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Mars was repaired with this timber only without expedients of art. We have two years and a half ago, and the nation lost or neglected the best method of scawas charged for that repair above 26,0001.; soning timbers, so as to render them duraas much as she would have cost building ble in the frames of ships. Our capital new from the stocks. Sir, the Mars is ships of war heretofore lasted near half a found to be totally unfit for future service; / century. The Royal William, a first-rate, and therefore entirely struck off from the cut down to an St, was, a few years ago, list of your feet. The Yarmouth and the the favourite ship on service of the whole Prince of Wales were also lately repaired navy, either for working on the seas, or to with Stetin timber, so were many others encounter an enemy; she was bailt in of good exterior appearance, but which 1719: and I could name many others, can scarce be said to ride at anchor in within my observation, whose frames resafety. An hon. friend of mine near me | mained sound and fit for service 35 or 10 is, I find, lately appointed to a 74 gun ship years, though in continual employ. Neirepaired with Stetin timber (captain Walther are the ships of war belonging to singham of the Thunderer) and built in other maritime nations so bad, in these the late war; I heartily wish him success times, as those of the British navy. The with his command; but would not have Spanish two-deckers, of 80 and 74 guns, him trust entirely to a report from those are the strongest and most durable in the who commissioned her, of her fitness for world; not only those built in the island the seas. On the account before us of the of Cuba, of cedar-wood and mahogany, Jamaica squadron, he will meet with the but even such as have been constructed in Bute, reported by the admiral there to be the European ports of Spain, by English fit for sea in November last; and within a builders, and upon the same models with month after she was found in so rotten a our own. We have few men of war on state on her passage home, that it was im- our list that have proved so lasting as the possible, even with fair weather, to keep Centaur, Bienfaisant, and the ships of her above the waves : so she was scuttled war in general that were taken from the and sunk: which, when the workmen of French 20 years ago; they have stood us the commanding officer's ship (of the | but in little for repairs, compared with convoy) carried their tools aboard to ef- others of the same class built in England; fect, one of the tars saved them the trou particularly, if we take into consideration, ble, by clenching his fist, and driving it, that they have been constantly kept in without much pain to his knuckles, clear commission. The number and state of through her hull. This Bute was, it lord Howe's fleet in America has been seems, an old East India trader, totally greatly misunderstood by the House; of unfit for the Company's service; but held the 82 sail under his command in Novemat the Admiralty-board sufficiently stout ber last, two are hospital-ships, upwards and healthy for a public ship of war; and of 30 are sloops of war, armed-merchanttherefore contracted for at a high price. men, and small-craft, and 11 of the rest There is, I believe, another ship of a simi- carry but 20 guns. His frigates have lar stamp, called the Andromeda, pow many of them not been cleaned these going upon government employ; and I three years, and one-third of the whole should be sorry to insure her existence for number were cleaned just two years ago; a twelvemonth, at 50 per cent.
