ADMIRAL

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ADMIRAL ; the commanderinchief of a squadron or fleet of ships of war, or of the entire naval force of a country. Probably this word is of Arabic origin, and signifies originally the emir, or prince, of the waters. In the time of the crusades, the office and name were introduced into Europe. The first authentic instance that occurs of admirals in Europe is about 1284, when Philip, king of France, created Enguerrand de Coucy admiral of his fleet. In the reign of Edward I, king of England, we find a title of honor " Admiral de la mer du roy d/AngleterreJ* conferred for the first time on W. de Leybourne ; and about this time the jurisdiction of the English seas was committed to three or four admirals, who held the office durante bene placito. From the time of Edward II, a regular succession of admirals is to be traced; and in the 34th year of Edward III, John de Beau champ, lord warden of the Cinque Ports, was created high admiral of England. The office underwent several changes, and persons of high rank, some of whom were entirely unacquainted with naval affairs, continued to fill this office until 1632, when it was first put into commission, as it remained during the protectorate of Cromwell. James, duke of York, afterwards James II, exercised the functions of lord high admiral for several years of Charles IPs reign. Many of his regulations are observed to the present time, and evince his zeal for this most important service in England. During the reign of William and Mary, the powers of the lord high admiral were committed to lords commissioners of the admiralty. Prince George of Denmark enjoyed this dignity during a short period of the reign of Anne; since which time it has always been vested in seven lords commissioners, acting under the statute of William and Mary, till the year 1827, when the first step of Mr. Canning, as premier, was to prevail on the duke of Clarence to accent the office of lord high admiral; but the duke, soon after the formation of the duke of Wellington's administration, gave up the office. The income of the first lordcommissioner is at present equal to £5000 per annum. The surplus revenue forms what are called the droits of admiralty, and is applied at the pleasure of government. To the lord high admiral, or lords commissioners of the admiralty of England, belongs the power of decision in all maritime cases, both civil and criminal; a jurisdiction upon or beyond the sea in all parts of the world; upon the sea coasts in all ports, havens or harbors, and upon all rivers below the bridge nearest to the sea :according to the terms of the patent, " To preserve all public streams, ports, rivers, fresh waters and creeks whatsoever, within his jurisdiction, as well for the preservation of the ships as of the fishes; to reform too straight nets and unlawful engines, and punish offenders; to arrest ships, mariners, pilots, masters, gunners, bombardiers, and any other persons whatsoever, able and fit for the service of ships, as often as occasion shall require, and wheresoever they shall be met with ; to appoint viceadmirals, judges and other officers durante hene placito; to remove, suspend, or expel them, and put others in their places; to take cognizance of civil and maritime laws, and of death, murder and maim." The lord warden of the Cinque Ports has, nevertheless, a jurisdiction exempt from the control of the admiralty within these ports, and the lord admiral seems to have his more proper jurisdiction confined to the main sea. Between high and low water marks, the common law and the admiralty have jurisdiction by turn. By the regulations of the navy, the lord high admiral grants commissions to inferior admirals to enforce obedience in all the branches of the service ; to all courtsmartial for the trial of offences against the articles of war, upon which they decide by the majority of votes, a deputy judge advocate, who resides at Plymouth, presiding over those of most importance. To the office of lord high admiral are given, as perquisites, by the patent, "treasure, deodands and relics found within his jurisdiction; all goods picked up at sea; all fines, forfeitures, ransoms, &c.; all whales and large fishes; all ships and goods of the enemy coming into any port, &c. by stress of weather, mistake or ignorance of war; all ships seized at sea, salvage &c, together with his shares of prizes. In ancient times, this officer carried a gold whistle set with precious stones.In France, the admiral (Vamiral) enjoyed, until 1627, very great prerogatives; but Richelieu, deeming the influence of the office toogreat, abolished it. Louis XIV reestablished it in 1669 with less power. In the revolution, this office, of course, vanished with the abolition of the monarchy. Napoleon renewed the office, and invested his brotherinlaw Murat with it. The duke of Angouleme was the first admiral after the restoration of the Bourbons. The highest officers in the French navy have only the title viceadmiral ; after these follow the rearadmirals (contreamiraux).ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET ; the highest naval officer under the admiralty of Great Britain, who, when he embarks, is distinguished by the hoisting of the union flag at the maintopgallantmast head.The powers of the lord high admiral of Scotland have been vested, since the union, in the admiralty of Great Britain, which appoints a judge, or viceadmiral, who executes its duties, and presides over an admiralty court in Scotland.Admirals, being commanders in chief of any fleet or squad ron, carry their flags at the maintopgallantmast head, from which they are designated as admirals of the red, of the white, of the blue. They rank with fieldmarshals in the army. The viceadmiral carries his flag at the foretopmast head, and takes rank with the lieutenantgenerals of the army. The rearadmiral carries his flag at the mizzontopmast head, and ranks with majorgenerals.The United States have no admirals. The board of the navy directs all the affairs of the navy.The viceadmiral is a civil officer, appointed by the lords commissioners of the admiralty, having judges and marshals under him. From his decisions, however, there is a final appeal to the court of admiralty. The place of viceadmiral of England is now a sinecure. Ireland has four viceadmirals, Scotland one ; and the governors of colonies generally hold a commission to preside over viceadmiralty courts. A. is also a name given to the most considerable ship of a fleet of merchantmen, or of the vessels employed in the codfishery of Newfoundland. The ship which first arrives is entitled to this appellation, and some privileges; it carries during the fishing season a flag on the mainmast. A. in natural history, a very beautiful shell of the voluta genus. It is sold at a veiy high price.