of which, with the two 24-pounder 74s already on the stocks, averaged 1914 tons.
The old 50-gun ship, it will be seen, has been displaced from the head of the under-line division, to make room for two new classes, composed of ships purchased from the East-India company. These ships are described in a note subjoined to the abstract : * it may therefore suffice to say of them, that they proved, on trial, to be far fitter for their old than their new occupation. The 14 newly-built 18-gun brig-sloops at Y and Z, with another, the Despatch, referred to in a note in that abstract, † were the first British men of war constructed of fir since the year 1757. ‡
Carronades were rapidly spreading through the navy. Scarcely a ship was now without them. A tier of 32-pounders was mounted upon the second-deck of the nine purchased ships at R and S ; and there were individuals in several classes, whose armament was principally if not wholly composed of them. The 32-pounder had been assigned as the main battery of a whole class, § which, otherwise, would have had only 6-pounder long guns. A new use had been found for the smaller calibers every ship in the navy, down to the 18-gun brig inclusive, was ordered to be supplied with a carronade for her launch ; ** to assist in carrying into execution the desperate service of cutting out vessels, an employment in which British seamen have so often distinguished themselves.
The number of commissioned officers and masters, belonging to the British navy, at the commencement of this year, was,
and the number of seamen and marines, voted for the year 1796, was 110,000.¶
Towards the latter end of the year 1795, after having been long torn by domestic factions of the usual sanguinary character,
‡ See p. 28.
** First-rates, as well as 80s and 76s (or 24-pdr. 74s), were allowed 24-pounders ; 98s 90s, 74s and 64s, 18-pounders ; and, from 50s (or 56s) to large sloops inclusive, 12-pounders. Order dated August 28, 1795.
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