A View of Naval affairs in Charles the Second's Reign.

A.D. 1660 to A.D. 1689.

When great guns or cannon came into use, the old style of fighting at sea was completely changed. We hear of them as early as the thirteenth century, employed in a naval engagement between the King of Tunis and the Moorish King of Seville. They were first used on shore by the English at the battle of Crescy, fought in 1346, and at sea by the Venetians about the year 1380. In the reigns of Richard the Third and Henry the Seventh they were first employed by the English at sea. They were not then, however, as now, pointed through port-holes, but were mounted so as to fire over the bulwarks of the vessel. In those days, therefore, ships of war could have had but one armed deck, and were probably urged by oars as well as by sails. Port-holes were invented by Descharves, a French builder at Brest, and the first English ship in which they were formed was the Henry Grâce de Dieu, built at Erith in 1515. She was said to have been of no less than 1000 tons burden, but as we are ignorant of the mode in which ships were measured for tonnage in those days, we cannot tell her actual burden. She must, however, have been a large vessel, for she had two whole decks, besides what we now call a forecastle and poop. She mounted altogether eighty pieces, composed of every calibre in use; but of these not more than fifty-four, according to the print before us, were pointed through broadside ports. The rest were either mounted as bow or stern chasers, or as “murdering pieces,” as they were called, which pointed down on the deck; their object apparently being, should a ship be boarded, to fire on the enemy. The calibre of great guns was not in those days designated by the weight of the shot they discharged. This was probably from the reason that the balls were not all made of the same materials. At first they were of stone; then those of iron were introduced; and sometimes they were formed of lead; and, at an early period, hollow iron shot, filled with combustible matter, were brought into use. Thus the weight of shot fluctuated too much to serve for the classification of the gun from which it was fired. Ships’ guns in those days were known as cannon, cannon royal, cannon serpentine, bastard cannon, demi-cannon, and cannon petro.

The Sovereign of the Seas was built at Woolwich Dockyard, in 1637, by Mr Phineas Pett, and Mr Thomas Haywood was the designer of her decorations. She measured, probably, about 1500 tons. He describes her as having three flush-decks and a forecastle, one half-deck, a quarter-deck, and a round house. Her lower tier had 30 ports which were furnished with demi-cannon and whole cannon throughout; her middle tier had also 30 ports of demi-culverins and whole culverins; her third tier had 36 ports for other ordnance; her forecastle had 12 ports; and her half-deck 13 ports. She had 13 or 14 ports more within-board for murdering pieces, besides a great many loop-holes out of the cabins for musket-shot. She carried, moreover, 10 pieces of chase ordnance forward and 10 right aft. This first-rate of the seventeenth century would thus have had 126 guns; in reality, however, these ports right forward and right aft, as well as those on the forecastle, had no guns, and thus she actually carried only 100.

About the middle of the seventeenth century the ships of the British Navy ceased to carry guns of a similar calibre on the same deck. At the same time the cumbrous forecastles and aftercastles, which must have been equally inconvenient both in action and in a sea way, were removed. The murdering pieces were likewise got rid of, and at the same time, an English ship of war could fire from her broadside half the number of guns she carried.

In 1546 Henry the Eighth possessed fifty-eight ships, which were classed according to their quality; thus there were shyppes, galliasses, pinnaces, and row-barges. The galliasse was somewhat like the lugger or felucca of modern days. She probably was a long, low, and sharp-built vessel, propelled by oars as well as sails—the latter not fixed to a standing yard, but hoisted like a boat’s sail when required. The pinnace was a small kind of galliasse.

In 1612 we find a list in which the vessels of the Royal Navy were classed as ships-royal, which measured from 800 to 1200 tons, middling ships from 600 to 800 tons, small ships from 350 tons, and pinnaces from 80 to 250 tons, divided into rates. They were six in number, and each rate consisted of two classes, to which different complements of men were assigned. We are not told what were the armaments of the classes. The division into rates was adopted to regulate the pay of the officers and seamen, as is the case at the present day.

In 1651-2, we find a list of all ships, frigates, and other vessels belonging to the States’ Navy classified by the guns they carried. Of these there were twenty-three classes comprised within the second-rates, exclusive of two unrated classes—namely, hulks and shallops or row-barges. The former were used either to lodge the officers and crews of vessels undergoing repair, or were fitted with shears to erect or remove masts. In the course of a few years after this, sloops, bombs, fire-ships, and yachts are spoken of as among the unrated classes; but in the sixth-rate were comprised vessels mounting only two guns. Towards the end of the century such small craft were classed by themselves as sloops.

In 1675 fire-ships first appear in a list of the navy. They were much used at that time for the purpose of setting fire to the enemy’s vessels. Mr Pepys, who is the chief authority on naval affairs at this period, says that the Dutch, in the year 1660, made a present of a yacht, called Maria, to Charles the Second, remarking, “until which time we had not heard of such a name in England.”

About the year 1650 a difference was made between the number of guns and men carried by ships in war time and in peace time, and in war and peace abroad. This difference, it is evident, arose from the inability of a ship to carry a sufficient amount of provisions for her crew when sent on a long voyage. When such was the case it was necessary to reduce both the number of men and guns, in order to allow room for a sufficient supply of provisions. As far as we can judge, a first-rate of the latter end of the seventeenth century mounted her guns on three whole decks, a quarter-deck, forecastle, and poop; a second-rate mounted hers on three whole decks and a quarter-deck; a third-rate on two whole decks, a quarter-deck, forecastle, and poop; a fourth-rate on two whole decks and a quarter-deck; a fifth-rate on her first gun-deck, with a few guns on her quarter-deck; a sixth-rate on a single-deck, with or without any on her quarter-deck.

There were at that period three-deckers of sixty-four guns, and two-deckers of only thirty guns. With regard to the guns themselves, the demi-cannon was probably a 32-pounder, the cannon petro a 24-pounder, and the basilisk a 12-pounder; the whole culverin an 18-pounder, and the demi-culverin a 9-pounder; the saker a 6-pounder, and the mignon a 4-pounder. The smaller guns were called swivels, and were mounted on upright timbers, having a pivot on which the gun traversed. Guns at sea were formerly known by the names of beasts and birds of prey, till about the year 1685 they were designated by the weight of the shot they carried.

In 1688 we find mention made of bombs, which were vessels carrying six or eight light guns, and one or two heavy mortars for the purpose of throwing shells into a town. It is said that they were invented by Reynaud, a Frenchman, and that they were first employed at the bombardment of Algiers in 1681.

