already shown, the name frigate was commonly applied. The probability, that the latter were those alluded to, is strengthened by the fact, that the first list of king's ships, one of 1604, in which any frigate appears, contains only " a French frigat." This vessel stands the last but one in the list, and, from her burden, 15 tons, must have been little better than a boat. The next list of king's ships, in which the frigate appears, is one of 1633. There the two last vessels are the " Swann frigat." and "Nicodemus frigat," each of 60 tons, 10 men, and 3 guns. In a subsequent list, they each appear with a different tonnage, number of men, and guns. One may conjecture that, as Charles I made frequent visits of inspection to his different naval depots, the Swan and Nicodemus were elegant, fast-sailing little ships, built to attend him thither; and it is not unlikely, that the diminutive French Frigate of the former list had also been constructed for pleasurable purposes.
Fuller, who wrote in or about the year 1660, says, " We fetched the first model and pattern of our friggots from the Dunkirks, when, in the days of the Duke of Buckingham, then admiral, we took some friggots from them, two of which still survive in his Majesties navy, by the names of the Providence and Expedition." * Now, the Duke of Buckingham appears to have filled the office of Lord High Admiral from 1619 to about 1636, and the names Providence and Expedition occur; both in the list of 1633, and in that of 1652, which is the next that appears in print. But the figures denoting the tonnages, men, and guns of the ships, in these early lists, are too contradictory to enable us to state more, than that the Providence and Expedition were small ships, mounting from 20 to 30 guns, the chief of them on a single deck. Mr. Pepys, also, whose authority in all matters respecting the ships of the British navy stands very high, says thus: "The Constant-Warwick was the first frigate built in England. She was built in 1649, by Mr. Peter Pett, for a privateer for the Earl of Warwick, and was sold by him to the States. Mr. Pett took his model of a frigate from a French frigate which he had seen in the Thames; as his son, Sir Phineas Pett, acknowledged to me." † Mr. Pepys, in his "Memoirs of the Navy," invariably, we observe, spells frigate, frigat ; but Mr. Derrick's correcting hand, and our inability to get a sight of the "Miscellanies" and " Naval Minutes" (stated by Mr. D. to be in Magdalen College, Cambridge), compels us, in quotations purporting to be from them, to spell the word, and indeed all the words, as if they had been written at the close of the eighteenth; rather than of the seventeenth century.
Mr. Pett may have taken his model some years before be was called upon to build a vessel from it; and there is no reason to
* Fuller's Worthies of England, vol. ii., p.. 342.
† Derrick, p. 70
^ back to top ^