1804 - State of the British Navy


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 British and French Fleets 214

BETWEEN the second abstract of the present and the same of the preceding war, * there appears, in the sea-service commission column, a dimunition [sic] of no fewer than 10 line-of-battle ships. This arose chiefly out of the extensive plan of reform, projected by the first lord of the admiralty, and since put in practice with all the vigour and perseverance which characterised the proceedings of the gallant earl. Many old and useful officers, and a vast number of artificers, had been discharged from the king's dock-yards; the customary supplies of timber, and other important articles of naval stores, had been omitted to be kept up ; and some articles, including a large portion of hemp, had actually been sold out of the service. A deficiency of workmen and of materials produced, of course, a suspension in the routine of dock-yard business. New ships could not be built; nor, and a very serious misfortune it was, could old ones be repaired. Many of the ships in commission too, having been merely patched up, were scarcely in a state to keep the sea.

On the other hand, much fraud and peculation was put a stop to ; many thousands of pounds were saved to the country ; and, if some suffered who had done no wrong, others gained, who had long had their rights withheld. In short, Earl St.-Vincent, by his measures for reforming the civil branches of the British navy, did much temporary evil ; but he also did much permanent good.

A reference to the proper lists will give the names of the purchased enemy's line-of-battle ships and frigates, also of the British ships captured or otherwise lost during the year 1803 . Any thing further deserving notice in No. 12 Abstract will be found in the notes belonging to it.

* See Appendix, Annual Abstracts Nos. 12 and 2.

See p. 185.

See Appendix, No. 23.

See Appendix, No. 24.

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