Where can you find detailed naval history for any nation with a fleet during the 1800's?
There may be several sources of information on shipping fleets in the 19th century. One prominent source would be the library of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Working conditions in the late 1800s had improved in some sectors. Due to the Industrial Revolution, there were a number of centralized and streamlined processes in place. This was especially true in the manufacturing and production sectors. Sadly, there were still countless sweatshops that exploited low income workers across the nation.