|       |      |       |        | 32 |Sold, 1656.                    |
   84|       |      |       |        | 36 |                               |
   85|       |      |       |        | 14 |                               |
   86|       |      |       |        | 16 |Sold, 1657.                    |
   87| 100   | 26   | 14    | 14     | 26 |                               |
   88| 106   | 26.6 | 14.6  | 14.6   | 36 |                               |
   89|       |      |       |        | 38 |Sold, 1654.                    |
   90| 104   | 31.1 | 13    | 15.8   | 44 |                               |
   91|       |      |       |        | 18 |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
   92|       |      |       |        | 30 |Hulk at Harwich in 1660.       |
   93| 101   | 27.6 | 11    | 14.6   | 36 |                               |
   94| 115   | 33   | 13.8  | 17     | 48 |                               |
   95| 120   | 35.2 | 14.6  | 16.6   | 52 |                               |
   96|       |      |       |        | 24 |Sold, 1658.                    |
   97|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1654.                    |
   98|       |      |       |        | 24 |Sold, 1656.                    |
   99|       |      |       |        | 12 |Wrecked, 1655.                 |
  100|       |      |       |        | 30 |Sold, 1659.                    |
  101| 101.9 | 29.9 | 13    | 14.10  | 38 |                               |
  102|       |      |       |        | 30 |                               |
  103|       |      |       |        | 12 |Sold, 1656.                    |
  104|       |      |       |        | 36 |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
  105|       |      |       |        | 12 |Sold, 1654.                    |
  106|       |      |       |        | 30 |Sold, 1656.                    |
  107|       |      |       |        | 16 |                               |
  108|       |      |       |        | 38 |                               |
  109|  32   | 14   |  7    |  7     |    |                               |
  110| 108.6 | 33.1 | 13.3  | 16     | 44 |                               |
  111|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1655.                    |
  112|       |      |       |        |    |Hulk at Portsmouth in 1660.    |
  113|       |      |       |        | 12 |                               |
  114|       |      |       |        | 34 |Sold, 1655.                    |
  115|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1657.                    |
  116| 116   | 34.8 | 14.6  | 17     | 54 |                               |
  117| 105   | 32.11| 12.10 | 16     | 44 |                               |
  118|       |      |       |        |  6 |Sold, 1654.                    |
  119|       |      |       |        | 20 |Sold, 1654.                    |
  120|       |      |       |        | 34 |                               |
  121|       |      |       |        | 26 |                               |
  122|       |      |       |        | 12 |Sold, 1659.                    |
  123| 116   | 37.4 | 14.10 | 18     | 60 |                               |
  124|       |      |       |        | 32 |Sold, 1657.                    |
  125|  86   | 24.6 | 11.6  | 13     | 34 |                               |
  126|       |      |       |        | 12 |Sold, 1657.                    |
  127| 105   | 33   | 13.3  | 17     | 44 |                               |
  128|       |      |       |        |  8 |Taken by a privateer in 1655.  |
  129|  80   | 24.6 | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
  130|       |      |       |        |  8 |Retaken by a privateer in 1656.|
  131|  83   | 25.6 | 10    | 12     | 24 |                               |
  132|  82   | 24.8 | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
  133| 100.10| 31.10| 13    | 15     | 40 |                               |
  134| 117   | 34.10| 14.6  | 18     | 50 |                               |
  135|  80   | 25 10| 11.6  | 28     |    |                               |
  136|       |      |       |        | 44 |Sold, 1659.                    |
  137|       |      |       |        | 22 |Wrecked near Inverlochy, 24th  |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  July 1655.                   |
  138| 102.10| 32.2 | 13.2  | 15.6   | 40 |                               |
  139| 116   | 35.7 | 14.4  | 17     | 50 |                               |
  140| 117   | 35.2 | 14.4  | 18     | 52 |                               |
  141| 102   | 31.8 | 13    | 16     | 40 |                               |
  142| 116   | 34.6 | 14.2  | 17     | 52 |                               |
  143|  86.8 | 26.4 | 10.4  | 12.6   | 28 |                               |
  144| 117   | 35   | 14.5  | 17.6   | 52 |                               |
  145|  27   | 15.6 |  6    |        |  8 |Taken by a privateer, March    |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1659; recaptured by a cruiser|
     |       |      |       |        |    |   in the following April.     |
  146| 101   |  30  | 13    | 16     | 40 |                               |
  147|       |      |       |        | 26 |Sold, 1655.                    |
  148|  85.6 | 25.8 | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
  149|       |      |       |        | 28 |                               |
  150| 100.6 | 31.8 | 13    | 16     | 40 |                               |
  151| 116.8 | 34.6 | 14.2  | 17     | 52 |                               |
  152| 117.3 | 35.2 | 14.5  | 17     | 50 |                               |
  153| 104   | 33.2 | 13    | 17     | 44 |                               |
  154| 116.9 | 34.7 | 14.2  | 17     | 52 |                               |
  155|       |      |       |        | 12 |                               |
  156|  80   | 25   | 10    | 12     | 22 |                               |
  157|       |      |       |        |  8 |                               |
  158|       |      |       |        | 10 |                               |
  159|  42   | 16   |  8    |        |  8 |                               |
  160|  42   | 16   |  8    |        |  8 |                               |
  161| 131   | 42   | 18    | 11     | 80 |                               |
  162|  81   | 25   | 10.6  | 12     | 22 |                               |
  163|  81   | 25   | 11.6  | 12     | 22 |                               |
  164|       |      |       |        |  4 |Retaken by a privateer, July   |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1655.                        |
  165|       |      |       |        | 10 |Sold, 1658.                    |
  166|       |      |       |        |  8 |                               |
  167|       |      |       |        | 14 |                               |
  168|       |      |       |        | 10 |Wrecked, 1659.                 |
  169|       |      |       |        |  6 |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
  170|  47   | 19   | 10    |        | 12 |                               |
  171|       |      |       |        | 14 |                               |
  172|  76   | 24   | 10    | 11     | 20 |                               |
  173|  47   | 19   | 10    |        | 12 |                               |
  174| 123   | 46   | 17.2  | 21     | 64 |                               |
  175|       |      |       |        |    |Used as hulk at Plymouth in    |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1660.                        |
  176|       |      |       |        | 12 |                               |
  177|       |      |       |        |  8 |                               |
  178|       |      |       |        |  6 |                               |
  179|       |      |       |        |    |Used as hulk at Portsmouth in  |
     |       |      |       |        |    |  1660.                        |
  180|       |      |       |        | 10 |                               |
  181|       |      |       |        | 10 |                               |
  182| 123.6 | 41   | 16.6  | 18     | 64 |                               |
  183|  72   | 24   | 10    | 11     | 22 |                               |
  184|       |      |       |        |  6 |Sold before Nov. 1658.         |
  185|       |      |       |        | 12 |                               |
  186|  74   | 23.6 |  9.9  | 11.6   | 26 |                               |
  187|       |      |       |        | 16 |                               |
  188|       |      |       |        |  6 |                               |
  189|       |      |       |        | 22 |                               |
  190|  60   | 26.6 | 11.6  |        | 20 |                               |
  191|  50   | 14.6 |  5.6  |  5     |  6 |                               |
  192|       |      |       |  5     |  6 |                               |
  193|       |      |       |  5     |  6 |                               |
  194|  50   | 14   |  5.6  |  5     |  6 |                               |
  195|       |      |       |  5     |  6 |                               |
  196|  85   | 25.6 | 10    | 12     | 28 |                               |
  197|       |      |       |        |  8 |                               |
  198|       |      |       |        | 20 |                               |
  199|  72   | 23   |  8.6  | 10     | 14 |                               |
  200|       |      |       |        | 10 |                               |
  201|       |      |       |        | 12 |                               |
  202|       |      |       |        | 20 |                               |
  203|       |      |       |        | 12 |                               |
  204| 124   | 41   | 18    | 20     | 70 |                               |
  205| 109   | 33.9 | 15.8  | 17     | 44 |                               |
  206| 108   | 35   | 13.11 | 16     | 52 |                               |
  207|       |      |       |        |  1 |                               |

Thus 207 new vessels were added to the Navy during these eleven years,
of which 121 were on the active list in 1660; besides 22 others still
remaining of the old Royal Navy and 17 more, originally of the same
era, which had been used but had been sold, wrecked, or lost in action
between 1649 and 1660. We are told that ‘the principal thing the Long
Parliament aimed at was to outsail the Dunkirkers,’[1359] and the
large number of light vessels of twenty-two guns, or under, shows how
earnestly they set themselves to this task. In a few cases the names of
old ships were altered—the _Charles_ to _Liberty_, the _Henrietta Maria_
to _Paragon_, the _Prince_ to _Resolution_, and the _St Andrew_ and _St
George_ lost their saintship. The _Sovereign_ is, once or twice, called
the _Commonwealth_, but here the proposed change of name never became an
actual one.

[Sidenote: Alterations and Improvements.]

In October 1651 the Council of State were considering ‘some encouragement
to be given to Messrs Pett for their success in contriving and building
of frigates.’ The improvements consisted, we may be certain, in moulding
the under-water section on finer lines, and probably in reducing the
height of the hull above water and lengthening the keel by lessening the
rake, fore and aft, and so diminishing the undue proportion the length
‘over all’ bore to the keel. Such alterations would have tended to abate
the pitching, from which these old ships must have suffered terribly, to
have given them a steadier gun platform, and to make them more weatherly,
although from the journal of the _Gainsborough_ it appears that she,
at any rate, was nearly unable to beat to windward.[1360] At first the
new frigates, of whatever class, were built without forecastles, but
experience led to the conclusion that they were advisable in the larger
ships, it being found necessary sometimes to run them up at sea, and
eventually only fifth- and sixth-rates were still built without them.
But this was an advance on the old system, which had constructed the
smallest vessels on exactly the same plan as the largest. Beyond Pett’s
improvements, which really belong to the period of Charles I rather
than to that of the Commonwealth, there was little progress in matters
relating to sails and the better adjustment of weights. Fore and aft
sails are still rarely mentioned, and then only in connection with small
vessels, and there is no record of the introduction of any mechanical
appliances calculated to lighten or quicken the physical work necessary
in handling a ship. The sail area was still small for the tonnage, nor,
in view of the crankness of the ships, did it appear possible to increase
it. The _Sovereign_, cut down in 1652, and then of 100 guns and 2072
gross tonnage,[1361] carried 5513 yards of canvas in a complete suit of
sails;[1362] in 1844 the regulation equipment for a second-rate of 84
guns and 2279 tons (the _Thunderer_), was 12,947 yards. Of course the
line-of-battle ship of 1844 would be in reality a much bigger vessel than
the _Sovereign_, but the excess in length and breadth would not alone
explain the ability to bear more than double the extent of canvas.

