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Beginning with the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, and ending with the Peace of VERSAILLES in 1762.
THE extensive commerce of Great Britain hav
1 ing increased her riches and power, and thence enabled her to acquire a very respectable influence among the European states; some of them much her superiors in extent of territory and numbers of people: it is a very natural subject of inquiry to ask what peculiar circumstances operated so happily in her fa. your ?. In this investigation, it will not be long before it is discovered, that whatever causes beside might cooperate; the prosperity of Britain is primarily owing to its insular situation, and to its being an isand of such a size, as to poiless sufficient internal strength to make proper improvement of its exterior advantages.
These advantages were indeed enjoyed but in part, before the two kingdoins understood their mutual intereft so well as to unite together in one empire. England, it is true, was always formidable before; but it is since that happy period that Great Britain has shone with superior lustre; and shewn, what a VOL, VII.
brave and a free people, so fortunately situated, can perform, under prudent conduct, for their commor interest.
After a general collection of voyages, and travels, in which we have ranged the globe at large, and in-: formed ourselves concerning distant nations, as we find our own island so peculiarly calculated for a maritime power, and so eminently distinguished as one ; it will certainly be a very interesting amusement to a British reader, to trace, in a historical view, those signal naval transactions, from which our mariners have derived so much glory, and our country such capital emoluments, and such ascendancy on the ocean.
England from the earliest ages was distinguished as a maritime nation, compared with her cotemporaries at the several periods. But it was not until the time of Queen Elizabeth, that the constitution began to settle, and a commercial interest to take place of the old feudal system. This inspired the government with a vigour heretofore little known; the effects of which were shewn to great advantage under the resolute princess with whom we shall commence a review of the British marine.
. PERHAPS there never was a kingdom in a more distressed condition than England, at the accesfion of Queen Elizabeth. It was engaged in a war abroad for the interest of a foreign prince; at home the people were divided and distracted about their religious and civil concerns. Those of the reformed religion had been lately exposed to the flames, and those of the Roman community found themselves now in a declining state. On the continent we had no allies; in this very island the Scots were enemies, and their queen claimed the English crown. The exchequer was exhausted ; most of the forts and cantler throughout the kingdom mouldering into ruins; 2t sea we had lost much of our ancient reputation ; and a too