Excerpt from Fighting Instruction, 1530-1816: Edited With Elucidations From Contemporary Authorities
The inaccessibility of the Official Fighting Instruc tions from time to time issued to the ¿eet has long been a recognised stumbling-block to students of naval history. Only a... few copies of them were generally known to exist; fewer still could readily be consulted by the public, and of these the best known had been wrongly dated. The discovery therefore of a number of seventeenth century Instruc tions amongst the Earl of Dartmouth's papers, which he had generously placed at the disposal of the Society, seemed to encourage an attempt to make something like a complete collection. The result, such as it is, is now offered to the Society. It is by no means exhaustive. Some sets of Instructions seem to be lost beyond recall; but, on the other hand, a good deal of hitherto barren ground has been filled, and it is hoped that the collection may be of some assistance for a fresh study of the principles which underlie the development of naval tactics.
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