1802 - America and the Barbary States, The George-Washington at Algiers, War with Tripoli


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1802 State of the British Navy - America, &c. 166

The line-of-battle loss, which the British navy sustained in the same war, amounts to 20 ships ; of which no fewer than three-fourths were wrecked and accidentally burnt.*

It is usual, at the termination of a war, to exhibit, by a few figures, the relative gains and losses of the parties that had been engaged in it. Accordingly, in December, 1801, a cabinet minister laid before the British parliament a statement expressing that, when the war commenced, the British navy consisted of 135, and, when it ended, of 202 ships of the line. But for the concurrent testimony of several reporters, one might suppose the former number to contain a typographical error, in the transposition of the 3 and 5. We have shown, in its proper place, the accuracy of the number 153, which appears in the line column of the first annual abstract ; and have just done the same, in the fullest manner, respecting the number 191, in Abstract No. 10. The number, which comes nearest to the minister's number, is to be found in Steel's list for November, 1801 : it wants but two of the amount. Admitting the minister to have collected 200 of his 202 line-of-battle ships from Steel's list (it is evident he did not get them from the official list), whence did he obtain the number 35, for the whole of the line-of-battle ships possessed by France at the close of the year 1801 ? At the commencement of the year 1803, we shall show, in the clearest manner, that this number scarcely covers half of the line-of-battle ships which must have belonged to France at the peace of Amiens ; and it already has appeared that, instead of 202 ships of the line, 126, or, including those building, 148, was the proper number to be confronted with the French number.

America and the Barbary States.

Although this was a year of peace between England and the other great powers, there were still some naval operations of a warlike character going on, a summary of which may serve, if to do no more, to keep alive the interest in such matters until, by the general clash of arms throughout Europe, the annalist is again called upon to record events of magnitude and importance.

It is too well known to be creditable to them, that the formidable christian powers of Europe have long paid a tribute, either in specie or kind, to the regencies of Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, to induce these merciless freebooters to abstain from molesting the commerce of the former; from making prizes of their

* See Appendix, No. 18

See note to that abstract, and the same Note to Abstract No. 2, vol. i., pp. 400, 401.

See note * to that abstract, in the Appendix of this volume.

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