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it may be asked, Are they so easily accessible? The Society prints them not for public sale, but for issue to its members, or—which amounts to the same thing—its subscribers. The answer is 'Certainly, they are accessible,' because, although those subscribers number at present less than six hundred, yet nearly one half of them are institutions or corporate bodies, such as universities and single colleges (50), royal, municipal, institutional, or public libraries (75), learned societies (33), clubs (20), Government departments, military and naval libraries (24). This circumstance not only throws open the volumes to readers who are not individual members of the Society, but shows that its aims and labours are appreciated by the leaders of culture and promoters of the higher branches of education in this and other countries, both in and out of Europe.
If so many universities and single colleges find the Society's volumes a necessity, how comes it, it may be asked, that of all our great Public Schools, in which is vested so weighty a responsibility for the infusion of patriotic and imperial sentiment and a knowledge of the world at large into the flower of our youth at its most impressionable age, only one has seen fit to devote an annual guinea to the publications of the Society-two handsome cloth-bound volumes in each year ? That one, it is true, is Westminster, Hakluyt's own old school. Yet surely these records of exploration, adventure, pioneer colonisation, and all the valuable information which they contain about men and things and heroic deeds in the past, supply the very best material, at first hand, to arouse emulation in the young, and excite a feeling of sympathy which is ennobling to those who come under its influence, and is an important education in itself. No public school in the kingdom which possesses a library can be deemed adequately equipped until the Society's volumes find a place on its shelves. For by their means many misconceptions have been cleared away, greater historical accuracy has been secured, and the most attractive as well as generally useful branch of education has been purified and elevated.
Art. 6.-SHIPS TIMBER AND CONTRABAND OF WAR.*
The hyperbole of the 'Sure Shield,' in the days when the maritime supremacy of England was in the making, was based, not on the spirit of the Navy alone, but on a policy, widespreading in its action, of ships' timber and naval stores. All that such policy implied is as vital today to the safety of the Empire as it was then, though the old ships which were built and maintained by it have sailed below the horizon.
The principal factors then determining foreign relations, the strength and vitality of which rested on seapower, were, firstly, political, the succession to some thrones in Europe being of great concern to England, and requiring the capacity for vigorous action in distant seas—such were the foreign occasions of the King's naval service, their outward expression the annoying of our enemies and the support of our honour with foreign Princes; and secondly, commercial—the ordinary occasions of the service, and the protection of the estates of our trading subjects. For answering the former it was essential to maintain at sea capital ships, and for answering the latter, the nimble frigats,' in their full wage, victuals, supplies and repairs.
Thus Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty, described the functions of the Navy in his Memories," begun in 1679, three years after Parliament had resolved (March 5, 1676), to give to his Majesty 600,0001. for the building of 30 ships (in two years, to be accounted from Midsummer next'), an addition to the navy royall rendering the whole a security not unequal (ordinary providence concurring) to the publick ends of it, in the maintenance of the Peace and Honour of the Government on Shore, and support of its ancient, rightful, and envy'd Title to Dominion at Sea'; forasmuch as 'in these ships rested not only that, by which the present
* The authorities on which the writer of this article has largely availed himself are, Pepys' Memoirs of the Royal Navy,' edited by J. R. Tanner; Evelyn's Sylva,' 4th edition, 1776, by Dr Hunter, F.R.S. ; Hòllond's Discourses of the Navy,' edited by J. R. Tanner; The Barham Papers,' Navy Records Society; Oppenheim's ' Administration of the Navy'; the Records of the Royal Society (by courteous permission of the Council), and the Foreign Office Records in the Public Record Office. Vol. 236.–No. 468.
sea-strength of England surmounted all it had ever before had to pretend to, and the utmost that its present woods * (at least within any reasonable reach of its arsenals) seem now able to support with materials, or its navigation with men; but that portion also of the same, upon which alone may at this day be rightfully said to rest the virtue of the whole, oppos'd to the no less considerable growths in the naval strengths of France and Holland.'
• The utmost that its present woods seem now able to support with materials !' Words pregnant with meaning. Nature herself, while man was content to fight in wooden ships, imposed a limitation of armaments. The supply of timber, so long in its growth, was not inexhaustible (unless Admirals and country gentlemen walked abroad with acorns in their pockets t); and the forests had to furnish the merchants as well as Princes with ships. But private as well as Royal demesnes were becoming exhausted, in spite of ancient statutes devised for their preservation. Ironworks were the great destroyers of timber; and a statute of Elizabeth had forbidden the creation of any new works within 22 miles of London or 14 of the Thames.