As had been customary for at least 150 years, each ship possessed three
boats—long boat, pinnace, and skiff—which were respectively 35 feet, 29
feet, and 20 feet long in those belonging to second-rates, and 33 feet,
28 feet, and 20 feet in third-rates. In no list of equipments or stores
are davits mentioned. The long boat was apparently still towed astern;
it invariably was in 1625, since the Cadiz fleet of that year lost every
long boat in crossing the Bay of Biscay. How the other boats were now
hoisted to the ship is uncertain.[1363]

[Sidenote: Shipbuilding.]

Early in the Commonwealth administration John Holland, one of the Navy
Commissioners, recommended that the service shipwrights should not be
allowed to keep private yards, seeing that if they were dishonest there
was no way of tracing government timber, or other materials, used for
their own purposes, a reason which does not say much for government
methods of supervision. But the state yards were obviously inadequate to
the demands suddenly made upon their capacity, and recourse was necessary
to the yards belonging to government shipwrights and to private builders.
In 1650 and 1651 the _Pelican_, _Primrose_, _Pearl_, _Nightingale_, and
_Mermaid_ were bought in this way, the first at £6, 10s, the others at
£5, 8s a ton.[1364] Vessels built in private yards were subjected to
continual inspection at the hands of the government surveyors, and, in
many cases, the materials were supplied by the Navy Commissioners, who
only desired such prices for them ‘as shall be moderate and fit between
man and man.’

During 1651-53 Parliament was continually ordering new frigates to be
commenced, and the master shipwrights who possessed building slips seem
to have tried to get the work placed in their own yards rather than
in the government ones. In April 1652, when two new vessels were to
be commenced, Peter Pett and Taylor recommended that they should be
given out to contract, as there was not enough timber in the government
stores. Whatever may have been the knowledge or sense of duty possessed
by some of their subordinates, the Commonwealth Navy Commissioners
were the wrong men upon whom to try _finesse_, more appropriate to the
preceding or following administrations. All that Pett and Taylor obtained
by their move was an intimation that they, at all events, would not be
allowed to compete, and this was followed by an urgent recommendation
to the Admiralty Committee that, as there was in reality plenty of
timber available, the two men should be ordered to proceed with the
work at once in the state’s yards.[1365] On other occasions the London
shipwrights combined to put pressure on the Admiralty by refusing to
tender below certain rates, and Edmond Edgar, of Great Yarmouth, based
a claim to consideration on the fact that he had cut in and broken down
the combination.[1366] There are several petitions, like this one of
Edgar’s, from shipbuilders, for compensation on account of vessels turned
out from their yards larger than had been specified in the original
contracts, and thereby exposing them to loss. As the Admiralty tried to
be just rather than generous in dealing with contractors, we may suppose
that the miscalculations, like those which occurred under Charles I,
were due really to ignorance rather than to a not very hopeful attempt
to obtain larger profits by deliberately ignoring instructions. Country
builders, moreover, sometimes worked under difficulties they could
scarcely have anticipated when tendering. Bailey, who built two ships at
Bristol, desired the government to authorise him to pay his men more than
two shillings a day, and thus free him from the liability to ten days’
imprisonment and a £10 fine incurred, according to the city ordinances,
by those who paid more.[1367]

[Sidenote: Decoration.]

In accordance with the tendency of the time the decoration of ships was
reduced to a minimum. Until 1655 the use of gilding appears to have
ceased, special orders being in some cases given that vessels under
repair were not to have any gold used upon them, and the cost of carved
work in fifth-rates was fixed at £45, an amount which was not passed
without serious questioning. In 1655 this severe simplicity was, to a
certain extent, relaxed, since, in August, Richard Isaacson undertook
the gilding and painting of two second-rates at £120 each. So far as
the outside was concerned, the figurehead, arms on stern, and two
figures on the stern gallery were to be gilt; the hull, elsewhere, was
to be painted black, picked out in gold where carved.[1368] The Navy
Commissioners held that the decoration ought not to cost more than £80,
being unnecessary and ‘like feathers in fantastic caps.’ Figure heads
were sometimes exuberant in style. The _Naseby’s_ consisted of Oliver on
horseback, ‘trampling upon six nations.’

[Sidenote: Relation between Tonnage and Guns.]

The following table gives the equipment in offensive weapons and stores
for typical vessels of each rate; the scale was not implicitly adhered
to, but it is the first sign of an attempt to establish a permanent
relation between guns and tonnage such as became afterwards almost
invariable. The paper belongs to 1655, but it is not likely that any
material alteration occurred before 1660.[1369] The first establishment
of third-rates was 140, of fourth-rates 130, and of fifth-rates 100 men;
these were subsequently raised to 160, 150, and 110 men respectively:—

  |                        |Cannon| Demi-|Culverins|   Demi- |Sakers|Round|
  |        Vessels         |Drakes|cannon|         |culverins|      |Shot |
  |                        |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |          _Sovereign_   |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |1st-rates _Resolution_  |  19  |  9   |    8    |   30    |   5  |2580 |
  | [1370]   _Naseby_      |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |                        |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |          _Triumph_     |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |2nd-rates _Victory_     |      |  6   |    0    |   24    |   4  |1900 |
  |          _Dunbar_      |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |                        |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |          _Speaker_     |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |3rd-rates _Marston Moor_|      |  4   |    2    |   26    |   8  |2080 |
  |          _Fairfax_     |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |                        |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |          _Bristol_     |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |4th-rates _Portland_    |      |      |   24    |    6    |   8  | 908 |
  |          _Dover_       |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |                        |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |          _Pearl_       |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |5th-rates _Mermaid_     |      |      |         |   18    |   4  | 660 |
  |          _Fagons_      |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |                        |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |          _Cat_         |      |      |         |         |      |     |
  |6th-rates _Hare_        |      |      |         |         |   8  | 240 |
  |          _Martin_      |      |      |         |         |      |     |

  |                        |Double|Barrels|Muskets|Blunder-|Pikes|Hatchets|
  |        Vessels         |headed|  of   |       |busses  |     |        |
  |                        | Shot |Powder |       |        |     |        |
  |          _Sovereign_   |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |1st-rates _Resolution_  |  720 |  330  |   300 |   20   | 200 | 100    |
  | [1370]   _Naseby_      |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |                        |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |          _Triumph_     |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |2nd-rates _Victory_     |  740 |  203  |   120 |   12   |  80 |  40    |
  |          _Dunbar_      |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |                        |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |          _Speaker_     |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |3rd-rates _Marston Moor_|  670 |  180  |   120 |   10   |  60 |  40    |
  |          _Fairfax_     |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |                        |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |          _Bristol_     |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |4th-rates _Portland_    |  462 |  100  |    60 |    7   |  60 |  40    |
  |          _Dover_       |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |                        |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |          _Pearl_       |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |5th-rates _Mermaid_     |  260 |   40  |     0 |    4   |  40 |  20    |
  |          _Fagons_      |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |                        |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |          _Cat_         |      |       |       |        |     |        |
  |6th-rates _Hare_        |   40 |   14  |     0 |    3   |  20 |  12    |
  |          _Martin_      |      |       |       |        |     |        |

[Sidenote: The Fleets.]

Of the large number of prizes passed into the service many had not been
built as men-of-war, and, as soon as the immediate need had ceased, were
sold, if only for the momentary relief the money thus obtained gave the
harassed treasury. In one year, ending with October 1654, nine were
sold for £6181. Notwithstanding the enormous increase in the strength
of the Navy the Commissioners found it hardly equal to the provision
of the over-sea fleets, now required, and the fifty or sixty cruisers
in the four seas which replaced the half-dozen small vessels formerly
considered sufficient, and which number, relatively large as it was,
did not succeed in entirely crushing the enterprise of the Dunkirk and
Stewart privateers. The recollection of what commerce had suffered from
piracy must have remained very lively, and, at the close of the civil
war, strong summer and winter ‘guards’ were still maintained; in October
1651 there were thirty-six vessels cruising in home waters.[1371] During
the Dutch war every available ship was needed with the fleets, and the
Channel was sometimes so devoid of protection that two prizes, taken off
the Land’s End in December 1653, were brought up Channel to Flushing
without, during the six days occupied in the voyage, and of which one was
spent in lying to off Dungeness, meeting a single English man-of-war.

When peace was made with Holland the protective cordon round the coasts
was renewed, and increased rather than decreased in strength during
the last years of the Commonwealth. To illustrate the way in which the
ships were employed one station list for May 1659 may be quoted.[1372]
In the Downs, 12, of 232 guns; watching Ostend, 3, of 70 guns; off the
mouth of the Thames, 2, of 12 guns; between the Naze and Yarmouth, 2,
of 34 guns; off Lynn Deeps, 2, of 20 guns; between Yarmouth Roads and
Tynemouth Bar, 3, of 66 guns; on Scotch coast, 2, of 52 guns; with the
mackerel boats, 2, of 24 guns; with the North Sea boats, 1, of — guns;
in mouth of Channel, 4, of 76 guns; between Portland and Alderney, 2, of
26 guns; on Irish coast, 3, of 50 guns; on convoy service, 8, of — guns;
and 6 others have not their duties specified. The large increase in the
effective of the Navy diminished the necessity for hired merchantmen, and
the need became less as the Dutch prizes were refitted for service. The
caste feeling which divides the professional from the amateur fighter
was beginning to be strongly marked among officers who had gone through
the experiences of the civil war, and who by a succession of events had
been retained in the service of the state instead of being returned to
mercantile pursuits, as had been the case formerly on the cessation
of warfare. Both these causes helped to do away with the use of hired
merchantmen, although at one time thirty or forty were in pay. Blake
desired that not more than two-fifths of the fleets should consist of
hired ships, that they should carry at least twenty-six guns, and be
commanded and officered by approved men. The proportion does not appear
to have risen to this figure even before prizes became plentiful, and so
eager was the government to adapt suitable prizes that it did not always
wait for legal condemnation, and sometimes found itself compelled to make
terms with the injured owners when the ship had been used and sold out
of the service. After long efforts the owners of the _Golden Falcon_,
captured in 1652, obtained, in March 1659, a decree of the Admiralty
Court in their favour; but the vessel had been sold a year before, and
the Navy Commissioners were ordered to pay her appraised value when
taken. Nor is this a solitary instance.[1373]

[Sidenote: Merchant Shipping.]

