NAVY and NAVIES. The navy of a country was in, its original meaning the total body of its shipping, whether used for war, for oversea and coasting traffic, or for fishing—the total in fact of its ships (Lat. naves). By custom, however, the word has come to be used only of that part of the whole which is set aside for purposes of war and police. Every navy consists of a material part (see Ship), i.e. the vessels, with their means of propulsion and their armament, and of a human organization, namely the crews of all ranks, by which the vessels are handled. Ships and men are combined in divisions, and are ruled by an organ of the government to which they belong (see Admiralty Administration).
The personnel of the British navy is composed of two different bodies of men, the seamen and the marines, each of which has its appropriate officers. The marines are the subject of a separate article.
The officers of the navy are classed as follows in the order of their rank: flag-officers (see Admiral), commodores, captains, staff captains, commanders, staff commanders, lieutenants, navigating lieutenants, sub-lieutenants, chief gunners, chief boatswains, chief carpenters, gunners, boatswains, carpenters, midshipmen, naval cadets.
Flag-officers are divided into three ranks, viz. rear-admiral, vice-admiral, admiral. There is also the rank of “admiral of the fleet”: such an officer, if in command, would carry the union flag at the main.
All flag-officers, commanders-in-chief, are considered as responsible for the conduct of the fleet or squadron under their command. They are bound to keep them in perfect condition for service; to exercise them frequently in forming orders of sailing and lines of battle, and in performing all such evolutions as may occur in the presence of an enemy; to direct the commanders of squadrons and divisions to inspect the state of each ship under their command; to see that the established rules for good order, discipline and cleanliness are observed; and occasionally to inquire into these and other matters themselves. They are required to correspond with the secretary of the admiralty, and report to him all their proceedings.
Every flag-officer serving in a fleet, but not commanding it, is required to superintend all the ships of the squadron or division placed under his orders—to see that their crews are properly disciplined, that all orders are punctually attended to, that the stores, provisions and water are kept as complete as circumstances will admit, that the seamen and marines are frequently exercised, and that every precaution is taken for preserving the health of their crews. When at sea, he is to take care that every ship in his division preserves her station, in whatever line or order of sailing the fleet may be formed; and in battle he is to observe attentively the conduct of every ship near him, whether of the squadron or division under his immediate command or not; and at the end of the battle he is to report it to the commander-in-chief, in order that commendation or censure may be passed, as the case may appear to merit; and he is empowered to send an officer to supersede any captain who may misbehave in battle, or whose ship is evidently avoiding the engagement. If any flag-officer be killed in battle his flag is to be kept flying, and signals to be repeated, in the same manner as if he were still alive, until the battle shall be ended; but the death of a flag-officer, or his being rendered incapable of attending to his duty, is to be conveyed as expeditiously as possible to the commander-in-chief.
The captain of the fleet is a temporary rank, where a commander-in-chief has ten or more ships of the line under his command; it may be compared with that of adjutant-general in the army. He may either be a flag-officer or one of the senior captains; in the former case, he takes his rank with the flag-officers of the fleet; in the latter, he ranks next to the junior rear-admiral, and is entitled to the pay and allowance of a rear-admiral. All orders of the commander-in-chief are issued through him, all returns of the fleet are made through him to the commander-in-chief, and he keeps a journal of the proceedings of the fleet, which he transmits to the admiralty. He is appointed and can be removed from this situation only by the lords commissioners of the admiralty.
A commodore is a temporary rank, and of two kinds—the one having a captain under him in the same ship, and the other without a captain. The former has the rank, pay and allowances of a rear-admiral, the latter the pay and allowances of a captain and special allowance as the lords of the admiralty may direct. They both carry distinguishing pennants.
When a captain is appointed to command a ship of war he commissions the ship by hoisting his pennant; and if fresh out of the dock, and from the hands of the dockyard officers, he proceeds immediately to prepare her for sea, by demanding her stores, provisions, guns and ammunition from the respective departments, according to her establishment. He enters such petty officers, leading seamen, able seamen, ordinary seamen, artificers, stokers, firemen and boys as may be sent to him from the flag or receiving ship. If he be appointed to succeed the captain of a ship already in commission, he passes a receipt to the said captain for the ship’s books, papers and stores, and becomes responsible for the whole of the remaining stores and provisions.
The duty of the captain of a ship, with regard to the several books and accounts, pay-books, entry, musters, discharges, &c., is regulated by various acts of parliament; but the state of the internal discipline, the order, regularity, cleanliness and the health of the crews will depend mainly on himself and his officers. In all these respects the general printed orders for his guidance contained in the King’s Regulations and Admiralty Instructions are particularly precise and minute. And, for the information of the ship’s company, he is directed to cause the articles of war, and abstracts of all acts of parliament for the encouragement of seamen, and all such orders and regulations for discipline as may be established, to be hung up in some public part of the ship, to which the men may at all times have access. He is also to direct that they be read to the ship’s company, all the officers being present, once at least in every month. He is desired to be particularly careful that the chaplain have shown to him the attention and respect due to his sacred office by all the officers and men, and that divine service be performed every Sunday. He is not authorized to inflict summary punishment on any commissioned or warrant-officer, but he may place them under arrest, and suspend any officer who shall misbehave, until an opportunity shall offer of trying such officer by a court-martial. He is enjoined to be very careful not to suffer the inferior officers or men to be treated with cruelty and oppression by their superiors. He is the authority who can order punishment to be inflicted, which he is never to do without sufficient cause, nor ever with greater severity than the offence may really deserve, nor until twenty-four hours after the crime has been committed which must be specified in the warrant ordering the punishment. He may delegate this authority to a limited extent to certain officers. All the officers and the whole ship’s company are to be present at every punishment, which must be inserted in the log-book, and an abstract sent to the admiralty every quarter.
The commander has the chief command in small vessels. In larger vessels he is chief of the staff to the captain and assists him in maintaining discipline, and in sailing and fighting the ship.
The lieutenants take the watch by turns, and are at such times entrusted, in the absence of the captain, with the command of the ship. The one on duty is to inform the captain of all important occurrences which take place during his watch. He is to see that the whole of the duties of the ship are carried on with the same punctuality as if the captain himself were present. In the absence of the captain, the commander or senior executive officer is responsible for everything done on board.
The navigating officer receives his orders from the captain or the senior executive officer. He is entrusted, under the command of the captain, with the charge of navigating the ship, bringing her to anchor, ascertaining the latitude and longitude of her place at sea, surveying harbours, and making such nautical remarks and observations as may be useful to navigation in general.
The warrant-officers of the navy may be compared with the non-commissioned officers of the army. They take rank as follows, viz. gunner, boatswain, carpenter; and, compared with other officers, they take rank after sub-lieutenants and before midshipmen.
The midshipmen are the principal subordinate officers, but have no specific duties assigned to them. In the smaller vessels some of the senior ones are entrusted with the watch; they attend parties of men sent on shore, pass the word of command on board, and see that the orders of their superiors are carried into effect; in short, they are exercised in all the duties of their profession, so as, after five years’ service as cadets and midshipmen, to qualify them to become lieutenants, and are then rated sub-lieutenants provided they have passed the requisite examination.
The duties and relative positions of these officers remain practically unaffected by recent changes; but a profound modification was made in the constitution of the corps of officers at the close of 1902. Up to the end of that year, officers who belonged to the “executive” branch, i.e. from midshipmen to admiral, to the marines and the engineers, had entered at different ages, had been trained in separate schools, and had formed three co-operating but independent lines. For reasons set forth in a memorandum by Lord Selborne (December 16, 1902)—from the desire to give a more scientific character to naval education, and to achieve complete unity among all classes of officers—it was decided to replace the triple by a single system of entry, and to coalesce all classes of officers, apart from the purely civil lines—surgeons and paymasters (formerly “pursers”)—into one. Lads were in future to be entered together, and at one training establishment at Osborne in the Isle of Wight, on the distinct understanding that it was to be at the discretion of the admiralty to assign them to executive, marine or engineer duties at a later period. After two years’ training at Osborne, and at the Naval College at Dartmouth, all alike were to go through the rank of midshipman and to pass the same examination for lieutenant. When in the intermediate position of sub-lieutenant, they were to be assigned to their respective branches as executive officer, marine or engineer. The engineers under this new system were to cease to be a civil branch, as they had been before, and become known as lieutenant, commander, captain or rear-admiral E. (Engineer).
The crew of a ship of war consists of leading seamen, able seamen, ordinary seamen, engine-room artificers, other artificers, leading stokers, stokers, coal-trimmers, boys and marines. The artificers and stokers and the marines are always entered voluntarily, the latter in the same manner as soldiers, by enlisting into the corps, the former at some rendezvous or on board particular ships. The supply of boys for the navy, from whom the seamen class of men and petty officers is recruited, is also obtained by voluntary entry.
Merchant seamen are admitted into the royal naval reserve, receive an annual payment by way of retainer, perform drill on board His Majesty’s ships, and are engaged to serve in the navy in case of war or emergency.
There are two schemes for forming reserves. The Royal Naval Reserve scheme draws men from the mercantile marine and fishing population of the United Kingdom. The Royal Fleet Reserve scheme, introduced in 1901, while it gave a better system of training to the pensioners, was mainly designed to obtain the services in war of the men who had quitted the navy after the expiration of their twelve years’ service.
So far as other countries are concerned, the staff of officers does not differ materially from one navy to another. In all it consists of admirals, captains, lieutenants, midshipmen and cadets receiving their training in special schools. With the exception of the navy of the United States, all the important naval forces of the world are raised by conscription.
The strength and general condition of navies at any given time must be learnt from the official publications of the various powers, and from privately composed books founded on them. The yearly statements of the First Lord of the Admiralty in Great Britain, the Reports of the Secretary of the Navy in the United States, and the Reports of the Budget Committees of the French-Chamber contain masses of information. The Naval Annual, founded by Lord Brassey in 1886, is the model of publications which appear in nearly every country which possesses a navy. Mr F. T. Jane’s All the World’s Fighting Ships is a survey of the materiel of navies since 1898.
Every navy was at its beginning formed of the fighting men of the tribe, or city, serving in the ship or large boat, which was used indifferently for fishing, trade, war or piracy. The development of the warship as a special type, and the formation of organized bodies of men set aside for military service on the sea came later. We can follow the process from its starting-point in the case of the naval powers of the dark and middle ages, the Norsemen, the Venetians, the French, the English fleet and others. But centuries, and indeed millenniums, before the modern world emerged from darkness the nations of antiquity who lived on the shores of the Mediterranean had formed navies and had seen them culminate and decline. The adventures of the Argonauts and of Ulysses give a legendary and poetic picture of an “age of the Vikings” which was coming to an end two thousand years before the Norsemen first vexed the west of Europe. At a period anterior to written history necessity had dictated the formation of vessels adapted to the purposes of the warrior. Long ships built for speed (μακραὶ νῆες, naves longae) as distinguished from round ships for burden (στρογγύλαια νῆες, naves onerariae) are of extreme antiquity (see Ship). Greek tradition credited the Corinthians with the invention, but it is probable that the Hellenic peoples, in this as in other respects, had a Phoenician model before them. So little is known of the other early navies, whether Hellenic or non-Hellenic, that we must be content to take the Athenian as our example of them all, with a constant recognition of the fact that it was certainly the most highly developed, and that we cannot safely argue from it to the rest.
The Athenian navy began with the provision of warships by the state, because private citizens could not supply them in sufficient numbers. The approach of the Persian attack in 483 B.C. drove Athens to raise its establishment from 50 to 100 long ships, which were paid for out of the profits of the mines of Moroneia (see Themistocles). The Athenian.Persian danger compelled the Greeks to form a league for their common naval defence. The League had its first headquarters at Delos, where its treasury was guarded and administered by the Ἑλληνοταμίαι (Hellenotamiai), or trustees of the Hellenic fund. Her superiority in maritime strength gave Athens a predominance over the other members of the League like that which Holland enjoyed for the same reason in the Seven United Provinces. The Hellenotamiai were chosen from among her citizens, and Pericles transferred the fund to Athens, which became the mistress of the League. The allies sank in fact to subjects, and their contributions, aided by the produce of the mines, went to the support of the Athenian navy. The hundred long ships of the Persian War grew to three hundred by the end of the 5th century B.C. (see Peloponnesian War), and at a later period (when, however, the quality of ships and men alike had sunk) to three hundred and sixty. The ancient world did not attain to the formation of a civil service—at least until the time of the Roman Empire—and Athens had no admiralty or navy office. In peace the war-vessels were kept on slips under cover in sheds. In war a strategos was appointed to the general command, and he chose the trierarchs, whose duty it was to commission them partly at their own expense, under supervision of the state exercised by special inspectors (ἀποστολεῖς). The hulls, oars, rigging and pay of the crews were provided by the state, but it is certain that heavy charges fell upon the trierarchs, who had to fit the ships for sea and return them in good condition. The burden became so heavy that the trierarchies were divided, first between two citizens in the Peloponnesian War, and then among groups (synteleiai) consisting of from five to sixteen persons. Individual Athenians who were wealthy and patriotic or ambitious might fit out ships or spend freely on their command. But these voluntary gifts were insufficient to maintain a great navy. The necessity which compelled modern nations to form permanent state navies, instead of relying on a levy of ships from the ports, and such vessels as English nobles and gentlemen sent to fight the Armada, prevailed in Athens also. The organization of the crews bore a close resemblance in the general lines to that of the English navy as it was till the 16th and even the 17th century. The trierarch, either the citizen named to discharge the duty, or some one whom he paid to replace him, answered to the captain. There was a sailing master (κυβερνήτη), a body of petty officers, mariners and oarsmen (ὑπηρεσία), with the soldiers or marines (ἐπιβάται). As the ancient warship was a galley, the number of rowers required was immense. A hundred triremes would require twenty thousand men in all, or more than the total number of crews of the twenty-seven British line of battleships which fought at Trafalgar. And yet this would not have been a great fleet, as compared with the Roman and Carthaginian forces, which contended with hundreds of vessels and multitudes of men, numbering one hundred and fifty thousand or so, on each side, in the first Punic War.
Until the use of broadside artillery and the sail became universal at the end of the 16th century, all navies were forcibly organized on much the same lines as the Athenian, even in the western seas. In the Mediterranean the differences were in names and in details. The war fleets of the successors of Alexander, of Carthage, of Rome, of Byzantium, of the Italian republics, of the Arabs and of Aragon, were galleys relying on their power to ram or board. Therefore they present the same elements—a chief who is a general, captains who were soldiers, or knights, sailing masters and deck hands who navigate and tend the few sails used, marines and rowers. A few words may, however, be said of Rome, which transmitted the tradition of the ancient world to Constantinople, and of the Constantinopolitan or Byzantine navy, which in turn transmitted the tradition to the Italian cities, and had one peculiar point of interest.
As a trading city Rome was early concerned in the struggle for predominance in the western Mediterranean between the Etruscans, the Greek colonies and the Carthaginians. Rome. Its care of its naval interests was shown by the appointment of navy commissioners as early as 311 B.C. (Duoviri navales). In the first Punic War it had to raise great fleets from its own Rome.resources, or from the dependent Greek colonies of southern Italy. After the fall of Carthage it had no opponent who was able to force it to the same efforts. The prevalence of piracy in the 1st century B.C. again compelled it to attend to its navy (see Pompey). The obligation to keep the peace on sea as well as on land required the emperors to maintain a navy for police purposes. The organization was very complete. Two main fleets, called the Praetorian, guarded the coasts of Italy at Ravenna and Misenum (classes Praetoriae), other squadrons were stationed at Forum Julii (Frejus), Seleucia at the mouth of the Orontes (Nahr-el-Asy), called the classis Syriaca, at Alexandria (classis Augusta Alexandriae), at Carpathos (Scarpanto, between Crete and Rhodes), Aquileia (the classis Venetum at the head of the Adriatic), the Black Sea (classis Pontica), and Britain (classis Britannica). River flotillas were maintained on the Rhine (classis Germanica), on the Danube (classis Pannonica and Maesica) and in later days at least on the Euphrates. All these squadrons did not exist at the same time. The station at Forum Julii was given up soon after the reign of Augustus, and the classis Venetum was formed later. But an organized navy always existed. A body of soldiers, the classici, was assigned for its service. The commander was the Praefectus Classis.
