Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
The modern English navy originated with the Tudor monarchs.Henry VIII had seven warships in 1509. During his reign he added 82 ships to the Royal Navy. He inherited the naval dockyards at Portsmith, Woolwich and Deptforth and set up a permanent naval installation near Chatham. Financial and logistical matters were dealt with by the Council for Maritime Causes. This body was headed by the lord Admiral and included The treasurer, the Clerk Comptroller, the keeper of the Storehouse,the Surveyor or Clerk of the ships,the Surveyor and rigger and the Master of Ordinance.Henry VIII used the navy successfully against the French, Spanish,and the Scots.The Elizabethan navy had more warships, only two of which were captured by the Spanish, and none of those built in the government dockyards foundered at sea!James I showed little interest in the navy and it more or less atrophied during his reign.When Charles I came to the throne in 1625 the navy was in a rather poor state. It lacked a professional officer corps,seamen,s wages had not changed since 1603 and in time of war men had to be impressed to serve. Charles needed a strong navy to protect English commerce from French and Dutch privateers and North African pirates. For this purpose he levied a tax known as ship money on both maritime and inland counties. He also developed a corps of professional officers and crews.The warship the "Sovereign of the Seas" was the first to mount three decks of guns and carry over ninety large canon. By 1635 charles I had forty-two mostly state owned ships and 5,700 men on active duty. Unfortunately for the king, when the civil war broke out in 1642 the officers and crews joined the parliamentarians.Navy Commissioners became responsible for the day to day administration of the fleets and the dockyards.In 1649 the Commonwealth had almost forty-two warships. It ended the use of employing merchant vessels as warships. Robert Blake, George Monck, and William Penn served as Admirals or Generals at Sea. In the 1650's thirty frigates were contructed and the navy became the largest single employer of labour in the country. professionals rather than politicians began to work in important financial and administrative posts. George Downing in the Exchequer and Samuel Pepys in naval administration continued their work under the Restoration.On the eve of the Restoration Charles II had inherited one of the strongest navies in Europe with sixty-six warships on active service, 8000 sailors and another sixty warships in storage in the event of future conflicts. He created his brother James, Lord High Admiral while George Monck, Edward Montague and William batten served as admirals.
sources: The Making of a World Power. war and the military revolution in seventeenth century England. James Scott Wheeler. Sutton 1999
To see the flags the ships of the commonwealth and Stuarts would have flown, go to http://tmg110.tripod.com/british1.htm and search on Stuart or Commonwealth.
The development of controlled battle tactics was just beginning, started by the Generals at Sea of the Commonwealth, including Monck. The idea of the line of battle had been introduced, but controlling the fleet was still almost impossible once action was joined.
One of the reasons for the success of the New Model Army was the ability of its commanders to keep control of the fighting. And the Navy, with the Generals at Sea, would be influenced by that experience, and in Pepys' time will take the first steps on the long road to Trafalgar.
Army and Navy:These two forces became major military machines during this period. The Navy under the Tudors and Stuarts (partially thanks to Pepys), hence the Royal Navy. The army, however, became a large single fighting force rather than a collection of lords' men under Cromwell with the New Model Army, hence the British Army (not Royal), a distinction that remains today.
"The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain Vol II 1649-1815" by NAM Rodger
907 pages, published by Allen Lane, Full price
The Pre-Modern (1340) English Navy at the Battle of Sluys, from an illuminated edition of Froissart's *Chronicles*.
