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ease at home should so raise a benefit out of their hunger and thirst that serve their prince and country painfully abroad, whereof there hath a long time been great complaining, but small reformation.
Of beer-casks. There is also daily proof made what great inconveniences grow by the bad cask which is used in bis majesty's ships, being commonly so ill seasoned and conditioned, as that a great part of the beer is ever lost and cast away, or (if for necessity it be used) it breeds infection, and corrupts all those that drink thereof; for the victuallers, for cheapness, will buy stale cask that hath been used for herrings, trainoil, fish, and other such unsavoury things, and thereinto fill the beer that is provided for the king's ships. Besides, the cask is commonly so ill hooped, as that there is waste and leaking made of the fourth part of all the drink, were it never so good; which is a great expense to his majesty, a hinderance of service, and a hazard of men's lives, when the provision fails so much, and answers not the account. The which might easily be redressed, if the cask for his majesty's shipping were purposely hooped in such sort as wine cask is, or else hooped with iron, which would ever serve, and save that continual provision of new cask which now falls out every voyage. But this course were more profitable for his majesty than for his officers, and therefore unpleasing to be spoken of; but yet such as serve in the ships have good cause to wish the reformation thereof.
Of the cook-rooms in his majesty's ships. And whereas now the cook-rooms in all of his majesty's ships are made below in hold in the waste, the inconveniences thereof are found many ways by daily use and experience. For first, it is a great spoil and annoyance to all the drink and victuals which are bestowed in the hold, by the heat that comes from the cook-room : besides, it is very dangerous for fire, and very offensive with the smoke and unsavoury smells which it sends from thence. Moreover, it is a great weakening to a ship to have so much weight and charge at both the ends, and nothing in the midship, which causeth them to warp, and (in the sea phrase with mariners) is termed camberkeeled: whereas, if the cook-rooms were made in the forecastle, (as very fitly they might be,) all those inconveniences above specified would be avoided, and then also would there be more room for stowage of victuals, or any other necessary provisions, whereof there is now daily found great want. And the commodity of this new cook-room the merchants have found to be so great, as that in all their ships (for the most part) the cook-rooms are built in their forecastles, contrary to that which hath been anciently used. In which change, notwithstanding, they have found no inconvenience to their dressing of meat in foul weather, but rather a great ease; howbeit their ships go as long voyages as any, and are, for their burdens, as well manned. For if any storms arise, or the sea grow so high as that the kettle cannot boil in the forecastles, yet having with their beer and biscuit, butter and cheese, and with their pickled herrings, oil, vinegar, and onions, or with their red herrings and dry sprats, oil and mustard, and other like provisions that needs no fire, these supply and varieties of victuals will very sufficiently content (and nourish) men for a time, until the storm be overblown that kept the kettle from boiling.
Of mustering and pressing able mariners. As concerning the musters and presses for sufficient mariners to serve in his majesty's ships, either the care therein is very little, or the bribery very great; so that of all other shipping his majesty's are ever the worst manned, and at such times as the commissioners' commissions come out for the pressing of mariners, the officers do set out the most needy and unable men, and (for considerations to themselves best known) do discharge the better sort, a matter so commonly used, as that it is grown into a proverb amongst the sailors, that the muster-masters do carry the best and ablest men in their pockets, a custom very evil and dangerous,
where the service and use of men should come in trial. For many of these poor fishermen and idlers, that are commonly presented to his majesty's ships, are so ignorant in sea-service, as that they know not the name of a rope, and therefore insufficient for such labour. The which might easily be redressed, if the vice-admiral of the shire where men are mustered, and two justices, had directions given to join with the muster-masters for the pressing of the best men, whom they well know, and would not suffer the service of their prince and country to be bought and sold, as a private muster-master would do. Besides, the captains themselves of the ships, if they be bare and needy, (though pity it were that men of such condition should have such charge com. mitted unto them,) will oftentimes for commodity chop and change away their good men; and therefore it were fitly provided to bridle such odd captains, that neither they themselves, nor any of their men, should receive his majesty's pay but by the pole, and according as they were set down in the officers' books when they were delivered, without changing of any names, except to supply such men as are wanting by death or sickness, upon good testimony under the hands of the master, the boatswain, the master-gunner, the purser, and other officers of the ship. For it nearly concerns them to look well thereunto, having daily use of them.
