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Some account of the

and of the rise and progress of the
commercial Navy of Great Britain. 1834

SOURCE: The Saturday Magazine, No. 117. Supplement, April, 1834

In 1575 the number of merchant-vessels in England, above 100 tons burden, was only 135, and 696 between 40 and 100 tons. About this time the passage to Archangel was discovered, and a trade opened with Russia, a region which had previously been literally a terra incognita in this country. Companies were also incorporated under Royal Charter, to extend the intercourse with Turkey, and with Guinea, and other places on the coast of Africa. The old historian, Harrison says, that " there were then few merchant-ships of the first and second sort, being apparelled and made ready to sail, that were not worth 1000l., or 3000 ducats at the least." Such was the enterprise of the English merchants in this reign, that numerous privateers were fitted out to harass the Spaniards; one of which was of the burden of 800 tons, the largest ship, not of the Royal navy, which had, up to that period (1597), been built. At the death of the Queen, however, in 1603, it is asserted by many writers, that there were only four merchant-ships in England of the burden of 400 tons.

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