''Navies 'reflect the societies from which they come." -- Adam Nicolson in SEIZE THE FIRE: Heroism, Duty, and the Battle of Trafalgar. (HarperCollins, 2005)
'Seize the Fire': Outkilling the FrenchBy DAVID LIPSKY - NYTimes book review published: September 4, 2005
... ''Navies,'' Nicolson writes, ''reflect the societies from which they come.'' At Trafalgar, the meritocracy smashed into the aristocracy. The French-Spanish fleet was dusty, class-based Europe: the Spanish commander had inherited the right to wear his hat in front of the king, and upper-crust French naval training included daily lessons in dance. British officers however, came from the scrappy middle class -- Jane Austen's brother was one of Nelson's captains -- and fought for self-advancement. Captured ships were ''prizes''; they kept a portion of the value. Nicolson explains, ''For an aristocrat, failure in battle does not erode his standing or his honor.'' But an English officer would be fighting for his material life, and ''to preserve his honor and his name, he needs to win. Victory is neither a luxury nor an ornament. It is a compulsion and a necessity.'' [...] http://snipurl.com/hxr3
The Maritime History Virtual Archives
Manning of the Navy.
"Gentlemen and Tarpaulins" by J. D. Davies gives the following information. Here is a summary...
The compliment of a warship could vary according to the area in which it was deployed and the state of international affairs: official establishments therefore laid down distinct compliments for peacetime and war at home and war abroad. In this way the compliment of the same fourth rate could vary from 150 in peacetime to 280 in wartime service against the Dutch. A first rate in wartime would require up to 800 men to man her, and a third rate, even in peacetime, would require 300...
Captains and Lieutenants held their commissions as long as their ships were in service, which could be weeks to many years. There were warrants for Master, Boatswain, Gunner, Carpenter, Purser, Cook, Chaplain and Surgeon. The Master, Chaplain and Surgeon, like the commissioned officers served only for the duration of active service, while the others continued to serve when their ships were laid up in harbour. These "standing officers" formed the basis of the skeleton crew which guarded and maintained the ships when they lay in the "ordinary." This was the ordinary condition for much of the fleet in peacetime...
The great majority of the King's ships remained in harbour with their masts and guns removed. The Ordinary provided continuous employment for men who would otherwise have had to sever their connections with the service...
Coventry said "The greatest difficulty and vexation in a war was the manning of the ships."
During war up to 25,000 men had to be brought into service within a matter of weeks, and got to the fleet and retained for the duration of the campaign without disrupting the trade of the nation...
By the time of the Restoration the majority of seamen, both volunteers and pressed, were drawn from the East coast...40 to 50,000 were in deep sea and coastal trades and therefore in war time the navy could be calling on between one third and a half of the maritime community of the nation...
In peacetime there was usually enough volunteers to man the 3 to 4,000 berths available, but not in war.
(Spoiler from Sam's Tangier Papers?)
Whether volunteered or pressed the seamen generally numbered among the lowest orders of society for in Pepys' view the unpleasant nature of their job restricted it to "poor illiterate hands."
Ships In Pay, May 1660
House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 16 May 1660 | British History Online"A List of such of his Majesty's Ships of the Navy Royal, now in Pay, not of the Summer's Guard, with an Account of the Wages due to them to the First of May 1660, and the Charge they are at,"http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com...
Naval Administrative Statutes -- 1659 - 1670
'Charles II, 1661: An Act for the Establishing Articles and Orders for the regulateing and better Government of His Majesties Navies Ships of Warr & Forces by Sea.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 311-14. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com....Date accessed: 11 March 2007.
Charles II, 1664: An Act to prevent the Disturbances of Seamen and others and to preserve the Stores belonging to His Majestyes Navy Royall.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 520-21. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com....Date accessed: 11 March 2007.
Charles II, 1666: An Act to prevent the Disturbances of Seamen and others and to preserve the Stores belonging to His Majesties Navy Royall.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 615-16. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com....Date accessed: 11 March 2007.
Charles II, 1670 & 1671: An Act to revive an Act, Entituled An Act to prevent the disturbances of Seamen and others, and to preserve the Stores belonging to his Majestyes Navy Royall, with some Alterations and Additions.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), pp. 741-43. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com....Date accessed: 11 March 2007.
Not sure if this is an appropriate place to put this, but a bullion ship from 1641, the Merchant Royal, (and I know this is a bit outside our period) has been located and excavated off the Scilly isles - many coins recovered - by an American team, but they are being understandably cagey about exact location etc. Read about this at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/corn...
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