In 1652 there was a survey of merchant shipping throughout the kingdom,
but the resulting reports have not survived. In December 1653 there
appear to have been only sixty-three merchantmen, of 200 tons and
upwards, in the Thames suitable for service; but the size of these does
not show much advance on the tonnage of the previous generation; one was
of 600, four of 500, two of 450, five of 400, twenty-five of from 300 to
400, and the remainder under 300 tons.[1374] According to one (royalist)
writer both the merchant navy and trade decreased under the Commonwealth;
but the customs receipts directly contradict the latter and inferentially
negative the former portion of his statement.[1375] Store ships and
transports were paid for at the rate of £3, 15s 6d a month per man, the
owners sending them completely ready for sea. If a ship was meant to go
into action the state took the risk of loss, paid and provisioned the
men, and supplied powder, shot, and any guns necessary beyond the normal
number. When stores were sent out as part of an ordinary trader’s cargo,
the cost of freight was, to the Straits of Gibraltar, from 40s to 44s a
ton; to Alicante, 50s to 54s; to Leghorn, 60s to 64s; and to Jamaica,

[Sidenote: Privateering.]

Private enterprise turned naturally towards letters of marque as
a lucrative, if hazardous, speculation. In July 1652 letters were
restricted to owners able to send out vessels of not less than 200 tons
and 20 guns, but it was soon found out that this limitation was almost
prohibitive. Such privateers were further placed under the direct control
of the admirals, and compelled to keep them and the Council informed
of their proceedings.[1377] Afterwards letters of marque were more
charily issued, since it was found that they were competing for men
against the regular service, much to the disadvantage of the latter,
the looser discipline and larger chance of prize money of the privateer
being much more to the sailor’s liking. Frequently ordinary trading
ships sailed with letters of marque among their papers on the chance
of some profitable opportunity occurring; but from 1st August 1655 all
such commissions were, without exception, revoked, in consequence of
the difficulty their possessors seemed often to find in distinguishing
between the ships of enemies and those belonging to friendly states.
Thenceforward, although still at war with Spain, Englishmen acting
under them were to find themselves in the position, and liable to the
punishment, of pirates.

[Sidenote: Caroline Ships lost or sold.]

Besides the losses of the Commonwealth Navy in the ships, from 1649
onwards, noted in connection with their names in the preceding list, the
following vessels of the old Navy were lost or sold; as well as various
prizes dating from the civil war, and merchantmen bought during the same
period, not here entered:—

  _Bonaventure_, lost in action.
  _Charles_, wrecked.
  _Crescent_, broken up.
  _Defiance_, sold.
  _Garland_, lost in action.
  _Greyhound_, lost in action.
  _Happy Entrance_, burnt at Chatham.
  _Henrietta_, sold.
  _Henrietta Maria_, burnt in West Indies.
  _Leopard_, lost in action.
  _Mary Rose_, wrecked.
  _Merhonour_, sold.
  _Nicodemus_,  ”
  _Roebuck_,    ”
  _1st Whelp_,  ”
  _2nd Whelp_,  ”
  _10th Whelp_, ”

The _Bonaventure_, _Garland_, and _Leopard_ were lost to the Dutch, but
the two former were burnt and sunk when fighting under the Dutch flag in
July 1653. The _Merhonour_, _Defiance_, and _2nd Whelp_, all three long
laid up as useless, were handed over to Taylor in 1650, at a valuation
of £700, in part payment of his shipbuilding bill; the _1st Whelp_ was
used for some time as a hulk at Deptford, and the _10th Whelp_ remained
in commission till 1654. The _Greyhound_ was blown up in action with two
privateers, in 1656, by her captain, Geo. Wager, when she was boarded and
practically taken by 100 of the enemy, who went up with her.[1378] The
_Henrietta Maria_ and _Happy Entrance_ were burnt by accident in 1655 and
1658; the _Mary Rose_ was wrecked off the coast of Flanders in 1650, and
the _Charles_ off Harwich in the same year.

Whenever ships were lost on the British coasts the authorities did their
best to recover the stores, and, in the case of the _Charles_, men were
still engaged in 1660 patiently fishing for her guns. At first Bulmer,
a man whose name has been mentioned under Charles I as an inventor in
connection with maritime matters, was employed, but it was not until May
1657, after seven years of search, that he triumphantly announced that
he had discovered her exact position. He was succeeded by Robert Willis,
described as a diver, who was more fortunate in that he did at last
recover at least two brass guns, for which he was allowed 20s a cwt. As
the Admiralty had been for eight years at the expense of a hired hoy and
the wages of the men occupied in work, it might have been cheaper to have
allowed the guns to remain under water. The methods used are not alluded
to, but, as the diving-bell was described by Bacon in the beginning of
the century, it must have been a well-known appliance; and Bourne had
described a diving dress on the modern principle in 1578.

One other man-of-war, the _Phœnix_, belonging to Badiley’s squadron, was
captured on 7th September 1652 by the Dutch off Leghorn, and gallantly
retaken in November by eighty-two volunteers, under captain Owen Cox, who
boarded her at daybreak while at anchor amidst the enemy’s fleet. Cox
did not disdain to eke out the lion’s with the fox’s skin, since, in the
afternoon, he hired ‘a bumboat or two with good wine to go aboard and
sell it cheap;’ the Dutch were consequently keeping a careless watch, but
fighting continued below for two hours after the ship was under way. Cox
further promised £10 to each man with him, but this was still unpaid in
June 1653, and he then tells the Council of State that the men ‘persecute
him to fulfil his engagement’; and Badiley wrote that ‘since their
exploit they are very turbulent and disorderly.’ Cox was granted £500 for
his good service;[1379] he was killed in the action of July 1653, while
still in command of the _Phœnix_.

[Sidenote: Piracy.]

Complaints of piracy, in the strict sense, are very few during this
period, and there is not a single reference to the presence of a Turk
in the narrow seas. In face of the Commonwealth Navy there were no more
of such incidents as the sack of Baltimore. The French, Dutch, and
Spanish privateers, who kept our men-of-war continually on the alert,
and occasionally overpowered a smaller one, sailed under some sort of
commission, either from their own states or the Stewarts, and did not,
therefore, possess that freedom from responsibility which in warfare
soon degenerates into savagery. The owners of the _Constant Cavalier_,
for instance, cruising under a commission from the nominal Charles II,
had to give a bond for £1000 not to injure his allies or his loyal
subjects.[1380] That the Dunkirkers and others found privateering by no
means so easy a road to fortune as it had been in the days of Charles
I is sufficiently shown by the number of their captured ships taken
into the national service, besides the loss of many more not considered
suitable for that purpose. Their best opportunity was during the Dutch
war, when the cruisers were mostly withdrawn to strengthen the fleets:
but even then the government usually managed to provide convoys for the
coasting trade. English, Scotch, or Irish seamen taken in a privateer
were summarily transported to the plantations.[1381]

In 1656 for some reason, probably the effort to keep the fleets on
foreign service at their full strength, the guard round the coasts seems
to have been temporarily relaxed, and the result was that ‘the Ostenders
and Dunkirkers begin to grow numerous.’ On the east coast they were so
successful for the moment that, dreaming hopefully that the old times
were about to return, they desired some of their released prisoners to
‘tell the Protector that while he is fetching gold from the West Indies
they will fetch his coals from Newcastle.’[1382] Oliver was not a safe
subject for threats, and their spoon was certainly not long enough to
enable them to enjoy in comfort the meal they proposed sharing with him;
at any rate very shortly afterwards the war was carried into the enemy’s
country by the blockade of Ostend and Dunkirk, and there are no more
lamentations about the number of them at sea, or the mischief they were
doing, until the very eve of the Restoration.

[Sidenote: The Administration:—The Committees.]

The administrative direction of the Navy was, at the beginning of the
Commonwealth, placed in the hands of (i.) the Admiralty Committee of the
Council of State,[1383] (ii.) the Committee of Merchants of Navy and
Customs, and (iii.) the Commissioners of the Navy. The second Committee
took no practical part in the administration, was early requested to
leave the management to the Navy Commissioners, ‘as formerly,’[1384] and
was dissolved in 1654. Warwick’s second appointment as Lord Admiral was
cancelled by a parliamentary ordinance of 23rd Feb. 1649, and the first
Admiralty Committee of the Council of State took over his duties from
that date for the one year for which the Council of State was only itself
existent. This Committee was renewed yearly until the Protectorate,
when ‘Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy’ were nominated by act of
Parliament, and the control of the Ordnance department was also given
them.[1385] Their number varied but was seldom less than twelve or
fifteen; they met at first at Whitehall once a week, during the Dutch war
once a day, and, from January 1655, occupied Derby House at a rental of
£100 a year. Following the fall of Richard Cromwell an act was passed,
21st May 1659,[1386] nominally vesting authority in ‘Commissioners for
carrying on the affairs of the Admiralty and Navy,’ but power really
remained in the hands of Parliament to which the Commissioners had to
submit the names of even the captains they appointed.

[Sidenote: The Administration:—The Navy Commissioners.]