When Constantine founded his New Rome on the site of Byzantium, the navy of the Eastern Empire may be said to have. begun. Its history is obscure and it suffered several eclipses. While the Vandal kingdom of Carthage lasted (428–534), the eastern emperors were compelled to attend to their fleet. After its fall their navy fell into neglect Byzantine.till the rise of the Mahommedan power at the end of the 7th century again compelled them to guard their coasts. The eastern caliphs had fleets for purposes of conquest, and so had the emirs and caliphs of Cordova. The Byzantine navy reached its highest point under the able sovereigns of the Macedonian dynasty (867–1056). It was divided into the imperial fleet, commanded by the Great Drungarios, the first recorded lord high admiral, and the provincial or thematic squadrons, under their strategoi. Of these there were three, the Cibyrhaeotic (Cyprus and Rhodes), the Samian and the Aegean. The thematic squadrons were maintained permanently for police purposes. The imperial fleet, which was more powerful when in commission than all three, was kept for war. A peculiar feature of the Byzantine navy was the presence in it of a corps answering to the seaman gunners and gunnery officers of modern navies. These were the siphonarioi, who worked the siphons (ςφῶνες) used for discharging the “Greek fire.” When the Turkish invasions disorganized the Eastern Empire in the 12th century, the Byzantine navy withered, and the emperors were driven to rely on the help of the Venetians.
The Italian republics of the middle ages, and the monarchical states bordering on the Mediterranean, always possessed fleets which did not differ in essential particulars from that of Athens. There is, however, one fact which must not be overlooked. It is that the seamen of some of them, and more especially of Genoa, served the powers of western Europe Medieval.from a very early date. Diego Gelmirez, the first archbishop of Santiago in Gallicia, employed Genoese to construct a dockyard and build a squadron at Vigo in the 12th century.
Edward III. of England employed Genoese, and others were engaged to create a dockyard for the French kings at Rouen. By them the naval science of the Mediterranean was carried to the nations on the shores of the Atlantic. The Mediterranean navies made their last great appearance in history at the battle of Lepanto (1571). Thenceforth the main scene of naval activity was on the ocean, with very different ships, other armaments and organizations.
The great navies of modern history may best be discussed by taking first certain specially important national navies in their earlier evolution, and then considering those which are of present day interest in their relations to one another.
The Royal Navy of Great Britain stands at the head of the navies of the modern world, not only by virtue of its strength, but because it has the longest and the most consistent historical development. The Norse invasions of the 9th century forced the English people to provide for their defence against attack from oversea. Though their efforts were but partially successful, and great Norse settlements were made on the eastern side of the island, a national organization was formed. Every shire was called upon to supply ships “in proportion to the number of hundreds and from the produce of what had been the folkland contained in it” (Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. 116). Alfred and his successors had also ships of their own, maintained out of the royal revenue of which they had complete control. Before the Conquest the system of contribution by the shires had largely broken down. Yet in its main lines the method of providing a navy adopted by Alfred and his immediate successors remained in existence. There were the people’s ships which represented the naval side of the fyrd—i.e. the general obligation to defend the realm; and there were the king’s own vessels which were his property. By the 11th century a third source of supply had been found. This was the feudal array. Towns on the sea coast were endowed with privileges and franchises, and rendered definite services in return.
The Norman Conquest introduced no fundamental difference. In the 12th century the kings of the Angevine dynasty made the military resources of their kingdom available in three ways; the feudal array, the national militia and the mercenaries. Dover, Sandwich, Romney, and the other towns on the southeast coast which formed the Cinque Ports represented the naval part of the feudal array. In the reign of Henry III. (1216–1272) their service was fixed at 57 ships, with 1197 men and boys, for fifteen days in any year, to count from the time when they weighed anchor. During these fifteen days they served at the expense of the towns. Beyond that date they were maintained by the king. The Cinque Ports Squadron has been spoken of as the foundation of the Royal Navy. But a feudal array is wholly alien in character to a national force. The Cinque Ports, after playing a prominent part in the 13th century, sank into insignificance. They were always inclined to piracy at the expense of other English towns. In 1297, during one of the expeditions to Flanders, they attacked and burnt twenty ships belonging to Yarmouth under the eyes of Edward I. (1272–1307). The national militia had a longer life. The obligation of the coast towns and counties to provide ships and men for the defence of the realm was enforced till the 17th century. Nor did the method of enforcing that obligation differ materially. In the reign of King John (1199–1216), when the records began to be regularly kept, but when there was no radical change in system, the reeves and bailiffs of the seaports were bound to ascertain by a jury the number, size and quality of all ships belonging to the port. When the ships were required for the king’s service they were embargoed. The local authorities were then bound to see that they were properly equipped and manned. It was the duty of the reeves and bailiffs to arrange that they should reach the place named by the king as rendezvous at the time fixed by him. These embargoes inflicted heavy loss even when they were honestly imposed, and loud complaints were heard in Parliament from the later years of Edward III. (1327–1377) that they afforded the king’s officers many openings for oppression and corruption.
The true ancestors of the modern navy must be sought in the third element of the navy of the middle ages—the king’s ships and his “mercenaries.” Under King John we find the full record of a regular organization of a Royal Navy as apart from the feudal array of the Cinque Ports or the fyrd. In 1205 he had in all 50 “galleys”—long ships for war—distributed in various ports. William of Wrotham, archdeacon of Taunton, one of the king’s “clerks,” or ecclesiastical persons who formed his civil service, is named, sometimes in combination with others, as “keeper of the king’s ships,” “keeper of the king’s galleys” and “keeper of the king’s seaports.” The royal vessels cannot have differed from the 57 warships of the Cinque Ports, and at first his navy was preferable to the feudal array, or the levy from the counties, mainly because it was more fully under his own control. They were indeed so wholly his that he could hire them out to the counties, and at a much later period the ships of Henry V. (1413–1422) were sold to pay his personal debts after his death. Yet though the process by which the king’s ships became the national navy was slow, the affiliation is direct from them to the fleet of to-day, while the permanent officials at Whitehall are no less the direct descendants of William of Wrotham and the king’s clerks of the 13th century. When on active service the command was exercised by representatives of the king, who were not required to be bred to the sea or even always to be laymen. In the crusade of 1190 the fleet of Richard the Lion Hearted (1189–1199), drawn partly from England and partly from his continental possessions, was governed by a body of which two of the members were churchmen. They and their lay colleagues were described as the ductores et gubernatores totius navigii Regis. The first commanders of squadrons were known as justiciarii navigii Regis, ductores et constabularii Regis.
The crusade of 1190 doubtless made Englishmen-acquainted with the title of “admiral”; but it was not till much later that the word became, first as “admiral and captain,” then as “admiral” alone, the title of an officer commanding a squadron. The first admiral of all England was Sir John Beauchamp, appointed for a year in 1360. The permanent appointment of a lord admiral dates from 1406, when John Beaufort, natural son of John of Gaunt, and marquess of Somerset and Dorset, was named to the post. The crews consisted of the two elements which, in varying proportions and under different names, have been and are common to all navies—the mariners whose business it was to navigate the ship, and the soldiers who were put in to fight. Until the vessel had been developed and the epoch of ocean voyages began, the first were few and subordinate. As. the seas of Britain were ill adapted for the use of the galley in the proper sense, though the French employed them, English ships relied mainly on the sail. They used the oar indeed but never as a main resource, and had therefore no use for the “turma” (ciurma in Italian, chiourme in French, and chusma in Spanish) of rowers formed in the Mediterranean craft. Crews were obtained partly by free enlistment, but also to a great extent, by the press (see Impressment). The code of naval discipline was the laws of Oleron (see SEA Laws), which embodied the general “custom of the sea.” By the reign of Edward III. (1327–1377) the duties and jurisdiction of the admiral were fixed. He controlled the returns of the ships made by the reeves, selected them for service, and chose his officers who had their commission from him. A rudimentary code of signals by lights or flags was in use.
The history of the middle ages bears testimony to the general efficiency and energy of the navy. Under weak kings, and at certain periods, for instance in the latter years of Edward III. and the reign of his grandson Richard II. (1377–1399), it fell into decay, and the coast was ravaged by the French and their allies the Basque seamen, who manned the navy of Castile. Henry IV. (1399–1413), though an astute and vigorous ruler, was driven to make a contract with the merchants, mariners. and shipowners, to take over the duty of guarding the coast in 1406–1407. Their admirals Richard Clitherow and Nicholas Blackburne were appointed, and exercised their commands. But the experiment was not a success, and was not renewed. Apart from these periods of eclipse, the navy in all its elements,. feudal, national and royal, was more than a match for its enemies. The destruction of the fleet prepared by Philip Augustus, the French king, for the invasion of England in 1213 at Damme, the defeat of Eustace the Monk in 1217 off Dover, the victory over the French fleet at Sluys in 1340, and the defeat of the Spaniards off Winchelsea in 1350, were triumphs never quite counterbalanced by any equivalent overthrow. Still better proofs of the ability of any navy to discharge its duties were the long retention of Calais, and the constant success of the rulers of England in their invasions of France. The claim to the sovereignty of the seas has been attributed on insufficient evidence to King John, but it was enforced by Edward III.
Under the sovereigns of the Tudor dynasty (1485–1603) the development of the navy was steady. Though Henry VII. (1485–1509) made little use of his fleet in war, he built ships. His son Henry VIII. (1509–1547) took a keen interest in his navy. Shipbuilding was improved by the importation of Italian workmen. The large resources he obtained by the plunder of the Church enabled Henry VIII. to spend on a scale which had been impossible for "his predecessors, and was to be impossible for his successors without the aid of grants from Parliament. But the most vital service which he rendered to the navy was the formation of, or rather the organization of existing officials into, the navy office. This measure was taken at the very end of his reign, when the board was constituted by letters patent dated 24th of April 1546. It consisted of a lieutenant of the admiralty, a treasurer, a comptroller, a surveyor, a clerk of the ships, and two officials without special title. A master of the ordnance for the ships was also appointed. Henry’s board, commonly known as the navy board, continued, with some periods of suspension, and with the addition of different departments—the victualling board, the transport board, the pay office, &c., added at various times—to be the administrative machinery of the navy till 1832. They were all theoretically subject to the authority of the lord high admiral, or the commissioners for discharging his office, who had the military and political control of the navy and issued all commissions to its. officers. In practice the boards were very independent. The double government of the navy, though it lasted long, was, undoubtedly the cause of much waste—partly by the creation of superfluous officials, but more by the opening it provided for corruption.
The 16th century in England as elsewhere saw a great development in the size and capacity of ships, in the length of voyages, and consequently in the sciences of navigation and seamanship, which brought with them the predominance of the seaman element hitherto subordinate. In the reign of Henry VIII., when a squadron was commissioned in 1512, out of a total of 3000 men, 1750 were soldiers. By the end of the reign of his daughter Elizabeth (1558–1603) it was calculated that of the 8346 men required to man her fleet 5534 were seamen, 804 were gunners, and only 2008 were soldiers. In the early years ,of his reign Henry VIII. equipped his squadrons on a system which bears some resemblance to the Athenian trierarchies. He made a contract with his admiral Sir Edward Howard (1477–1513), by which the king supplied ships, guns and a sum of money. The admiral, who had full power to “press,” named the officers and collected the crews. Among them are named contingents from particular towns—the representatives of the fyrd. With the exception of the captain, who received eighteen pence a day, all were paid at the same rate, 5s. wages and 5s. for rations per month. Extra sums called “dead shares,” the wages of so many imaginary men, and rewards, were provided for the master and warrant officers. Until the regular returns known as the “weekly progress of the dockyards” and the “monthly lists of ships in sea pay” were established in 1773, no constant strict account of the strength of the navy was kept. The figure must therefore be accepted as subject to correction, but King Henry’s navy is estimated to have consisted of J3 vessels of 11,268 tons, carrying 237 brass guns and 1848 of iron. It sank somewhat during the agitated reigns of his successors Edward VI. (1547–1553) and Mary (1553–1558). By Elizabeth it was well restored. In mere numbers her navy never equalled her father’s. At the end of her reign it was composed of 42 vessels, but they were of 17,055 tons, and therefore on the average much larger. The military services rendered by the great queen’s fleet were brilliant. No organic change was introduced, and fleets continued to be made up by including vessels belonging to the different ports.
The two most notable advances in organization were the establishment of a graduated scale of pay by rank in 1582, and the formation of a fund for the relief of sick and wounded seamen. This was not a grant from the state but a species of compulsory insurance. All men employed by the navy, including shipwrights, were subject to a small deduction from their pay. The amount was kept in the chest at Chatham, from which the fund took its name, and was managed by a committee of five, each of whom had a key, and of whom four were elected by the contributors. The commissioner of the dockyard presided.
It was between the accession and the fall of the House of Stuart (1603–1688) that the navy became a truly national force, maintained out of the revenue voted by parliament, and acting -without the co-operation of temporary levies of trading ships. The reign of James I. (1603–1625) is a period of great importance in its history. The policy of the king was peaceful, and he only once sent out a strong fleet—in 1620 when an expedition was despatched against the Barbary pirates. He took, however, a lively interest in shipbuilding, and supported his master shipwright Phineas Pett (1507–1647) against the rivals whom he offended by disregarding their rules of thumb. Under the lax administration of the lord high admiral Nottingham, better known as Lord Howard of Effingham, many abuses crept into the navy. Though more money was spent on it than in the reign of the queen, it had sunk to a very low level of effective strength in 1618. In 1619 the old lord admiral was persuaded to retire, and was succeeded by George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, the king’s favourite. Nottingham’s retirement was made compulsory by the report of a committee appointed to inquire into the condition of the navy in 1618. They reported that while numbers of new offices had been created at a cost treble the whole expense of the permanent staff of Queen Elizabeth’s time, the dockyards had become nests of pilfering and corruption.
Ships were rotting, and money was yearly drawn for vessels which had ceased to exist. The committee undertook to meet the whole ordinary and extraordinary charges of the navy (upkeep and new building) for £30,000 a year. The ships in commission at that time during peace were confined to the diminutive winter and summer guards, whose duty was to transport ambassadors to and fro across the Channel and to hunt the pirates who still swarmed on the coast. Buckingham left the administration of the navy in the hands of the commissioners, who by dismissing superfluous officers and paying better salaries had by 1624 fulfilled their promise to restore the fleet. The establishment they proposed was only of 30 ships, but they were larger in aggregate tonnage by 3050 tons than Queen Elizabeth’s.
Charles I. (1625–1649) carried on the work of his father as far as his limited resources allowed. The pay of the sailors, fixed in 1585 at 10s., was increased to 15s. A captain received from £4, 6s. 8d. a month of 28 days (the standard of the navy) to £14, according to the size of his ship. Lieutenants, who were only carried in the larger ships, received from £2, 16s. to £3, 10s., the sailing-master from £2, 6s. 8d. to £4, 13s. 9d., and the warrant officers from £1, 3s. to £2, 4s. The rating of ships by the number of men carried was introduced in this reign. Vessels of good quality were built for the king, and he showed a real understanding of the necessity for maintaining a strong fleet.
But the time was coming when the hereditary royal revenue was no longer adequate to meet the expense of a navy. By the middle of the 17th century a costly warship, far larger than the trading-ship in size and much more strongly built, had been developed. The extension of British commerce called for protection which an establishment of 40 to 50 vessels could not give. When the Great Rebellion broke out in 1641 the navy of King Charles consisted of only 42 vessels of 22,411 tons. At the Restoration (1660) it had grown to 154 ships for sea service, of 57,463 tons. Such a force could only be maintained out of taxes granted by the parliament. The efforts of King Charles to obtain funds for his navy had a large influence in provoking the rebellion (see Ship Money). The government of the navy during this reign remained in the hands of the committee of 1618, under the lord high admiral Buckingham, till he was murdered in 1628. It was then entrusted to a special commission, who were to have held it till the king’s second son James, duke of York, was of age. In 1638 the king restored the office of lord high admiral “during pleasure” in favour of Algernon Percy, 10th earl of Northumberland, by whom the fleet was handed over to the parliament.