nine or ten are declared to be rotten or Sir, there has been a most criminal neg. leaky; and almost every ship or vessel is lect in the navy department, relative to reported, by his lordship’s return, to want the seasoning and preserving ship-timber. a supply of gunner's stores. In Great I can prove, that a very excellent plan for Britain, and for home-service, you have no this object of the first national importance, more than 11 frigates in commission, and presented by a gentleman of very high de not six in tolerable condition, that remain scription for his experience and industry, / to be equipped on an emergency. has not even been favoured with a perusal; Let us now consider the supposed danwhile futile projects are, through lazi. ger of an invasion from France, and the ness or partiality, very readily received comparative force at sea of both nations, and adopted. The real fact is, that in and how far we may be better or worse this climate your timber fit for ship-build- prepared to repel an attack, than on foring, let it lay in store ever so long, and mer emergencies. At the commencethough in the most perfect natural state, ment of naval hostilities, in 1755, we seiz. cannot be depended on for durability, ed, before a declaration of war, their very
best sailors, to the amount of some thousands. At the beginning of the next year, on the eve of declaring war, we had near 70 sail of the line of battle fit for service, of which 55 were actually in commission, from 60 guns upwards; and they mustered 25,000 men. The frigates were then three times the number of our present strength, besides 38 ships of 50 guns: and we were so apprehensive of an invasion, and so dreaded its consequences, that an embargo was laid on the outward-bound trade, and a proclamation issued, requiring the inhabitants all along the British coasts, on the first appearance or alarm of an hostile fleet, to drive their cattle to the distance of at least 20 miles from the shore; yet we had a land-army, for our internal safe-guard, of near 30,000 effective national troops, besides 24,000 Hanoverian and Hessian auxiliaries; and our resources for men (now so exhausted from emigrations for adventure, or by this fatal American contest) were entire, and abundant. The French navy, at that period, amount. ed to 68 men of war of the line of battle, of which 46 were in commission, carrying 32,000 men. Early in 1759 we were again terrified with threats of an invasion from the coast of Britanny, though we had then the most formidable fleet of men of war, that any country had been able to fit out since the creation of the globe. Our line of battle ships in commission amounted to 95, with above 50,000 seamen and marines aboard; and we had more than 100 frigates, or ships of 20 guns and upwards, completely manned. The fleets of France, before the engagement of the Toulon squadron off Cape Lagos, under M. De la Clue, against admiral Boscawen, consisted of 66 sail of the line, actually on service, manned with 46,500 seamen and soldiers; their frigates, comparatively with ours, were of very inconsiderable force. . Yet, gentlemen recollect, that even after the decisive defeat of the French squadrons in all parts of the world, during that campaign; sir Edward Hawke's defeat of M. Conflans, and sir George Pocock's success against M. D'Aché in the East Indies, by which victories the naval power of France was almost annihilated; even at that time did a pitiful armament of three small vessels, under the command of a corsair, and with a handful of troops aboard, land, without resistance, in Ireland, spreading a serious panic throughout that country, and occasioning the greatest uneasiness and confu
sion here. France has at this crisis 57 ships of the line, of which, 40, from 60 guns to 116, may be ready for sea, and completely manned with able mariners, by means of their register, in three weeks. Spain has a list of 61 of the line in Europe, and four more nearly built, in the port of the Havannah. They have 35 men of war, of very capital force, that can (I am confidently assured) go upon service immediately. I have already shewn to the committee the infirmity of our ships of war, neither have we any extensive means, at this conjuncture, of completing their establishment. I admit that a certain number of sea-faring persons now skulk within land, who might perhaps come forth, in case of a rupture with the Houses of Bourbon, though they keep aloof from the present unnatural o but these recruits could not exceed a very few thousands. You have lately drained the nation of that part of its inhabitancy to which you might have had an occasional recourse for this end. Your supo are exceedingly reduced; and we