In the year 1714 we find the navy divided into ten classes, ships carrying 100, 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10 guns. The first-rate descended no lower than to ships carrying 100 guns; the second no lower than to those of 90 guns; the third admitted all classes below and above 60; the fourth between 60 and 50; the fifth between 50 and 30; the sixth comprised all vessels below 50, except sloops, bombs, etcetera.

By the end of the reign of George the First, ships no longer carried guns on their poops.

The English style of naming the decks of a ship differs from that of other nations, and though perfectly understood by her crew, is calculated to puzzle a landsman. In a one-decked ship the deck on which the guns are carried is called the main-deck, while the deck below it, to which there are no ports, the lower or gun-deck. Hence the term gun-room, occupied by lieutenants or gun-room officers; indeed, the lowest deck of every ship is called the gun-deck. The quarter of a ship is that part of the side which lies towards the stern, and hence that part of the deck is called the quarter-deck, in reference to that portion of the ship’s length over which it originally extended. The elevation above it is known as the poop, and the raised deck over the fore-part of the ship is known as the top-gallant forecastle. In early days, as we have seen in the case of the Great Harryand other ships, and even in later days, both at the fore and after-part of the ship there were elevated structures, very properly called castles. In time these were done away with, but short decks elevated above the main or chief deck were still retained, as it was found inconvenient for the seamen when working the ship to descend from one of these elevated decks and then to be compelled to mount the other to get either fore or aft. They were connected by a grating or gangway of sufficient width to allow the crew to pass backwards and forwards. This gangway was still further widened; it being strengthened by beams running across the ship, allowed guns to be carried on it. The after-part had long been called the quarter-deck, and the fore-part the forecastle, while the intermediate part was now known as the gangway. This name was also applied to the space left in the bulwarks for entering or leaving the ship. These portions of the decks now assumed the appearance of an entire even deck running fore and aft, but it still retained the names originally bestowed on it, and its imaginary divisions. The centre part of the ship, where the gangway is placed, is also commonly called the waist, because originally there was no deck. The deck immediately below this once-divided deck is always called the main-deck. In a three-decker the next is called the middle-deck, and the lowest deck on which guns are carried the lower-deck. Below this again is one still lower-deck called the orlop-deck. A two-decked ship has no middle-deck, but possesses only a main and lower-deck, besides the before-mentioned quarter-deck, gangway, and forecastle. The deck on which a frigate’s single battery is carried is always called her main-deck, because the sailors are wont to denominate the upper-deck of every ship carrying guns the main-deck. In a sloop-ship or corvette the only deck, without any one above it on which guns are carried, is thus invariably called the main-deck, and, as has before been said, the one beneath it on which the officers and crew live, and which has no guns, the gun-deck. Ships which have their only gun-deck running fore and aft for the same height all along are called flush-decked ships. When the after-part of the deck is raised they are known as being deep-waisted, as is the case with many merchantmen. The highest deck of many men-of-war of all rates is often perfectly level, but others have a short raised deck, extending from just before the mizen-mast to the stern, which is called the poop, and in many instances serves as a cover to the captain’s cabin. When the admiral is on board he occupies the after-cabins on the upper-deck. In small men-of-war no cabins are placed under the poop, nor are they ever under the topgallant forecastle. On board merchantmen, however, where the poop is of sufficient elevation and extent to allow of it, the best cabins are always placed under it, while the crew are almost invariably berthed under the top-gallant forecastle. Of course, speaking of men-of-war, we are referring to ships as they were till the invention of low-sided armour-plated craft, which necessitated a great, if not an entire, change of terms, and the introduction of a considerable number of new ones.

Line of battle ships, as their name implies, were such as were capable from their size, strength, and the number of their guns, of entering into the line of battle and contending with the largest ships of the enemy. We first hear of ships appearing in that character in 1691, forming the British Channel Fleet under Admiral Russell. As far back, however, as the year 1614, in a list of the ships of the navy, the line of battle ships are separated from the others. They included all ships from the first-rate to the fourth-rate. A fleet was now attended by smaller, swift vessels, whose duty it was to look out for the enemy, and to perform other detached services. These vessels were comprised in the fifth and sixth-rates, and from an early period were denominated frigates. In early days a large number of fast-sailing or fast-rowing vessels, whether intended for war or for carrying merchandise, were called frigates. The word friggot or frigat, as it was often written, derives its origin from a class of long, sharp vessels used in the Mediterranean, and impelled either by sails or oars, which had a deck, the topside of which was higher than that of the galley. It in general had openings like port-holes, through which the oars passed. An Italian describes the fregata as a little vessel with oars, but whence that name is derived is uncertain. A species of swift-flying sea-gull is called by the French a frégate. We have also the frigate-bird; but the name is generally supposed to be derived from the ship, which, however, may not really be the case. It is very clear that its principal quality was the power of moving rapidly either with sails or oars. The French transferred the frégate of the Mediterranean to the northern shore of their country, and constructed it with bluffer bows and of a large size, to contend with the heavy seas of a northern region. English merchant-ships of the early part of the sixteenth century are frequently spoken of as frigates, and in the latter part of the century were often, as we have seen, hired by the sovereign to serve as ships of war. As we know from the accounts we have already given of the early voyages, some of their ships were denominated frigates. Thus, one of the ships serving with Sir Francis Drake is called the frigate Elizabeth Fownes, of 80 guns and 50 men. The Duke of Northumberland, then Sir Robert Dudley, towards the close of the sixteenth century, designed a ship to measure 160 feet in length and 24 in breadth, and constructed to carry a tier of guns on a single whole deck, besides other guns on two short decks, resembling the poop and top-gallant forecastle of a modern ship. He named his vessel a fregata, and her guns were placed exactly as those of a modern frigate.

He designed at the same time seven distinct classes of ships of war, which he named the Galleon, Ranibargo, Galizabra, Frigata, Gallerone, Gallerata, and Passavolante. His designs not being accepted, he, in the year 1594, built a vessel for himself at Southampton, which measured 300 tons and mounted 30 guns—of course, of small calibre. In her he made a voyage to India.