The brunt of administrative work and responsibility fell, however, on
the Navy Commissioners, who, so far as may be judged from the letters
and papers relating to them and their work, laboured with an attention
to the minutest details of their daily duties, a personal eagerness to
ensure perfection, and a broad sense of their ethical relation towards
the seamen and workmen, of whom they were at once the employers and
protectors, with a success the Admiralty never attained before and has
never equalled since. The earliest Commissioners were John Holland, Thos.
Smith, Peter Pett, Robt. Thompson, and Col. Wm. Willoughby;[1387] the
last-named died in 1651, and was replaced by Robt. Moulton, who himself
died the next year. In 1653, Col. Fr. Willoughby, Ed. Hopkins, and
major Neh. Bourne, who, besides being a soldier had also commanded the
_Speaker_, were added to the first four. In 1654 Geo. Payler replaced
Holland, and from then there was no change till 1657, when Nathan Wright
succeeded Hopkins. All the Navy Commissioners, except Holland, had £250 a
year, a sum for which they gave better value than did the members of the
Admiralty Committee for their £400 a year; but for 1653 each was granted
an extra £150 in consideration of the excessive and continuous toil of
that year.

From the first they adopted a tone towards the Admiralty Committee
which would hardly have been endurable but that it was excused by an
obvious honesty, and justified by superior knowledge. Early in 1649
they recommended that the rope-makers at Woolwich should have their
wages increased by twopence a day, but their letter was returned by the
Admiralty Committee, probably with a reprimand. This was not to be borne
in silence, so ‘we have cause to resent that we are so misunderstood
as to be inhibited by you to do our duty.’ If the Committee has not
itself power to make the order it can move Parliament, ‘who will not
see men want, especially as in the sweat of these men’s brows consists
not only their particular living but also that of the republic.... What
interpretation soever may be made of our actions by those that have
the supervision of them we shall not fail to represent the grievances
of those under our charge when they represent them to us.’[1388]
On 22nd May 1649 the admirals and captains at sea were ordered to
address the Commissioners direct on all administrative details, thus
leaving only matters of the highest importance to be dealt with by the
Admiralty Committee. In some ways the relative position of superiors and
inferiors seems to have been reversed, for, on one occasion, we find
the Committee writing to the Commissioners about a course of action the
former had decided on, that, ‘as you disapprove’ of such procedure, it
was not to be adopted; and it frequently happened that the Council of
State communicated directly with the Navy Commissioners, ignoring the
intermediate Admiralty Committee.

During the Dutch war a Commissioner was stationed in charge of each of
the principal yards—Pett at Chatham, Willoughby at Portsmouth, and Bourne
at Harwich, which last place, in consequence of the operations on the
North Sea and off the Dutch coast, had suddenly sprung into importance.
Monk wrote concerning Bourne: ‘It is strange that twenty ships should be
so long fitting out from Chatham, Woolwich, and Deptford, where there are
so many docks ... when there have been twenty-two or more fitted out from
Harwich in half the time by Major Bourne.’[1389] There is a consensus of
evidence as to the way in which Bourne threw his heart into his work, and
the success he obtained under difficulties due to the want of docks and
materials at Harwich and an insufficient number of men. Notwithstanding
Monk’s depreciatory reference to Chatham, Pett was very well satisfied
with his operations there. A few months before he had reported to the
Admiralty Committee that he had graved nine ships in one spring tide,
without injury to ship or man; ‘truly it makes me stand amazed at the
goodness of God in such unparalleled successes.’

Besides their superintendence of the building, repairing, and fitting
out of ships, the purchase and distribution of stores, the control of the
dockyards, and all the diverse minutiæ of administration in war time, the
Commissioners were called upon to maintain the not very rigid discipline
of the service. Hitherto all ranks had been allowed to do much as they
pleased when ships were in port, but henceforth no captain was to leave
his command for more than six hours without the express permission of
either the Admiralty or Navy Commissioners, and during any such absence
the lieutenant, or the master, was to remain on board; for the first
disobedience the penalty was a fine of one month’s pay, for the second
three months’, and for the third to be cashiered. Similar rules applied
to all the officers; and men absent without leave forfeited a month’s
pay. The clerks of the check[1390] were to ‘take an exact account’ how
officers and others performed their duties, and once a week report to the
Navy Commissioners, a regulation which, if loyally obeyed, must have made
the clerks popular. The clerks of the check attached to the dockyards
were to similarly watch the clerks on shipboard, and, in turn, report
on them once a week to the Commissioners.[1391] This system was akin to
that of the sixteenth-century Spanish navy, in which the duties were so
arranged that each officer was a spy on another; admirable in theory, it
did not suit English idiosyncrasies, and these reports never took any
practical shape.

From 2nd June 1649, the Navy Commissioners had occupied rooms in the
victualling office at Tower Hill, but in 1653 they found the annoyance
caused by the proximity of the victuallers’ slaughterhouses there to
be unbearable. It was not, however, till the next year that Sir John
Wolstenholme’s house in Seething Lane was purchased for them for £2400,
and became the Navy Office for a long period;[1392] the Treasurer’s,
now a quite distinct office, was in Leadenhall Street, and its lease
was renewed in February 1657 for eight years at a rental of £49, 6s 8d
a year and a £700 fine. The next request of the Commissioners was that
their number might be increased, as half the members of the Board were
constantly away in charge of dockyards, and for this they ‘desire timely
remedy or dismissal from our employment.’ It has been noticed that three
new men, of whom certainly two—Bourne and Willoughby—were, in their
sphere, amongst the ablest administrators who have ever served the state,
were in consequence added in 1653. Besides the Commissioners, Thomas
White at Dover, captain Hen. Hatsell at Plymouth, major Richard Elton at
Hull, and major William Burton at Yarmouth, acting as Admiralty agents,
had nearly as much work and responsibility, and executed it as ably, as
their more highly placed colleagues.

In 1655 the salaries of subordinates at the Admiralty amounted to
£1740, the secretary, Robert Blackborne, receiving £250. The first
secretary of the Admiralty Committee, Robert Coytmore, had £150 a year,
of which £50 was regarded as an extra given on condition that neither
he nor his clerk received fees—a stipulation probably due to a lively
recollection of the habits of Nicholas and his successor, Thomas Smith.
The Navy Commissioners had no secretary, and until September 1653 each
Commissioner was allowed only one clerk, at £30 a year—scanty assistance,
considering the amount of work thrown into their hands. From September
the number was doubled, and two purveyors were appointed to assist them
in purchasing stores. The total annual cost of the Admiralty, the Navy
Office, and the chief officers of the four dockyards was £11,179, 9s

If we may trust a later writer, the sums spent on the Navy Office, which
bore only a trifling proportion to the naval expenses, sometimes reaching
a million and a quarter, were not misapplied. Henry Maydman, who was a
purser under the Commonwealth, and Mayor of Portsmouth in 1710, wrote
long afterwards:—

    In all the wars we had in the time of King Charles’s exile the
    Navy Office was so ordered that a man might have despatched
    any affair almost at one board ... and with the greatest ease
    imaginable, and cheapness too. For their public business was
    carried on with all imaginable application, and it was a crime
    for any one to absent himself from his post.[1394]

So far as the intentions and efforts of the Navy Commissioners were
concerned this was doubtless true, but it is to be feared that the
State Papers do not support the implication that money matters were
settled with the same ease as those relating to the routine of daily
management, although that, of course, was an imperfection for which they
were not accountable, and over which they had no control. To the full
extent of their power they watched not only over the public interests,
but also over those of the men who, for the first time, seem to have
looked up to officials of their position as friends and helpers. Some of
the appeals they listened to are embodied in a letter to the Admiralty

    We have complaints daily made unto us by poor seamen pressed
    out of merchant ships into the state’s service that they are
    grossly abused by their masters and owners in pretending
    leakage, damage, or not delivery of their goods, whereby they
    keep their pay from them, meanly taking advantage of the poor
    men’s forcing away by the state’s press masters and not having
    time to get their rights, are by this means defrauded of their
    wages. We look upon it as a very great oppression and have
    therefore thought good to acquaint your honours therewith.

Shortly afterwards they had to write on behalf of merchants who had
trusted them[1396]:—

    It is not pleasing to us to fill your ears with complaints, yet
    we judge it our duty, while entrusted with so great a share of
    the naval affairs, to again remind you of the emptiness of all
    the stores.... We have not been wanting in obtaining supplies
    by means of fair promises, and now we are hardly thought and
    spoken of by those who cannot obtain their money.

In one instance the ‘fair promises’ resolved themselves into a bill for
£400 on account, which, said the recipient, ‘has hitherto done me no more
good than an old almanac.’ It has been remarked that the position of
all who were in the service of the state became more difficult as time
passed, and money became scarcer and scarcer towards 1660. When, in 1658,
the Navy Commissioners were obliged to pay—or promise—prices from 30 to
50 per cent. above the market standard, it may be supposed that their
situation had its own discomforts.[1397] Besides guarding the material
interests, they had to review the moral conduct, of their subordinates,
and they were evidently shocked to be compelled to report to the
Admiralty Commissioners that captain Phineas Pett, clerk of the check at
Chatham, was the father of an illegitimate child. On another occasion
Willoughby was inquiring whether a boatswain possessed two wives.

After the resignation of Richard Cromwell Parliament interposed more
directly in naval affairs, and the Commissioners exercised less
authority; on one occasion the agent at Chester, who went on board a
man-of-war to muster the men, was refused an opportunity to perform his
duty, and told, in answer to his threats, that ‘the power of the Navy
Commissioners was not as formerly.’ A fact so plainly put must have been
generally recognised, and accounts for the comparative disappearance of
the Commissioners from the papers of the last year of the Commonwealth.

[Sidenote: The Administration:—The Navy Treasurer.]

From 1st January 1651, Richard Hutchinson replaced Vane as Treasurer of
the Navy under circumstances noticed on a previous page. He began with
a salary of £1000 a year, in lieu of all former fees and perquisites,
and the appearance of his name in the State Papers is almost invariably
associated with requests for higher pay, or melancholy wails about the
amount of work thrown upon him by the wars in which we were engaged.
For 1653 he was allowed an extra £1000;[1398] not satisfied with this
he petitioned again in December, and so successfully that, by an order
of the Council, he was to be given, in 1654, £2500, and a further £1000
for every £100,000 disbursed in excess of £1,300,000.[1399] That this
man, who was merely a glorified clerk, who was never required to act on
his own initiative, and whose work demanded neither energy, foresight,
nor talent, should have received over £2500 a year, while the Navy
Commissioners, to whose organising genius was mainly due the rapid and
complete equipment which enabled the English fleets to be of sufficient
strength at the point of contact, were rewarded with £250 a year, and a
gratuity of £150 for one twelvemonth, is one of those incidents which
interest the impartial student of forms of government. From January 1655
his pay was fixed at £1500 a year, with £100 commission on every £100,000
issued above £700,000; a year later he tried to get this commission
doubled, and to have it allowed on his first three years of office, ‘I
having much larger promises at the time.’[1400] A remark like this, the
ease with which he obtained his almost annual increments, and the fact
that he was appointed in spite of Vane’s opposition, taken together, lead
one to suspect that he must have had some potent influence behind him.

