n 1775, England boasted the mightiest navy in the world. The borders of empire had expanded by more than a third as a result of the Seven Years War, ending in 1763. Her army, however, could count only about 36,000 men to defend that empire twelve years later, so the dependence upon the naval forces was paramount to maintaining the Empire. With the American colonies in rebellion, one Parliamentarian assured his colleagues that the Royal Navy could handle the conquest of the rebels and drive them back into harmony with the mother country. The Americans eventually would put almost 250,000 men in the field, but at the start, they had no navy whatsoever. The colonists, however, possessed a merchant marine of over a thousand ships. John Adams of Massachusetts proposed to the Continental Congress the creation of naval forces to contest Britain on the high seas in the coming conflict. In October of that year Congress agreed, but they had little or no money to actually build a navy.