Charles the First possessed two frigates, the Swan and Nicodemus, each of 60 tons, 10 men, and 3 guns. They probably were only used as yachts. The Duke of Buckingham, who was Lord High Admiral from 1619 to 1636, ordered some frigates to be built from the model of two called the Providence and Expedition, captured from the Dunkirkers, mounting, it is supposed, from 20 to 30 guns, the greater number of which were on a single-deck. In consequence of seeing a French frigate in the Thames, Mr Peter Pett took her as his model for building the Constant Warwick in 1649, which was, as he says, the first frigate built in England. She was intended as a privateer for the Earl of Warwick, who afterwards sold her to the king. She measured somewhat under 400 tons, and mounted 60 guns, consisting of 18 light demi-culverins or short 9-pounders on the main-deck, 6 light sakers on the quarter-deck, and 2 mignons on the after-raised deck, which we should now call the poop.

In those days, and for many years afterwards, the English were addicted to crowding their vessels with guns, and there can be no doubt that many, like the Mary Rose and others, were in consequence lost; especially as their lower-deck ports were often not more than three feet above the water. The Constant Warwick had afterwards many more guns placed in her, so that she ultimately rated as a 46-gun ship, when, from being an incomparable sailer, she became a slug. Mr Pepys remarks on this subject, in 1663 and 1664: “The Dutch and French built ships of two decks, which carried from 60 to 70 guns, and so contrived that they carried their lower guns four feet from the water, and could stow four months’ provisions—whereas our frigates from the Dunkirk build, which were narrower and sharper, carried their guns but little more than three feet from the water and but ten weeks provisions.”

Attempts were made to counteract this great defect, but without much success. For several years afterwards Mr Pepys still complained that frigates were unable to stow a sufficient quantity of provisions, or to carry their guns high enough out of the water to make them safe.

Up to the early part of the eighteenth century it was a general complaint that ships of war had more guns placed on board than they could carry—in consequence, that their lower batteries could not be opened when there was any sea on, and that they sailed and worked heavily. It is wonderful, indeed, how British seamen managed to keep them afloat, as it is worthy of note that those which fell into the hands of the enemy were nearly always lost under charge of their new masters. The English, it was said, employed the best materials and workmanship on their vessels, but the French greatly surpassed them in their models. The English were the first to abandon the flat form of the stern under the counter, and to introduce the curved instead, by which greater strength and lightness as well as beauty was obtained.

In 1748 a ship of 585 tons, to carry 28 guns, 9-pounders on the main-deck and 3-pounders on the quarter-deck, was built; and in 1757 five other vessels, also called frigates, to carry 28 guns, were constructed of fir instead of oak, of the same size; but one of them was captured by the French, and the others in about nine years were broken up as unserviceable.

The first ship which, according to our present ideas, could properly be considered a frigate, was the Southampton, built at Rotherhithe in the year 1757 by Mr Robert Inwood, according to a draft of Sir Thomas Slade, one of the surveyors of the navy. She measured 671 tons, and mounted 26 12-pounders on the main-deck, 4 6-pounders on the quarter-deck, and 2 6-pounders on the forecastle. She thus carried all her guns on a single whole deck, a quarter-deck and forecastle, the characteristic of the true frigate. She was considered a prime sailer and first-rate sea-boat, and lasted for fifty-six years, and possibly would have lasted longer had she not gone to pieces on the rocks.

Shortly after this several 36-gun frigates were built. Each was about fifty tons larger than the Southampton, and carried four guns more, which were placed on the quarter-deck.

Several French 36-gun frigates captured by the English were found to be considerably larger. One, the Dana, was of 941 tons; and three French 32-gun frigates averaged about 700 tons, though armed like the Southampton.

About 1779 five frigates of 38 guns, and averaging 946 tons, were launched. They were the Minerva, built at Woolwich, the Arethusa, Latona, Phaeton, and Thetis. They were first armed with 28 18-pounders on the main-deck and 10 6-pounders, 8 18-pound carronades and 14 swivels on the quarter-deck and forecastle, and with a complement of 270 men. Shortly afterwards the complement was increased to 280 men, 9-pounders were placed on board instead of the sixes, the swivels were omitted, and carronades substituted.

About the same time frigates of 880 tons, to carry 36 guns, 18 and 9-pounders, were built.

Formerly, as has been seen, a number of small vessels were classed as frigates. About the year 1775 they were placed in a different rate, and those carrying 20 guns had now the name of 20-gun post-ships given to them, signifying that they were commanded by post-captains. Afterwards vessels still called frigates, carrying 24 guns, were also ranked as post-ships. The French called vessels of this size corvettes, from the Italian word corvettore, to leap or bound, from which we have derived the word curvet. The French afterwards applied the name to ships of 24 guns. In order to mount all these guns on a single tier, it was necessary to increase the dimensions of the ship, and thus she could carry heavier metal than those ships mounting their guns on a quarter-deck and forecastle. The English, following their example, afterwards called all ships carrying 24, 22, and 20 guns post-ships, and those carrying 18, 16, and 14, or any less number, ship-sloops, to which the general term of corvette was afterwards applied. The English did not apply the term corvette to brigs, but designated such two-masted vessels as brigs-of-war, though they are sometimes spoken of as brig-sloops.

It will thus be understood that a ship that mounts 24 guns at least on a single-deck, and other guns on a quarter-deck and forecastle, is properly called a frigate. When, however, the waist is decked over and has raised bulwarks with ports in them filled with guns, the vessel becomes a two-decked ship.

It is necessary to explain the term “flush.” In sea language it means level, a flush-deck is consequently a level deck extending fore and aft. Such are all the decks of a man-of-war, except of the upper ones. Many merchantmen are also built in the same way, but others rise abruptly a foot, or two or three feet, towards the stern, the higher part of the deck becoming the quarter-deck. Ships thus built are spoken of as deep-waisted, because the centre part is deeper or lower than the after-part. The bulwarks in the same way sink in proportion at the break of the quarter-deck. Up to the present day many of the largest ships-of-war are flush-decked, as are all brigs-of-war and many corvettes, but a frigate, which must have a quarter-deck and forecastle, cannot properly be said to be flush-decked, although, in fact, the gratings or gangway at the waist give her the appearance of being so to the unsophisticated eye.

Our knowledge of the state of the navy during the reigns of Charles the Second and his brother is derived chiefly from Mr Samuel Pepys, who was clerk of the Acts, through the interest of his relative the Earl of Sandwich, and was ultimately clerk of the treasurer to the commissioners of the affairs of Tangier, and surveyor-general of the victualling department. He spared no pains to check the rapacity of contractors by whom the naval stores were then supplied; he studied order and economy in the dockyards, advocated the promotion of old-established officers in the navy, and resisted to the utmost the infamous system of selling places, then most unblushingly practised. During the Dutch war the care of the navy in a great measure rested upon him alone, and by his zeal and industry he gained the esteem of the Duke of York, with whom, as Lord High Admiral, he was in constant intercourse. Thus from his diary we can gain a pretty accurate knowledge of the customs of the times in the naval service, and the way the affairs of the navy were managed.