Of arms and munition. It were a course very comfortable, defensive, and ho nourable, that there were for all his majesty's ships a pro portion of swords, targets of proof, morions, and curats of proof, allowed and set down for every ship, according to his burden, as a thing both warlike, and used in the king of Spain's ships; the want whereof, as it is a great discouragement to men, if they come to any near fight or landing, so would the use thereof be a great annoyance and terrifying to the enemy. And herein should his majesty need to be at no extraordinary expense ; for the abating of the superfluous great pieces in every ship, with their allowance for powder, match, and shot, would supply the cost of this provision in very ample manner.
Of captains to serve in his majesty's ships. At all such times as his majesty's ships are employed in service, it were very convenient that such gentlemen as are his majesty's own sworn servants should be preferred to the charge of his majesty's ships, choice being made of men of valour and capacity, rather than to employ other men's men; and that other of his majesty's servants should be dispersed privately in those services to gain experience, and to make themselves able to take charge. By the which means his majesty should ever have gentlemen of good account his own servants, captains of his own ships, instead of petty companions and other men's servants, who are often employed, being, indeed, a great indignity to his majesty, to his shipping, and to his own gentlemen. For that in times past, it hath been reputed a great grace to any man of the best sort to have the charge of the prince's ship committed unto him; and by this means there would ever be true report made unto the prince what proceedings are used in the service, which these meaner sort of captains dare not do, for fear of displeasing the lords their masters by whom they are preferred, or being of an inferior quality have no good access to the presence of the prince, whereby to have fit opportunity to make relation accordingly.
But now, forasmuch as I doubt not but that some contrary spirits may, or will, object this as a sufficient reason to infirm all those points that I have formerly spoken of, and say unto me, why should his majesty and the state be troubled with this needless charge of keeping and maintaining so great a navy in such. exquisite perfection and readiness, the times being now peaceable, and little use of arms or ships of war, either at home or abroad, but all safe and secure, as well by the uniting of the two nations, as by the peace which we hold with Spain, and all other Christian princes? To this I answer, that this, indeed, may stand
(at the first sight) for a pretty superficial argument to blear our eyes, and lull us asleep in security, and make us negligent and careless of those causes from whence the effects of peace grow, and by the virtue whereof it must be maintained. But we must not flatter and decerve ourselves, to think that this calm and concord proceeds either from a settled immutable tranquillity in the world, (which is full of alterations and various humours,) or from the good affeotions of our late enemies, who have tasted too many disgraces, repulses, and losses, by our forces and shipping, to wish our state so much felicity as a happy and peaceable government, if otherwise they had power to hinder it: and therefore though the sword be put into the sheath, we must not suffer it there to rust, or stick so fast, as that we shall not be able to draw it readily, when need requires. For albeit our enemies have of late years sought peace with us, yet hath it proceeded out of the former trial of our forces in times of war and enmity; and therefore we may well say of them, as Annæus, prætor of the Latins, said of the Roman ambassadors, who seemed curious and careful to have the league maintained between them, (which the Ro man estate was not accustomed to seek at their neighbours' hands;) and thereupon saith this Annæus, Unde hæc illis tanta modestia, nisi ex cognitione virum et nostrarum et suarum? for with the like consideration and respect have our late enemies sought to renew the ancient friendship and peace with us. And well we may be assured, that if those powerful means, whereby we reduced them to that modesty and courtesy as to seek us, were utterly laid aside and neglected, so as we could not again, upon occasion, readily assume the use and benefit of them as we have done; those proud mastering spirits, finding us at such advantage, would be more ready and willing to shake us by the ears as enemies, than to take us by the hands as friends : and therefore far be it from our hearts to trust more to that friendship of strangers, that is but dissembled upon policy and necessity, than to the strength of our own forces, which hath been experienced with so happy success. I confess,