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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

But we must revert to our sketch of the progress of navigation in the seventeenth century.

In the sea-fights with Holland, during the time of the Commonwealth, our mercantile navy was greatly distinguished, as well as in single actions with the Barbary pirates.

"About the middle of the century," remarks Anderson, "it had been observed with concern, that the merchants of England, for several years past, had usually freighted the Hollanders' shipping, for bringing home their own merchandise, because their freight was at a lower rate than that of English ships. The Dutch shipping were, therefore, made use of even for importing our own American products, whilst our own shipping lay rotting in our harbours; our mariners also, for want of employment at home, went into the service of the Hollanders." In order to remedy this disastrous state of things, the first Navigation Law was passed by the long Parliament in 1651, which gave rise, shortly after the Restoration in 1660, to the celebrated Navigation Act, which remained in force, with only a partial deviation, until 1823, when the present "Reciprocity system" was brought into operation.

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