During the Great Rebellion and the Protectorate the navy was governed by parliamentary committees, or by a committee named by the Council of State, or by Cromwell. The need, first for cutting the king off from foreign support, and then for conducting successive struggles in Ireland, or with the king’s partisans on the sea, with the Dutch and with the Spaniards during the Protectorate, led to a great increase in its size. These, too, were years of much internal development. Blake and the other parliamentary officers found that the pressed or hired merchant ships were untrustworthy in action. The ships were not strong enough, and the officers had no military spirit. Parliament therefore provided its own vessels and its own officers. The staff was strengthened by the appointment of second lieutenants. The Dutch War of 1652–53 may be said to have seen the last of the national militia, fyrd or levy of ships from the ports for warlike purposes. After the war a code of “fighting instructions” was issued. During it a code of discipline in 39 articles was established. Both embodied ancient practices rather than new principles, yet it marked a notable advance in the progress of the navy towards complete organization that it should pass from the state of being governed by traditional use and wont, or by the will of the commander for the time being, to the condition of being ruled by fixed and published codes to which all were subject. The high military command during the interregnum1649–1660was entrusted to committees of admirals and generals at sea.
With the restoration of Charles II. (1660–1685) the modern period in the history of the navy began. The first steps were taken to form a corps of officers. Lads of gentle birth were sent on board ships in commission with a letter of service—from which came their popular name of “king’s letter boys”—to the captain, instructing him to treat them on the footing of gentlemen and train them to become officers. After the Dutch War of 1664–67 a body of flag-officers were retained by fixed allowances from the crown. This was the beginning of the halfpay list, which was extended by successive steps to include select bodies of captains and lieutenants, and then all commissioned officers. The process of forming the corps was not complete till the end of the reign of Queen Anne (1702–1714). Special training and a right to permanent payment are the essentials of a state service. The fleet was, at least in the earlier part of the reign, used for the promotion of British interests and the protection of trade in distant seas. One squadron was sent to take possession of Bombay, which formed part of the dower of Queen Catherine. Tangier, which was acquired in the same way, was occupied as a naval station till the cost of maintaining it proved excessive and it was evacuated in 1685. A series of effective attacks was made on the Barbary pirates, and ships were stationed in the West Indies to check piracy and buccaneering. Until 1673, when he was driven out of office by the Test Act, the king’s brother James, duke of York, afterwards James II., held office as lord high admiral. He proved an able administrator. The navy office was thoroughly organized on the lines laid down by the earl of Northumberland, and revised “sailing and fighting instructions,” as well as a code of discipline, were issued. During the latter years of the reign of Charles II. the administrative corruption of the time affected the navy severely. The fixed charge for ordinary and extraordinary expenses which had risen to 300,000 a year was mostly wasted, under the lax or dishonest supervision of the commission appointed by the king after his brother left office. James II. (1685–1688), who kept the admiralship in his own hands and governed largely through his able secretary, the diarist Samuel Pepys, did much to restore its efficiency. The navy he left was estimated to consist of 173 ships of 101,892 tons carrying when in commission 42,003 men and armed with 6930 guns.
The evolution of the navy was completed by the Revolution of 1688. It now, though still called royal, became a purely national force, supported by the yearly votes of parliament, and governed by parliamentary committees, known as the commission for discharging the office of lord high admiral. A lord high admiral has occasionally been appointed, as in the case of Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne, or the duke of Clarence, afterwards King William IV. But these were formal restorations. As no organic change was made till 1832, it will now be enough to describe the organization as it was during this century and a half.
The discipline of the navy was based on the Navy Discipline Act of 1660 (13th of Charles II.). The act was found to require amending acts, and the whole of them were combined, and revised by the 2 2nd of George II., passed in 1749. Some scandals of the previous years had caused great popular anger, and the alternative to death was taken from the punishment threatened against officers who failed to show sufficient zeal in the presence of the enemy. It was under this severe code that Admiral Byng was executed. In 1780 an amending act was passed which allowed a court martial to assign a lighter penalty.
The government, political and military, was in the hands of the admiralty. The administration was carried on in subordination to the admiralty by the navy board and the other civil departments, the victualling board, the board of transport, the pay office, the sick and hurt office and some others. At the head were the flag-officers, who were divided as follows:
Admiral of the Fleet. Vice-Admiral Red. Rear-Admiral Red.
White. „ „ White. „ „ White.
Blue. „ Blue. „ „ Blue.
The Red, White and Blue squadrons had been the divisions of the great fleets of the 17th century, but they became formal terms indicating only the seniority of the flag-officers. It was the intention of parliament to confine the flag list to these nine officers, but as the navy grew this was found to be impossible. The rank of admiral of the fleet remained a solitary distinction. The captains, commanders and lieutenants were the commissioned officers and received their commissions from the admiralty. Promotion from them to flag rank was not at first limited by strict rules, but it tended to be by seniority. During the war of the Austrian Succession, in 1747, a regular system was introduced by which when a captain was promoted for active service—to hoist his flag, as the phrase went—he was made rear-admiral of the Blue squadron. Captains senior to him were promoted rear-admiral in general terms, and were placed on the retired list. They were familiarly called “yellow” admirals, and to be promoted in this way was to be "yellowed." Promotion to a lieutenant’s commission could be obtained by any one who had served, or whose name had been on the books of a seagoing ship, for five years. Whether he entered with a king’s letter of service or from the naval academy at Portsmouth, as a sailor or as a ship’s boy, he was equally qualified to hold a commission if he had fulfilled the necessary conditions and could pass an examining board of captains, a test which in the case of lads who had interest was generally a pure formality. He was supposed to show that he knew some navigation, and was a practical seaman who could hand, reef and steer. As captains were allowed a retinue of servants, a custom arose by which they put the names of absent or imaginary lads on the books as servants and drew the pay allowance for them. It was quite illegal, and constituted the offence known as "false musters," punishable by dismissal from the service. But this regulation was even less punctually observed than the rule which forbade the carrying of women. Till the beginning of the 19th century many distinguished officers were borne on a ship’s books for two or three years before they went to sea. The navigation was entrusted to the sailing-master and his mates. He had often been a merchant captain or sailor. The captains and lieutenants were supposed to understand navigation, but it was notorious that many of them had forgotten the little they had learnt in order to pass their qualifying examination. As the navy was cut down to the quick in peace, the supply of officers was insufficient at the beginning of a war, and it was found necessary to give commissions to men who were illiterate but were good practical seamen. Officers who had not begun as gentlemen "on the quarter deck" were said to have come in "through the hawse hole "—the hole by which the cable runs out at the bow. Some among them rose to distinction. The accountant’s work was done by the purser, who in bad times was said to be often in league with the captain to defraud both the government and the crew. The medical service in the navy during the 18th century was bad. The position of the surgeons who were appointed by the navy office was not an enviable one, and the medical staff of the navy was much recruited from licentiates of Edinburgh, or Apothecaries Hall. Finally it is to be observed that when a ship was paid off only the commissioned officers, masters and surgeons were entitled to half-pay, or had any further necessary connexion with the navy.
The crews were formed partly by free enlistment and partly by impressment. When these resources failed, prisoners, criminal and political, were allowed to volunteer or were drafted from the jails. The Patriotic Society, formed at the beginning of the Seven Years’ War, educated boys for the navy. During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars the counties were called upon to supply quotas, which they commonly secured from the debtors’ prison or the workhouse. A ship was supposed to be well manned when she had one-fifth of her crew of marines, and one-third of men bred to the sea. This proportion of seamen was rarely reached. As the navy did not train its men from boyhood in peace, the genuine sailors, known as "prime seamen" and "sailormen," who were the skilled artificers of the time, had to be sought for among those who had served their apprenticeship in the merchant service. They never enlisted voluntarily, for they disliked the discipline of the navy, and the pay was both bad and given in an oppressive way. The pay of a seaman was 22s. 6d. a month for able seamen, the rate fixed in the reign of Charles II., and 19s. for ordinary seamen. This sum was not paid at fixed dates, but at first only at the end of a commission, and after 1758 whenever a ship which had been a year in commission returned home—up to six months before the date of her arrival, the balance being kept as a security against desertion, which was then incessant and enormous. As men were often turned over from ship to ship they had a sheaf of pay notes to present on reaching home. The task of making up accounts was slow, and the men were often driven to sell their pay notes to low class speculators at a heavy discount. Discipline was mainly enforced by the lash, and the abuse of their power by captains was often gross.
These grievances led to a long series of single ship mutinies, which culminated in the great mutiny of 1797. The fleets at Spithead, the Nore, Plymouth, the South of Ireland and Cape of Good Hope mutinied one after another. The government had aggravated the danger by drafting numbers of the United Irish into the fleet, and the quotas from the counties contained many dangerous characters. The crisis which seemed to threaten the country with ruin passed away. Concessions were made to the just claims of the men. When political agitators endeavoured to make use of the discontent of the sailors for treasonable ends, the government stood firm, and the patriotism of the great bulk of the men enabled it to restore discipline. The "breeze at Spithead," as the mutiny was nicknamed in the navy, was the beginning of the reforms which made the service as popular as it was once hateful.
The administration of the navy throughout the 18th century, and in a less degree after 1806 up to 1832, was in many respects slovenly, and was generally corrupt. The different branches, military and civil, were scattered and worked in practical independence, though the board of admiralty was supposed to have absolute authority over all. The admiralty was at Whitehall, the navy office in Seething Lane near the Tower, and after 1780 at Somerset House. The victualling office was on Tower Hill, the pay office in Broad Street, where also was the Sick and Hurt office. In 1749, when the state of the navy excited just discontent, the admiralty first established regular visitations of the dockyards which in a time of general laxity had become nests of corruption. These visitations were, however, not regularly made. By the end of the century, and in spite of sporadic efforts at reform, the evil had become so generally recognized that Earl St Vincent, then first lord, persuaded parliament in 1802 to appoint a parliamentary commission of inquiry. Its reports, thirteen in number, were given between 1804 and 1806.—They revealed much waste, bad management and corruption. 'The tenth report showed that money voted for the navy was used by the then treasurer, Henry Dundas (Lord Melville), for purposes which he refused to reveal. In 1806 another commission was appointed to revise and digest the civil affairs of the navy, and a considerable improvement was effected. Much remained to be done. There was no strict appropriation of money. Accounts were kept in complicated, old-fashioned ways which made it impossible to strike a balance.
In 1832 Sir James Graham, first lord in Earl Grey’s administration, obtained the support of parliament for his policy of sweeping away the double administration of the navy, by admiralty and navy office, and combining them into one divided into five departments. With this great organic change the navy entered on its modern stage.
Subject to the warning that for the reason given above, the figures do not deserve absolute confidence, the material strength of the British navy from the death of Queen Anne to the fall of Napoleon was:—
|At the death of Queen Anne, 1714||247||167,219|
|George I., 1727||233||170,862|
|George II., 1760||412||321,104|
The figures for 1783, and for 1816, are swollen by prizes and worn out ships. All the figures include vessels unfit for service, or useful only for harbour work, or ordered to be built, but not actually in existence. The number of men varied enormously from a peace to war establishment. Thus in 1755 on the eve of the Seven Years’ War parliament voted 12,000 seamen. In 1762 the vote was for 70,000 men, including 19,061 marines—the corps having been created in the interval. In 1775, on the eve of the American War of Independence, the vote was for 18,000 men for the sea service, including 4354 marines. At the close of the war in 1783 the vote was for 110,000 men, including 25,291 marines, from which it fell in 1784 to 26,000 (marines 4495 included) and in 1786 to 18,000 men, of whom 3860 were marines. In 1812, when the navy was at the highest level of strength it reached, the vote was for 113,000 seamen and 31,400 marines. From this level it fell in 1816 to 24,000 seamen and 9000 marines. These figures represent paper strength. Owing to the prevalence of desertion, and the difficulty of obtaining men, the actual strength was always appreciably lower.
Before the French monarchy could possess a fleet, its early kings,, whose rule was effective only in the centre of the country, had first to conquer their sea coast from their great vassals. Philip Augustus (1180–1223) began by expelling King John of England from Normandy and Poitou. The process was not completed until Louis XII. (1498–1515) united the duchy of Brittany to the crown by his marriage with the duchess Anne. Long before the centralization of authority had been completed the French kings possessed a fleet, or rather two fleets of very distinct character. Her geographical position has always compelled France to draw her navy from two widely different sources—from the Channel and the coast of the Atlantic on the north and west and on the south from the Mediterranean. This separation has imposed on her the difficult task of concentrating her forces at times of crisis, and the concentration has always been hazardous. Like their English rivals, the French kings of the middle ages drew their naval forces from the feudal array, the national levy and their own ships. But the proportion of the elements was not the same. Many of the great vassals owed the service of ships, and their obedience was always less certain than that of the Cinque Ports. The trading towns were less able, and commonly less willing, than the English to supply the king with ships. He was thus driven to trust mainly to his own vessels—and they were drawn at first exclusively, and always to a great extent, from the Mediterranean seaboard. His own territories in the south were insufficiently provided with seamen, and the French king had therefore to seek his captains, his men and his vessels by purchase or by subsidies from Genoa, or in a less degree from Aragon. When Saint Louis (1226–1270) sailed on his first crusade in 1249,.. he formed the first French royal fleet, and created the first French dockyard at Aigues Mortes. Ships and dockyard were bought from, or were built by, the Genoese at the king’s expense. His admirals, the first appointed by the French crown, Ugo Lercari and Jacobo di Levante, were Genoese. Saint Louis created the office of admiral of France. When in later times Aigues Mortes was cut off from the sea by the encroachment of the land, Narbonne and Marseilles were used as ports of war. This fleet was purely Mediterranean in character. It consisted of galleys, and though the sail was used it was dependent on the oar, and therefore on the " turma " (chiourme) of rowers, who in earlier times were hired men, but from the middle of the 15th century began to be composed of galley slaves—prisoners of war, slaves purchased in Africa, criminals and vagabonds condemned by the magistrate to the chain and the oar. Philip IV. le Bel (1285–1314) was led by his rivalry with Edward I. of England to create a naval establishment on the Channel. He found his materials in the existing Mediterranean fleet. A dockyard was built for him at Rouen, again by the Genoese Enrico Marchese, Lanfranc Tartaro and Albertino Spinola. It was officially known as the Tersenal or Dorsenal, but was commonly called the dos des gallees or galley yard, and it existed from 1294 to 1419. The French navy has always suffered from alternations of attention and neglect. In times of disastrous wars on land it has fallen into confusion and obscurity. Except when Francis I. (1515–1547) made a vigorous attempt to revive it at the very close of his reign, the French navy languished till the 17th century. Its very. unity of administration disappeared in the 15th century, when the jurisdiction of the admiral of France was invaded and defied by the admiralties of Guyenne, Brittany and the Levant. These local admiralties were suppressed by Francis I.
Richelieu, the great minister of Louis XIII., found the navy extinct. He was reduced to seeking the help of English ships against the Huguenots. From him dates the creation of the modern French navy. In 1626 he abolished the office of admiral of France, which had long been no more than a lucrative place held by a noble who was too great a man to obey orders. He himself assumed the title of grand maitre et surintendant de la navigation, and the military command was entrusted to the admirals du Ponant, i.e. of the west or Atlantic and Channel, and du Levant, i. e. of the Mediterranean. But Richelieu’s establishment shrivelled after his death. It was raised from its ruins by the pride and policy of Louis XIV. (1643–1715). Under his direction a numerous and strongly organized navy was created. A very full code of laws—the ordonnance—was framed by Colbert and Lyonne with the advice of the ablest officers, and was promulgated on the 5th of April 1689. Though modified by other ordonnances in 1765, 1772, 1774, 1776 and 1786, in the main lines it governed the French navy till the Revolution.