In an entry of the 4th of June, 1661, he describes a dinner, where the discourse was on the subject of young noblemen and gentlemen who thought of going to sea, the naval service being considered as noble as that of the land. Lord Crewe remarked that “in Queen Elizabeth’s time one young nobleman would wait with a trencher at the back of another till he come of age himself;” and he mentioned the Earl of Kent, who was waiting on Lord Bedford at table when a letter came to that lord announcing that the earldom had fallen to his servant the young lord; at which he rose from table and made him sit down in his place, taking a lower for himself.

It was undoubtedly in this way that many lads of family went to sea to serve as cabin-boys to captains of distinction, and at the same time to learn seamanship and navigation.

He gives an amusing account of the sale of two ships at an auction by an inch of candle. The auctioneer put them up when the candle was first lighted, and bidding went on till it was burnt down. He describes “how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry, and we have much to do to tell who did cry last. The ships were the Indian, sold for 1300 pounds, and the Half-Moone, sold for 830 pounds.” Of course, the ships were knocked down to the person who made the last bidding before the candle was burnt out.

It is no wonder that naval affairs went wrong in those days, when money was wanting to pay both officers and seamen, and to supply stores and provisions; indeed, what should have been devoted to the purpose was fearfully misappropriated. On the 14th of August, 1661, he says: “This morning Sir W. Batten and Sir W. Penn and I waited upon the Duke of York in his chamber, to give him an account of the condition of the navy for lack of money, and how our own very bills are offered upon the exchange to be sold at 20 in the 100 loss. He is much troubled at it, and will speak to the king and council of it this morning.”

The debts of the navy at that time amounted to near 374,000 pounds. He tells us that he was “writing a little treatise to present to the duke, about our privileges in the seas, as to other nations striking their flags to us.” The English had long claimed the right to have this honour paid to their flag, though the people of other countries were naturally inclined to dispute it, and if not the cause was the pretext of our wars with the Dutch.

On the 25th of January he met Sir Richard Brown, and discussed with him Sir N. Crisp’s project for “making a great sluice in the king’s lands about Deptford, to be a wet-dock to hold 200 sail of ships. But the ground, it seems, was long since given by the king to Sir Richard.”

On the 14th of March the German Dr Knuffler “came to discourse about his engine to blow up ships. We doubted not the matter of fact, it being tried in Cromwell’s time, but the safety of carrying them in ships; but he do tell us that when he comes to tell the king his secret (for none but the kings successively and their heirs must know it), it will appear to be of no danger at all. We concluded nothing, but shall discourse with the Duke of York tomorrow about it.”

Chaplains were appointed in those days to ships, though several instances are given which prove that they were not men likely to advance the interests of religion. After visiting the yard, he went on board the Swallow in the dock, “where our navy chaplain preached a sad sermon, full of nonsense and false Latin; but prayed for the Right Honourable the principall officers.”

Again, he speaks of many rogueries practised. Among others, on the 4th of June he went “by water to Woolwich, and there saw an experiment made of Sir R. Ford’s Holland’s yarne (about which we have lately had so much stir, and I have much concerned myself for our ropemaker, Mr Hughes, who represented it so bad), and we found it to be very bad, and broke sooner than upon a fair trial, five threads of that against four of Riga yarne; and also that some of it had old stuffe that had been tarred, covered over with new hempe, which is such a cheat as hath not been heard of.”

The war with the Dutch had not yet commenced, but there was every probability of it soon breaking out, though the English fleet was at that time in a sadly unprepared state. On the 28th of June, 1662, he says: “Great talk there is of a fear of a war with the Dutch, and we have orders to pitch upon 20 ships to be forthwith set out; but I hope it is but a scarecrow to the world to let them see that we can be ready for them; though God knows, the king is not able to set out five ships at this present without great difficulty, we neither having money, credit, nor stores.”

With regard to the stores, he says, on the 21st of July: “To Woolwich to the rope-yard, and there looked over several sorts of hemp, and did fall upon my great survey of seeing the working and experiments of the strength and the charge in the dressing of every sort; and I do think have brought it to so great a certainty, as I have done the king some service in it, and do purpose to get it ready against the duke’s coming to towne to present to him. I see it is impossible for the king to have things done as cheap as other men.”

On the 4th of September he remarks, notwithstanding all their shortcomings, that the fleet was in a far better condition than in the days of Queen Elizabeth. “Sir William Compton I heard talk with great pleasure of the difference between the fleet now and in Queen Elizabeth’s days; where, in 1588, she had but 36 sail great and small in the world, and ten rounds of powder was their allowance at that time against the Spaniards.”

He speaks of yachts as pleasure vessels, a name derived from the Dutch, one of which class of vessels so-called had been presented by them to the late king. “By water to Woolwich; in my way saw the yacht lately built by our virtuosos (my Lord Brunkard and others, with the help of Commissioner Pett also), set out from Greenwich with the little Dutch bezan to try for mastery; and before they got to Woolwich the Dutch beat them half-a-mile (and I hear this afternoon that, in coming home, it got above three miles), which all our people are glad of.”

On the 18th of February, 1663, he says that he finds “the true charge of the navy” to be “after the rate of 374,743 pounds a-year.”

On the 14th of April Sir George Carteret tells him that Parliament “will call all things in question; and, above all, the expenses of the navy;” “and into the truth of the report of people being forced to sell their bills at 15 per cent, losse in the navy.”

On the 23rd of May Sir George says that Parliament intend to report 200,000 pounds per annum as the ordinary charge of the navy.

The importance of having wet-docks in which ships could be fitted out was well understood. He speaks of finding certain creeks at Portsmouth, and mentions Commissioner Pett’s design to form a wet-dock in Saint Mary’s creek, “which can be done at no great charge, and yet no little one; he thinks, towards 10,000 pounds;” and that the place is likely to be a very fit one when the king has money to do it with.

