1817 to 1820 - British and American 74s

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1817-
1820
State of the British Navy 416

It was given out as the intention of the American government, had the treaty of Ghent been broken off, to have cut down the Franklin and Independence to frigates, and have sent to sea, to meet the two-deckers of England, the ships then building of the class of the North-Carolina. Had one of the latter captured or sunk a ship like the Albion, even the president, in his next speech to congress, would not have scrupled to tell the world, that an American 74 had vanquished a British 80.

The three remaining annual abstracts maybe referred to together. * As they call for no particular remarks, we shall merely state that the number of commissioned officers and masters belonging to the British navy at the commencement of the respective years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820, was:

 

   1817   

   1818   

   1819   

   1820   

Admirals  

60

 

56

 

52

 

64

Vice-admirals  

62

 

61

 

59

 

65

Rear-admirals  

74

 

74

 

71

 

70

Rear-admirals superannuated

20

 

27

 

27

 

20

 
Post-captains  

854

 

883

 

865

 

837

Post-captains superannuated

32

 

31

 

29

 

20

 
Commanders or slp.- captains  

829

 

813

 

768

 

780

Commanders or slp.- captains superannuated

100

 

100

 

100

 

100

 
Lieutenants  

4012

 

3949

 

3901

 

3848

Masters  

681

 

651

 

622

 

606

And the number of seamen and marines, voted for the service of the same four years, was for 1817, 19,000, for 1818 and 1819, 20,000, and for 1820, 23,000.

We would, most willingly, give an account of the improvements that have of late years been introduced into the British navy ; but our limits restrict us to a few superficial remarks. A great change has doubtless taken place, as well in the contour, as in the arrangement of the materials that compose the fabric of a British ship of war. The principle of the change, as respects the arrangement of the materials or timber, consists in the substitution of the triangle for the rectangle, with the view of conferring upon every part of the fabric a uniformity of strength. The frame of the hold consists of a series of triangles, united by trusses ; and the openings between the ribs, or outer timbers, are filled with slips of wood, calked within and without, and rendered quite impervious to water; so that, should a vessel so constructed, lose her main keel and even a proportion of the plank from her bottom, she would still remain water-tight. As one instance, the British 20-gun ship Esk, Captain Edward Lloyd, while running between nine and ten knots, struck, near Bermuda, on a bank of coral and hard sand ; where she lay,

* See Appendix, Annual Abstract Nos. 26 27, and 28 also Appendix No. 19. See Appendix, No. 20.

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