By this code the French navy was based on the Inscription maritime, a very severe law of compulsory service, affecting the inhabitants of the coast and of the valleys of rivers as far up as they were capable of floating a lighter. The whole body of officials and officers was divided into the civil branch known as la plume, and the military branch called l'epee. The first had the entire control of the finances, and the dockyards of Toulon, Brest and Rochfort, with an intendant de la marine at the head of each. The general chief was the sous secretaire au département de la marine, the title of the French minister of marine till the Revolution. Under Louis XIV. a civil officer, the intendant des armees navales, who ranked as an admiral, sat on councils of war and reported on the conduct of the naval officers. He must not be confused with the intendant de la marine. The military branch had at its head the admiral of France, the office having been re-created in 1669 by Louis XIV. in favour of his natural son the duc de Vermandois. In theory the admiral was the administrative military and judicial head of the admiralty. In practice the admirals were princes of the blood, who drew pay and fees, but who never went to sea, with the one exception of the count of Toulouse, another natural son of Louis XIV. Two vice-admirals of France du Ponant and du Levant commanded in the Mediterranean and on the ocean. A third office of vice-admiral of France was created for Suffren. * The lieutenant general (vice-admiral) came next, and below him the chef d'escadre (rear-admiral), capitaine de vaisseau (post captain), capitaine de brulot (fireship) or de fregate (commander), and the major, a chief of the staff on board who commanded all landing parties. There was no permanent body of marines in the French navy, the infanterie de la marine being troops for service in the colonies, which were administratively connected with the navy and governed by naval officers. The lieutenant needs no explanation, and the enseigne was a sub-lieutenant. The corps of officers was recruited from les gardes de la marine, answering more or less to the English midshipmen—who received a careful professional education and were required to be of noble birth. Besides the grand corps de la marine there was a fleet of galleys with a general at its head, and a staff of officers also of noble birth. It was suppressed in 1748 as being a useless expense. Officers not belonging to the grand corps were sometimes taken in from the merchant service. They were known as officiers bleus, because their uniform was all blue, and not, as in the case of the noble corps, blue and red.
On paper the organization of the French royal navy was very thorough. In reality it worked ill; the severity of the inscription maritime made it odious, and owing to the prevailing financial embarrassment of the crown after 1692 the sailors were ill-paid, ill-fed and defrauded of the pensions promised them. They fled abroad, or went inland and took up other trades. The military and civil branches were always in a state of hostility to one another, and their pay also was commonly in arrears. The noble corps was tenacious of its privileges, and extremely insolent towards the officiers bleus. By Louis XV. (1715–1774) the navy was neglected till the last years of his reign, when it was revived by the duc de Choiseul. Under Louis XVI. (1774–1792) when the Revolution broke out the long accumulated hatred felt for the noble officers had free play. Louis XVI. had indeed relaxed the rule imposing the presentation of proofs of nobility on all naval officers, but the change was made only in 1786 and it came too late. The majority of the noble officers were massacred by the Jacobins or driven into exile.
The Revolution subjected the French navy to a series of disorganizations and reorganizations by which all tradition and discipline were destroyed. Old privileges and the office of Grand Admiral were suppressed. The attempt to revive the navy in the face of the superior power of England was hopeless. Neither the Republic nor the Empire was able to create an effective navy. They had no opportunity to form a new body of officers out of the lads they educated.
The strength of the French Royal Navy is difficult to estimate, since for long periods of the 18th century it was rotting in harbour and its ships were rarely commissioned. Louis XIV. is credited with 95 ships of the line and 29 frigates, together with many smaller vessels, in 1692. At the close of the Seven Years’ War it had sunk to 44 ships of the line and 9 frigates. By 1778 the French navy had risen to 78 of the line with frigates and smaller vessels which brought the total to 264. In 1793 on the outbreak of the revolutionary war, it was estimated to consist of 82 ships of the line, mostly fine vessels, and of frigates with lesser craft which brought it to a total of 250. Under Napoleon the mere number was very much more considerable and included ships built in the annexed territories, but they were largely constructed of green timber, were meant merely to force England to maintain blockades, and were never sent to sea.
The administrative history of the Spanish navy is singularly confused and broken. It might almost be said that the country had no navy in the full sense of the word—that is to say, no organized maritime force provided and governed by the state for warlike purposes only—until one was created on the French model by the sovereigns of the Bourbon dynasty i.e. after 1700. Yet the kings of the Spanish peninsula, whether they wore the crown of Castile and Leon or of Aragon, had fleets, formed, like all the others of the middle ages, partly of ships supplied by the Coast towns and populations, partly of the royal vessels. Aragon was a purely Mediterranean power. Its fleets, which were chiefly supported by Barcelona, a flourishing commercial city, were composed of galleys. With the union of the crown in 1479 Aragon fell into the background, and its navy continued to be represented only by a few galleys, for service in the Mediterranean against the pirates. The dominions of Castile stretched from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. Its kings, therefore, had need both of ships (naos) and galleys. The first beginnings of the Castilian navy were not due to the king, but to the foresight and enterprise of Diego Gelmirez, bishop and afterwards first archbishop of Santiago in Gallicia. In or about 1120 he employed the Genoese Ogerio to form a dockyard at Iria, and to build vessels. The naval activity of the coast of the Bay of Biscay developed so rapidly that in 1147 a squadron from the northern ports took part in the conquest of Almeria by Alfonso VII. (1120–1157) in alliance with the Pisans. A century later (1248) another squadron constructed at the expense of the king Fernando III. El Santo (1217–1252), and commanded by Count Ramon Bonifaz of Burgos, the first admiral of Castile, took a decisive part in the conquest of Seville. The annexation of Andalucia and the necessity for guarding against invasions from Africa called for a great extension of the navy of Castile. Alfonso X. El Sabio (1252–1284) founded the great galley dockyards of Seville—the arenal. It was also the work of Genoese builders and administrators. In the course of the 13th century the towns of the northern coast formed one of the associations so common in Spanish history, and known as hermandades (brotherhoods). The first meeting of its delegates took place at Castrourdiales near Bilbao in 1296, when the towns of Santander, Laredo, Bermeo, Guetaria, San Sebastian and Vitoria were represented. The hermandad de la maris’ina (of the seafarers) of Castile supplied the squadrons which took an active part in the wars of the 14th and 15th centuries between France and England as allies of the French. Its history is obscure, and it came to an end with the establishment of the full authority of the crown by the Catholic sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabel.
The discovery of America, the acquisition by marriage or conquest of Sicily, Naples and Flanders, gave the kings of Spain a yet stronger motive for maintaining a powerful navy. The maxim that their ships were the bridges which joined their widely scattered dominions was fully accepted by them and their servants. But neither the Catholic sovereigns nor the Habsburgs who held the throne till 1700, made any attempt to organize a common navy. The sources from which the naval armaments of Spain were drawn during the greatness and decline of the country were these. Galleys were maintained in the Mediterranean, but they were mainly found by Sicily and Naples, or by the contracts which the kings of Spain made with the Genoese house of Doria. On the ocean the chief object of the Spanish government was to conduct and protect the severely regulated trade with America. Thus it was mainly concerned for long to obtain the lumbering and roomy vessels called " galleons," first designed by Alvaro de Bazan, marquess of Santa Cruz, which were rather armed traders than real warships. The crown did not build its own ships, but contracted for them with its admirals. The American convoys sailed from and returned to the Bay of Cadiz. One squadron, the flota, carried the trade, was navigated by the admiral, with whom was associated a general, who commanded the few warships proper, and was answerable for the protection of the whole. Another squadron, called of Cantabria, was maintained on the north coast, and was employed to see the convoy on its way and meet it on its return home. It had its own admiral and general. The ships were always treated as if they were transports for carrying soldiers. The seamen element was neglected. The command was divided between the capitan de mar (sea captain) who was responsible for the navigation and the capitan de guerra (soldier captain) who fought the ship. The same division went through all ranks. The soldiers would neither help to work the ship nor fight the guns. They used musketry only, or relied on a chance to board with sword and pike. Properly speaking there was no class of naval officers, and the overworked and depressed seamen could not supply good gunners. No general naval administration existed. The office of admiral of Castile became purely ornamental and hereditary in the family of Henriquez. It was not replaced by a navy office. One of the innumerable juntas or boards, through which the Spanish kings governed, looked after the making of contracts, and co-operated with the council of the Indes which was specially concerned with the American convoys. After the disasters of the later years of Philip II. (see Armada) some efforts at improvement were made. Better ships were built, and something was done to raise the condition of the seamen. But no thoroughgoing organization was ever created, and in the utter decadence of the 17th century the Spanish navy and seafaring population alike practically disappeared.
Under the Bourbon dynasty which attained the throne in 1700 the Spanish navy was revived, or rather a navy was created on the French model. Don Jose Patino, a very able man, was named intendente de la marina in 1715, and in 1717 he drew up a draft naval organization and code, founded on the French ordonnance of 1689. Patino’s draft was the basis of the ordenanzas generales (general code) issued in 1748. The Spaniards even set up a squadron of galleys with a separate staff of officers, also on the French model, which was, however, suppressed in the year of the issue of the ordenanzas generales. Fine arsenals were organized at Ferrol and Carthagena. The navy thus created produced some distinguished officers, and fought some brilliant single ship actions. But the embarrassments of the treasury, the tendency of several of the kings to sacrifice their navy to political schemes requiring mainly the employment of troops and the ruin of the seafaring population during the 17th century, prevented it from ever attaining to a high level of efficiency. During the Peninsular War the new navy all but disappeared as the old had done. The want of pecuniary resources and internal instability have prevented its revival on any considerable scale.
The navy created by Patino consisted in 1737 of 56 ships in all, of which 28 were of the line, of from 50 to 80 guns, with one of 114 guns. In 1746 the number of ships of the line had increased to 37. In 1759 the list of line of battle ships was 50—of which the majority, if not all, had been constructed by English shipbuilders, in the service of the Spanish government. In 1778, when at the height of its power, it contained 62 ships of the line.
The Dutch fleet arose out of the great struggle with Spain in the 16th century. The Netherlanders had been a maritime people from the earliest antiquity. Under their medieval rulers, the counts of Holland and of Flanders and the House of Burgundy, they had rendered service at sea. The freemen owed the service known as the riemtal (riem, an oar). An admiralty office was established in 1397. But during the revolt against Philip II. of Spain, new naval forces were formed which had no connexion with the medieval navy, save in so far as the governments established in the different states which afterwards formed the Seven Provinces took possession of the jurisdiction and the dues of the medieval admiralty. The naval part of the war with Spain was for long conducted by the adventurers known as the " beggars of the sea," and was mainly confined to the coasts and rivers. In 1597, when the Confederation was formed and had provided itself with a common government in the states-general, the need for a regularly organized seagoing fleet was felt. In that year the banner of the statesgeneral, the red lion with the arrows in its paw, was first hoisted during the expedition to Cadiz in alliance with England. On the 13th of August 1597 the states-general issued the decree (Instructie) which regulated the naval administration of the Republic until 1795. The attachment of the Netherlanders to their local franchises was too strong to permit of the establishment of a central authority with absolute powers. It -was therefore necessary to make a compromise by which some measure of unity was secured while the freedom of the various confederate states was effectually guarded. Five boards of admiralty (Admiraliteits collegien) were recognized. They were: South Holland, or the Maas, sitting at Rotterdam; North Holland, or Amsterdam; Westfriesland (the western side of the Zuyder Zee), at Hoorn or Enkhuizen on alternate years; Zealand at Middleburg; and Friesland at Dokhum, or after 1645 at Harlingen. These bodies enjoyed all the rights of the admiralty and collected the port dues, out of which they provided for the current expenses of their respective squadrons. Extraordinary charges for war were met by grants from the province to which each board belonged. Some measure of unity was secured among these five independent authorities by three devices. Each board consisted of seven persons, of whom four were named by the province and required confirmation by the states-general, while three were chosen from other provinces to secure a representation of the commonwealth. The members of the boards took an oath of fealty to the states-general. The stadtholder was admiral-general. He presided at the board, and commanded the squadron. In his absence his place was taken by his lieutenant admiral-general. An oath of fealty was also taken to him, and all armed ships whether men-of-war or privateers sailed with his commission. He chose the captains from two candidates presented to him by the board. Delegates from the boards met twice a year to consult on the general interest. When the stadtholdership was suspended in 1650 the powers of the admiral-general were absorbed by their high mightinesses (Hunne Hogen Mogen) of the states-general. The staff of officers began with the lieutenant admiral-general and descended through the vice-admiral, the quaintly named Schout-bij-nacht, who was and is the rear-admiral, and whose title means " commander by night." These flag officers were named by the admiral-general or states-general. The captain (Zeecapitan) was selected from the provincial list. The lieutenants were appointed by the local boards. No regular method of recruiting the corps of officers existed.
This compromise was in itself a bad system. With the exception of the board of North Holland, which was supported by the wealth of Amsterdam, the admiralties were commonly distressed for money. Unity of action was difficult to obtain. Much of the work of convoy which the state squadrons should have performed was thrown in the 17th century on directorates (Direction) of merchants who fitted out privateers at their own expense. When there was no stadtholder, the local governing bodies trenched on the authority of the states-general, and indulged in a great deal of favouritism. In one respect the navy of the Dutch republic might have been taken as a model by its neighbours. The feeding of the crews was contracted for by the captains, who were required to enter into securities for the execution of the contract, and who had a reputation for probity. The Dutch crews, being better fed and looked after than the English, suffered less from disease. The clumsy organization of the Dutch navy put it at a disadvantage in its wars with England, but the seamanship of the crews, their good gunnery, and the great ability of many of their admirals made them at all times formidable enemies. No organic change was made till 1795, when the victories of the French revolutionary armies led to the formation of the Batavian republic. The five admiralties were then swept away and replaced by a committee for the direction of naval affairs, with a unified administration, organized by Pieter Paulus, a former official of the board of the Maas. As Holland was now swept into the general convulsion of the French Revolution, it followed the fortunes of France. Its navy, after belonging to the Batavian republic, passed to the ephemeral kingdom of Holland, created by Napoleon in favour of his brother Louis in 1806 and annexed to France in 1810. The Dutch navy then became absorbed in the French. After the fall of Napoleon a navy was created for the kingdom of the Netherlands out of the Dutch fragments of the Imperial force.
The United States.Edit
The American navy came into existence shortly after the Declaration of Independence. As early as October 1775 Congress authorized the construction of two national cruisers, and, at the same time, appointed a marine committee to administer naval affairs. The first force, consisting of purchased vessels, badly fitted and built, and insufficiently equipped and manned, embraced two ships of 24 guns each, six brigs carrying from 10 to 12 guns, two schooners each with 8 guns, and four sloops, three of 10 guns and one of 4 guns. On December 22nd a personnel of officers was selected, one of the lieutenants being the well-known Paul Jones. Esek Hopkins was made commander-in-chief, but, having incurred the censure of Congress, he was dismissed early in 1777, and since then the title has never been revived except in the person of the president. In November 1776 the grades of admiral, vice-admiral, rear-admiral and commodore were assimilated in rank and precedence to relative army titles, but they were never created by law until 1862. During the war a number of spirited engagements occurred, but there was a great lack of efficient material at home, and agents abroad were not able to enlist the active sympathies of nations or rulers. Benjamin Franklin did manage to equip one good squadron, but this was rendered almost useless by internal dissensions, and it required the victory of Paul Jones in the "Bon Homme Richard" over the "Serapis" to bring about any tangible result for the risk taken. During the war 800 vessels of all classes were made prizes, but the navy lost by capture 11 vessels of war and a little squadron of gunboats on the lakes; and, with 13 ships destroyed to avoid capture by the British, 5 condemned, and 3 wrecked at sea, the country was practically without a naval force between 1780 and 1785.
Owing to the depredations upon commerce of the Barbary powers, Congress in 1794 ordered the construction of six frigates, prescribing that four of them should be armed with 44 guns and two with 36 guns; bit, the Berbers having made peace, the number of vessels was reduced one-half, and no additions were made until 1797, when the "Constitution," "United States" and "Constellation" were built. The navy was at first placed under the war department, but a navy department with a secretary of its own was created in 1798. From 1815 to 1842 the secretary was aided by a board of commissioners chosen from among the naval officers, but in the latter year the department was reorganized into five bureaus, which were increased to eight in 1862. Each has a naval officer at its head. They deal with navigation, ordnance, equipment, navy yards, medicines, provisions, steam engineering and construction. The excellent naval academy at Annapolis was founded in 1845 by the then secretary of the navy, G. Bancroft. The war college for officers at Coasters Harbor, Newport, R.I., dates from 1884.