ave voted for the current year more seamen than this country has ever yet been able to furnish for war, independent of her American colonies. You have voted above 48,200, besides marines. The most we could ever get, exclusive of marine soldiers, in the last, or in any former wars, was 52,000; and of these, full 10,000 were natives of North America. Besides, till 1760, your number of European seamen were but 30,000; though after the unexampled triumph of the British flag over every part of the ocean, foreigners from almost every power were inclined to enter into our pay. At present there is neither the same credit stamped on your arms to induce such exotic supplies, nor have they equal lure of prosperous and profitable cruizes. Let those gentlemen who hug themselves with a comfortable persuasion of our entire security from invaders, because of our insular situation, and vigilance or superior dexterity of our fleet, recollect how many invasions of these islands stand recorded in history. There have been, since the Norman conquest, 24 invasions of Great Britain or Ireland, nine of which have been made good, without any molestation on the seas, and seven have proved successful. Between 1685 and 1689, four invasions were effectuated. In May, 1685, the duke of Monmouth sailed from the Texel with three ships, and landed with
out resistance, after beating about in bad maments," with energy." How, Sir, weather 19 days, in the English Channel, can you spare one ship of the line from which then swarmed with cruisers, dis- the defence of this country, in case of a patched to intercept his passage. In French and Spanish war? Suppose you 1688, the Dutch fleet, with the prince of had 43 of the line manned to their full Orange aboard, afterwards king William war-complement; this strength would the 3rd, and which consisted of 54 men of scarcely suffice to cover your harbours war (besides transports and other vessels, and coasts ; you would have no cruisers, about 500) sailed from Helvoet, and no western-squadron. What is to become stretched for the Channel. Lord Dart of your West India islands, your Asiatic mouth at that time lay with the English settlements, and the important fortresses squadron, of 61 ships of the line, at anchor of Gibraltar and Mahon? The foreign stain the Downs; the weather became thick / tions, for a defensive war only against and hazy, as is usual, with the wind to the France, will require nearly 50 sail of the southward of the east. The Dutch men line; and against the two Houses of Bourof war were full seven hours before they bon united, you cannot do with fewer on could all stretch to the westward of the these services than 75 or 80. Your whole English, and extended several miles in present extent of the line of battle would length; yet the prince contrived to reach be little better than a Mediterranean comTorbay, and land his whole army unop- mand, with proper reliefs. When have posed; though lord Dartmouth got under you seen so few as 20 sail of the line on way with the utmost expedition possible, that service, against the united power of and crowded sail to encounter the enemy. Versailles and Madrid ? In the reign of I am aware that some writers of that time queen Anne sir George Rooke and sir have hinted strong suspicions against the Cloudesly Shovel commanded a fleet of loyalty and zeal of the British comman- more than 50 sail of the line in that sea; ders; but the fact is, they used their best and the fleet of the enemy was full as nuendeavours, and once got within sight of merous; they had 17 three-deckers. In the Dutch rear; but the wind shifting the reign of George the 1st, sir George suddenly to the westward, and coming on Byng had upwards of 20 sail of the line of to blow fresh, just as the Dutch men of battle in the Messina fight; and his force war had reached Torbay (or as some au- was represented as inadequate to that thors allege, overshot their destination in station. In the late king's reign the the night) they were enabled to fetch the squadron under the admirals Matthews landing place, while the ships in chace and Lestock consisted of above 40 men of were forced, by the same gale, so far back war of the line; and the combined fleets as the Isle of Wight, The year after the of France and Spain proved fully their abdication, a squadron of 14 French men match. I shall perhaps be told, that in of war landed king James and several of 1762, when the French and Spaniards his chief military officers at Kinsale, with were united against Great Britain, we had out.meeting with the English squadron few more than 20 sail of the line of battle dispatched to prevent their debarkation : in the Mediterranean, off Cadiz; and not. and not long after, a second French fleet withstanding which, we were too strong met with the same facility of landing, and for the enemy: but let gentlemen recolput on shore a numerous foreign army, for lect, that the coup de grace was given to enabling king James to dispute the posses- the naval power of France the preceding sion of that kingdom with his son-in-law, summer; and the Spanish navy was the But, Sir, this alarm of an invasion, and only one we had to contend with, and near the present debilitated state of Great Bri. half their men of war of superior rates tain and Ireland, will render it absolutely were on the continent of Spanish America, necessary that we reserve two-thirds of or at Cuba. A very distinguished and our present force for the heart of the realm. respectable sea-officer, in another place
