Frenchman, and to have been first employed at the bombardment of Algiers, in 1681.*
Fireships and yachts first appear in a list of 1675. The use of the fireship, as the name implies, is, by means of ignited combustibles, to set fire to the vessels of an enemy. The yacht is simply a pleasure-vessel. According to Mr. Pepys, the Dutch, in the year 1660, gave Charles II. a yacht called the Mary; "until which time," he adds, " we had not heard of such a name in England." †
Although a certain number of guns is made the sign, or denomination, of every class within the six rates, the frequent occurrence of the same number of guns under different rates shows, that the classification by guns was, in some degree, subordinate to the classification by rates. A list, that gave the situation, or, place of mounting, as well as the number, of the guns on board the ships, would most probably show what it was that occasioned two classes, of the same apparent force, to be registered under different rates. It so happens, that no list or abstract that has been printed, or which is to be found among the archives of the navy, contains any information on the subject. There is, however, in existence a curious manuscript-list, or rather set of lists, bearing date in 1677, and drawn up by the command, and for the private use, of Charles II. The manuscript, which is elegantly written on vellum paper, and bound in gilt morocco, with silver clasps, afterwards belonged to the late Sir Thomas Slade, who was made a surveyor of the navy in 1755. Subsequently, it came into the possession of the late Sir John Henslow, who was appointed to the same office in 1785; and at the decease of the hitter, his executors presented it to Mr. John Knowles, of the Surveyor's Office, to whose kindness we are indebted for a perusal.
These lists exhibit the number, nature, and weight of the guns on every deck; the number of men assigned, as well for each caliber of gun, as for the ship's full complement; the number and specification of the officers; the tonnages; the years and places in and at which, and the persons by whom, the ships were built; together with many other useful particulars. In or about the year 1650 a difference began to prevail, between the number of guns and men established upon the ships in "war at home," and in "peace at home, and peace and war abroad."
That difference, which is carefully noted in these lists, arose from an inability to carry a sufficiency of provisions for their crews. Hence, in the event of the ship's being ordered to a distance from home, both the men and the guns were partially reduced, in order to allow room for an additional supply of provisions ; and that in time of war as well as of peace. Upon the
* See James's Military Dictionary, p. 56.
† Derrick, p. 89.
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