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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1807 British and French Fleets 280

24 and 18, any new or effective two-decker, above a 64, might, we should suppose, have carried all her guns of the former caliber : in which case the momentum of her armament would be greatly augmented, while its absolute weight would remain nearly the same. For instance, taking it for granted that a medium 32-pounder would not weigh more than 40 cwt., or two hundred weight less than the common or nine feet 18-pounder, the weight of seventy-four 32-pounders of the three descriptions, with their carriages, would not exceed that of the old armament as stated above ; and yet the broadside-force would be increased from 928 to 1184 lbs., a very material consideration.

An equalization of caliber to this extent would, however, as a general establishment ; be almost impracticable in a navy like that of England, on account of the great number of guns which it would be necessary to recast. A newly-formed navy, like that of the United States, would have no such difficulty to encounter. The Americans, indeed, with their accustomed ingenuity, have recently invented a medium 32-pounder gun, and, by its means, have armed their largest ships with a treble battery of that powerful caliber.

The number of commissioned officers and masters belonging to the British navy at the commencement of the year 1807, was:

Admirals     52
Vice-admirals     57
Rear-admirals     50
  superannuated 25  
Post-captains     693
  superannuated 26  
Commanders, or Sloop-captains     502
  superannuated 50  
Lieutenants     2728
Masters     429

And the number of seamen end marines voted for the service of the same year was, 120,000 for the first, and 130,000 for the remaining twelve lunar months of it.*

Napoléon, it will be recollected, in his plan of operations against England, framed in September, 1804, intended that the Brest fleet, of 23 sail of the line and smaller vessels, should disembark from 30,000 to 40,000 men in the north of Ireland, or even in Scotland in order to operate as a diversion while the main body of the grand army was traversing the Channel. † Some distinguished French officers, it seems, were of opinion, that Ireland solely should have been the object of the expedition, judging that, with the aid of the disaffected inhabitants of that unhappy country, a third of the army assembled for the conquest of England would suffice ; that the troops in their diminished

*  See Appendix, No. 22.

†  See vol. iii., p. 217.

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