The noble lord (North) speaks in a high (earl of Bristol) having represented our tone, and boasts of the "vigour of our navy:" ships of 50 guns as men of war of the line, being particeps criminis, I suspect, with was most presumptuously questioned on the first lord of the Admiralty, rather the propriety of such idea, by the noble through mischievous policy than short- lord who presides as first commissioner for sightedness. Another hon. member (the navy affairs; perhaps not through ignoLord Advocate of Scotland) trusts much rance, but because he wished to avoid to the exertion of our superior naval ar- taking a comparative view of the pumber
of 50 gun ships at this time, in our navy, of the last glorious war; and that the preto what we had in former wars. True it sent noble president at the Admiraltyis, that our 50 gun ships, at present, in and board, after expending a sum of money out of commission, do not exceed 14 or thereon, which might have constructed 15; there were, till within these few years 100 sail of the line, and as many frigates, last past, near thrice that number. But, new from the stocks, has your navy at this Sir, there can be no doubt of the pro- day on not near so formidable a footing, priety of calling those ships men of war as when he came to the board in January of the line. They carry the same weight 1771. As to seamen and marines, though of metal as 60 gun ships; and in action we are now in the month of March, you lead the van or close the rear; and of want upwards of 12,000 to complete the course are brought into the line of action, numbers voted for the service of the curunless where the enemy is inferior in num- rent year; for the last weekly accounts ber; in which case they generally keep differ but immaterially from those made at a distance, to replace disabled vessels up to November last, now before the in the line, if occasion should require it; committee; neither will you easily find otherwise, to protect the unarmed part of the means of supplying such deficiency, your fleet, to chace ships of the enemy, though you have raised your entranceto repeat signals, and for other contingent money to 121. 2s. for each volunteer (induties. In the last war, and the war pre- cluding the public encouragements beyond ceding the last, very eminent services | the 5l. 5s. from the crown) to the great were performed by your ships of 50 guns, prejudice of commerce, and ruin of the the Hampshire, Portland, Antelope, &c. merchants; and the men, thus dearly under Baird, Stephens, and other gallant bought, are not in general of a mould, or commanders. In the Toulon fight, the professional description, to be compared Guernsey, of 50 guns, was opposed in the with those recruited on similar emergenBritish squadron to the Poder, a French cies heretofore. Men are not to be had man of war of 64 guns, and actually forced for navy nor army; though for the latter her out of the line. In '1755, when ad- you have lowered the standard almost to miral Boscawen detached five of his dwarf stature, and doubled the bounties. squadron to block up four sail of French If the Bill for encouraging seamen to men of war of the line of battle, three enter voluntarily, which in the last session, of those five were ships of 50 guns. In I proposed to the House, had met with a short, Sir, the authority of the noble peer favourable reception, many thousands of (lord Bristol) one of the best accredited your best mariners, who are now gone sea-officers in the world, might have been over to Holland, or serving in the fleets of deemed of sufficient weight to decide your revolted subjects, might have been whether they are to be accounted among within reach at this day. At a future your line of battle or frigates. Sure I am, season, I shall revive my earnest endeathat in case of a foreign war, we shall vours to augment the pay of your seamen have need to employ them as ships of the in times of peace, to provide for them line ; and there are some ships of that under the infirmities of age, and limit the class now on the American station, which, time of their servitude; till you abofrom the advantage they possess of good lish the horrid unconstitutional practice British crews, and being thoroughly sea- of impressing, and hold out these lures, soned to the element, and to naval duty, I you will never find the profession of a sea-. should not be in much pain for, were a man much followed by the lower orders of combat to happen with a French man of the people ; and I fully demonstrated, in war of 60 guns; although I do not think the course of a former debate, that the the ships of our fleet in general so condi- present enormous expences to the nation tioned, with their reduced establishments, in providing seamen might in great meaas to fight at odds against those of France. sure be saved.' I look, Sir, upon those Sir, it is but too evident that your ships ministerial gentlemen who voted last year of war fit for service are fewer in number, against bringing in a Bill for such salutary and those less to be depended on for du- ends, to be answerable for no fewer than ration, than ever was known; that twice 160 innocent lives at least, which have as much money has been expended within fallen a sacrifice to the press-warrants. the last eight years, for building, repairing, Sir, your fleet can never cope with the and preserving your ships, as was applied confederate naval strength of France, to these objects during the whole course Spain, and America: I own, high as I