He mentions a letter of Sir William Petty, “wherein he says that his vessel, which he hath built upon two keels (a model whereof, built for the king, he shewed me), hath this month won a wager of 50 pounds, in sailing between Dublin and Holyhead, with the pacquett-boat, the best ship or vessel the king hath there; and he offers to lay with any vessel in the world. It is about 30 ton in burden, and carries 30 men, with good accommodation (as much more as any ship of her burden), and so any vessel of this figure shall carry more men, with better accommodation by half, than any other ship. This carries also ten guns of about five tons weight. In their coming back from Holyhead they started together, and this vessel came to Dublin by five at night, and the pacquett-boat not before eight the next morning; and when they come they did believe that this vessel had been drowned, or at least behind, not thinking she could have lived in that sea.” He concludes, “I only affirm that the perfection of sailing lies in my principle, find it out who can.”

By his account we find that machines to perform the same service as torpedoes were thought of in those days. He tells “Dr Allen,” with whom he had “some good discourse about physick and chymistry, what Dribble, the German Doctor, do offer of an instrument to sink ships he tells me that which is more strange, that something made of gold, which they call in chymistry aurum fulminans, a grain, I think he said, of it, put into a silver spoon and fired, will give a blow like a musquett, and strike a hole through the silver spoon downward, without the least force upward.”

He gives an amusing account of a trial about the insurance of a ship, before Lord Chief-Justice Hide. “It was pleasant to see what mad sort of testimonys the seamen did give, and could not be got to speak in order; and then their terms such as the judge could not understand; and to hear how sillily the counsel and judge would speak as to the terms necessary in the matter, would make one laugh; and, above all, a Frenchman, that was forced to speak in French, and took an English oath he did not understand, and had an interpreter sworn to tell us what he said, which was the best testimony of all.”

On the 3rd of December, 1663, he gives us the satisfactory intelligence “that the navy (excepting what is due to the yards upon the quarter now going on) is quite out of debt; which is extraordinary good news, and upon the ’Change, to hear how our credit goes as good as any merchant’s upon the ’Change is a joyfull thing to consider, which God continue!”

The next day he remarks, “The King of France, they say, is hiring of 60 sail of ships of the Dutch, but it is not said for what design.”

On the 22nd of January he went down to Deptford, “and there viewed Sir William Petty’s vessel; which hath an odd appearance, but not such as people do make of it.”

On the 4th of March he “saw several people trying a new-fashion gun, brought by my Lord Peterborough this morning, to shoot off often, one after another, without trouble or danger.” This must have been something of the fashion of a revolver of the present day.

One of the first entries regarding the Dutch war is on the 21st of November, 1644. “This day, for certain, news is come that Teddiman hath brought in eighteen or twenty Dutchmen, merchants, their Bourdeaux fleet, and two men-of-war to Portsmouth. And I had letters this afternoon, that three are brought into the Downes and Dover; so that the warr is begun: God give a good end to it!”

On the 31st of December he says: “My Lord Sandwich at sea with the fleet at Portsmouth, sending some about to cruise for taking of ships, which we have done to a great number.”

On the 11th of January, 1665: “This evening, by a letter from Plymouth, I hear that two of our ships, the Leopard and another, in the Straights, are lost by running aground; and that three more had like to have been so, but got off, whereof Captain Allen one; and that a Dutch fleet are gone thither; and if they should meet with our lame ships, God knows what would become of them. This I reckon most sad news; God make us sensible of it!”

The following remarks show the threatening attitude of the Dutch: on the 12th of January, 1665, “Spoke with a Frenchman, who was taken, but released, by a Dutch man-of-war, of 36 guns (with seven more of the king’s or greater ships), off the North Foreland, by Margett. Which is a strange attempt, that they should come to our teeth; but, the wind being easterly, the wind that should bring our force from Portsmouth, will carry them away home.”

On the 15th he was called in, with Sir William Penn, to see the king, “And there Sir W. Penn spoke pretty well to dissuade the king from letting the Turkish ships go out; saying (in short), the king having resolved to have 130 ships out by the spring, he must have above 20 of them merchantmen. Towards which, he, in the whole river, could find but 12 or 14, and of them the five ships taken up by these merchants were a part, and so could not be spared. That we should need 30,000 sailors to man these 130 ships, and of them, in service, we have not above 16,000; so that we shall need 14,000 more. That these ships will, with their convoys, carry about 2000 men, and those the best men that could be got; it being the men used to the southward that are the best men of warr, though those bred in the north, among the colliers, are good for labour. That it will not be safe for the merchants, nor honourable for the king, to expose these rich ships with his convoy of six ships to go, it not being enough to secure them against the Dutch, who, without doubt, will have a great fleet in the Straights.”

At a visit of the Duke of York, he hears, by a letter from Captain Allen, “First, of our own loss of two ships, the Phoenix and Nonsuch, in the Bay of Gibraltar; then of his and his seven ships with him, in the Bay of Cales, or thereabouts, fighting with the 34 Dutch Smyrna fleet; sinking theKing Solomon, a ship worth 150,000 pounds, or more, some say 200,000 pounds, and another; and taking of three merchant-ships. Two of our ships were disabled by the Dutch unfortunately falling, against their will, against them—the Advice, Captain W. Poole, and Antelope, Captain Clerke. The Dutch men-of-war did little service. Captain Allen, before he would fire one gun, come within pistol-shot of the enemy. The Spaniards, at Cales, did stand laughing at the Dutch, to see them run away and flee to the shore, 34 or thereabouts, against eight Englishmen at most.”

“Captain Allen led the way, and himself writes that all the masters of the fleet, old and young, were mistaken, and did carry their ships aground.”

“Captain Seale, of the Milford, hath done his part very well, in boarding the King Solomon, which held out half-an-hour after she was boarded; and his men kept her an hour after they did master her, and then she sank, and drowned about 17 of her men.”

He speaks, a few days afterwards, of meeting the owners of the double-bottomed boat the Experiment, which again reminds us of the plan, at present adopted, to guard ships against the effects of torpedoes.

On the 17th of April he heard an account of the capture of three privateers, one of which was commanded by Admiral Everson’s son. Captain Golding, of the Diamond, was killed in the action. “Two of them, one of 32, and the other of 20 odd guns, did stand stoutly up against her, which hath 46, and the Yarmouth that hath 52, and as many more men as they. So that they did more than we could expect, not yielding till many of their men were killed. And Everson, when he was brought before the Duke of York, and was observed to be shot through the hat, answered, that he wished it had gone through his head, rather than been taken. One thing more is written; that two of our ships, the other day, appearing upon the coast of Holland, they presently fired their beacons round the country to give them notice. And news is brought the king, that the Dutch Smyrna fleet is seen upon the back of Scotland; and, thereupon, the king hath wrote to the duke, that he do appoint a fleet to go to the northward to try to meet them coming home round; which God send!”