[Sidenote: The Commonwealth Captains.]

Among officers, captains were the class who gave most trouble throughout
these years, the number tried for, or accused of, various delinquencies
yielding a much higher percentage of the total employed than that
afforded by the men, or by officers of any other rank. This was, perhaps,
largely due to the rapid promotion necessitated by the sudden increase
of the Navy, commanders being chosen mainly for professional capacity,
and, if considered politically safe, few questions were asked about
their religious or moral qualifications. Many, again, had risen from the
forecastle, and possibly brought with them reminiscences of the habits
existing in the Caroline Navy: others had been privateer captains, an
occupation which did not tend to make their moral sense more delicate.
Professional honour was not yet a living force, and, in some orders
issued by Monk to the captains of a detached squadron, the threat of loss
of wages as a punishment for disobedience came after, and was obviously
intended as a more impressive deterrent than, the disgrace of being

With one offence, however—cowardice—very few were charged; after 1642
few men wanting physical courage were likely to force their way to the
front. George Wager, who chose to blow up the _Greyhound_ rather than
strike the English flag, had been a boatswain; Amos Bear, a boatswain’s
boy; Robert Clay, a carpenter; Heaton, a trumpeter’s mate; Badiley,
Sansum, and Goodson, cabin boys; and doubtless close inquiry would
reveal many more examples. Four days before the execution of Charles the
Navy Commissioners wrote to Portsmouth, and presumably to other naval
stations, ‘to entreat’ those in charge to take care that all officers
appointed were well affected to the Parliament, and authorising them
to suspend any suspected ones on their own responsibility.[1402] But
the government was not unforgiving; two of Rupert’s captains, Goulden
and Marshall, commanded state’s ships,[1403] and officers who had
deserted in the mutiny of 1648 were received back into the service of
the Commonwealth. The following list, in all probability by no means
complete, will show the large number of captains whose conduct came under
observation, and the character of their misdemeanours:—

  |      Name     |          Accused of          |        Result          |
  |John Taylor   }|                              |{ Ordered to enter into |
  |Anth. Young   }|Neglect of duty in action     |{ recognisances to come |
  |Edm. Chapman  }|  of Nov. 1652                |{ up for judgment if    |
  |B. Blake      }|                              |{ called upon.[1404]    |
  |Thos. Marriott |Embezzlement, 1652            | Not known              |
  |John Mead      |      ”       1653            |     ”                  |
  |John Best      |Drunkenness and cowardice,    |     ”[1405]            |
  |               |  1653                        |                        |
  |Wm. Gregory    |Embezzlement, 1653            |     ”                  |
  |Jon. Taylor    |Signing false tickets, 1653   |     ”                  |
  |Thos. Harris   |Neglect of duty, 1653         | Cashiered              |
  |Jas. Cadman    |Killing one of his crew, 1653 | Suspended for 12 months|
  |——             |Neglect of convoy duty, 1653  | Not known[1406]        |
  |Jas. Peacock   |Embezzlement, 1653            |     ”                  |
  |Sam. Dickinson |      ”       1654            |     ”                  |
  |Val. Tatnell   |      ”       1654            |     ”                  |
  |J. Clarke      |      ”       1655            | Cashiered              |
  |——             |      ”       1655            | Wages suspended        |
  |Robt. Nixon    |Cruelty, 1655                 | Not known              |
  |J. Seaman      |Drunkenness, 1655             |     ”                  |
  |Fr. Parke      |Theft from prizes, 1655       |     ”[1407]            |
  |Alex. Farley   |Drunkenness and embezzlement, |     ”                  |
  |               |  1656                        |                        |
  |J. Jefferies   |Embezzlement, 1656            | Fined £60[1408]        |
  |Thos. Sparling |      ”       1656            |     ” £160             |
  |J. Lightfoot   |Fraud and violence, 1656      | Not known[1409]        |
  |J. Smith       |Embezzlement and drunkenness, |     ”                  |
  |               |  1656                        |                        |
  |Rich. Penhallow|Making out false tickets, 1656| Amount to be deducted  |
  |               |                              |   from his wages       |
  |Jas. Cadman    |Embezzlement, 1656            | Fined[1410]            |
  |W. Hannam      |Cowardice, cruelty, and       | Not known              |
  |               |incapacity, 1656              |                        |
  |John Best      |Drunkenness, 1656             |     ”                  |
  |Robt. Nixon    |Cruelty and embezzlement,     |     ”[1411]            |
  |               |  1657                        |                        |
  |Hen. Powell    |Embezzlement, 1657            | Severely admonished    |
  |——             |Drunkenness and blasphemy,    | Not known              |
  |               |  1657                        |                        |
  |J. Vasey       |Drunkenness, 1658             | Charge withdrawn[1412] |
  |— Davis        |Selling prize goods, 1658     | To refund              |
  |Robt. Saunders |Came home without leave, 1658 | Cashiered              |
  |Thos. Whetstone|Drunkenness and theft, 1658   | Not known              |
  |Rowland Bevan  |Embezzlement and carrying     |    ”                   |
  |               |  cargo, 1658                 |                        |
  |——             |Carrying cargo, 1659          |    ”                   |
  |Pet. Foote.    |        ”       1659          |    ”[1413]             |
  |Robt. Kirby    |Drunkenness and theft, 1659   |    ”                   |
  |——             |Carrying cargo, false tickets,|    ”                   |
  |               |  1660                        |                        |

It is curious to find that, in 1657, two ex-captains, Mellage and Baker,
were in prison as Quakers. In cases of embezzlement the sentence of a
court-martial, where ascertainable, appears to have been usually confined
to fining the accused the value of the stores stolen, or stopping the
amount from his wages. The custom was commencing of trying commanders,
who lost their ships by misadventure, before a court-martial, instead
of accepting their explanations, or holding an informal investigation
at Whitehall, as had previously been done; and once a captain was sent
before a court because his ship went ashore, although she came off
without damage.[1414] This must be almost the first occurrence of that
form of inquiry. Log books were now compulsory, and were sent up to the
Navy Commissioners on the return of the ship; by an order of 2nd Feb.
1653 an advocate, who conducted prosecutions in courts-martial, was
attached to the fleets. It will be noticed how often drunkenness is an
article in the foregoing charges, and this weakness seems to have been
common in all ranks, from captains down to ships’ boys. Among these
naval papers there are very few indications of the existence of Puritan
fervour or even of ordinary religious feeling; the great mass of men
and officers aimed at pay and prize money, gave strenuous service when
the former was punctual and the latter plentiful, and became heedless
and indifferent when they failed. Sailors have been always much more
interested in their material prosperity in this world than the prospects
of their future welfare in the next. Nor does the rule of the saints
appear to have spiritualised the proverbial hard swearing of the service.

[Sidenote: Inception of Class Feeling.]

It is, however, from this period that dates that sense of solidarity
among officers and men which is at once the sign and consequence of an
organised and continuous service. Hitherto the permanent executive force
in peace time had consisted of a few subordinate officers and some 200
or 300 shipkeepers, many of whom were not even seamen. When a fleet was
prepared, the ships were commanded by captains for whom sea service was
only an episode, and officered and manned by men who came from, and were
immediately sent back to, the merchant service on the completion of their
cruise. But between 1642 and 1660 every available English sailor must
have passed a large portion of those years on the state’s ships; and the
captains and officers were kept in nearly continuous employment, with the
result of the formation of a class feeling, and the growth of especial
manners and habits, characteristic of men working under conditions which
removed them from frequent contact with their fellows. The numerous
notices in Restoration literature of the particular appearance, modes of
expression, and bearing, stamping the man-of-war officer—references never
before made—show how rapidly the new circumstances had produced their

[Sidenote: The other Officers.]

When captains showed themselves so ready to steal it might have been
expected that officers of lower rank would follow, and even improve upon,
the pattern set them, but this did not prove to be the case. Although, of
course, there are many flagrant cases recorded, the number of officers
charged with fraud or theft is not only relatively less, considering
the much larger aggregate employed, than under Charles I, but also
absolutely smaller for any equal series of years. Experience, gained
during the civil war, had led to closer inspection and the introduction
of safeguards which made theft neither so easy nor so free from risk,
and further precautions were taken under the Commonwealth. Embezzlement
by a captain could not be prevented, it could only be punished: but
the regulations which made it easy for him might make it difficult for
his gunner or boatswain. The first step, taken in 1649, was to raise
the wages of those officers who were in charge of stores, a measure
recommended long before by Holland and every other reformer. In 1651
the Navy Commissioners were directed to consider how the frauds, still
numerous among officers, might be best dealt with, and this was probably
the cause of an order the next year that sureties should be required
from pursers, boatswains, and others for the honest performance of their
duties.[1415] These sureties were usually entered into by two persons,
and were sometimes as high as £600.

That some such method was necessary, at least with the pursers, is
evident from the following catalogue of their ‘chief’ abuses, drawn up
by the Navy Commissioners in 1651:[1416] (1) They forge their captains’
signatures; (2) make false entries of men; (3) falsify the time men have
served; (4) sign receipts for a full delivery of stores and compound with
the victualling agents for the portion not received; (5) do not send in
their accounts for one voyage till they are again sailing; (6) charge
the men with clothes not sold to them; and (7) execute their places by
deputy while they stop on shore. The principal reforms suggested by the
Commissioners were that bonds should be required, that stewards should
be employed for the victualling, that pursers should in future sail as
clerks of the check, with limited powers, and that all their papers
should be countersigned by the captain. These measures were all adopted,
but a further recommendation that a pillory should be erected near the
Navy Office for their especial use was not, apparently, acted upon. When
one purser openly declared that he cared not how the seamen starved if
he could ‘make £500 or £600 a year out of their bellies,’ it was full
time to apply to his kind the treatment exercised by governments on such
dangerous idealists as constitutional reformers.