The five navies above discussed claim special notice on various grounds: the British, Dutch and French because they have been leaders and models; the Spanish because it has been closely associated with the others; the American because it was the first of the extra-European sea forces. But these great examples by no means exhaust the list of navies, old and new, which have played or now play a part. Every state which has a coast has also desired to possess forces on the sea. Even the papacy maintained a fighting force of galleys which took part in the naval transactions of the Mediterranean for centuries. The Turkish sultans have fitted out fleets which once were a menace to southern Europe. But in a survey of general naval history it is not necessary to give all these navies special mention, even though some of them have a certain intrinsic interest. Some, the Scandinavian navies for instance, have been confined to narrow limits, and have had no influence either by their organization, nor, save locally, by action. Others again have been the purely artificial creation of governments. Instances of these on a small scale are the navies of the grand duchy of Tuscany, or of the Bourbon kings of Naples.
A much greater instance is the navy of Russia. Founded by Peter the Great (1689–1725), it has been mainly organized and has been most successfully led by foreigners. Russia. When has political the Russian government h desired for reasons to make a show of naval strength, it has been numerous. In 1770, during the reign of Catherine II. (1762–1796), a Russian fleet, nominally commanded by the empress’s favourite Orloff, but in reality directed by two former officers of the British navy, John Elphinston (1722–1785)] and Samuel Greig (1735–1788), gained some successes against the Turks in the Levant. But when opposed to formidable enemies, as in the Crimean War, it has either remained in port, or has, as in the case of the war with Japan (1904–1905), proved that its vitality was not in proportion to its size.
The innumerable navies of South American republics are small copies of older forces.
The 19th century did indeed see the rise of three navies, which are of a very different character— Italy, Germany, Japan, Austria. the Italian, which was the result of the unification of Italy, the German, which followed the creation of the German Empire, and the Japanese. But all three are contemporary in their origin, and have inevitably been modelled on older forces—the British and the French. With them must go the Austrian navy, excellent but unavoidably small.
If we look at the relations which the navies of the modern world have had to one another, it will be seen that the great discoveries of the later 15th century shifted the seat of naval power to the ocean for two reasons. In the first place they imposed on all who wished to sail the wider seas opened to European enterprise by Vasco de Gama and Columbus the obligation to use a vessel which could carry water and provisions sufficient for a large crew during a long voyage. Influence of sea power. The Mediterranean states and their seamen were not prepared by resources or habit to meet the call. But there was a second and equally effective reason. The powers which had an Atlantic coast were incomparably better placed than the Italian states, or the cities of the Baltic, to take advantage of the maritime discoveries of the great epoch which stretches from 1492 to 1526. In the natural course the leadership fell to Portugal and Spain. Both owed much to Italian science and capital, but the profit fell inevitably to them. The reasons why Spain failed to found a permanent naval power have been given, and they apply equally to Portugal. Neither achieved the formation of a solid navy. The claim of both to retain a monopoly of the right to settle in, or trade with, the New World and Asia was in due course contested by neighbouring nations. France was torn by internal dissensions (the Wars of Religion and the Fronde) and could not compete except through a few private adventurers. England and Holland were able to prove the essential weakness of the Spaniards at sea before the end of the 16th century. In the 17th century the late allies against Spain now fought against one another. Her insular position, her security against having to bear the immense burden of a war on a land frontier, and the superiority of her naval organization over the divided administration of Holland, gave the victory to Great Britain. She was materially helped by the fact that the French monarch attacked Holland on land, and exhausted its resources. Great Britain and France now became the competitors for superiority at sea, and so remained from 1689 till the fall of Napoleon in 1815.
During this period of a century and a quarter Great Britain had again the most material advantage: that her enemy was not only contending with her at sea, but was engaged in endeavouring to establish and maintain a military preponderance over her neighbours on the continent of Europe. Hence the necessity for her to support great and costly armies, which led to the sacrifice of her fleet, and drove Holland into alliance with Great Britain (Wars of the League of Augsburg, of the Spanish Succession, of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War). During the War of American Independence France was in alliance with Spain and Holland, and at peace on land. She and her allies were able to impose terms of peace by which Great Britain surrendered positions gained in former wars. But the strength of the British navy was not broken, and in quality it was shown to be essentially superior.
The French Revolution undid all that the government of France had gained between 1778 and 1783 by attention to its navy and abstinence from wars on land. The result of the. upheaval in France was to launch her into schemes of universal conquest. Other nations were driven to fight for existence with the help of Great Britain. In that long struggle all the navies of Europe disappeared except the French, which was broken by defeat and rendered inept by inaction, and the victorious British navy. When Napoleon fell, the navy of Great Britain was not merely the first in the world; it was the only powerful navy in existence.
The pre-eminent position which the disappearance of possible rivals had given to Great Britain lasted for several years unchallenged. But it was too much the consequence of a combination of circumstances which could neither recur nor endure. The French navy was vigorously revived under the Restoration and the government of Louis Philippe (the periods from 1815 to 1830 and 1830 to 1848). The emperor Nicholas I. of Russia (1825–1855) built ships in considerable numbers. As early as 1838 the fear that the naval superiority of Great Britain would be destroyed had already begun to agitate some observers. The " extremely reduced state " of the British navy, and the danger that an overwhelming force would be suddenly thrown on the English coast, were vehemently set forth by Commander W. H. Craufurd, and by an anonymous flag-officer. The peril to be feared, it was argued, was an alliance between France and Russia. In 1838 the British navy contained, built and building, 90 ships of the line, 93 frigates and 1 2 war steamers; the French, 49 of the line, 60 frigates and 37 war steamers, including armed packets; Russia, 50 of the line, 25 frigates and 8 steamers; the United States, 15 of the line, 35 frigates and 16 war steamers. The agitation of 1838 passed away, and the Crimean War, entailing as it did the destruction of a great part of the Russian fleet at Sebastopol, and proving the weakness of the Baltic fleet, and having, moreover, been conducted by an alliance of France and Great Britain against Russia, would seem to have shown that the anxieties of 1838 were exaggerated. But the rivalry which is inherent in the very position of states possessing sea coasts and maritime interests could not cease. The French imperial government was anxious to develop its navy. By the construction of the armoured floating batteries employed in bombardment of Kinburn in October 1855, and by the launch of the first seagoing ironclad " La Gloire " in 1859, it began a new race for superiority at sea, which has shown no sign of slackening since. The launch of the " Gloire " was followed by political events in Europe which brought forward new competitors, while great navies were developed in America and Asia.
The year 1871 was the beginning of a vast growth of naval armaments. Growth of modern rivalry in armaments. It saw the completion of the unity of Italy and the formation of the German empire, two powers which could not dispense with strong fleets. But for some years the Italian and German navies, though already rivalry in existence, were still in a youthful stage. The rapid growth of the United States navy dates from about 1890, and the Japanese is a few years younger. France, Russia and Great Britain, in answer to them, began the race in which the efforts of each had a stimulating effect on the others. Though the alliance between France and Russia was not formed till later, their common interests had marked them out as allies from the first, and it will be no less convenient than accurate to treat Great Britain and the partners in the Dual Alliance as for some time opposed to one another.
In the general reorganization of her armaments undertaken by France after the war of 1870–71, her navy was not neglected. England and the Dual Alliance. Large schemes of construction were taken in hand. The instability of French ministries, and the differences of principle which divided the authorities who favoured the construction of battleships from those who were partisans of cruisers and torpedo-vessels, militated against a coherent policy. Yet the French navy grew in strength, and Russia began to build strong vessels. As early as 1874 the approaching launch of a coast-defence ironclad at Kronstadt (the " Peter the Great " designed by the English constructor Sir E. J. Reed) caused one of the successive " naval scares " which recurred frequently in the coming years. It was, however, largely fictitious, and passed away' without producing much effect. In 1878 the prospect of a war arising out of the Russian and Turkish conflict of that year, again stirred doubts as to the sufficiency of her naval armaments in England. Yet it was not till about 1885 that an agitation for the increase of the British fleet was begun in a consistent and continuous way. The controversy of the succeeding years was boundless, and was perhaps the more heated because the controversialists were not controlled by the necessity for using terms of definite meaning, and because the lists published for the purpose of making comparisons were inevitably of doubtful value; when ships built, building and ordered to be built, but not begun, were counted together—or as not infrequently happened, were all added on one side, but not on the other. The belief that the British navy was not so strong as it should be, in view of the dependence of the British empire on strength at sea, spread steadily. Measures were first taken to improve the opportunities for practice allowed to the fleet by the establishment of yearly naval manoeuvres in 1885, and the lessons they afforded were utilized to enforce the necessity for an increase of the British fleet. In 1888 a committee of three admirals (Sir W. Dowell, Sir Vesey Hamilton and Sir R. Richards), appointed to report on the manoeuvres of that year, gave it as their opinion that " no time should be lost in placing the British navy beyond comparison with that of any two powers." This verdict met a ready acceptance by the nation, and in 1889 Lord George Hamilton, then first lord of the admiralty, introduced the Naval Defence Act, which provided for the addition to the navy within four and a half years of 70 vessels of 318,000 tons at a cost of £21,500,000. The object was to obviate the risk of sudden reductions for reasons of economy in the building vote.
Later experience proved that the practice of fixing the amount to be spent for a period of years operated to restrict the freedom of government to make additions, for which the necessity had not been foreseen when the money was voted. But the act of 1889 did effect an immediate addition to the British fleet, while as was inevitable it stimulated other powers to increased efforts.
The rivalry between Great Britain and the states composing the Dual Alliance may be, said to have lasted till 1904, when the course of the war in the Far East removed Russia from the field. It must be borne in mind that during the latter part of these twenty years Russia was largely influenced by the desire to arm against the growing navy of Japan. Comparisons between the additions to the fleets made on either side, even when supported by a great display of figures, are of uncertain value. Number is no sufficient test of strength when taken apart from quality, distribution, the command of coaling stations—which are of extreme value to a modern fleet—and other considerations. But the respective lists of battleships supply a rough and ready standard, and when taken with the number of men employed and the size of the budgets (both subject to qualifications to be mentioned) does enable us to see with some approximation to accuracy how far the rivals have attained their desired aims. In 1889, before the passing of the Naval Defence Act, the British navy contained 32 battleships of 262,340 tons. The united French and Russian fleets had 22 of 150,6J3 tons: of these 17 were French, 7 being vessels of wood plated with iron and therefore of no value when exposed to the fire of modern explosives. This is but one of many examples which might be given of the fallacious character of mere lists of figures. In 1894, when the Naval Defence Act had produced its effect, the comparative figures were: for Great Britain, 46 ironclads (or battleships) of 441,640 tons, and for the Dual Alliance 35 of 270,953—in which, however, the seven wooden vessels were still included. France and Russia had then large schemes of new construction60,300 tons of ships over 10,000 tons for France, and 78,000 tons for Russia. The British figure was 70,000 tons. But the French and Russian list included mere names of vessels, of which the plans were not then drafted.
The rivalry in building went on as eagerly after 1894 as before. At the beginning of 1904 Great Britain had 67 battleships of 8 95,37 o tons, as against 57 of 635,500 belonging to the powers of the Dual Alliance. The difference in favour of Great Britain was therefore 10 battleships, and 259,870 tons. Vessels not ready for service were included in the list, which therefore includes potential as well as actual strength. The balance in favour of Great Britain was less in 1904 than it had been in 1885 in mere numbers. During this period the naval budget of Great Britain had risen from £12,000,000 in 1885 to £34,457,500 in 1903–1904. The number of men employed had grown from 57,000 to 127,000. The figures for the Dual Alliance cannot be given with equal confidence. France had transferred the troupes de la marine or colonial troops from the navy to the army, which introduced a confusing element into the comparison, and the figures for Russian expenditure are very questionable. The total credit demanded for the French navy in 1890, the year after the passing of the British Naval Defence Act, was frs. 217,147,462. By 1903 the sum had risen to frs. 351,471,524. The Russian figures for 1890 are not attainable, but her budget for 1903 was £11,067,889 sterling. A comparison in numbers of men available is wholly misleading, since the British navy contains a large number of voluntarily enlisted men who serve for many years, and a small voluntary reserve, while France and Russia include all who are liable to be called out for compulsory service during a short period. There is no equality between them and the highly trained men of the British navy. The immense increase in its staff represents an addition to real power to which there is nothing to correspond in the case of continental states.
While this vast growth of naval power was going on in Great Britain, France and Russia, other rivals were entering into the lists with various fortunes. Italy may be said to have been the first comer. Her national navy, formed out of the existing squadrons of Sardinia, Tuscany and Naples, had stood the strain of war in 1866 very ill. The conditions in which the unity of the country had been achieved during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, Competition of new navies: Italy. together with the obvious need for a navy in the case of a nation with a very extended sea coast, animated the Italians to great and even excessive efforts. Their policy was controlled by the knowledge that they could not hope to rival France in numbers, and they therefore aimed at obtaining individual vessels of a high level of strength. Italy may be said to have set the example of building monster ships, armed with monster guns. But she was unable to maintain her position in the race. The too hopeful finance in which she had indulged in the first enthusiasm of complete political unification led to serious embarrassment in 1894. Her naval budget sank from £4,960,000 in 1891 to £3,776,845 in 1897–1898, -and only rose slowly to £5,037,642 in 1905–1906. As a candidate in the race for naval strength she necessarily held a subordinate place, though always to be ranked among the important sea powers. In 1903, when the rivalry of Great Britain and the Dual Alliance was at its height, her strength in battleships was 18, of 226,630 tons. In number, therefore, they did more than cover the balance in favour of Great Britain as against the Dual Alliance, but not in tonnage, in which the difference in favour of Great Britain was 259,870.
The history of the German navy is one of foresight, calculation, consistency and therefore steady growth. The small naval force maintained by Prussia became the navy of the North German Federation after the war of 1866, and the Imperial navy after 1871. Germany. Until 1853 it had been wholly dependent on the war office. In that year an admiralty was created in favour of Prince Albrecht, but this office was abolished in 1861, and the navy was again placed under the war office. The first ministers of the navy under the North German Federation were generals; so was the first imperial minister, General Stosch (1871). Admiral Tirpitz, appointed in 1897, was the first minister who was bred a seaman. His predecessor, General Stosch, had been an excellent organizer and had done much for the efficiency of the service. It has been the rule of the German government, both before and since the foundation of the empire, to advance by carefully framed plans, without adhering to them pedantically when circumstances called for a modification of their lines. As early as 1867 a scheme had been formed for the construction of a navy of 16 ironclads and 50 smaller vessels, at a cost of £5,395,833. It was not sufficiently advanced in execution to allow Germany to make any efforts at sea in the war of 1870–71. In 1872 a supplementary grant of £3,791,666 was made for construction in view of the increased cost of armour and armaments. In 1882 a revised scheme was made which contemplated the construction of l00 vessels, and it was completed in 1888 by another which provided for the construction of 28 vessels, of which 4 should be battleships of the largest size, within the next six years. In 1894 and for some years afterwards the Reichstag showed itself hostile to a heavy expenditure on the navy, and refused many votes asked for by the government. Under the pressure of ambition and of the real needs of a nation with an extensive and growing maritime commerce, the expenditure grew in spite of the opposition of the Reichstag. Between 1874 and 1889 it rose from £1,950,000 to £2,750,000, and was increased in the following year to £3,600,000, from which figure it advanced by 1898 to £5,756,135. Another building scheme was framed in that year, but it was swept aside in 1900, under the combined influence of the exhortations of the emperor William II., and of the anger caused in Germany through the arrest by a British cruiser of a German steamer (the “Bundesrath”) on the coast of Africa on a charge of carrying contraband of war to the Boers. The emperor was now able to obtain the consent of the Reichstag to an extended Naval Defence Act. By the terms of this measure it was proposed to spend £74,000,000 on construction, and £20,000,000 on the dockyards. With this money, by the year 1917 Germany was to be provided with a fleet of 38 battleships, together with a proportionate number of cruisers and other smaller vessels. Rapid progress was made not only with the programme itself but with the equipment of German dockyards and other establishments for providing the materiel of a great navy. In the spring of 1909 the serious menace to British supremacy at sea, represented by the growth of the new German fleet of battleships, led in England to a “scare” which recalled that of 1888, and to an energetic campaign for additional expenditure on the British navy.
