|Naval history of Great Britain
||British and French Fleets.
THE increase of large-sized three-deckers in the navies of other powers calling for a proportionate increase in the first rates of the navy of Great Britain, two more ships of the size of the Caledonia, and a third, larger than any other except the Hibernia, appear among, the ordered ships of the abstract for this year. * The paucity of vessels of the smaller classes in the same column occasions the average tonnage of the 52 vessels, summed up at the foot of it, to be more than double that of the 122 vessels, standing as the total in the corresponding column of the preceding year's abstract. As, among regular ships of war, the armament usually increases with the size, the British navy probably acquired more real strength by the lesser, than by the larger, number of vessels thus added to it. †
No one can doubt that it would greatly simplify the ordnance establishment of a navy, if all the guns were of the same length, weight, and caliber. Similarly-sized carriages, utensils, and shot would suffice for all ; and the only difference, in point of armament, between any two vessels would be in the number of guns which they respectively mounted. As, however, the law of mechanics will not, where two or more batteries are required to be placed one above another in a ship, usually admit of an equalisation in the length and weight of the guns, we must be satisfied to obtain it in the caliber.
The Spanish and British navies present a few exceptions to its rule. The 80-gun ship Phœnix taken from the Spaniards 1780, mounted long 24s of the same length and weight, upon both her first and second decks, and was similarly armed as the
* See Appendix, Annual Abstract No. 15.
† For the different prize and casualty lists attached to this abstract, see Appendix, Nos. 19, 20, and 21,
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