The Commissioners had set themselves a hard task in the inculcation of
honesty, for that sentiment which still regards lightly cheats on a
government was strongly against them. When Dover was searched, in 1653,
large quantities of stolen cordage, sold from the ships, were discovered,
and Bourne found that ‘these embezzlements are so common that the people
declare that they think it no wrong to the state.’ Still in the long
run they were more successful than their predecessors had been, and the
trials for embezzlement became fewer after 1653. Their treatment of the
pursers had the best results, judging from the small number of those
officers who came up for judgment; these gentlemen did not at all like
the new rules and at first mostly refused to sail as clerks of the check.
For reasons unknown, unless it was that they had become more trustworthy
and that the new system was in some respects cumbrous, the clerks
were abolished in 1655 and the pursers reinstated in their old powers,
pecuniary guarantees in the shape of the bonds still being required
from them.[1417] It must have been a very new and unpleasant experience
to some of these men, who many of them remembered the free hand they
were allowed before 1640, to find themselves before a court-martial for
acts they had come to look upon as natural to their places. One steward
attempted to evade an accusation of embezzlement by declaring that the
rats had eaten his books; he might have improved his defence by producing
some of the victuallers’ ‘salt horse,’ and showing that his books, being
tenderer and more nutritious, were more likely to tempt the rats. In
the trial of another we have some account of the mode of proceeding.
The prisoner, Joshua Hunt, was tried under the twenty-eighth article of
war before Lawson and twelve commanding officers, and was himself sworn
and examined. By the twenty-eighth article the character of the penalty
is left to the decision of the court, and Hunt was given the option of
making restitution or of undergoing punishment. In making his report,
Monk remarked that the prisoner had only been found out in that which
most stewards did, and that he would be sent up to London to give his
friends or sureties the opportunity of making amends; if they failed to
do this he was to be returned to the fleet for corporal punishment at the
decision of a further court-martial.[1418] This form of sentence was very
frequent, and gunners, boatswains, and stewards were ordinarily fined the
value of the stores stolen, and committed to prison until it was paid.

The wide discretion left to the courts-martial led to great inequality
in the sentences, especially when an example could be made without
losing the stores or their money value. A carpenter was tried for theft;
he confessed to the intention, and partly to the act, but returned the
articles before arrest. He was, however, ordered to be taken from ship
to ship in the Downs, with a paper describing his offence affixed to his
breast, the paper being read at each ship’s side, to be thrice ducked
from the yardarm, and to be cashiered. Obviously it was more profitable
and less dangerous not to stop halfway in theft. In 1653 is found a
rather remarkable sentence: Wm. Haycock, carpenter’s mate of the _Hound_,
was, for ‘drunkenness, swearing, and uncleanness,’ ordered, among other
things, ten lashes at the side of _each_ flagship. Haycock has the
distinction of being the first recorded victim of the form of punishment
which afterwards developed into the devilish torture known as ‘flogging
round the fleet.’ It became comparatively common during the reign of
Charles II.

At Chatham, in 1655 the authorities appear to have discovered and broken
up a gang of receivers, of whom one had an estate of £5000 obtained
from thefts from the ships and yards. A hoyman, Dunning, confessed to
having conveyed 500 barrels of powder from the men-of-war at Chatham and
Deptford within four years. When pressed for particulars, he exclaimed,
‘Alas! shall I undo a thousand families? Shall I undo so many? I did
not think you would put me upon it to do so!’ Finding that this appeal,
instead of silencing, only whetted his examiners’ curiosity, he had
at last to name eighteen ships whose gunners had given him powder to
remove.[1419] The Admiralty employed detectives of their own to find
out thefts, but on more than one occasion these men turned thieves
themselves. The aforesaid Dunning bought a cable from one of them;
another was found ‘to have unduly abused his trust,’ but a third was
granted £15 for proving the larcenies of captain Cadman. Sometimes,
when the amount was small, the Admiralty, instead of bringing offenders
to trial, deducted the estimated value of their embezzlements from
wages;[1420] evidently punishment was very uncertain in extent, but the
practical impunity of former times could no longer be reckoned on.

In some few instances the Admiralty had to deal with difficulties of
another nature among the officers. Richard Knowlman, a gunner, and
described as a Quaker, wrote to the Commissioners that he had served by
sea and land from 1641, and was still willing to continue in any other
capacity, since ‘I would be free to act against all deceit ... for I see
most men, especially those in the navy and of most rank and quality,
are corrupted.’ Knowlman could not have expressed less respect for the
average official had he enjoyed access to the State Papers, but on the
whole his was one of the very rare eras when such doubts were unjust.
Another master gunner had, for two months, refused to fire a gun, ‘lest
blood might be spilt,’ and a third insisted on preaching to the crew of
the _Fame_, who by no means appreciated his amateur ministrations. In
three instances chaplains are found accused of drunkenness, but their
presence on board ship was not invariable, and their influence appears to
have been very slight. One was tried for forging Monk’s signature.

[Sidenote: The Commissioners’ Success.]

The habits of half a century were not to be at once overthrown, but after
1655 references to thefts became far fewer; and the Navy Commissioners
could congratulate themselves on having done much to extinguish customs
which had gone far to destroy the vitality of the former Royal Navy.
The want of trust, that long experience had shown to be justifiable
in gunners, carpenters, and boatswains, who had been, and were still
to a certain extent, treated as officers, may have been one reason
why lieutenants were now always attached to ships, except fifth- and
sixth-rates. Another may probably be found in the growing demand for
scientific seamanship, an accomplishment the former class had little
opportunity of acquiring. Whatever the cause, the effect was to thrust
the gunners and their compeers lower down in the social scale, to lose
them that respect on shipboard they had hitherto possessed, to lessen
their authority, and so quicken the downward movement. We are told that,
a generation later, it was as usual to strike them as to strike the men,
and that they had to ‘fawn like spaniels’ on the lieutenants to retain
favour or position. The lieutenants must have been found much more
satisfactory; in the whole series of papers relating to this period there
is no instance of one being tried by court-martial, and only one in which
such an officer got into any trouble. His captain put him in irons, but
the reason is not given. Lieutenants were occasionally appointed to the
naval service in the reign of Elizabeth, but the Dutch war may be taken
as the period where their position became permanent. In June 1652, Sir
Wm. Penn, then vice-admiral, writing to Cromwell, gave expression to the
unanimous desire of his colleagues that such a rank should be allowed in
all ships carrying 150 men.

Another difficulty the Commissioners had to contend with was the
forging of seamen’s tickets, an old form of crime which grew in extent
with the employment of so many more men. The Navy Commissioners, in
advance of their time, recognised that the only legal penalty, death,
was too severe, and practically prevented any punishment.[1421] The
Navy department was not the only one which suffered from these forgers,
who were all more or less connected with each other; in the same
year forgeries of public faith bills to the amount of £115,000 were
discovered. Some of these men were in league with clerks in the Navy
and prize offices, and obtained the necessary papers and information
from them. At a later date one of the gang confessed, when in prison,
that the total of the public faith bill and other forgeries was nearly
£500,000.[1422] In 1656 a new plan was tried: ‘to prevent the many frauds
and deceits formerly practised,’ the Commissioners were ordered to send
the Treasurer, daily or weekly, an abstract of all the bills or tickets
they signed authorising payment of money. Subsequently the Admiralty
Commissioners obtained power to themselves commit offenders to prison.
Nicholas Harnaman, for instance, was sent to Bridewell with hard labour
’till further order,’ for counterfeiting tickets.[1423]

[Sidenote: Officers’ Pay.]

Officers’ pay was raised in March 1649, and again in 1653, after which
latter date there was no alteration.[1424] It then stood per month at:—

  |                 |1st Rate|2nd Rate|3rd Rate|4th Rate|5th Rate|6th Rate|
  |                 | £  s d | £  s d | £  s d | £  s d | £  s d | £  s d |
  |Captain          |21  0 0 |16 16 0 |14  0 0 |10  0 0 | 8  8 0 | 7  0 0 |
  |Lieutenant       | 4  4 0 | 4  4 0 | 3 10 0 | 3 10 0 |        |        |
  |Master           | 7  0 0 | 6  6 0 | 4 13 8 | 4  6 2 | 3  7 6 | [1425] |
  |Master’s mate or |        |        |        |        |        |        |
  |  pilot          | 3  6 0 | 3  0 0 | 2 16 2 | 2 7 10 | 2  2 0 | 2  2 0 |
  |Midshipman       | 2  5 0 | 2  0 0 | 1 17 6 | 1 13 9 | 1 10 0 | 1 10 0 |
  |Boatswain        | 4  0 0 | 3 10 0 | 3  0 0 | 2 10 0 | 2  5 0 | 2  0 0 |
  |Boatswain’s mate | 1 15 0 | 1 15 0 | 1 12 0 | 1 10 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  6 0 |
  |Quartermaster    | 1 15 0 | 1 15 0 | 1 12 0 | 1 10 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  6 0 |
  |Quartermaster’s  |        |        |        |        |        |        |
  |  mate           | 1 10 0 | 0 10 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  6 0 | 1  5 0 |
  |Carpenter        | 4  0 0 | 3 10 0 | 3  0 0 | 2 10 0 | 2  5 0 | 2  0 0 |
  |Carpenter’s mate | 2  0 0 | 2  0 0 | 1 16 0 | 1 14 0 | 1 12 0 | 1 10 0 |
  |Gunner           | 4  0 0 | 3  1 0 | 3  0 0 | 2 10 0 | 2  5 0 | 2  0 0 |
  |Gunner’s mate    | 1 15 0 | 1 15 0 | 1 12 0 | 1 10 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  6 0 |
  |Surgeon          | 2 10 0 | 2 10 0 | 2 10 0 | 2 10 0 | 2 10 0 | 2 10 0 |
  |Corporal         | 1 15 0 | 1 12 0 | 1 10 0 | 1 10 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  5 0 |
  |Purser           | 4  0 0 | 3 10 0 | 3  0 0 | 2 10 0 | 2  5 0 | 2  0 0 |
  |Master           |        |        |        |        |        |        |
  |  Trumpeter[1426]| 1 10 0 | 1  8 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  4 0 |
  |Cook             | 1  5 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  5 0 | 1  4 0 |

[Sidenote: Guns and Ordnance Stores.]