During the years following on the American Civil War (1862–66) the United States paid small attention to the navy. In 1881 a board was appointed to advise on the needs of the navy, and in 1890 the board recommended United States. the formation of a fleet of 100 vessels of which 20 should be battleships of the largest class. The reviving interest in the navy was greatly stimulated by the diplomatic difference with Great Britain which arose over the frontier question between her and the republic of Venezuela in 1896. Resolutions were passed in congress approving of an increase of the navy. The war with Spain in 1898 completed the revival of American interest in the navy. The acquisition of Porto Rico, and the protectorate of Cuba in the West Indies, together with the annexation of the Philippines, and the visible approach of the time when the relations of the powers interested in the Pacific would call for regulation, confirmed the conviction that a powerful fleet must be maintained. In 1889 the United States possessed no modern battleship. In 1899 there were 4 built and 8 building. At the close of 1903 there were built and building 27 of 353,260 tons, only two of them being of less than 10,000 tons. From 5,119,850 in 1890 the expenditure grew to £16,355,380 in 1903.
The navy of Japan, the last comer among the great naval forces of the world, may be said to date from 1895, from, in fact, the eve of the war with China. Japan. As an insular power with a large seafaring population, Japan is called upon to possess a fleet. Even in the days of its voluntary isolation it had a known capacity for maritime warfare. Its capacity for assimilating the ideas and mastering the mechanical skill of Europe have been in no respect better shown than in naval matters. From the moment it was compelled to open its ports it began not only to acquire steamers but to apply itself under European guidance to learning how to make and use them. A navy on the western model was already organized by 1895, but it was still of trifling proportions. In 1896 the Japanese navy had become an object of serious attention to the world. A plan was drafted in that year, and confirmed in the next, by which Japan arranged to supply itself, mainly by purchase in Europe, with a fleet containing 4 of the most powerful battleships. The scheme was modified in detail in 1898, when the decision was taken to increase the tonnage of the vessels. A little later additions were arranged for, and vessels building for South America states in English ports were purchased. The British model was carefully followed in naval organization, the alliance with England giving special facilities for this. And by 1904, when the war with Russia began, the unknown Japanese fleet proved its competence by victories at sea which put the seal on her position as a naval power.
When we look over the whole period from the end of the Napoleonic wars, one great fact is patent to our view. It is that this was an epoch of revival or development in the naval power of the whole world, in the course of which the position held by Great Britain in 1816 was partially lost simply by the growth of other powers. The situation in that year was by its very nature temporary, and a quotation of the respective numbers of warships then possessed by the world would have no value. An instructive comparison can, however, be made between the year 1838, when Great Britain began to be seriously concerned with the rise of possible enemies at sea, and the eve of the war between Russia and Japan. Battleships may again be taken as the test of strength, since nothing happened in the Russo-Japanese War to show that they do not still form the most vital element of naval power. We may also leave aside the many small fleets which cannot act collectively, and which individually do not weigh in the balance. The figures for 1838 are given above, but may be repeated for comparison. In that year Great Britain possessed, built and building, 90 ships of the line; France 49; Russia 50; the United States 15. In 1903 the number of vessels recognized as battleships, possessed by the great powers, was for Great Britain 67; for France 39; for Russia 18; for the United States 27; for Germany 27; for Italy 18; for Japan 5. At the first date the British fleet was among great powers as 90 to 114. At the latter it was as 67 to 134.
Such comparisons, however, as these become much more complicated in later years, when the importance of the preponderance of “Dreadnoughts”—the new type of battleship—(see Ship and ShipBUILDING)—was realized. By the invention of this type Great Britain appeared to obtain a new lead; and in 1907, when it was calculated that by 1910 there would be ten British " Dreadnoughts " actually in commission while neither in Europe nor America would a single similar ship have been completed by any foreign power, the situation seemed to be entirely in favour of complete supremacy at sea for the British fleet. But the progress of German and American construction, and particularly the experience gained of German ability to build and equip much more rapidly than had been supposed, showed by 1909 that, so far as " Dreadnoughts " were concerned at all events, the lead of Great Britain could only be maintained by exceptional effort and exceptional expenditure. It was admitted in parliament by the prime minister, first lord of the admiralty and foreign secretary—themselves Liberals who had flirted with proposals for disarmament, and who depended for office on the support of more extreme "pacifists" who objected on principle to heavy military and naval expenditure—that, while for the moment the British " two-power standard " was still in existence, the revelations as to German shipbuilding showed that it could only be maintained in the future by the creation of a new fleet on a scale previously not contemplated. The supremacy of Great Britain in ships of the older types would be of no avail as years went by and other powers were equalling her in the output of ships of the new type, and a new race thus began, of which it is impossible here to indicate more than the start. It was no longer a question of completed ships, but one still more of programmes for building and of the rate at which these programmes could be accomplished. At the beginning of 1910, while Great Britain had her ten " Dreadnoughts," it was not the case that other powers had none: Germany already had four and the United States two; and a knowledge of the naval programmes of both these countries, to speak of no others, showed that, unless either their policy changed or the British shipbuilding programme was modified so as to keep up with their progress, it would not take many years before the theory of the equality of the British fleet in " capital ships " to those of the next two naval powers would have to be abandoned. In England this situation created a profound sensation in 1909, since it was common ground that her fleet was her all in all, on which her empire depended; and the result was seen, not only in a considerable increase in the Naval Estimates of 1910–1911, but also in the beginning of a serious attempt to organize their fleets on the part of the British colonial dominions, which should co-operate with the mother country.
The British Admiralty figures for the state of the principal fleets as on March 31st, 1910, are summarized below. The letters at the heads of the columns have the following signification: E., England; F., France; R., Russia; G., Germany; I., Italy; U., United States; and J., Japan:—
|Armd. C.D. Vessels||.||8||2||7||.||10||.|
|Protected Cruisers, I.||18||5||7||..||..||3||2|
|Protected Cruisers„ II.||35||9||2||23||3||16||..|
|Protected Cruiser,„ III.||16||8||2||12||11||2||6|
|Unprotected Cruisers ||2||..||.||10||..||5||6|
|Armd. Cruisers .||3||2||2||3||2||..||1|
|Protected Cruisers, II.||9||..||..||5||..||..||3|
* Number uncertain.
Ancient and General:Edit
Accounts of the naval organizations of the ancient world, and of the sea fighting of the time are to be found in the historians of Greece and Rome: Signor G. Corazzini has written a Storia della marina militare antica (Livorno, 1882). Valuable details of the Imperial Roman navy and of the Byzantine navy will be found in Professor Bury’s appendices to his edition of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, vol. i. apx. 5, and vol. vi. apx. 5. General histories of the navies of the world have been written, but they are inevitably apt to be little more than jejune reviews of the dates, and results of battles. This is certainly the case with the great folio of the English writer Josiah Burchett, A Complete History of the most remarkable transactions at Sea, from the earliest accounts of time to the conclusion of the last war with France, wherein is given an account of the most considerable Naval Expeditions, Sea Fights, Stratagems, Discoveries and other Maritime Occurrences that have happened among all nations that have flourished at Sea; and in a more particular manner of Great Britain from the time of the Revolution in 1688 to the aforesaid period (1720). The later part is however valuable, for Burchett, who was secretary to the admiralty, had access to good authorities for his own time, and had served at sea as secretary to Russell, Lord Orford. There is an Histoire de la marine de tous les peuples, by M. A. du Sein (Paris, 1879) which is of no great value.
As regards the medieval navies the first place may be allowed to the Italians. A general bibliography of Italian nautical literature, Saggio de una bibliografia marittima italiana, occupying fifty-eight pages, drawn up by Signor Enrico Celani, will be found in the Revista marittima, supplement for 1894 (Rome). The histories of the different Republics of the middle ages record their maritime enterprises. An excellent book, which gives far more than its title promises, is the Storia della marina pontificia of A. Guglielmotti, O.P., in 10 volumes published at different times, and in two editions, at Florence 1856, &c. The general maritime history of the Mediterranean in the middle ages is well illustrated in the Memorias sobre la marina comercio y artes de Barcelona (1779–1792) by Don A. Capmany. The naval enterprises of the Norsemen are dealt with in a scholarly fashion by M. G. B. Depping, Histoire des expeditions maritimes des Normands (1826); and with newer knowledge by Mr C. F. Keary, The Vikings of Western Christendom (1891). The medieval periods of Western navies are treated in their respective naval histories.
The History of the Royal Navy to the French Revolution, by Sir N. Harris Nicolas (1847), is unfortunately incomplete. It ends at the year 1422, but is the work of a most laborious and exact antiquary, who had been a naval officer in his youth. The administrative history of the British navy until 1660 is the subject of the History of the Administration of the Navy and of Merchant Shipping in relation to the Navy (1896) by Mr M. Oppenheim—a most valuable collection of materials. The campaigns and battles of the navy are told, generally from the public letters of the admirals, and with no great measure of criticism in several compilations. The Naval History of England (1735) by Mr T. Lediard, is copious and useful. The Naval Chronology, or an Historical Summary of Naval and Maritime Events from the Time of the Romans to the Treaty of Peace 1802, by Captain Isaac Schomberg (1802), contains a mass of valuable information, lists of ships, dates of construction, &c., and some administrative details. Less comprehensive, but still useful, is such a compilation as The General History of the Late War (that is, the Seven Years’ War), by Dr John Entick " and other gentlemen " (1763). A much better book is The Naval and Military Memoirs of Great Britain 1727 to 1783 (1804) by Mr R. Beatson, a very careful and well-informed writer who had seen some service as a marine officer. The Lives of the British Admirals, containing a new and accurate Naval History from the earliest periods, by Dr J. Campbell (1779), may be profitably consulted, with caution, for it by no means justifies its claim to novelty and accuracy in all parts. The Naval History of Great Britain, from 1793 to the accession of George IV., by Mr W. James (1827), republished with a continuation by Captain Chamier in 1837, is a standard authority. A far less useful work, which, however, is in parts written from first-hand knowledge, is The Naval History of Great Britain by Captain W. P. Brenton, first published in 1823, and republished in 1836. The Field of Mars, a compilation in dictionary form published in 1781, with an enormous title-page, is not without value for some of the naval transactions of the 18th century. The History of the British Navy from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (1863) by Dr C. D. Yonge, contains some original matter for the naval transactions of the 19th century. The Royal Navy, in 7 large volumes (1897–1903), edited and partly written by Sir W. L. Clowes, is a compilation of unequal value. Some of Sir W. L. Clowes’s coadjutors, notably Captain Mahan and Sir C. R. Markham, are of high standing and authority. The book is copiously illustrated. The Naval Chronicle, 1799–1818, a magazine, contains masses of useful matter, for the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The Royal Naval Biography of Captain John Marshall, giving the lives of all officers on the list in 1823 or promoted later (1823–1835), with a supplement (1827–1830), may be consulted, but is too uncritical and too uniformly laudatory. The Naval Biographical Dictionary; life and services of every living officer (1846), by Lieutenant W. R. O'Bryne, is a solid book of reference. The publications of the Navy Record Society (1894 and subsequent years) contain large and valuable publications of original matter, with some reprints of old authorities, such as Sir W. Monson’s Tracts, which were difficult of access. See also A Short History of the Royal Navy, by David Hannay.
The naval history of France has been much written about since 1840. Not many of the books published have been of considerable value. The Histoire maritime de la France of M. Leon Guerin (1844), was meant to meet a popular demand and satisfy national vanity. The Histoire de la marine française of M. Eugene Sue (1845–1846) is mainly a romance, but it contains some useful evidence. The Histoire de la marine française of Le Comte de Bonfils Lablenie (1845), a naval officer, is of more value, but is somewhat wanting in criticism. The Precis historique de la marine française of M. Chasseriau (1845); the Histoire generale de la marine (1853); the Histoire de la marine française of M. le Saint (1877); and the Histoire nationale de la marine française depuis Jean Bart (1878) of M. Trousset are compilations. La Marine de guerre, ses institutions militaires depuis son origine jusqu’a nos jours, by Capne Gougeard (1877); the Essai sur l’histoire de l’administration de la marine française of M. Lambert de Sainte Croix (1892); and the excellent little book of M. Loir on La Marine royale, 1789 (n.d.), may be consulted with pleasure and profit. The three books of M. Jal, Archeologie navale (1840), Glossaire nautique (1848) and Abraham du Quesne et la marine de son temps (1872) are all of high value. Les Batailles navales de la France of Capne Troude (1867), is a carefully written account of naval actions. The Histoire de la marine française, pendant la guerre de l’independence américaine (1877); Sous la première république (1886); Sous le consulat et l’empire (1886); De 1815 à 1870 (1900); and La Marine française et la marine allemande, 1870–1871 (1873) of Capne Chevalier, are thorough and critical. M. G. Lacour-Gayet, Professor at L’Ecole superieure de la Marine, has published two books of serious research, but marked by some national prejudice, La Marine militaire de la France sous le regne de Louis XV. (1902), and La Marine militaire de la France sous le regne de Louis XVI. (1905). The Recherches sur l’ancien clos des galees de Rouen (1864) of M. C. de Robillard de Beaurepaire, and the life of Jean de Vienne by the Marquis Terrier de Loray (1878), are valuable monographs on passages of early French naval history. The Projets et tentatives de debarquement aux Iles britanniques by Capne Desbriere (1900 seq.) is a most valuable authority. A very scholarly Histoire de la marine française was begun in 1899 by M. C. de la Ronciere.
The standard authorities for Spanish naval history are, La Marina de Castilla (1892), and La Armada Espanola desde la union de Castilla y Aragon (1895–1901), of Captain Cesareo Fernandez Duro. The Geschienes van het Nederlandsche Zeewezen of Mr J. C. de Jonghe (1858), is an admirable and exhaustive history of the Dutch navy. The History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks, by Haji Khalfa (or Hugji Chalifa), translated by Mr J. Mitchell for the Oriental Translation Fund (1831), may be read with curiosity and some profit. There are two general histories of the navy of the United States by Fenimore Cooper (1839), and by Mr E. S. Maclay (1894); the second is the fuller, and the more critical. Captain Mahan’s Influence of Sea Power on History 1660–1783 (1890), and his Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire 1793–1812 (1892), must be classed apart as studies of the general interaction of navies on one another and on international relations. The long series of readable monographs by Admiral Jurien de la Graviere, covering the whole field of naval warfare from the Peloponnesian War to his own time, contain much information and sound criticism. (D. H.)
