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and the peace and happiness of the whole nation : most humbly begging your honours to pardon this my undertaking, to pass by my errors with patience, and to correct all that is amiss with pru. dence, and to consider my former proposals, humbly offered for the saving one hundred thousand pounds per annum in building and repairing the royal navy; which, by his Majesty's order of the 22d of March last, was referred to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and, at the writing hereof, is yet lying under their lordships consideration. All which, out of a hearty and zealous inclination of serving their Majesties, and the publick, I do most humbly recommend to your honours consideration, as the only physicians under God, from whom a redress of our grievances is desired and expected, in hopes of your favourable acceptance and encouragement thereof, for the service of their Majesties, the benefit of the subject, and the good and welfare of the whole nation ; most humbly praying, that a committee may be appointed to examine and consider the same ; and that I may be admitted to give reasons, and answer to all objections. I humbly submit myself. Your honours most faithful and obedient servant,
PART I. FORASMUCH as it is altogether needless
to give an account
of the particular charge of the nation, in impressing seamen for their Majesties service, that being already performed by others; and it being well known, that, after all the charge and trouble therein, many of the most able and fitting for sea-service, do lie lurking and concealed, taking an opportunity to make a voyage or two to Newcastle, or otherwise, as they see most convenient for their own advantage, to the great hindrance of their Majesties service, the discouragement of others belonging to the fleet, and great prejudice of many, who, being unfit for sea service, are forced to supply in such case.
Proposal 1. For remedy thereof, upon the especial approbation of the honourable Admiral Russel, and several other eminent persons of known experience in maritime affairs, it is bumbly proposed, • That in every sea-port town, according to the greatness thereof, an officer or officers, being persons of known integrity, and good repute, may be erected and setiled, for taking and keeping a register of seamen and mariners : and, to that end, the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of every parish, within ten miles of any sea-coast, or navigable river, within this kingdom, shall, within fourteen days after notice given by proclamation, be sworn duly to enquire and take a list of all seamen and mariners, inhabiting and residing within their respective parishes, being between the ages of sixteen and sixty, whether at home or abroad, and shall deliver the same, under their hands, to the sheriff of the county to which they do belong; which said sheriff shall, within twelve
days after the receipt thereof, transmit a copy of the same to the next port-office, where the same shall be carefully entered alphabetically, for every parish and county distinctly, in a book or books for that purpose to be provided.'
This cannot be accounted any great trouble, there being in every parish four or six such officers at least, who, dividing themselves, with their beadle, who is generaliy acquainted with all the parishioners, may perform the same effectually in one day.
* Neither can it be accounted troublesome to the sheriffs, it being not expected to be more than once a year at most ; and may, by their directions, be performed by their servants : And, being å national concern, ought to have a national assistance, which will partly be effected by such officers changing places every year.
Proposal 2. • And that all masters of ships, and other vessels, using the sea, or trading from port to port coast-wise (except such vessels as are, or shall be employed in the home trade of fishery, for supplying the several markets of this kingdom) shall, at the beginning of their voyage, and before they depart the first port, give into that port office a true list of the names of all seamen and mariners retained to serve on board their said ships, or vessels, together with their age, and what outward marks may be found, as also their place of residence, or habitation, if any such they have; which being performed, the said masters, if not restrained by embargo, or other order, may, with their company, have liberty to proceed on their intended voyage, both out and home, without danger of being impressed ; one of the said officers first giving a certificate under his hand and seal, as a protection, for the use of every seaman thereunto belonging, being between the age of sixteen and sixty years, as aforesaid; and also a duplicate thereof to the master, for which he shall pay unto the said officer, if a coaster, two shillings and sixpence, and, if à trader to foreign parts, five shillings per head for every person therein nominated; which said monies
be allowed for and towards the maintenance and encouragement of such officers.'
** By the aforesaid means it may be possible to obtain full register of all the seamen of England, and thereby know who is in service, and who is not; whereby the royal navy, upon all occasions, may be readily manned with able seamen, and no hidingplace left for deserters, or others; and the head-money proposed will be gladly paid, to avoid those great perils and losses, which too often happen, to the great prejudice of their Majesties, and all others concerned at sea, by means of the sea-press.
