was found convenient, particularly in ships of war, to connect the two short decks by a boarded passage on each side, called the gangway; to support which were placed beams, or rafters, that reached right across the ship. This gave to the whole such a continuous appearance, that no person, not otherwise taught would hesitate to call it as our landman did * the upper deck of the ship. And even a marine writer of France justifies the term:-"On peut regarder les gaillards comme le Pont le plus élevé des vaisseaux, dout une partie est interrompue entre le grand mât et le mât de misaine; ce qui forme deux demi-ponts au niveau l'un de I'autre." †
Some advances have, however, since been made. The French, for instance, were accustomed occasionally to cover with a grating the open space between the two "half-decks;" and then it was no longer "les gaillards," or "les demi-ponts," but "le pont de cailbottis," the deck with a grating. " Je crois donc que les vaisseaux du second rang pourroient avoir trois ponts sans gaillards, on plutôt les gaillards qui formeroient le troisième pont, seroient joints par des cailbottis, comme on l'a vû au Tonnant. De tels bâtimens, qu'on pourroit regrarder comme d'ayant que deux ponts, seroient, au moyen du pont de cailbottis, &c." ‡ In more modern times, each passage, or gangway, has in some cases been widened, so as to admit a gun to recoil; or, if necessary, as many guns as the passage, from its length, can receive. But even this, with the English, is not allowed to take from the deck that is underneath, and which is now almost covered from sight, its ancient name of upper. The ship, therefore, should particularity be requisite, not otherwise, has a new deck assigned to her, called the spar deck; a name the origin or application of which every one seems ignorant. If it is because the ship's spare spars are stowed on that deck, so are they in the same place on board every ship ; namely, on each side of the launch, between the fore and main masts. The French say, "Pont sur gueule," which may be rendered, "the deck built over the mouth of the upper deck," commonly called the waist. Why is this not as complete a deck as any in the ship ? Hence, as no one ventures, in common utterance, to speak of a spar-decked one, two, or three decker, a ship of this construction may mount a whole tier of cannon beyond what her denomination expresses and we shall, by and by, have to adduce some very formidable examples.
Not only the three and the two, but the single decked ship feels, and that to a greater extent, the inconvenience of this ambiguous nomenclature. For instance, a ship that mounts
* See p. 11.
† Vocabulaire des Termes de Marine ; par Cn. Lescallier, Ordonnateur de Marine; à Paris, 1'an 6. (1798.)
‡ Elémens de 1'Architecture Navale; par M. Duhamel du Monceau; à Paris, 1752.
^ back to top ^