On the 28th he went down the river to visit the victualling ships, “where I find all out of order.”

On the 8th of June he writes: “Victory over the Dutch, June 3, 1665. This day they engaged, the Dutch neglecting greatly the opportunity of the wind they had of us, by which they lost the benefit of their fire-ships. The Earl of Falmouth, Muskerry, and Mr Richard Boyle killed on board the duke’s ship, the Royall Charles, with one shot, their blood and brains flying in the duke’s face, and the head of Mr Boyle striking down the duke, as some say. The Earle of Marlborough, Portland, Rear-Admirall Sansum killed, and Capt. Kerby and Ableson. Sir John Lawson wounded, hath had some bones taken out, and is likely to be well again. Upon receiving the hurt, he sent to the duke for another to command the Royal Oake. The duke sent Jordan out of the Saint George, who did brave things in her. Capt. Jer. Smith, of the Mary, was second to the duke, and stepped between him and Captain Seaton, of the Urania (76 guns and 400 men), who had sworn to board the duke, killed him 200 men, and took the ship himself, losing 99 men, and never an officer saved but himself and lieutenant. His master, indeed, is saved, with his leg cut off; Admiral Opdam blown up, Trump killed, and said by Holmes; all the rest of their admiralls, as they say, but Everson (whom they dare not trust for his affection to the Prince of Orange), are killed, we having taken and sunk, as is believed, about 24 of their best ships, killed and taken 8 or 10,000 men, and lost, we think, not above 700. A greater victory never known in the world. They are all fled. Some 43 got into the Texell, and others elsewhere, and we in pursuit of the rest.”

On the 16th he goes down to Whitehall, and hears more about the battle. “Among other things, how my Lord Sandwich, both in his councils and personal service, hath done most honourably and serviceably. Jonas Poole, in the Vanguard, did basely, so as to be, or will be, turned out of his ship. Captain Holmes expecting upon Sansum’s death to be made rear-admirall to the prince (but Harman is put in), hath delivered up to the duke his commission, which the duke took and tore. Several of our captains have done ill. The great ships are the ships to do the business, they quite deadening the enemy. They run away upon sight of the prince. Captain Smith, of the Mary, the duke talks mightily of, and some great thing will be done for him. Strange to hear how the Dutch do relate, as the duke says, that they are the conquerors, and bonfires are made in Dunkirke in their behalf, although a clearer victory can never be expected. Mr Coventry thinks they cannot have lost less than 6000 men, and we not dead above 200, and wounded about 400; in all about 600. Captain Grove, the duke told us this day, hath done the basest thing at Lowestoffe, in hearing of the guns, and could not (as others) be got out, but staid there, for which he will be tried, and is reckoned a prating coxcombe, and of no courage.”

The fleet did not escape the plague, which was at that time raging in London. On the 12th of August it appeared at Deptford, on board theProvidence fire-ship, which was just fitting out to go to sea.

At Sheerness, a yard was in course of being laid out to lay provisions for cleaning and repairing of ships, the most proper place for the purpose.

On the 19th the fleet came home, “to our great grief, with not above five weeks dry and six weeks wet provisions, however, must go out again, and the duke hath ordered the Soveraigne, and all other ships ready, to go out to the fleet and strengthen them. This news troubles us all, but cannot be helped.”

On the 9th of September, 1665, he meets Sir William Doyly and Evelyn at supper: “And I with them full of discourse of the neglect of our masters, the great officers of state, about all business, and especially that of money, having now some thousands prisoners kept to no purpose, at a great charge, and no money provided almost for the doing of it.”

“Captain Cocke reports as a certain truth that all the Dutch fleet, men-of-war and merchant East India ships, are got every one in from Bergen, the 3rd of this month, Sunday last, which will make us all ridiculous.”

On the 14th, however, he says: “A letter from my Lord Sandwich at Solebay, of the fleet’s meeting with about eighteen more of the Dutch fleet, and his taking of most of them; and the messenger says, that they had taken three after the letter was wrote and sealed, which being twenty-one, and the fourteen took the other day, is forty-five sail, some of which are good and others rich ships.”

On the 18th he goes to Gravesend in the bezan yacht, and “by break of day we come to within sight of the fleet, which was a very fine thing to behold, being above 100 ships, great and small, with the flag-ships of each squadron distinguished by their several flags on their main, fore, or mizen-masts. Among others, the Soveraigne, Charles, and Prince, in the last of which my Lord Sandwich was. And so we come on board, and we find my Lord Sandwich newly up in his night-gown very well.”

He attends a council of war on board, “When comes Sir W. Penn, Sir Christopher Mingo, Sir Edward Spragg, Sir Jos. Jordan, Sir Thomas Teddiman, and Sir Roger Omittance.” Sir Christopher Mings was one of the bravest admirals of the day. He was the son of a shoemaker, and had worked his way up in the sea-service. He was killed the following year, June, 1666, in action with the Dutch. Pepys describes him as “a very witty, well-spoken fellow, and mighty free to tell his parentage, being a shoemaker’s son.”

On the 25th of January, 1666, he writes: “It is now certain that the King of France hath publickly declared war against us, and God knows how little fit we are for it.”

As an example of the way affairs were managed, he tells us that, viewing the yard at Chatham, he observed, “among other things, a team of four horses coming close by us, drawing a piece of timber that I am confident one man could easily have carried upon his back. I made the horses be taken away, and a man or two to take the timber away with their hands.”

Still more abominable was the way in which the wages of the unfortunate seamen were kept back. On the 7th of October, 1665, he writes: “Did business, though not much, at the office, because of the horrible crowd and lamentable moan of the poor seamen that lie starving in the streets for lack of money, which do trouble and perplex me to the heart; and more at noon, when we were to go through them, for then above a whole hundred of them followed us, some cursing, some swearing, and some praying to us.” He continues: “Want of money in the navy puts everything out of order; men grown mutinous, and nobody here to mind the business of the navy but myself.”

On the 19th of May, 1666: “Mr Deane and I did discourse about his ship Rupert, built by him, which succeeds so well as he hath got great honour by it, and I some by recommending him—the king, duke, and everybody saying it is the best ship that ever was built. And, then, he fell to explain to me his manner of casting the draught of water which a ship will draw beforehand, which is a secret the king and all admire in him; and he is the first that hath come to any certainty beforehand of foretelling the draught of water of a ship before she be launched.”