When Parliament began the rapid construction of new ships some of its
members may have had misgivings about getting the crews to man them,
but few probably anticipated the future difficulties in procuring the
guns wherewith to arm them. Geo. Browne, for so many years the royal
gunfounder, was still almost the only maker, and his works were unequal
to the increased demands.[1427] In March and April 1652, when war
appeared certain, 335 guns were immediately required to equip only part
of the Navy,[1428] but the authorities were already reduced to such
straits as to be compelled to send searchers about London to try to
find ordnance.[1429] A month later some of the inland strongholds were
disarmed, and 84 brass and 544 iron guns thus obtained; the sale of
ordnance taken in prizes was strictly prohibited, and, in the course of
the year, guns were hired at ten and twelve shillings each a month. In
December the ordnance officials announced that 1500 iron pieces, weighing
2230 tons, at £26 a ton, were required, the same number of carriages
at from 21s to 31s 3d each, 117,000 round and double-headed shot, 5000
hand grenades at 2s 6d each, 12,000 barrels of corn powder at £4 10s a
barrel, and 150 tons of breechings and tackle at £50 a ton.[1430] To meet
these wants they had in store only 121 guns and 34,000 rounds.[1431] In
February 1653 the contracts were made for these guns, but, very soon
after they were entered into, the officials saw that the deliveries would
be at ‘a vast distance from our pressing occasions,’ for not only was
the Tower empty but the ports were also destitute of munition, and, at
Portsmouth, they were in April ‘at a stand’ for powder and shot.

All that Browne and Foley could promise was to deliver 140 guns in
October, 190 in February 1654, 254 in June, 230 in October, and 86 in
June 1655; but, as 500 were still to be sent in on old contracts, their
engagements could hardly be relied on. Fifty tons of shot and 5000 hand
grenades they promised for June, 50 tons in September, and 100 more by
March 1654. In the meantime ships intended to serve as armed merchantmen
were actually waiting uselessly for 117 guns, which the Ordnance
department could not procure anywhere.[1432] The immediate outlook for
powder was no better, since there was instant demand for 2780 barrels and
only 500 in store, while the contractors were only bound to supply 660
barrels a month. Here, however, the further prospect was more favourable,
as there were many powder-makers at work and the government could
purchase quantities at Hamburg.

The staff of the Ordnance office was very much larger, proportionately,
than that of the Admiralty. It employed, at yearly salaries, a surveyor,
£194; clerk, £215; storekeeper, £216; clerk of the delivery, £166;
master gunner of England, £121; keeper of the small gun office, £66;
messenger, £60; two furbishers, £12 each; and twenty labourers at £21
each.[1433] Its management had mended considerably since 1640, but the
improvement did not avail to save its independence in 1653 when it became
a department of the Admiralty. In February 1654 matters were so far
better that there were 2359 barrels of powder and 38,000 round and other
shot in hand, but still no guns in reserve. There are no complaints about
the quality of the powder supplied during the Dutch war, but, in 1655 and
1656, accusations against the makers, who were said to ‘use some sleight
to make it Tower-proof on delivery, but it does not long continue good
nor abide change of weather,’ became numerous. All that the authorities
could do was to call upon the manufacturers to make it good, or, if they
preferred, take it back with a licence to export it abroad; 6827 out of
15,098 barrels recently furnished were defective, and, by an order of 2nd
April 1656, the Council gave the contractors the choice between these
courses and being committed to prison. The makers, however, had something
to say on their side. Like most other naval purveyors they had not been
paid, and even to get any money on account were sometimes compelled,
under threats of still longer postponement, to repair Hamburg powder at
17s a barrel when the real price should have been £2, naturally with
unsatisfactory results. Some attributed all the mischief to the Hamburg
importations, but most of them seem to have gone into the business
without any expert knowledge, simply with a view of profiting by the
sudden demand for war material.[1434]

The form of reparation exacted was manifestly unfair: instead of each
maker being required to substitute good for whatever bad powder he had
sent in they were called upon to replace it in proportion to their
contracts. Thus Josias Devey was made liable for 461 barrels instead of
the 141 which were faulty in the number he had supplied, and apparently
he would have fared just as badly if his powder had been excellent down
to the last pound.[1435] As some of the manufacturers had delivered 50
per cent., or more, of inferior quality, the probable explanation of
this not very honourable proceeding is to be found in the fear of the
Council that the worst culprits would be pecuniarily unable to make
amends if assessed at their full liability. Wapping seems to have been a
manufacturing district, since, in July 1657, there was an explosion of
powder mills, or stores, there which injured many people and damaged 846
houses to the extent of £10,000.

[Sidenote: The Dockyards.]

The enlargements and improvements of the dockyards were not as
considerable as might have been expected in view of the increased
number of ships, and the space required for their accommodation. These
requirements were partly met by the greater use made of Plymouth, and
making Dover and Harwich stations where ships might obtain provisions
and minor repairs. Harwich, largely used for a few years in the middle
of the sixteenth century, had been found of some service during the
civil war, but the movements of the fleets in the North Sea, and off
the coast of Holland, brought both it and Dover into prominence. The
latter port was not utilised till 1653, and was never very freely used,
although the quarterly accounts sometimes reached £700 or £800; both it
and Portsmouth were supplied with stores from Deptford. Bourne, from
the date of his appointment as Navy Commissioner, took up his residence
at Harwich, and remained there till March 1658. Monk’s testimony to his
ability and success has already been quoted, although he had none of the
appliances available in the older yards. But in 1657 ground was rented
from the corporation, for a permanent government yard and wharf, on a
ninety-nine year lease at £5 a year.[1436] Plymouth was employed mainly
for victualling the ships on the western Channel station, as Dover was
for those eastwards, and, to a certain extent, for repairs, although
its exposed roadstead was no favourite with captains whose vessels were
fit to put to sea. Blake evidently did not like it; ‘the unsafeness and
hazard of this road, which to us is worse than a prison, is enough to
scare us hence.’

One way of gauging the relative importance of the dockyards is to compare
the stores in hand at a given date. We are enabled to do this for
February and June 1659, as follows:—[1437]

  |                      |  Chatham  | Woolwich |    Deptford     |
  | Anchors              |    108    |          |     129         |
  | Masts                |    356    |      724 |     269         |
  | Cables               |    106    |       29 |     272         |
  | Loads of timber[1438]|   1500    |      322 |     416         |
  | Tree-nails           | 80,000    |  122,000 |  93,000         |
  | Compasses            |           |      180 |     144[1440]   |
  | Hemp                 | 100 tons  |  75 tons |                 |
  | Noyals canvas        |           |          | 23,000 yds.     |
  | Vittery  ”           | 1800 ells |          | 25,000 ells     |
  | Ipswich  ”           |           |          | 272 bolts[1441] |
  | English  ”           | 240 bolts |          |                 |
  | Tar and pitch        |  30 lasts |          |                 |
  | Hammocks             |     900   |     1200 |      700        |

  |                      | Portsmouth  |  Plymouth  |  Harwich  |
  | Anchors              |      62     |     17     |   13      |
  | Masts                |     498     |     95     |   67      |
  | Cables               |      70     |     42     |   63      |
  | Loads of timber[1438]|     508     |   [1439]   |   79      |
  | Tree-nails           |             |   2000     |           |
  | Compasses            |             |            |           |
  | Hemp                 | 63½ tons    |            |           |
  | Noyals canvas        | 10,600 yds. |  2000 yds. | 4850 yds. |
  | Vittery  ”           |             |            |  380 ells |
  | Ipswich  ”           |             |            | 5½ bolts  |
  | English  ”           |  7650 yds.  | 370 yds.   |           |
  | Tar and pitch        | 99 barrels  | 95 barrels |           |
  | Hammocks             |     2020    |            |           |

Owing to want of money the magazines were very low at this date, but the
relation shown here would doubtless always exist. Harwich and Plymouth
can refit ships which have suffered in spars, fittings, or canvas;
Chatham, Woolwich, and Deptford build or repair, while Portsmouth is
equipped for all purposes. Hitherto all masts had been obtained from the
Baltic, but in 1652 the government tried the experiment of sending two
vessels to New England for them, and the results were so satisfactory
that henceforth a proportion of masts from the colonies is found in all
the lists of dockyard stores. The English canvas is elsewhere described
as west country canvas, and was principally made in Somersetshire;
its manufacture was due to Geo. Pley, afterwards government agent at
Weymouth and governor of Portland, who successfully urged its use upon
the Admiralty. It cost 1s 7d or 1s 8d a yard, and was dearer than French
canvas, but considered better.[1442]

In 1653 there was a double dry dock at Chatham, Woolwich, and Deptford
respectively,[1443] and one at Blackwall, probably in the East India
Company’s yard; these were the only docks directly belonging to, or
available by, the state. No addition appears to have been made to Chatham
yard except the purchase of a wharf and storehouse adjoining the old
dock in 1656.[1444] In October 1653 a contractor from Chatham was either
repairing an old, or constructing a new, dock at Deptford;[1445] and
in 1657 some wharves were built there along the waterside.[1446] A new
dry dock was ordered for Woolwich in 1653[1447] and completed the next
year;[1448] storehouses were built in 1656;[1449] and two years later
a lease was taken from John Rymill, butcher, of London, of one acre of
land, known as Chimney Marsh, on the east side of Ham Creek, ‘next to
the state’s yard,’ for ten years, at £4 a year.[1450] The sizes of the
yards may, perhaps, be inferred from the number of watchmen attached to
each—Chatham, 32; Deptford, 18; Woolwich, 16; and Portsmouth, 13.

[Sidenote: Dockyards:—Portsmouth.]

