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LONDON:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, LOW, AND SEARLE.

CROWN BUILDINGS, 188 FLEET STREET.

1876.

[All Rights reserrel.)

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PREFACE.

On publishing the first two volumes of this work, it was not my intention that the following volumes should be preceded by any preface. I have, however, been induced to reconsider this resolution, in order to acknowledge the ready assistance I have received from men of great experience, not only of this but of foreign countries. My first volume treats more especially of the antiquities of the mercantile marine, and closes with the sixteenth century. In the second, I trace the progress of maritime commerce down to about the close of the great French War (1815), when a new era dawned and a new state of things was inaugurated. Details, relating in an especial manner to this period, form the subject of my last two volumes—in one I treat of the Navigation Laws of Cromwell and of the causes which led to their abolition, together with the effects of their abolition; while the other is devoted, entirely, to the rise and progress of steam-ships and to the different branches of commerce in which they are engaged.

In order to render this portion of my labours valuable for the purpose of reference, I have souglit

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