On the 4th he describes the fight between the English and Dutch, the news brought by a Mr Daniel, “who was all muffled up, and his face as black as the chimney, and covered with dirt, pitch, and tar, and powder, and muffled with dirty clouts, and his right eye stopped with okum.” The English “found the Dutch fleet at anchor, between Dunkirke and Ostend, and made them let slip their anchors; they about ninety and we less than sixty. We fought them and put them to the run, till they met with about sixteen sail of fresh ships, and so bore up again. The fight continued till night, and then again the next morning from five till seven at night. And so, too, yesterday morning they began again, and continued till about four o’clock, they chasing us for the most part of Saturday, and yesterday we flying from them.” Prince Rupert’s fleet, however, was seen coming, “upon which De Ruyter called a council, and thereupon their fleet divided into two squadrons—forty in one, and about thirty in the other; the bigger to follow the duke, the less to meet the prince. But the prince come up with the generall’s fleet, and the Dutch come together again, and bore towards their own coast, and we with them. The duke was forced to come to anchor on Friday, having lost his sails and rigging.”

Some days afterwards he continues the description of the fight: “The commanders, officers, and even the common seamen do condemn every part of the late conduct of the Duke of Albemarle; running among them in his retreat, and running the ships on ground; so as nothing can be worse spoken of. That Holmes, Spragg, and Smith do all the business, and the old and wiser commanders nothing.”

“We lost more after the prince came than before. The Prince was so maimed, as to be forced to be towed home.” Among several commanders killed in the action was Sir Christopher Mings.

He describes the affection the seamen entertained for those commanders they esteemed: “About a dozen able, lusty, proper men come to the coach-side with tears in their eyes, and one of them that spoke for the rest begun and said to Sir W. Coventry, ‘We are here a dozen of us, that have long known and loved and served our dead commander, Sir Christopher Mings, and have now done the last office of laying him in the ground. We would be glad we had any other to offer after him, and in revenge of him. All we have is our lives; if you will please to get His Royal Highness to give us a fire-ship among us all, here are a dozen of us, out of all which choose you one of us to be commander, and the rest of us, whoever he is, will serve him; and, if possible, do that which shall show our memory of our dead commander, and our revenge.’ Sir W. Coventry was herewith much moved, as well as I, who could hardly abstain from weeping.”

“Sir Christopher Mings was a very stout man, and a man of great parts, and most excellent tongue among ordinary men; and would have been a most useful man at such a time as this.”

He gives a deplorable account of the state of the navy, the neglect of business by Charles and his brother, and the want of money. On the 8th of October, 1665, he writes: “I think of twenty-two ships, we shall make shift to get out seven. (God help us! men being sick, or provisions lacking.) There is nothing but discontent among the officers, and all the old experienced men are slighted.”

Speaking of the action with the Dutch, he says: “They do mightily insult of their victory, and they have great reason. Sir William Barkeley was killed before his ship taken; and there he lies dead in a sugar-chest, for everybody to see, with his flag standing up by him. And Sir George Ascue is carried up and down the Hague for people to see.”

The abominable system of the press-gang was then in full force, and was carried on with the same cruelty which existed till a much later period: “To the Tower several times, about the business of the pressed men, and late at it till twelve at night shipping of them. But, Lord! how some poor women did cry; and in my life I never did see such natural expression of passion as I did here in some women bewailing themselves, and running to every parcel of men that were brought one after another to look for their husbands, and wept over every vessel that went off, thinking they might be there, and looking after the ship as far as ever they could by moone-light, that it grieved me to the heart to hear them. Besides, to see poor, patient, labouring men and housekeepers leaving poor wives and families, taken up on a sudden by strangers, was very hard, and that without press-money, but forced against all law to be gone. It is a great tyranny.”

The next morning he went “to Bridewell to see the pressed men, where there are about 300; but so unruly  that I durst not go among them; and they have reason to be so, having been kept these three days prisoners, with little or no victuals, and pressed out and contrary to all course of law, without press-money, and men that are not liable to it.”

“I found one of the vessels loaden with the Bridewell birds in a great mutiny; I think it is much if they do not run the vessel on ground.”

He continues: “With regard to the building of ten great ships, none to be under third-rates; but it is impossible to do it, unless we have some money.”

Sir W. Penn gives his advice as to the mode of fighting at sea: “We must fight in a line, whereas we fight promiscuously, to our utter and demonstrable ruin; the Dutch fighting otherwise; and we, whenever we beat them. 2. We must not desert ships of our own in distress, as we did, for that makes a captain desperate, and he will fling away his ship when there are no hopes left him of succour. 3rd. That ships when they are a little shattered must not take the liberty to come in of themselves, but refit themselves the best they can, and stay out—many of our ships coming in with very small disableness. He told me that our very commanders, nay, our very flag-officers, do stand in need of exercising among themselves, and discoursing the business of commanding a fleet; he telling me that even one of our flagmen in the fleet did not know which tack lost the wind or kept it in the last engagement. Then in the business of forecastles, which he did oppose, all the world sees now the use of them for shelter of men.”

He observes that “we see many women now-a-days in the streets, but no men; men being so afraid of the press.” He speaks of purchasing “four or five tons of corke, to send this day to the fleet, being a new device to make barricados with, instead of junke.” The importance of protecting men against shot was even then, it will be seen, thought of.

On the 10th he goes “to the office; the yard being very full of women coming to get money for their husbands and friends that are prisoners in Holland; and they lay clamouring and swearing and cursing us, that my wife and I were afraid to send a venison-pasty that we have for supper to-night, to the cook’s to be baked.”

On the 23rd July Sir W. Coventry talks to him of the “Loyal London (which, by the way, he commends to be the best ship in the world, large and small) hath above eight hundred men. The first guns made for her all bursted, but others were made, which answered better.”

Speaking of the late battle, he remarks that “the Resolution had all brass guns, being the same that Sir John Lawson had in her in the Straights. It is to be observed that the two fleets were even in number to one ship.”

Sir W. Coventry “spoke slightingly of the Duke of Albemarle, saying, when De Ruyter come to give him a broadside—‘Now,’ says he (chewing of tobacco the while), ‘will this fellow come and give me two broadsides, and then he shall run;’ but it seems he held him to it two hours, till the duke himself was forced to retreat to refit, and was towed off, and De Ruyter staid for him till he come back again to fight. One in the ship saying to the duke, ‘Sir, methinks De Ruyter hath given us more than two broadsides.’ ‘Well,’ says the duke, ‘but you shall find him run by-and-by,’ and so he did, but after the duke himself had been first made to fall of.”