esteem your naval character, I should dread the contest. The best of the northern seamen of the American continent are yet in reserve; they made a considerable part of Gates's land army at Saratoga, being wisely prevented, by the general convention of New England, from entering into naval employ, while their service could be of far greater utility on shore, and they ran less risk of falling into the hands of the British invaders. But, Sir, should the thirteen united provinces of America become independent, I could in reason entertain no very direful apprehensions therefrom : 1,300 miles of coast will not be found equal to the extent of the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. In these our islands are ports for shipping more in number, and full as commodious; our population is at present in the proportion of near four to one; and our insular state is better adapted to promote external commerce, and internal mercantile communications, than is the case with that vast expanded continent of America; our climate is happier; our position, as to the three other quarters of the globe, far more ad. vantageous; the southern coast of America during one half of the year being unwholesome, and incommoded by long calms, or irregular insidious currents; the northern provinces subject to thick, tempestuous weather, and scarcely accessible during the winter season. I believe, we have in Great Britain and Ireland more productive territory, than in all the thirteen provinces put together; I mean, within the limits of their great chain of lakes. Cataracts immense, torrented rivers, high mountains, and impervious forests, are noble and magnificent features for painting or poetry; but in practical societies, and for the ends of agriculture, manufactures, or commerce, they cannot surely be preferred to the humbler streams of England; to our fertile plains, and more practicable soil. While you compel the natives of the thirteen provinces to become, to a man, soldiers or seamen, in their own defence, they may be formidable indeed to your West India islands, or on remoter enterprizes; but if once left to settle in peace, their interest, their sober wisdom and gravity, above all, their natural love of liberty, and jealousy of military power, will dictate to them to lay aside the sword and firelock, and take up the shuttle and the ploughshare; they will turn their thoughts to husbandry, to manufactures, and to establish a pacific civil government, on the
basis of industry and commercial policy. That they may rival us in several branches of trade I do not deny; but such rivalry will serve, I trust, as a spur to the genius and ingenuity of the natives of this country, and stimulate us to make use of those superior advantages with which we are blessed by nature. Improve your Oriental and your African trades; the latter may, with proper management, be made absolutely to govern the commerce of America at European markets. Africa produces not only the commodity, but likewise the labourer to reap and to work it: the indigo, the rice of Carolina, the tobacco of Virginia, cannot be produced without the African negroes. Those who speculate upon the imperial greatness of the Americans at some future day, perhaps go far beyond the bounds of human lo Who can say what intestine dissentions, what epidemical diseases, what bloody wars, or other ill-fated events, to crush such ambitious and glorious prospects, may or may not be found in the future history of that continent, though the first page of it is now so promising, so auspicious? Perhaps, Sir, when just approaching towards the zenith of their glory and prosperity, Providence may (as has been, in our days, the case with the mothercountry) for the completest of all curses in the nature of sublunary things, bestow such a set of ministers to rule over them, as those who have, under George the 3rd, precipitated this nation from the highest pinnacle of fame and happiness, to the lowest abyss of wretchedness and disgrace. I hope, Sir, we shall, in good time, before the well-affected parts of your American colonies embrace the confederacy of the thirteen, now in a fair road of independence; I say, I hope we shall have wisdom enough to preserve them from the like contagion and revolt. Canada, Newfoundland, the gates of the river St. Laurence, together with Nova Scotia, and the two Floridas, are as yet appendages of the British empire. It is much to be apprehended, that we may see hostile banners braving the coasts of England and Scotland next summer, with more stripes than thirteen. I heartily second the Resolutions put to the committee; as nothing can be clearer than the inadequate state of your naval power to the present crisis of public affairs, excepting the mismanagement of those ministers whom our deluded sovereign has fatally chosen to entrust with this main bulwark of the empire.