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supplying them with wages and victuals. The King, on his part, stipulated to add eighteen ships to the fleet, fully rigged, gunned, and armed with bows and bowmen; for which the King stipulated he should have one-half of all the gains and winnings of the war, the chief prisoners, all the artillery, and one ship royal: the High Admiral was to have the rest, and, in addition, a certain number of dead shares (specified in the contract) of each of the King's ships.
The power given to the Lord High Admiral to confer knighthood at sea was continued and exercised by Elizabeth and James, and, as it would appear, to an unlimited extent. Thus when Lord Howard of Effingham and the Earl of Essex were jointly appointed to the Cadiz expedition, they made upwards of sixty knights. In short, the duties and the powers of the High Admiral, in these two reigns, were never defined, but capriciously given, and consequently subject to great abuse: some held their patents for life; others only for a time, or during pleasure; Henry VIII. made his natural son, the Duke of Richmond, Lord High Admiral of England when he was but six years old.
In short, during the reigns of Elizabeth and James, it does not appear that, beyond the single appointment of a Lord High Admiral, there was any kind of establishment for rank or pay, or emolument in any shape, after the most brilliant and efficient services were performed. The ships hired or supplied from certain ports, when the occasion ceased, were returned to their respective owners; and the few ships of war were paid off into a state of ordinary, leaving a very small number of ship-keepers to take care of them. The admiral or general who had the command, the vice-admiral, and the rear-admiral, titles given to the three chief officers (titles equally and indiscriminately given to the ships they commanded)—these three officers then sunk into the οι πολλοι, as soon as their services were no longer required. The deserving, however, were not forgotten: witness the frequent occasions on which Drake, and Hawkins, and Frobisher, were called upon to afford their services—men who, by their zeal, energy, and talent, acquired and preserved for Queen Elizabeth the proud title of Sovereign of the Seas.
In fact, it was not till the year 1673, when the Duke of York was High Admiral under Charles II., that the affairs of the naval service were settled and arranged on a stable footing by Charles and his brother, ably assisted by Mr. Secretary Pepys. Under their administration was produced that regular code of instructions (well known as the Duke of York's Fighting Instructions) for the rule and guidance of officers of the navy, who had each now his established rank, and his duties specified and defined.
There is in the Records of the Admiralty a MS. book of minutes, made in council—the King sometimes, but generally the Duke of York, presidingbeautifully and uniformly written, through upwards of 700 pages, containing a period from 1660 to 1688. At these councils everything regarding the matériel and personnel of the naval service was discussed and decided : the building of ships—their dimensions and force, the nature of their armament, their number—where to be employed where stationed —the supply of naval stores, timber, hemp, and iron, for the different dock-yards : also all that relates to the personnel, from the flag-officer to the midshipman, their promotion, pay, and allowances -pensions to the widows and children of those slain in action-and, in short, all the regulations and instructions relating to the well-being and advancement of the navy; and all the proceedings of the council are set forth in a most methodical and business-like manner.
There was still something left undone at the Revolution. King William had not been long on the throne before he deemed it expedient to pass an “Extraordinary Order in Council,” grounded on a more extraordinary reason.
On the 22nd of February, 1693, this order settled double pay on officers of the feet when at sea, and half-pay when on shore.
“ His Majesty," it says,
, taking into serious consideration the great and
general neglect and remissness of the commanders, captains, and other officers of the fleet, in not performing the duty of their respective places, according to the General Instructions: therefore, for the prevention of the like neglects, and their fatal consequences in future, his Majesty hath thought fit to order, and it is hereby accordingly ordered, that all flag-officers, captains, and other officers, &c., when on sea-service, shall receive double their present pay; and when on shore, shall receive half-pay," &c.
Such a sweeping reprimand to the whole body of the navy, and from a new sovereign, with no hereditary claim, and moreover a foreigner, was a bold measure, and required some soothing expedient like that administered by the Dutchman to gild the bitter pill, which completely answered the purpose; and the efficiency of the navy was much improved during the continuance of his reign.
William, however, was not quite steady. In the first printed list of naval lieutenants (in the Records of the Admiralty), in 1700, consisting of 330, it is headed that 100 will from time to time be entitled to half-pay when unemployed on shore, according to their seniority in the list.
The first printed list of captains (that appears in the Admiralty in the year 1717-18) consists in the whole of 214.
Queen Elizabeth succeeded to the throne of England under very discouraging circumstances. Her
subjects were divided and harassed by discordant religious opinions : the exchequer exhausted, and financial concerns in the greatest disorder; her title to the Crown disputed; the Scots in a state of rebellion in favour of their own queen ; the country inundated by Catholic bishops and priests, encouraged by the late sovereign and her bigoted husband, who, before the ashes of his wife were cold in the grave, unfeelingly proposed marriage to Elizabeth, which she treated with scorn; but it contributed to make a bitter enemy of the most powerful monarch of Europe, both by sea and land; while her own navy and army were in a low and deplorable condition, while her forts and castles along the sea-coast, the only true defence (coupled with a navy) of an insular empire, were in a state of neglect—all these accumulated evils, with the cares and anxieties of governing a great but distracted empire, were to be met by a young princess of five and twenty years
But the energy of her mental powers, strengthened by a sound and solid education and a clear understanding, added to that unconquerable spirit in maintaining what she deemed her right, (which she inherited from her father, and in which she was supported by wise and honest ministers,) enabled her to overcome the many difficulties that opposed her first entrance on the arduous task set before her. She met it boldly; and the first work of labour