From the accounts he gives of the condition of the navy, it is surprising that our ships were not everywhere beaten. On the 20th of October he writes: “Commissioner Middleton says that the fleet was in such a condition as to discipline, as if the devil had commanded it; so much wickedness of all sorts. Enquiring how it came to pass that so many ships had miscarried this year, he tells me that the pilots do say that they dare not do nor go but as the captains will have them; and if they offer to do otherwise, the captains swear they will run them through. That he heard Captain Digby (my Lord of Bristoll’s son, a young fellow that never was but one year, if that, in the fleet) say that he did hope he should not see a tarpawlin have the command of a ship within this twelve months”—tarpaulin being the common name applied to a sailor in those days.

On the 19th: “Nothing but distraction and confusion in the affairs of the navy.”

On the 28th he adds: “Captain Guy to dine with me. He cries out of the discipline of the fleet, and confesses really that the true English valour we talk of is almost spent and worn out; few of the commanders doing what they should do, and he much fears we shall therefore be beaten the next year. He assures me we were beaten home the last June fight, and that the whole fleet was ashamed to hear of our bonfires. The Revenge having her forecastle blown up with powder to the killing of some men in the river, and the Dyamond being overset in the careening at Sheerness, are further marks of the method all the king’s work is now done in. The Foresight also and another come to disasters in the same place this week in the cleaning.”

On the 2nd of November he describes the Ruby, French prize, “the only ship of war we have taken from any of our enemies this year. It seems a very good ship, but with galleries quite round the sterne to walk in as a balcone, which will be taken down.”

News of the Dutch having been seen off the mouth of the Thames alarms every one; and on the 24th of March, 1667, he writes: “By-and-by to the Duke of Yorke, where we all met, and there was the king also; and all our discourse was about fortifying of the Medway and Harwich; and here they advised with Sir Godfrey Lloyd and Sir Bernard de Gunn, the two great engineers, and had the plates drawn before them; and indeed all their care they now take is to fortify themselves, and are not ashamed of it.”

On the 9th of June he writes: “I find an order come for the getting some fire-ships presently to annoy the Dutch, who are in the king’s channel, and expected up higher.”

The next day: “News brought us that the Dutch are come up as high as the Nore; and more pressing orders for fire-ships. We all went down to Deptford, and pitched upon ships and set men at work, but, Lord! to see how backwardly things move at this pinch, notwithstanding that by the enemy being now come up as high as almost the Hope.”

Anxiety and terror prevailed in the city, and people were removing their goods—the thoughtful Mr Pepys making a girdle to carry 300 pounds in gold about his body. The alarm is further increased when a neighbour comes up from Chatham, and tells him that that afternoon he “saw theRoyal James, the Oake, and London burnt by the enemy with their fire-ships; that two or three men-of-war come up with them, and made no more of Upnor Castle’s shooting than of a fly; that the Dutch are fitting out the Royal Charles.”

Ships were to be sunk in the river, about Woolwich, to prevent the Dutch coming up higher.

“The masters of the ships that are lately taken up, do keep from their ships all their stores, or as much as they can, so that we cannot despatch them, having not time to appraise them, nor secure their payment. Only some little money we have, which we are fain to pay the men we have with every night, or they will not work. And, indeed, the hearts as well as the affections of the seamen are turned away; and in the open streets in Wapping, and up and down, the wives have cried publickly, ‘This comes of not paying our husbands; and now your work is undone, or done by hands that understand it not.’”

Some of the men, “instead of being at work at Deptford, where they were intended, do come to the office this morning to demand the payment of their tickets; for otherwise they would, they said, do no more work; and are, as I understand from everybody that has to do with them, the most debauched, swearing rogues that ever were in the navy, just like their prophane commander.”

“Nothing but carelessness lost the Royal Charles, for they might have saved her the very tide that the Dutch came up. The Dutch did take her with a boat of nine men, who found not a man on board her; and presently a man went up and struck her flag, and jacke, and a trumpeter sounded upon her, ‘Joan’s placket is torn;’ they did carry her down at a time, both for tides and wind, when the best pilot in Chatham would not have undertaken it, they heeling her on one side to make her draw little water, and so carried her away safe.”

“It is a sad sight to see so many good ships there sunk in the river, while we would be thought to be masters of the sea.”

He also examines the chain which had been carried across the river, “and caused the link to be measured, and it was six inches and one-fourth in circumference.”

He commends the Dutch “for the care they do take to encourage their men to provide great stores of boats to save them; while we have not credit to find one boat for a ship.” The English mode “of preparing of fire-ships,” he observes, “do not do the work, for the fire not being strong and quick enough to flame up, so as to take the rigging and sails, lies smothering a great while, half-an-hour before it flames, in which time they can get the fire-ships off safely. But what a shame it is to consider how two of our ship’s companies did desert their ships. And one more company did set their ship on fire and leave her; which afterwards a Feversham fisherman came up to, and put out the fire, and carried safe into Feversham, where she now is. It was only want of courage, and a general dismay and abjectness of spirit upon all our men; God Almighty’s curse upon all that we have in hand, for never such an opportunity was of destroying so many good ships of theirs as we now had.”

To replace the Royal Charles carried away, a new ship was launched on the 4th of March, 1668, called the Charles; “God send her better luck than the former.”

At a Privy Council which he attended, “to discourse about the fitness of entering of men presently for the manning of the fleet, before one ship is in condition to receive them,” the king observed, “‘If ever you intend to man the fleet without being cheated by the captains and pursers, you may go to bed and resolve never to have it manned.’”

At another council he speaks of “a proposition made to the Duke of York by Captain Von Hemskirke, for 20,000 pounds to discover an art how to make a ship go two feet for one what any ship do now, which the king inclines to try, it costing him nothing to try; and it is referred to us to contract with the man.” He afterwards says that the secret was only to make her sail a third faster than any other ship.

On the 25th of March, 1669, a court-martial was held about the loss of the Defyance. The sentence was, “That the gunner of the Defyance should stand upon the Charles three hours with his fault writ upon his breast, and with a halter about his neck, and so be made incapable of any service.” The ship was burnt by the gunner allowing a girl to carry a fire into his cabin.

Whatever our shortcomings in regard to naval affairs, it is pleasant to believe that they cannot possibly be so great as in the days of Mr Samuel Pepys.