In 1632, the Forests of Dean and Waltham were reported wasted and ruined; work in Chatham and Deptford yards was almost at a standstill, so great was the destitution of timber. Complaints of decay of timber and unauthorised pillage were constant. In 1651, the preservation of the New Forest was recommended as being one of the principal magazines of timber for shipping'; and in 1668, 11,000 acres in the Forest of Dean were enclosed specially for the growth of oak.
In 1662, certain queries were addressed to the Royal
* The call of the Navy on the forests of England was dealt with by the Quarterly Review' in March 1813, in a review of Hunter's edition of Evelyn's 'Sylva'; April 1818, in a review of Bray's ‘Memoirs of Evelyn'; October 1827, in a review of Monteith's Forester's Guide and Profitable Planter'; and October 1838, in a review of Loudon's Trees and Shrubs of Britain' (ex rel. Dr Nesbit's edition of 'Sylva ').
+ Collingwood wrote in 1805, 'If the country gentlemen do not make it a point to plant oaks wherever they will grow, the time will not be very distant when to keep our Navy we must depend entirely on captures from the enemy. I wish everybody thought on this subject as I do. They would not walk through their farms without a pocketful of acorns to drop in the hedge-sides, and then let them take their chance.'
Society, at that time beginning its illustrious career, by the Commissioners of the Navy touching the preserving of timber; of which the first was
Whether it were not advisable that His Majesty might be moved, now there is so great a scarcity of timber for the supply of his Navy, that all his forests, shaws and parks, which lye within 20 miles of the sea or any navigable river, and whose soil shall be found fit for propagating of timber for the service of the Navy, may be planted with oke, elme, ash and beachen tymber, in such manner and proportion as may still consist with His Majesty's benefit and pleasure in his game, and whether the planting of them be not a far greater improvement of those lands than now is made?' This and other queries, tending to further the growth of timber fit for shipping, were referred to a Committee. Dr Goddard brought in his thoughts upon the subject, and Dr Merret presented a collection of statutes concerning the same. Mr Winthrop, son of a former Governor of Massachusetts, and himself Governor of Connecticut, advocated utilising the resources of the American Plantations * ; for there was great store of good oak timber for the building of ships, of spruce and fir-trees . fit for masts of all sizes for ships of any burthen,' and of that sort of pine which is called pitch-pine, of which tar and pitch may be made.' Many ships had been built there during the last twenty years; and there were many saw-mills near good harbours and navigable rivers, sufficient though there should be divers ships built at a time,' and 'many good artists for master-workmen and other ordinary workmen,' also caulkers, smiths, and all other necessary trades; and excellent accommodation for any artificers who should be sent out. Everything favoured his plan that ships should be built in America, and freighted with planks, knee-timbers, and masts, the cost not exceeding one-third of the English price.
Mr Evelyn was desired to peruse these papers and to add what he had of his own, digesting the sum of all into one paper against the next meeting. Which being done, he, on October 15, 1662, delivered 'A discourse of Forest Trees, and the propagation of Timber in His
* His paper is summarised in Birch’s ‘History of the Royal Society.'
Majesty's Dominions,'known in its enlarged and published form as Sylva.'
The need of the Navy was not difficult to formulate : well-stocked forests near to navigable rivers, so that timber might be brought at a reasonable expense to the yards. But it was of almost equal importance to find honest purveyors. It had been necessary to issue a special order forbidding even the members of the Navy Board from trading in naval material.
In April 1679, Charles II appointed Commissioners, devolving upon them the execution of the whole office of Lord High Admiral.' The time, Pepys thought, was opportune, for the state of the fleet was most satisfactory. The gross of the ships, 76 out of 83, were well found, and the residue in a condition of being thoroughly fitted for sea, with sea-stores, and a reserve in magazine. Of the thirty ships ordered by Parliament, eleven were reported newly launched, and the remainder (all of them) under an assiduous prosecution upon the stocks.' The experiment proved disastrous, owing to the incompetence of the Commissioners; and in May 1684, Charles resumed control of the Navy, assisted by his brother. An inquiry was ordered in January 1685/6, and discovered a most deplorable degree of calamity.' Only 24 ships were at sea, and the remainder greatly out of repair, with a magazine unequal to the occasions of the Navy. The Commissioners, after the longest vacation of a Homemarine Peace,' had brought the Navy into a state more deplorable in its ships, and less relievable from its stores than had happened at the close of the most expenceful war.' As an example of its generally evil plight, Pepys, in his Report to James II, pointed to the miserable state of the thirty ships : The greatest part (without having ever yet look'd out of harbour) were let to sink into such distress through decays ... that several of them had been newly reported . to lye in danger of sinking at their very moorings '; and some of them were wholly irrepairable. The time-limit of two years for building had been exceeded; some had taken three, some four years, and one more than five, so that 1001, was demanded by the builders for repairing her keel as she lay upon the stocks. The cause of this calamitous state was the plain omission of the necessary and ordinary cautions