Dr John Dee, one of the cleverest men of his day and a confidante of Queen Elizabeth I, put the case for a Royal Navy, of three score tall ships or more, in 1577. They would stop France, Denmark, Scotland and Spain annoying "the blessed state of our tranquillity" and would be a safeguard against sudden threats, by rebels or foreigners in England and Ireland. A fleet would be more use than keeping the forts at Calais and Boulogne. Soldiers would learn the rage of the sea, the hardness of ship's lodging and victuals and be trained to fight there. Foreign princes would no longer suffer our merchants to have wrong in their courts.
Many men would be made skillful in coasts, channels,soundings, danger marks, harbours, landings, observing ebbs and floods, the arts of navigation. Fewer merchant ships would be spoiled or taken by pirates, and much assurance money would be saved. "Hundreds of lusty and handsome men" would be well occupied and have needful maintenance, who were then idle and wanting sustenance. Our own countrymen, no small number of them, acting as pirates would be called to come home. The Navy could deal with those abominable thieves that steal our corn and victual along the coast, and the foreign fishermen "injuriously and over boldy abusing our rich fishings about England, Wales and Ireland, who deprived us yearly of several 100,000 pounds."