Billeder på siden

duced by the influence or the representations of France, agreed to become the guarantee; but this proposal was rejected by Britain. In stating this simple fact, the blame of the renewed hostilities that followed, seems to be placed on Britain ; but there are other circumstances that require to be considered and weighed, before this conclusion can fairly be come to. The disposition of France to render the peace useful to herself in preparing for war, and not only in preparing for war, but even, during the peace, in encroaching on the independence and rights of neutral powers, was sufficiently indicated by the actions of Bonaparte. Indeed no secret was made of the intentions of the French ; for Bonaparte published a report of his military missionary, Sebastiani, which clearly brought to light his design of occupying Egypt and the Ionian islands.

Negociations were at first opened with the hope that they would remove the difficulties in the way of the continuance of peace; but these negociations were not successful; and during their unfavorable aspect, a message was sent from His Majesty to Parliament, stating that such preparations had taken place in the ports of France, as called upon His Majesty to increase his armaments by sea and land. Tbe French government protested that they had no view in these preparations but the subduing and quieting their own colony of St. Domingo.

The resolution of France to consider our refusal to deliver up Malta as the signal for hostilities, was announced in the celebrated interview at which Bonaparte insulted Lord Whitworth, before all the ambassadors of Europe. Yet as it was evidently not the interest of the First Consul to go so soon to war, he recovered his irritation so far as to protract the negociation. In the ultimatum, offered by Britain, it was proposed that we should retain Malta for ten years. France, in reply, con

tended that it should be ceded to Russia. Lord Whitworth left Paris with this offer, to return no more, war being declared against France by His Britannic Majesty, on the 18th of May, 1803.

The supplies granted for the naval service of the kingdom, for the year 1803, were as follow :

DECEMBER 2, 1802.

That 50,000 men be employed for sea service for

the year 1803, including 12,000 marines For wages for ditto

£1,202,500 0 0 For victuals for ditto......

1,235,000 0 0 For wear and tear of ships in which they are to serve ...

1,950,000 0 0 For ordnance sea service on board such ships.... 162,500 0 0


For the ordinary of the navy, including half-pay to

sea and marine officers, for 1803....
For the extraordinary establishment of ditto....
For the hire of transports.
For defraying the charge of prisoners of war in

health ..
Ditto of sick prisoners of war......

1,228,238' 18 1

901, 140 00 590,000 0


22,000.0 5,000 0

MARCH 14, 1803.

That an additional number of 10,000 men be em

ployed for the sea service for eleven lunar
months, commencing 26th of February, 1803,

including 2,400 marines
For wages for ditto
For victuals for ditto
For wear and tear of ships in which they are to

For ordnance sea service on board such ships

203,500 0 0 209,000 0 0

330,000 0 0 27,500 0 0

Carried forward.... £8,066,378 13 1

Brought forward.... 8,066,378 13 1 JUNE 11.

That a further additional number of 40,000 men bo

employed for the sea service, for seven lunar
months, commencing the 12th of June, 1803,

including 8,000 royal marines
For wages for ditto
For victuals for ditto....
For wear and tear of ships in which they are to serve
For ordnance sea service on board such ships
For the further hire of transports for the year 1803
For the further charge of prisoners of war in health
Ditto of sick prisoners of war

518,000 0 532,000 0 840,000 0 0

70,000 0 0 100,000 0 0 65,000 0 0 20,000 0

Total supplies for the navy, for 1803.... £10,211,378 13 1

Shortly after Bonaparte commenced hostilities, his armies over-ran Hanover; and as by the occupation of it they were enabled to impede the navigation of English vessels in the Elbe and Weser, the British government ordered the strict blockade of these rivers.

The next project of Bonaparte was to invade Britain, or more probably to alarm her with the appearance of preparations for invasion. These appearances called out the zeal of the inhabitants of this country. In a few months a volunteer army of more than three hundred thousand men were in arms; and the coasts were protected so effectually that, independent of our maritime superiority, there seemed little chance of the French being able to effect a landing; or, if they did, of doing any great or extensive mischief.

The British ministry soon found that Bonaparte was resolved that no power over whom he possessed any influence should remain at peace with England, as long as he was at war with her: he compelled Holland and the Italian Republic to join him in hostilities openly, and

even Spain and Portugal were obliged to contribute their pecuniary support to his hostile schemes against Britain.

The British ministry, on their part, were not idle ; now that hostilities had actually commenced. Expeditions were fitted out against the Dutch settlements of Demerara and Essequibo, which were successful; and the French islands of St. Lucia and Tobago were also reduced ; St. Domingo, the most valuable of the colonies of France, was wrested from her by the black population, assisted by a British squadron.

These were the only events at all connected with naval operations that occurred during the year 1803; but in this year a scheme was perfected, and made generally known, which is of so much interest and importance to all in the remotest degree connected with maritime affairs, that we should be utterly without excuse if we did not notice it in a most special manner. We allude to the life-boat, invented by Mr. Henry Greathead. As it is of the utmost importance that our account of this most meritorious and useful invention should be as accurate and full as possible, we shall lay it before our readers in the words of Mr. Hinderwell, as it was transmitted to the society in Lon. don for the encouragement of arts, manufactures, and commerce ; which society voted to Mr. Greathead the gold medal and fifty guineas.

“ The length is thirty feet; the breadth ten feet; the depth, from the top of the gunwale to the lower part of the keel in midships, three feet three inches; from the gunwale to the platform (within), two feet four inches ; from the top of the stems (both ends being similar) to the horizontal line of the bottom of the keel, five feet nine inches. The keel is a plank of three inches thick, of a proportionate breadth in midships, narrowing gradually toward the ends, to the breadth of the stems at the bottom, and forming a great convexity downwards. The stems are segments of a circle, with considerable rakes.

The bottom section, to the floor-heads, is a curve fore and aft, with the sweep of the keel. The floor timber has a small rise curving from the keel to the floor-heads. A bilge-plank is wrought in on each side next the floor-heads with a double rabbit or groove, of a similar thickness with the keel; and, on the outside of this, are fixed two bilgetrees, corresponding nearly with the level of the keel. The ends of the bottom section form that fine kind of entrance observable in the lower part of the bow of the fishing boat, called a coble, much used in the north. From this part to the top of the stem, it is more elliptical, forming a considerable projection. The sides, from the floor-heads to the top of the gunwale, flaunch off on each side, in proportion to about half the breadth of the floor. The breadth is continued far forward towards the ends, leaving a sufficient length of strait side at the top. The sheer is regular along the strait side, and more elevated towards the ends. The gunwale, fixed on the outside, is three inches thick. The sides, from the under part of the gunwale, along the whole length of the regular sheer, extending twenty-one feet six inches, are cased with layers of cork, to the depth of sixteen inches downward; and the thickness of this casing of cork being four inches, it projects at the top a little without the gunwale. The cork, on the outside, is secured with thin plates or slips of copper, and the boat is fastened with copper nails. The thwarts, or seats, are five in number, double-banked, consequently the boat may be rowed with ten oars.* The thwarts are firmly stanchioned. The side oars are short, with iron choles and rope grommets, so that the rower can pull either way. The boat is steered with an oar at each end; and the steering oar is one-third longer than

• Five of the benches are only used, the boat being generally rowed with ten oars.

+ The short oar is more manageable in a lrigh sea than a long one, and its stroke is more certain.

« ForrigeFortsæt »