Ship is a general name for all great vessels with sails, fit for navigating the sea, except galleys, which go with oars and smack sails. The invention of ships is very ancient, but the time uncertain. Some look on Noah as the first ship-builder. Ships are usually divided into three classes, ships of war, merchants' ship, and an intermediate kind, half war, half merchant; being such as though built for merchandize yet take commissions for war. Ships of war are again divided into several orders, called rates: thus, a three-decked ship is called a first and second rate; a frigate, or two-decked ship, third, fourth, and fifth rate; a one-decked ship, sixth rate; a bomb-vessel, a fire ship, a ketch, a machine vessel, a smoker.
Merchant Ships are estimated by their burthen, that is, by the number of tons they bear, each ton reckoned 20 cwt. The estimate is made by gauging the hold, which is the proper place of loading. A vessel is said to draw ten or fifteen feet of water, when it sinks so deep under water, being loaded. A vessel is said to be of 300 or 400 tons when it will carry that weight, or when immerged in water it passes the space of 300 or 400 tons of water.
A Man of War, first-rate, has its gun-deck from 159 to 174 feet in length, and from forty-four to fifty feet broad ; contains from 1,313 to 1,882 tons; has from 706 to 800 men; and carries from ninety-six to 110 guns.A Frigate is a two-decked ship, of the third, fourth, and fifth rate. Third rates have their gun-decks from 153 to 165 feet long; and from thirty-seven to forty broad; they contain from 871 to 1,262 tons, carry from 389 to 476 men ; and from sixty-four to eighty guns. The other rates are proportionably less. The sixth rates have their gun-decks from eighty-seven to ninety-five feet long and from twenty-two to twenty-five feet broad; they contain from 152 to 256 tons, carry from fifty to 110 men, and from sixteen to twenty-four guns. New built ships are much larger and better than the old ones of the same rate; whence, in the double numbers, the larger express the proportions of the new-built ships, the less those of the old ones.Yacht, or Yatch, from the Dutch, Iatcht, (signifying hunting,) a kind of vessel com-modiously contrived and adorned, to suit it to State passengers, etc. It is furnished with masts and sails, has onedeck, carrying from four to twelve guns, with from twenty to forty men; burthen from thirty to 160 tons. They are used for running and making short trips. The Dutch yachts are chiefly used on their rivers and canals.Brigantine, a small, flat, open vessel, . goes with sails and oars; and is either for fighting or giving chace. Brigantines are principally used by the Corsairs, all the lands on board being soldier, and each laving his musket ready under his oar. There are usually twelve or fifteen benches on a side for the rowers, a man and an oar to each bench. Corsairs are pirates, particularly in the Mediterranean, who plunder merchants' vessels without commission from any prince. Among American seamen this vessel is distinguished by having her main sails set nearly in the plane of her keel; whereas the mainsails of larger ships are hung athwart, etc.Brig is a vessel with two masts, chiefly used in commerce, and carrying from 100 to 200 or even 300 tons burthen.Sloops, or Shallops, are tenders on the men of war, burthen about sixty tons, and carrying about thirty men. They are light, small vessels, with only a small mainmast, foremast, and lug-sails to haul up and let down, on occasion. They are commonly good sailors.Fire-Ships are filled with artificial fireworks and sent in amongst the enemy's ships.Bomb-Vessels have sometimes three masts and square sails, but also often ketch fashion, with one mast and mizen.Bomb-Ketch is for the use of mortars at sea, it is a small vessel strengthened with large beams. A Bilander is seldom above twenty-four tons, and can lie near the wind.Cutter, a small vessel, commonly navigated on the English Channel, furnished with one mast, and rigged as a sloop. Many of these are used in an illicit trade.Hulks are large vessels, having their gun-decks from 113 to 150 feet long, and from thirty to forty feet broad; they will carry from 400 to 500 tons. A hulk is an old ship cut down to the gun-deck, and fitted with a large wheel for careening.Hoy ; a small vessel or bark, whose yards are not across, nor the sails square, like those of ships, but the sails like a mizen, so that she can sail nearer the wind than a vessel with cross sails can do.Smacks are vessels with but one mast, and sometimes are employed as tenders on a man of war; they are also used for fishing upcn the coasts.Cartel, an agreement between two States, for the exchange of their prisoners of war Cartel-ship is one commissioned in time of war to exchange the prisoners of any two hostile powers, etc. The officer who "com-mands her carries no cargo, ammunition, nor implements of war, except a single gun for firing signals.Galley is a low-built vessel, going with oars and sails, chiefly used by the States bordering on the Mediterranean. Galleys have usually twenty-five or thirty benches of oars on each side, and four or five galley -slaves on each bench. The galley carries a large gun, two bastard pieces, and two small pieces. It is usually from twenty to twenty-two fathoms long, three broad, and one deep, and has two masts, which may be struck or lowered at pleasure.Convoy signifies one or more vessels of war, appointed to conduct a fleet of merchants' ships serving as a watch and shelter from the insults of enemies; though sometimes by a convoy is implied the fleet of merchant ships bound to any particular part or place of rendezvous.Squadron of Ships, a division or part of a fleet commanded by a commodore, or by a rear or vice-admiral. The number that forms a squadron is not fixed. A small number in a body and under one commander may make a squadron. If the ships are numerous they are sometimes divided into three squadrons, and each squadron may be again divided into three divisions.Privateers are a kind of private ships of war fitted out by private persons at their own expense, who have leave granted them to keep what they can take from the enemy, allowing the admiral his share.Barge, a kind of state or pleasure boat, or for the purposes of merchandise, used chiefly in the navigation of rivers. Barges have various names, according to their particular uses; as a company's barge ; a royal barge; a Severn trow; and a Ware-barge.