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HOW BRITANNIA CAME TO RULE THE WAVES, UPDATED TO 1900
     

HOW BRITANNIA CAME TO RULE THE WAVES, UPDATED TO 1900

by W.H.G. Kingston
 
CHAPTER ONE.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

Rome was not built in a day, nor has the glorious British Navy attained
its present condition except by slow degrees, by numerous trials and
experiments, by improvements gradually and cautiously introduced, and by
the employment of a vast amount of thought, energy, and toil. We are
apt to forget

Overview

CHAPTER ONE.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

Rome was not built in a day, nor has the glorious British Navy attained
its present condition except by slow degrees, by numerous trials and
experiments, by improvements gradually and cautiously introduced, and by
the employment of a vast amount of thought, energy, and toil. We are
apt to forget when we see an elaborate machine, the immense quantity of
mental and physical exertion it represents, the efforts of the united
minds perhaps of many successive generations, and the labour of
thousands of workmen. I propose briefly to trace the progress which the
British Navy has made from age to age, as well as its customs, and the
habits of its seamen, with their more notable exploits since the days
when this tight little island of ours first became known to the rest of
the world.

Some writers, indulging in the Darwinian theory of development, would
make us believe that the ironclad of the present day is the legitimate
offspring of the ancient coracle or wicker-work boat which is still to
be found afloat on the waters of the Wye, and on some of the rivers of
the east coast; but if such is the case, the descent must be one of many
ages, for it is probable that the Britons had stout ships long before
the legions of Cassar set their feet upon our shores. I am inclined to
agree with an ancient writer who gives it as his opinion that the
British were always a naval people. "For," says he, in somewhat quaint
phraseology, "as Britain was an island, the inhabitants could only have
come to it across the ocean in ships, and they could scarcely have had
ships unless they were nautically inclined." The same writer asserts
that the Britons had vessels of large size long before the invasion of
the Romans, but that they either burnt them to prevent their falling
into the hands of the invaders, or that they were destroyed by the
Romans themselves, who then, adding insult to injury, stigmatised the
people as mere painted barbarians, whose sole mode of moving over the
waters of their coasts and rivers was in wicker baskets covered with
hides--the truth being, that these wicker-ribbed boats were simply the
craft used by the British fishermen on their coasts or streams. How
could the hordes that in successive ages crossed the German Ocean have
performed the voyage unless they had possessed more efficient means of
conveyance than these afforded? I must, therefore, agree with the
aforesaid ancient writer that they had stout ships, impelled by sails
and oars, which were afterwards employed either in commercial or
piratical enterprises. The Britons of the southern shores of the island
possessed, he says, wooden-built ships of a size considerably greater
than any hide-covered barks could have been. It is very certain that
many hundred years before the Christian era the Phoenicians visited the
coasts of Cornwall and Devonshire, and planted colonies there, which
retain to the present day their ancient peculiarities and customs, and
even many names of common things. It is probable that these colonists,
well acquainted as they were with nautical affairs, kept up their
practical knowledge of shipbuilding, and formed a mercantile navy to
carry on their commerce with other countries, as well as ships fitted
for warfare to protect their ports from foreign invasion, or from the
attacks of pirates.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013787759
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
12/06/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
424 KB

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