That the methods of conducting war at sea have been conditioned by the capacity of the ships and their armament, and that capacity and armament have interacted upon one another, may appear to be platitudes. But they are none the less truths which must always be borne in mind when we are considering the history of naval strategy, that is, of the large movements by which a commander secures the advantage of fighting at a place convenient to himself, or of tactics—which are the movements he makes in battle. Throughout antiquity and the middle ages till the 16th century, the weapons relied on were—(1) the ship itself, used as a ram, (2) the swords of the crew, (3) such missile weapons as bolts from heavy crossbows fixed on the bulwarks, bows and arrows, weights dropped from a yard or pole rigged out, and the various means of setting an enemy alight; by shooting arrows with burning tow or by Greek fire or wild fire, blown through tubes (cannae, whence “cannon”). The nature of the “Greek fire” is still an unsettled question, and it is believed by some authorities that the Byzantines of the middle ages were acquainted with the use of gunpowder. However that may be, it is certain that even after means of injuring an enemy at a distance were nil, or the introduction of artillery in the 14th century, the were very feeble. All actions, therefore, were fought at close quarters, where ramming and boarding were possible. But the use of the ram was only available for a vessel driven by oars. A sailing vessel could not ram unless she were running before a good breeze. In a light wind her charge would be ineffective, and it could not be made at all from leeward. Therefore, while fleets depended on the methods of battle at close quarters, two conditions were imposed on the warship. She must be small and light, so that her crew could row her with effect, and she must carry a numerous crew to work her oars and board or repel boarders. Sails were used by the triremes and other classes of warship, ancient and medieval, when going from point to point—to relieve the rowers from absolutely exhausting toil. They were lowered in action, and when the combatant had a secure port at hand, they were left ashore before battle. These conditions applied alike to Phormio, the Athenian admiral of the 5th century B.C., to the Norse king Olaf Tryggveson of the 10th century A.D., and to the chiefs of the Christian and Turkish fleets which fought the battle of Lepanto in A.D. 1571. There might be, and were, differences of degree in the use made of oar and sail respectively. Outside the Mediterranean, the sea was unfavourable to the long, narrow and light galley of 120 ft. long and 20 ft. of beam. But the Norse ship found at Gokstad, though her beam is a third of her length, and she is well adapted for rough seas, is also a light and shallow craft, to be easily rowed or hauled up on a beach. Some medieval vessels were of considerable size, but these were the exception; they were awkward, and were rather transports than warships.
Given a warship which is of moderate size and crowded with men, it follows that prolonged cruises, and blockade in the full sense of the word, were beyond the power of the sea commanders of antiquity and the middle ages. There were ships used for trade which with a favourable wind could rely on making six knots an hour—that is to say, twice the average speed attained by Captain Cook in his voyages of exploration. But a war fleet could not provide the cover, or carry the water and food, needed to keep the crews efficient during a long cruise. So long as galleys were used, that is to say, till the middle of the 18th century, they were kept in port as much as possible, and a tent was rigged over the deck to house the rowers. The fleet was compelled to hug the shore in order to find supplies. It always endeavoured to secure a basis on shore to store provisions and rest the crews. Therefore the wider operations were slowly made. Therefore too, when the enemy was to be waited for, or a port watched, some point on shore was secured and the ships were drawn up. It was by holding such a point that the Corinthian allies of the Syracusans were able to pin in the Athenians. The Romans watched Lilybeum in the same way, and Hannibal the Rhodian could run the blockade before they were launched and ready to stop him. The Norsemen hauled their ships on shore, stockaded them and marched inland. The Greeks of Homer had done the same and could do nothing else. Roger di Lauria, in A.D. 1285, waited at the Hormigas with his galleys on the beach till the French were seen to be coming past him. Edward III. in A.D. 1350, stayed at Winchelsea till the Spaniards were sighted. The allies at Lepanto remained at anchor near Dragonera till the last moment.
Given again that the fighting was at close quarters with ram; stroke of sword, crossbow bolt, arrow, pigs of iron or lead and wild fire blown through tubes, it follows that the formations and tactics were equally imposed on the combatants. The formation was inevitably the line abreast—the ships going side by side—for the object was to bring all the rams, or all the boarders into action at once. It was quite as necessary to strike with the prow when boarding as when ramming. If the vessels were laid side by side the oars would have prevented them from touching. It may be added that this rule prevailed equally with the sailing ship of later times, since they were built with what is technically called " a tumble home," that is to say, their sides sloped inwards from the water line, and the space from the top of the bulwarks of one to the other was too great to be jumped. The extent to which ramming or boarding would be used respectively would depend on the skill of the rowers. The highly trained Athenian crews of the early Peloponnesian War relied mainly on the ram. They aimed at dashing through an enemy’s line, and shaving off the oars from one side of an opponent. When successfully practised, this manoeuvre would be equivalent to the dismasting of a sailing line of battle ship. It was the S&EKIrXous, and it enabled the assailant to turn, and ram his crippled enemy in the stern (irepi-irXous) But an attack with the ram might be exceedingly dangerous to the assailant, if he were not very solidly built. His ram might be broken off in the shock. The Athenians found this a very real peril, and were compelled to construct their triremes with stronger bows, to contend with the more heavily built Peloponnesian vessels—whereby they lost much of their mobility. In fact success in ramming depended so much on a combination of skill and good fortune that it played a somewhat subordinate part in most ancient sea fights. The Romans baffled the ramming tactics of the Carthaginians by the invention of the corva or crow, which grappled the prow of the rammer, and provided a gangway for boarders. After the introduction of artillery in the 14th century, when guns were carried in the bows of the galley, it was considered bad management to fire them until the prow was actually touching the enemy. If they were discharged before the shock there was always a risk that they would be fired too soon, and the guns of the time could not be rapidly reloaded. The officer-like course was to keep the fire for the last moment, and use it to clear the way for the boarders. As a defence against boarding, the ships of a weaker fleet were sometimes tied side to one another, in the middle ages, and a barrier made with oars and spars. But this defensive arrangement, which was adopted by Olaf Tryggveson of Norway at Swolder (A.D. 1000), and by the French at Sluys’ (A.D. 1340), could be turned by an enemy who attacked on the flank. To meet the shock of ramming and to ram, medieval ships were sometimes " bearded," i.e. fortified with iron bands across the bows.
The principles of naval warfare known to the ancient world descended through Byzantium to the Italian Republics and from them to the West. With the growth of ships, the development of artillery, and the beginning of the great sailing fleets capable of keeping the sea for long periods together, came the need for a new adaptation of old principles. A ship which depended on the wind for its motive power could not hope to ram. It could still board, and the Spaniards did for long make it their main object to run their bow over an enemy’s sides, and invade his deck. In order to carry out this kind of attack they would naturally try to get to windward and then bear down before the wind in line abreast ship upon ship. But an opponent to leeward could always baffle this attack by edging away, and in the meantime fire with his broadside to cripple his opponent’s spars. Experience soon showed the more intelligent sea officers of all nations, that a ship which relied on broadside fire, must present her broadside to the enemy; it was also soon seen that in order to give full play to the guns of the fleet, the ships must follow one another. Thus there arose the practice of arranging ships in the line ahead, one behind the other. For a time sea-officers were inclined to doubt whether order could be maintained among vessels subject to the forces of wind and tide. But in the very first years of the 16th century, a Spanish writer of the name of Alonso de Chaves argued with force that even an approach to order is superior to none—and that, given the accidents of wind and tide, the advantage would rest with him who took his precautions. The truth was so obvious that it could not but be universally accepted. The line ahead then became " the line of battle." This term has a double meaning. It may mean the formation, but it may also mean the ships which are fit to form parts of the line in action. The practice of sorting out ships, so as to class those fit to be in a line of battle apart from others, dates from the second half of the 17th century. Its advantages had been seen before, but the classification was not made universal till then. The excessive number of ships collected in those naval wars, their variety in size, and the presence in the fleets of a large proportion of pressed or hired merchant ships had led to much bad execution. But in the final battles of the first war between England and the Dutch Republic (1652–53), the Parliamentary admirals enforced the formation of the line by strong measures. On the conclusion of the war, they drew up the first published code of fighting instructions. These give the basis of the whole tactical system of the 17th and 18th centuries in naval warfare. The treatises of Paul Hoste, Bigot de Morogues and Bourde de Villehuet, which were the text-books of the time, all French in origin but all translated into other languages, are commentaries upon and developments of this traditional code of practice.
The governing principles were simple and were essentially sound. The ships were arranged in a line, in order that each should have her broadside free to fire into the enemy without running the risk of firing into her own friends. to In order to remove the danger that they would touch each other, a competent space, to allow for a change of course in case of need, was left between them. It was fixed at two cables—that is, 200 fathoms, or 400 yds.—though less room was occasionally taken. To reduce the number of men required to handle the sails, and leave them free to fight the guns, the ships fought under reduced canvas. But it was necessary to retain the power to increase the speed of a ship rapidly. This was secured by not sheeting home one of the sails—that is to say, it was left loose, and the wind was "spilt out of it." When the vessel was required to shoot ahead it was easy to sheet the sail home, and " let all draw." The fleets would fight " on the wind "—that is to say, with the wind on the side, because they were then under better control. With the wind blowing from behind they would take the wind out of one another’s sails. When the course had to be altered, the ships turned by tacking—that is, head to wind—or by wearing—that is, stern to wind, either together or in succession. To tack or wear a large fleet in succession was a very lengthy operation. The second ship did not tack, or wear, till she had reached the place where the first had turned, and so on, down the whole line. By tacking or wearing together the order of a fleet was reversed, the van becoming the rear, and the rear the van. It must be remembered that a fleet was divided into van, centre and rear, which kept their names even when the order was reversed. Orders were given by signals from the flag-ship, but as they could not be seen by the ships in a line with her, frigates were stationed on the side of the line opposite to that facing the enemy " to repeat signals." A main object which the admirals who drafted the orders had before them was to obviate the risk that the enemy would double on one end of the line and put it between two fires. It is obvious that if two fleets, A and B, are sailing, both with the wind on the right side, and the leading ship of A comes into action with the seventh or eighth of B, then six or seven leading ships of B’s line will be free to turn and surround the head of A’s line. This did actually happen at the battle of Beachy Head. Therefore, the orders enjoin on the admiral the strict obligation to come into action in such a way that his leading ship shall steer with the leading ship of the enemy, and his rear with the rear. The familiar expression of the British navy was " to take every man his bird." The regular method of fighting battles was thus set up. In itself it was founded on sound principles. As it was framed when the enemies kept in view were the Dutch, who in seamanship and gunnery were fully equal to the British, its authors were justified in prescribing the safe course. Unhappily they added the direction that a British admiral was to keep his fleet, throughout the battle, in the order in which it was begun. Therefore he could take no advantage of any disorder which might occur in the enemy’s lines. When therefore the conflict came to be between the British and the French in the 18th century, battles between equal or approximately equal forces were for long inconclusive. The French, who had fewer ships than the British, were anxious to fight at the least possible cost, lest their fleet should be worn out by severe action, leaving Great Britain with an untouched balance. Therefore, they preferred to engage to leeward, a position which left them free to retreat before the wind. They allowed the British fleet to get to windward, and, when it was parallel with them and bore up before the wind to attack, they moved onwards. The attacking fleet had then to advance, not directly before the wind with its ships moving along lines perpendicular to the line attacked, but in slanting or curving lines. The assailants would be thrown into " a bow and quarter line "—that is to say, with the bow of the second level with the after part of the first and so on from end to end. In the case of a number of ships of various powers of sailing, it was a difficult formation to maintain. The result was that the ships of the assailing line which were steering to attack the enemy’s van came into action first and were liable to be crippled in the rigging. If the same formation was to be maintained, the others were now limited to the speed of the injured vessels, and the enemy to leeward slipped away. At all times a fleet advancing from windward was liable to injury in spars, even if the leeward fleet did not deliberately aim at them. The leeward ships would be leaning away from the wind, and their shot would always have a tendency to fly high. So long as the assailant remained to windward, the ships to leeward could always slip off.
The inconclusive results of so many battles at sea excited the attentions of a Scottish gentleman, Mr Clerk of Eldin (1728–1812), in the middle of the 18th century. He began a series of speculations and calculations, which he em bodied in pamphlets and distributed among naval officers. They were finally published in book form in 1790 and 1797. The hypothesis which governs all Clerk’s demonstrations is that as the British navy was superior in gunnery and seamanship to their enemy, it was their interest to produce a melee. He advanced various ingenious suggestions for concentrating superior forces on parts of the enemy’s line—by preference on the rear, since the van must lose time in turning to its support. They are all open to the criticism that an expert opponent could find an answer to each of them. But that must be always the case, and victory is never the fruit of a skilful movement alone, but of that superiority of skill or of moral strength which enables one combatant to forestall or to crush another by more rapid movement or greater force of blow. Clerk’s theories had at least this merit that they must infallibly tend to make battles decisive by throwing the combatants into a furious mingled strife.
The unsatisfactory character of the accepted method of fighting battles at sea had begun to be obvious to naval officers, both French and English, who were Clerk’s contemporaries. The great French admiral Suffren condemned naval tactics as being little better than so many excuses for avoiding a real fight. He endeavoured to find a better method, by concentrating superior forces on parts of his opponent’s line in some of his actions with the British fleet in the East Indies in 1782 and 1783. But his orders were ill obeyed, and the quality of his fleet was not superior to the British. Rodney, in his first battle in the West Indies in 1780, endeavoured to concentrate a superior force on part of his enemy’s line by throwing a greater number of British ships on the rear of the French line. But his directions were misunderstood and not properly executed. Moreover he did not then go beyond trying to place a larger number of ships in action to windward against a smaller number to leeward by arranging them at a less distance than two-cables length. But " an enemy who took the simple and obvious course of closing his line could baffle the attack, and while the retreat to leeward remained open could still slip away. On the 12th of April 1782 (battle of Dominica) Rodney was induced, by the disorder in the French line, to break his own formation and pass through the enemy. He took the French flag-ship and five other vessels. The favourable result of this departure from the old practice of keeping the formation intact throughout the battle ruined the moral authority of the orthodox system of tactics. In the French war which began in 1793 Lord Howe (battle of 1st of June) ordered his fleet to steer through the enemy, and to put themselves on his line only as a means of bringing his fleet into action, and then played to produce a melee in which the individual superiority of his vessels would have free play. Throughout the war, which lasted, with a brief interval of peace, from 1793 to 1815, British admirals grew constantly. bolder in the method they adopted for producing the desired melee (battles of St Vincent, Camperdown, Trafalgar). It has sometimes been argued that their line of attack was rash and would have proved disastrous if tried against more skilful opponents. But this is one of those criticisms which are of value only against those who think that there can be a magic efficacy in any particular attack, which makes its, success infallible. That the tactics of British admirals of the great wars of 1793–1815 had in themselves no such virtue was amply demonstrated at the engagement off Lissa in 1811. They were justified because the reliance of admirals on the quality of their fleets was well founded. It should be borne in mind that a vessel while bearing down on an enemy’s line could not be exposed to the fire of three enemies at once when at a less distance than 750 yds., because the guns could not be trained to converge on a nearer point. The whole range of effective fire was only a thousand yards or a very little over. The chance that a ship would be dismasted and stopped before reaching the enemy’s line was small.
The improvements in the construction of ships, which had so much influence on the development of tactics, had its effect also on strategy. The great aims of a fleet in war must be to keep the coast of its own country free from attack, to secure the freedom of its trade, and to destroy the enemy’s fleet or confine it to port. The first and second of these purposes can be attained by the successful achievement of the third—the destruction or paralysis of the hostile fleet. But till after the end of the 17th century it was thought impossible, or at least very rash, to keep the great ships out of port between September and May or June. Therefore continuous watch on an enemy by blockading his ports was beyond the power of any navy. Therefore too, as the opponent might be at sea before he could be stopped, the movements of fleets were much subordinated to the need for providing convoy to the trade. It was not till the middle of the 18th century that the continuous blockade first carried out by Lord Hawke in 1758–59, and then brought to perfection by Earl St Vincent and other British admirals between 1793 and 1815, became possible.
The interval of ninety years between 1815 and 1904 (the opening of the Russo-Japanese conflict) was marked by no naval war. There was fighting at sea, and there were prolonged blockades, but there were no encounters between large and well appointed navies. During this period an entire revolution took place in the means of propulsion, armament and material of construction of ships. Steam was applied to warships, at first as an auxiliary force, in the second quarter of the 19th century. The Crimean War gave a great stimulus to the development of the guns. It also brought about the application of iron to ships as a cuirass. Very soon metal was adopted as the material out of which ships were made. The extended use of shells, by immensely increasing the danger of fire, rendered so inflammable a substance as wood too dangerous for employment in a war-ship. France has the honour of having set the example of employing iron as a cuirass, while England was the first to take it as the sole material. Changes so sweeping as these could not take place without affecting all the established ideas as to the conduct of war at sea. The time of revolution in means of propulsion, armament and construction was also a time of much speculation. Doubts and obscurities remained unsolved because they had never been brought to the test of actual fighting on an adequate scale. As the 19th century drew to a close, another element of uncertainty was introduced by the development of the torpedo. A weapon which is a floating and moving mine, capable up to a certain point of being directed on its course, invisible or very hard to trace, and able to deliver its blow beneath the water-line, was so complete a novelty that its action was hard indeed to foresee and therefore particularly liable to be exaggerated. From the torpedo sprang too the submarine vessel, which aims at striking below the surface, where it itself is, like its weapon, invisible, or nearly so.