Portsmouth, if the smallest of the chief yards, became under the
Commonwealth one of the busiest and most important. In June 1649 one
of five new frigates was ordered to be laid down there; this vessel,
the _Portsmouth_, was duly launched in 1650, and, with the doubtful
exception of the _Jennett_, in ‘new making’ at Portsmouth in 1559, was
the first man-of-war of the modern Royal Navy built at that place since
the _Mary Rose_ and _Peter Pomegranate_ of 1509 were first floated in
the harbour.[1451] The dry dock so often recommended and ordered under
Charles I was, however, not yet existent. It was urged that one-third
of the Navy ought to be permanently stationed at the port, but in 1652
the Commissioner in charge complained that there was not room for the
stores required for the few ships usually there. From a survey of 1653
we obtain, so far as names go, a statement of the number of buildings in
the dockyard; they are upper and lower storehouses, upper and lower hemp
houses, block loft, old rope-maker’s house, office and nail loft, canvas
room, hammock room, kettle room, iron loft, tar house, oil house, sail
loft, and top-makers’ and boat-makers’ house.[1452]

Less than twenty years earlier Russell had found that work done at
Portsmouth was 100 per cent. dearer than at the other yards, but
Willoughby had altered that, and now boasted that he could build 20
per cent. cheaper than elsewhere, although all the skilled artisans
required in naval work had to be sent down, there seeming to be as yet
no population attached to or living on the dockyard. He desired that
five and a half acres of adjoining ground should be purchased, a rope
yard erected, and the whole yard surrounded by a brick wall 73 perches
in length.[1453] Therefore in 1653 and 1654 the Navy Commissioners were
directed to take a lease of an acre and a half of the ground recommended,
to set up a rope-yard, and to build the wall.[1454] In December 1655
Willoughby put before the Commissioners the difficulty in carrying on the
ordinary work, ‘we wanting the benefit of a dock,’ and at this time the
staff, recently reduced in strength, numbered 180 men. In the following
April Bourne and captain John Taylor, a shipwright of Chatham, were sent
down to consult with Willoughby as to the best position for a dry dock
which was to be ‘forthwith made.’[1455] On their report an order issued
in August that one of sufficient capacity to take third-rates was to
occupy the situation of the existing graving dock, and that it was not
to cost more than £3200, of which the town, presumably in the hope of
attracting trade and inhabitants, was willing to contribute £500.[1456]
In November Taylor was instructed to go to Portsmouth and superintend its
construction, but he energetically protested that he knew nothing about
dock-building and would, under such circumstances, only make himself
ridiculous. It was therefore put in the hands of Nicholas Poirson, who
signed the contract on 24th November, by which he undertook to complete
it by the following 20th July, for £2100, the government providing the
materials and the corporation £500 of this sum.[1457]

[Sidenote: Shipwrights and Workmen.]

There were still a sufficient number of abuses in connection with the
dockyards, but the flagrant thefts customary under Charles I had been
largely diminished. Members of the Pett family occupied responsible
positions in the three home yards, and either they used their power to
ill purpose, or their favour with the authorities was no passport to
the love of their subordinates. In 1651 there was what would now be
advertised as a great scandal at Chatham; all the chief officers, and
many of the workmen, were accusing each other of misdeeds in a way which
necessitated a governmental commission of inquiry, empowered to take
evidence on oath. The light in which the Petts were regarded is shown
by a remark made by one man to another that he dared not speak, ‘for
fear of being undone by the kindred ... they were all so knit together
that the devil himself could not discover them except one impeached the
other.’ The result of the inquiry was a resolution that all the accused,
on both sides, should retain their places, a decision more likely to be
due to the impossibility of displacing experienced officers when war was
imminent than to any inability to form an opinion.

The yearly salary of the master shipwright at Chatham was £103, 8s 4d,
Deptford the same, and Woolwich £70. The building programme of the
government naturally tempted these men to add to their salaries the
profits to be made by having private yards for the construction of
men-of-war. Holland pointed out that this led to the shipwright’s absence
from the state’s yard, to the exchange of good government workmen for bad
of his own, and that usually a frigate turned out from a shipwright’s
yard cost the country twice as much as one from a dockyard.[1458]
Holland commented on another evil, the existence of beerhouses in the
dockyards, ‘necessary at first, now one of the greatest abuses in the
Navy.’ At least one ‘searcher’ was employed to prevent theft from the
dockyards; but, judging from the small number of such cases reported, the
precautions taken or the higher standard induced in the men, had greatly
altered former conditions for the better. In one instance, however, the
want of honesty shown by two men was attributed—it is painful to have
to confess here—to their habit of reading ‘histrye books.’ The wages of
shipwrights and caulkers were raised in April 1650 from 1s 10d to 2s 1d
a day, and again in 1652 to 2s 2d; they appear to have been punctually
paid to a later date than the seamen, but in 1656, when they also were
beginning to suffer from the emptiness of the treasury and their wages
to fall into arrear, the Council, with the dry humour of officialism,
ordered ‘an exact and punctual inspection and examination’ quarterly of
their accounts. By 1658 they had, mostly, twelve months’ wages owing, but
their murmurs were not nearly so loud as those of the seamen. Frequently
during 1659 they were working half-time or less, for want of materials.
In March 1660 there were not 100 yards of canvas remaining at either
Woolwich or Deptford, the contractors would not supply more without
ready money; and we may assume that other necessaries were equally
lacking.[1459] During part of 1659 there was only one forge going at
Portsmouth, John Timbrell, the anchor-smith, having received no money for
two years, and having been compelled to dismiss his men, being unable to
procure iron on credit. Timbrell was mayor of the town in 1662, so that
the Restoration apparently relieved him of his troubles.

In September 1658 the _Happy Entrance_ was destroyed by fire at Chatham,
a mishap attributed to carelessness on the part of the men at work on
her, and the absence of supervision of the superior officials. This
caused the promulgation of an order the following month that no member
of the superior dockyard staff should absent himself without leave
from the Commissioner, and he only by permission of the Admiralty
or Navy Commissioners, with a general penalty of dismissal for
disobedience.[1460] This order was to be framed and hung up in each yard.
White’s invention of 1634 of iron mooring chains, noticed previously,
was now taken up by the government, and some were laid down at Chatham,
Deptford, and Woolwich for ships to ride at, two to a chain. Mooring
places for the use of merchantmen were granted to White, Bourne and
others at a rental of £5 a year.[1461] The dockyard chains weighed 2 cwt.
2 qrs. 14 lbs. to a fathom, cost fivepence a pound, and were guaranteed
for two years.[1462] In 1658 a boom was ordered to be placed across the
Medway at Upnor, but there is reason to believe that the order was not
carried out.

[Sidenote: Dean Forest.]

Among the Commonwealth experiments was that of using the wood and
iron ore of Dean Forest for the manufacture of iron for the supply of
the dockyards and private purchasers. As a ton of iron could be made
there for £3, 10s, and a ton of shot for £4, and sold respectively at
£7 and £9, the enterprise was more profitable than most government
undertakings.[1463] In 1656 the stock in hand was valued at £9446, which
stood as net gain, all expenses being cleared;[1464] but, as Major Wade,
who was in charge, thought that one or two hundred tons of iron thrown
upon the market ‘would surfeit the whole country,’ it was rather a book
profit than an actual one. However, from September 1654 to March 1659
Dean Forest supplied the Navy with 701 tons of shot and 88 tons of iron
fittings; and from Sept. 1656 to April 1660 with 2300 tons of timber
and 123,000 tree-nails,[1465] the saving thus effected being alone a
sufficient justification of the new department. The plentiful yield of
timber suggested the advisability of building frigates on the spot, and
the _Grantham_ was launched at Lidney in 1654; she was followed by the
_Forester_, and then the _Princess_ remained long in hand, since Furzer,
the master shipwright, was receiving only £2 a week of the £15 necessary
to meet expenses. In October 1659 he wrote to the Navy Commissioners that
instead of attending to his duties he was forced to be away two or three
days in the week trying to borrow money.

[Sidenote: Naval Expenditure.]

The following table, drawn up from the _Audit Office Declared Accounts_,
shows the general expenditure for this period in round figures:—

  |           |           |               |              |              |
  |           |  Amounts  |               |              |              |
  |           |  received |  Already      |              |              |
  |           |and paid by|   owing       |  Victualling |Deptford[1466]|
  |           | Treasurer |               |              |              |
  |           |     £     |     £         |     £        |     £        |
  |1649[1467]}|           |               |              |              |
  |1650      }|    432,000|  233,500      | 149,000      |    8700[1468]|
  |1651       |    446,000|  129,000      |  51,000      |     10,163   |
  |1652       |    629,000|  238,000      |  88,000      |     10,900   |
  |1653[1469] |  1,445,000|  335,000      | 269,000      |     12,600   |
  |1654       |  1,117,000|  450,000      | 230,000      |     11,700   |
  |1655       |    587,000|  466,000      |  70,000      |       8700   |
  |1656       |    791,000|  473,000      | 209,000[1470]|       8000   |
  |1657       |    746,000|  506,000      |              |       9000   |
  |1658[1472]}|           |               |              |              |
  |1660      }|  1,442,000|  714,000      |              |     11,800   |
  |1660       |           |1,056,000[1473]|              |              |

  |           |        |       |          |             |
  |           |        |       |          |             |
  |           |        |       |          |             |
  |           |Woolwich|Chatham|Portsmouth|    Wages    |
  |           |        |       |          |             |
  |           |   £    |   £   |    £     |    £        |
  |1649[1467]}|        |       |          |             |
  |1650      }|    8786| 23,768|      5292|             |
  |1651       |    7776| 19,089|      3783|             |
  |1652       |    8381| 22,744|      6860|304,000      |
  |1653[1469] |  12,500| 29,000|    13,700|227,000      |
  |1654       |  13,500| 22,500|    15,700|225,000      |
  |1655       |    7600| 21,800|      7700|             |
  |1656       |    7000| 20,000|      7000|             |
  |1657       |  10,300| 19,400|      6200|311,000[1471]|
  |1658[1472]}|        |       |          |             |
  |1660      }|  18,000| 25,000|      9000|447,000      |
  |1660       |        |       |          |             |

The Commonwealth began its naval administration hampered by a debt of
£233,000, and it will be seen that, with the exception of 1650, during
which year the arrears were partly paid off, it steadily grew in amount.
But comparing the national revenue, which had also to support a standing
army, with the sums devoted to the Navy, the wonder seems to be that
the debt was not larger. For the financial year ending 29th September
1657 the total