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eminently dangerous and difficult to watch, it at once divided our forces, and increased our alarms on the dangers and consequences of invasion. The timber and materials for building and equipment were conveyed down the Rhine, into the ports of Holland and the Scheldt, in great abundance; and the money required to defray the expense, was extorted from the countries under the influence or control of the French government. The artists employed in the construction of the ships at Antwerp, were never remarkable for putting their work well together; to answer an immediate purpose was all that was required, without any regard to ulterior results. The fleet of ships of the line, which rode on the Scheldt in 1809, would probably have fallen to pieces in a gale of wind at sea, with the weight of their guns; still they were to be attended and blockaded by a British fleet of nearly equal numbers. The gunboats and transport vessels of France and Holland, for the purposes of invasion, were rapidly increasing, as will hereafter be shewn. The nursery for seamen was very extensive on the northern and western coasts of Europe; and in the south France possessed greater resources than might be supposed, both in the number and quality of her seamen. The coasting trade of the Mediterranean is usually carried on by vessels called feluccas, manned with from fifteen to twenty men: the ample lateen sail is spread on a yard equal in length to the mainyard of an eight-and-thirty gun frigate, and requires men of peculiar habit and character to manage it. These seamen were always ready to man the fleet of Toulon, and soon became expert in the service of a ship of war. The feluccas are chiefly used from the mouths of the Var to the Rhone ; they trade to the ports of Barcelona, Marseilles, Toulon, Genoa, and Nice, and in war time occupied the vigilance and attention of our most enterprising cruisers. Great commercial speculation existed between the port of Marseilles and Egypt, and the risk incurred of capture by the British vessels of war, was counteracted by the insurance effected in London. Alexandria, Smyrna, and Tunis, carried on their exports and imports under a French flag, but generally under that of the states of Barbary. Genoa and Port Especia contributed, both in men and ships, to the augmentation of the French navy; and we have already shewn, that France derived her supplies of timber, in those ports and Toulon, from Corsica. The Adriatic also afforded them a considerable share of naval stores; and from Ancona they received the finest hemp in the world. The increase of the Spanish marine and commerce, as an auxiliary of France, will receive due notice in its proper place.
The Turkish navy is not to be overlooked in this glance at the power and resources of the Mediterranean. The conduct of France to the Sublime Porte, in 1798, and the brilliant deeds of Nelson, in Egypt, offered no solid pledge for the friendship of Turkey; and we are to witness the contention between the fleets and forts of that power, and the British navy.
The Ionian islands had frequently changed their masters: they are now appendages of the British empire, and may be safely intrusted to our hands for the happiness of the inhabitants. They abound in excellent harbours, and give us a commanding position on the eastern extremity of Europe, preserving a wholesome check to the power of France in the centre. The trade from Ancona to these islands, and the shores of the Adriatic, is very productive, and easily available to the neighbouring ports of France and Italy, Genoa and Venice. This last once celebrated place has no longer a claim to any maritime consideration; the causes of its decay are best known to the cabinets of Vienna and the Tuilleries.
This rapid sketch is meant to shew the importance of the Mediterranean command, and the heavy responsibility attached to the situation of the British admiral on that station. Malta, Sardinia, and Sicily, were coveted by Napoleon, and it was only the British navy that prevented his gaining possession of them. The Barbary powers were kept in good humour by the occasional presents of the British government, or the threats of her admirals: but their system is bad and replete with dangers; these piratical states ought at once to be rooted out, or made to conform to the laws of nations. We have abolished the trade in black slaves; why should we witness the captivity and bondage of Christians among savages?