How to solve the problems which science has set has been the task of thoughtful naval officers—and of the governments which the military seaman serves. The questions to be solved may be stated in the following order. What would be the effect: 1st, of the employment of steam, or of any substitute for steam other than the wind or the oar; 2nd, of the development of the gun; 3rd, of the use of metal as a material of construction; 4th, of the use of a weapon and a vessel acting below the surface of the water, and if not wholly invisible at least very much hidden?
The belief that steam had given the lesser fleet an advantage over the greater—that it had, in a phrase once popular among Englishmen, " bridged the Channel,"—need only be touched on for its historical interest. It was an intelligible, perhaps pardonable, example of the confusion produced by a novelty of improved capacity on the minds of those who were not prepared to consider it in all its bearings. A moment’s thought ought to have shown that where both sides had the command of steam, the proportion between them would remain what it was before. The only exception would be that the fleet which was steering in a direction already laid down would have a somewhat greater advantage than of old, over another which was endeavouring to detect its presence and course. Its movements would be more rapid, and it could steam through a fog by which it would be hidden in a way impossible for a sailing ship. On the other hand, such a fleet could be much more rapidly pursued and interrupted when once its course was known. The influence which the freedom and certainty of movement conferred by steam would have on the powers of fleets and ships presented a problem less easy to dispose of. Against the advantage they conferred was to be set the limitation they imposed. The necessity for replacing indispensable fuel was a restriction unknown to the sailing ship, which needed only to renew its provisions and water—stores more easily obtained all the world over than coal. Hence doubts naturally arose as to how far a state which did not possess coaling stations in all parts of the world could conduct extensive operations over great distances. The events of the recent Russo-Japanese War lead to the conclusion that the obligation to obtain coal has not materially limited the freedom of movement of fleets. By carrying store vessels with him, by coaling at sea, and taking advantage of the friendly neutrality of certain ports on his route, the Russian admiral, Rojdesvensky, reached the Far East in 1905 in less time and with less difficulty than he could have done in days when he would have been liable. to delay by calms, contrary winds and loss of spars in gales. The amount of skill on the part of the crews required to carry a fleet a long distance would even appear to be less than it was of old. i From this it would seem to follow that modern fleets possess no less capacity than the old sailing fleets for the great operations of war at a distance, or for maintaining blockades. Advantage and disadvantage counterbalance one another, and the proportion remains the same. Blockade is only another name for the maintenance of a watch on an enemy’s squadron in port by a force capable of fighting him if he comes out. Admiral Togo blockaded the Russian squadron at Port Arthur in 1904 as effectually as any admiral has done the work in the past. The mobility given to the blockaded fleet by steam has been exactly counterbalanced by the increased mobility of the watch. The proportions remain the same.
But if the power to undertake far-ranging operations, and to confine an enemy to port by keeping him under observation, and driving him back when he comes out remains the same, the strategy of war at sea cannot have undergone any material alteration. The possession of ports where stores can be accumulated and repairs effected is an advantage as it always was. But a powerful fleet when operating far from its own country can supply itself with a store-house (a base) on the enemy’s coast, or can be served at sea by store-ships, as of old. If beaten, it will suffer from the want of places of refuge as it always did.
Among the speculations of recent years, a good deal has been heard of the " fleet in being." If this phrase is only used to mean that, so long as any part of an enemy’s navy b in is capable of acting with effect, its existence cannot be ignored with the certainty of safety, then the words convey a truth which applies to all war whether by land or sea. If it means, as it was at least sometimes clearly intended to mean, that no such operation as the transport of troops oversea can be undertaken with success, so long as the naval forces of an opponent are not wholly destroyed, it is contrary to ancient experience. The Japanese in the beginning of 1904 began transporting troops to Korea before they had beaten the Russians, and they continued to send them in spite of the risk of interruption by the Vladivostok squadron. There was a risk, but risk is inseparable from war. The degree which can be incurred with sanity depends on the stake at issue, the nature of the circumstance and the capacity of the persons, which vary infinitely and must be separately judged.
The war of 1904–05 may also be said to have shown that the vast change in the construction of ships, together with the development of old and the invention of new weapons, has R done far less to alter the course of battles at sea than had been thought likely. Two calculations have been successively made and have been supported with plausibility. The first was that steam would enable the ship herself to be used as a projectile and that the use of the ram would again become common. The sinking of the "Re d'Italia" by the Austrian ironclad Ferdinand Max at the battle of Lissa in 1866 seemed to give force to this supposition. Accidental collisions such as those between the British war-ships " Vanguard " and " Iron Duke," " Victoria " and " Camperdown " have also shown how fatal a wound may be given by the ram of a modern ship. But the sinking of the " Re d'Italia " was largely an accident. As between vessels both under full control, a collision is easily avoided where there is space to move. In a mêlée, or pell-mell battle, to employ Nelson’s phrase, opportunities would occur for the use of the ram. But the activity of science has developed one weapon to counterbalance another. The torpedo has made it very dangerous for one fleet to rush at another. A vessel cannot fire torpedoes ahead, and when charging home at an opponent presenting his broadside would be liable to be struck by one. The torpedo may be said therefore to have excluded the pell-mell battle and the use of the ram except on rare occasions. But then arose the question whether the torpedo itself would not become the decisive weapon in naval warfare. It is undoubtedly capable of producing a great effect. when its power can be fully exerted. A school arose, having its most convinced partisans in France, which argued that, as a small vessel could with a torpedo destroy a great battle-ship, the first would drive the second off the sea. The battle-ship was to give place to the torpedo-boat or torpedo-boat-destroyer which was itself only a torpedo-boat of a larger growth. But the torpedo is subject to close restrictions. It cannot be used with effect at more than two thousand yards. It passes through a resisting' medium, which renders its course uncertain and comparatively slow, so that a moving opponent can avoid it. The vessel built to use it can be easily sunk by gun-fire. By night the risk from gun-fire is less, but science has nullified what she had done. The invention of the search-light has made it possible to keep the waters round a ship under observation all night. In the war between Russia and Japan the torpedo was at first used with success, but the injury it produced fell below expectations, even when allowance is made for the fact that the Russian squadron at Port Arthur had the means of repair close at hand. In the sea fights of the war it was of subordinate use, and indeed was not employed except to give the final stroke to, or force the surrender of, an already crippled ship. This war (and as much may be said for the war between the United States. and Spain) confirmed an old experience. A resolute attempt was made by the Americans to block or blind (in the modern phrase to “bottle-up”) the entrance to Santiago de Cuba by sinking a ship in it. The Japanese renewed the attempt on a. great scale, and with the utmost intrepidity, at Port Arthur;. but though a steamer can move with a speed and precision impossible to a sailing ship, and can therefore be sunk more surely at a chosen spot, the experiment failed. Neither Americans nor Japanese succeeded in preventing their enemy from coming out when he wished to come.
Since neither ram nor torpedo has established the claim made for it, the cannon remains “the queen of battles at sea.” It can still deliver its blows at the greatest distance, and Gun-fire. in the greatest variety of circumstances. The change has been in the method in which its power is applied. Now, as in former times, the aim of a skilful officer is to concentrate a superior force on a part of his opponent’s formation. When the range of effective fire was a thousand or twelve hundred yards, and when guns could only be trained over a small segment of a circle. because they were fired out of ports, concentration could only be effected by bringing a larger number of ships into close action with a smaller. To-day when gun-fire is effective even at seven thousand yards, and when guns fired from turrets and barbettes have a far wider sweep, concentration can be effected from a distance. The power to effect it must be sought by a judicious choice of position. It is true that greater rapidity and precision of fire produce concentration in one way. If of two forces engaged one can bring forty guns to bear on a chosen point of its opponent’s formations, while that opponent can bring fifty guns to bear on a part of it, the superiority would seem to be with the larger number. But this is by no means necessarily the case. The smaller number of guns may give the greater number of blows if fired with greater speed and accuracy. Yet no commander has a right to rely on such a superiority as this till it has been demonstrated, as it had been in the case of the British fleet by the time that Trafalgar was fought. Therefore an able chief will always play for position. He will do so all the more because an advantage of position adds to any other which he may possess. He may dispense with it for a particular reason at a given moment and in reliance on other sources of strength, but he will not throw it away.
When position is to be secured the first condition to be thought of is the order in which it is to be sought for. The “line ahead” was imposed on the sailing fleets by the peremptory need for bringing, or at least retaining the power to bring, all their broadsides into action. Experiments made during manoeuvres by modern navies, together with the experience gained in the war of 1904—05 in the Far East, have combined to show that no material change has taken place in this respect. It is still as necessary as ever that all the guns should be so placed. as to be capable of being brought to bear, and it is still a condition imposed by the physical necessities of the case that this freedom can only be obtained when ships follow one another in a line. When in pursuit or flight, or when steaming on the look-out for a still unseen enemy, a fleet may be arranged in the “line abreast.” A pursuing fleet would have to run the risk of being struck by torpedoes dropped by a retreating enemy. But it would have the advantage of being able to bring all its guns which can fire ahead to bear on the rear-ship of the enemy. When an opponent is prepared to give battle, and turns his broadside so as to bring the maximum of his gun-fire to bear, he must be answered by a similar display of force—in other words, the line ahead must be formed to meet the line ahead.
Both fleets being in this formation, how is the concentration of a superior force to be effected? If the opponents are equal in number, speed, armament, gunnery and the leadership of the chiefs, accident alone can confer an advantage on either of them. Where equal weights are tried on accurate scales one cannot force up the other, but this evenness of power is rarely met in war by land or sea. The knowledge that it existed would probably prevent an appeal to arms between nations, since no decisive result could be hoped for. It is needless to insist that superior numbers make the task of concentrating comparatively easy, unless counterbalanced by a great inferiority in speed. Speed is the quality which an admiral will wish his fleet to possess, in order that he may have the power to choose his point of attack. The swifter of two forces, otherwise equal,. can always get ahead of its opponent, and then by Speed turning inwards bring the leading ship of the force it is attacking into a curve of fire. The leader of the slower fleet can avoid the danger by also turning inwards. By so doing he will keep the assailant on his beam, opposite his side. Then the two fleets will tend to swing round in two circles having a common centre, the swifter going round the outer circumference and the slower round the inner. As the difference in length of these two lines would be always great and perhaps immense, the less speedy fleet could easily avoid the risk of being headed. On the other hand the outer fleet will be in a concave formation, and therefore able to bring all its guns to bear on the same point, while the inner fleet will be in a convex line, so that it will be unable to bring the guns of both van and rear to bear on the same mark. The advantage is obvious, but it may perhaps be easily exaggerated. The swifter fleet on the larger circle can in theory concentrate all its fire on one point, but all its ships will still be under fire, and in practice it is found very difficult to make men neglect the enemy who is actually hitting them, and apply their attention entirely to another. Moreover the ships on the outer circle, having the larger line to cover, cannot allow themselves the same margin of steam-power to make good loss of speed by injury from shot. A fleet would not go at its maximum rate of common speed in. action. A blow on the water-line might fill part of the ship’s watertight compartments and reduce her speed. She must be able to make good the loss by putting on a greater pressure of steam, which she would not be able to do if already going at her maximum rate. In actual battle very much will depend on the respective skill of the gunnery. The swifter fleet might well find its superiority neutralised by the crippling of two or three of its leading ships. In such an action as this it will be, if not impossible, at least exceedingly difficult to give orders by signal. An admiral will therefore have to direct by example, which he cannot do except by placing his flag-ship at the head of the line. In that place he will be marked out as a target for the enemy’s concentrated fire. He may indeed decide to direct the battle by signal from outside the line. Yet the difficulty he will find in seeing what is happening, as well as the difficulty the captains will find in seeing the signals, will always be so great, that in all probability the admirals of the future, will, like Nelson, be content to lay down the general principles on which the battle is to be fought, and trust the captains to apply them as circumstances arise. A large measure of independence must needs be allowed to the captains in the actual stress of battle. Ships must be placed at such a distance apart as will allow them room to manoeuvre so as to avoid collision with their own friends. The interval cannot be less than 800 yds. When the length of the vessels themselves is added, it will be seen that a line of twelve vessels will stretch six miles. Modern powder is nominally smokeless, and it certainly does not create the dense bank of smoke produced by the old explosives. Yet it does create a sufficient haze to obscure the view from the van to the rear of an extended line. The movements must be rapid, and there will be little time indeed in which to take decisions. The torpedo may not be used during the actual battle. Its part will be to complete the destruction or enforce the surrender of a beaten enemy, and to cover retreats.
The submarine and submergible vessel were brought into prominence by France in the hope that by diminishing the value of battleships they would reduce the superiority of the British navy. The example of France was followed by other powers, and particularly by Great Britain; but their value as weapons of war is necessarily a matter of speculation.
Naval strategy can hardly be said to have been dealt with at all till Captain Mahan published his Influence of Sea Power on History. The tactics of the ancient world are only very briefly dealt with in the De re Militari of Vegetius, in book iv. Vegetius was much copied and read in the middle ages, and was translated in 1284 by Jean de Meung, one of the authors of the Roman de la Rose. His translation is printed, together with the verse paraphrase of Priorats, in the Anciens Textes francais. Naval tactics are dealt with in the treatise of Leo VI. the Tactician, and his son Constantine VII., or perhaps Constantine VIII., printed in Meursius’ Opera Omnia, vol. vi. They were emperors of the Macedonian dynasty. The tactics of the medieval galleys are described, with references to authorities, both by A. Guglielmotti in Marine Pontificia, and by Admiral Jurien de la Graviere in Les Derniers jours de la marine a rames (1885). The chief writers on the tactics of the sailing fleets were French. At the head of them, in time and in merit, must be put Paul Hoste, whose folio on Naval Evolutions appeared in 1697. Hoste was a Jesuit who was secretary to the Count of Tourville. Hoste’s treatise was translated into English and published in Edinburgh in 1834 with numerous and excellent illustrations by Captain J. D. Boswall, A Treatise on Naval Tactics. Captain Boswall also made use of the passages relating to naval tactics in the History of the Art of War by J. G. Hoyer, an officer in the Prussian army (1797–1800). Another excellent French treatise is Le Manoeuvrer of Bourde de Villehuet (1765), translated into English in 1788 under the title of The Manoeuvrer, or Skilful Seaman. Particular attention is due to the Essay on Naval Tactics by Mr Clerk of Eldin, first published in a collected form in 1804, but known in parts since 1780. Clerk was original in speculation and lucid in exposition. A French treatise, L’Art de la guerre sur mer, by the Vicomte de Grenier (1787), was less famous or influential, but was able and original. An exhaustive collection of “Fighting Instructions” and other material necessary to an intelligent understanding of the naval tactics of sailing fleets is the Fighting Instructions 1530–1816, edited by Mr Julian S. Corbett for the Navy Record Society (1905). Admiral Ekin’s Naval Battles (1824) has some passages of value. It is comparatively easy to give authorities for the warfare of galleys and sailing ships. The case is altered when we have to deal with the tactics of steam fleets. Vast quantities of speculation have been written in every country which possesses a fleet, but, no test having been applied on a sufficient scale till the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, little of it can be said to possess approved authority. The facts of such wars as there have been are collected in Captain Mahan’s Life of Farragut (1893) and Lessons of the War with Spain (1899), and in Mr H. W. Wilson’s Ironclads in Action, 1855–1895. A standard work on evolutions and formations is Elementary Naval Tactics, by Captain Wm. Bainbridge Hoff of the United States navy, first published in 1894, but reprinted since with enlargements. The Naval Warfare of Admiral P. H. Colomb is a collection of historical examples meant to illustrate the principles of naval strategy for application in modern conditions. The third edition,. revised and corrected, with additions, appeared in 1899. (D. H.)