The Trade Winds: A Study of British Overseas Trade during the French Wars, 1793-1815

The Trade Winds: A Study of British Overseas Trade during the French Wars, 1793-1815

The Trade Winds: A Study of British Overseas Trade during the French Wars, 1793-1815

The Trade Winds: A Study of British Overseas Trade during the French Wars, 1793-1815

Excerpt

By Admiral Sir William M. James, G.C.B.

THE authors of this book have tried to portray, in outline, the background of trade against which the Navy of Nelson's time had to operate. THE TRADE WINDS is the title they have chosen and the book should serve to remind us of many physical facts which then dominated the strategy both of trade and war--the Trade Winds themselves being not the least of them. There is something in that title which conjures up all the magic and romance of the sea, helping us to picture what dry statistics of tonnage may tend to conceal. But the winds upon which our overseas trade was founded were no English monopoly. They blew for all who had the courage and skill to use them. Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch ships were also at sea; nor was the spirit of adventure lacking in their crews. Undeterred by lack of charts, meagre supplies and the risk of death from strange disease, they had reached the farthest parts of the Indies. French seamen, too, had dared the hazards of the frost-bound St. Lawrence to plant and maintain their flag upon Canadian soil. It would be hard to show that these were less resourceful, less adventurous than the English who supplanted them. The issue was never decided by commercial enterprise or even by seamanship. It was decided by Sea Power. And if the Navy drew its strength from Trade, the Merchant Service looked to the Navy for protection.

In studying this book, therefore--in studying, in fact, the trading background to a war at sea--the war itself must not be forgotten. Ever since that day, June 13th, 1514, when the Henri-Grace-à-Dieu was hallowed at Erith (at the not unreasonable cost, by one account, of 6s. 8d.) the Royal Navy has had a continuous history. If not the first King's Ship, the Great Harry has some claim to be considered the first man-of-war. Dwarfing her predecessors and recorded by many artists, she was the wonder of the age, and may be taken as . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.