Proposal 3. And, upon return of the said ship, or vessel, to her port of delivery, or unlading, that then the said master thereof shall be further obliged (if belonging to a ship or vessel using the coast-trade) within four days; or, if a merchant-ship trading to foreign parts, within ten days, or more, as may be thought convenient, to pay such his ship's company, in the presence of one of the aforesaid officers, at a place and day prefixed. And, if it happen that any change or alteration hath been made amongst the said company, during the said voyage, that then the said master
do give an account to the said officer, who may be impowered to make enquiry therein; and whosoever of the said company, shipped outward or homeward, appeareth not in person to receive his wages, at such time and place prefixed (without some lawful cause or let shewed to the contrary, being such as may be allowed by the directors of such office, or officers) shall lose and forego his whole wages, one half to the use of their Majesties, and the other to the chest at Chatham, or otherwise, as may be thought convenient
And the said officers, being impowered to make enquiry, as aforesaid, will cause masters to be more cautious how they do imprison and pack their seamen off in foreign countries; an abuse too
much practised, even to the ruin of many families, which bring *nruch poverty on the nation, especially about rivers and sea-port towns.
Proposal 4.' And, if it should happen, that any of the said ships, or vessels, should deliver, or unlade at any other port within this kingdom," that then the officer of such port may, by the master's duplicate (he being obliged to produce the same, or otherwise by a copy. of the register from the other first officer) be enabled to proceed, in all respects, ás aforesaid.'.
*** For conveniency, a copy of all registers may be transmitted from all ports to Yarmouth and Portsmouth, for the ready dispatch of all such affairs; but more especially to the port-office of London.
Prop. 5. And that every officer, in his respective place (at the time of paying such seamen, as aforesaid) shall then cause all such, as are fit for their Majesties service, to be forthwith sent on boặrd some ship belonging to the fleet, as occasion shall require; the charge thereof to be paid by their majesties : and all such, as are so sent on board their majesties ships, shall have equal benefit with those seainen who do, or shall enter themselves as voluntiers.'
*** By such means, there will be a constant supplying of the royal. navy with able seamen; and, by this means, such, - wbo use to steal a voyage or two, will unavoidably be brought into their Majesties service, without prejudice to any, which will be an encouragement to others belonging to the fleet, and will prevent the pressing of tradesmen from their business.
Prop.-6. And, as every merchant-ship, or vessel hath a carpen-- ter or two belonging unto it, who for great wages go voluptarily
to sea, their Majesties ships may, by the means aforesaid, be plen3. tifully supplied with able shipwrights, the most experienced and fittest for sea-service,
Prop. 7. And, at the end of every year, the said officers shall present their Majesties with a general list of all seamen and shipwrights, so sent on board of every particular ship; and, if thought convenient, shall have an additional allowance from their Majesties
of two shillings and sixpence per head, as an encouragement and - maintenance for such their service,
Prop. 8. And whatsoever officer or shipmaster offendeth herein, contrary to the true intent and meaning thereof, shall forfeit
pounds to the use of their majesties,
pounds whereof may be allowed to the informer.'..
This charge cannot be accounted great ; for, by this means, the prodigious expence of hiring smacks and ketches to attend the press will determine ; and one thousand men and boys, commonly employed therein, may be at liberty to serve their majesties on board the fleet, besides the charge allowed and expended by captains and lieutenants, on such occasions.
*** And the seamen and shipwrights belonging to merchant ships, being so secured for their majesties service, may enjoy the benefit of selling and disposing of what they have, as an adventure on board their respective ships, together with the happiness of receiving their wages, and providing themselves with apparel and other necessaries fit for sea service, and be sent on board the fleet like men; who otherwise, after a long and tedious voyage, without recruit or money, are forced on board their majesties ships in a poor and ragged condition, which is one main occasion of sickness and distempers on board the fleet; and for such reasons many refuse to go to sea, and others forsake their ships, in foreign nations.
** And by such means, as aforesaid, merchant ships at sea, and under convoy, may be secure from the rage and ill usage of some commanders; who, if denied their unreasonable demands for light or convoy money, do often cause the seamen to be impressed ; whereby such ships or vessels are too often disabled, and the ships and goods, with the small and helpless number of men left on board, do often miscarry, or perish at sea ; whereby the merchants lose their goods, their majesties lose their customs, the subjects
lose their lives, the owners their ship, or vessel, and many become & widows and fatherless thereby; which brings great complaints and
poveny throughout the nation.
Proposal 1. ' And, as the honour and glory of the English nation doth so much depend upon the strength and good conduct of the royal navy, so it may be highly necessary at such time, when the common enemy is so potent and powerful, that all due encouragement be given to seamen and mariners; and, to that end, it is most humbly proposed, that no offices belonging to the fleet be bought or sold, but that every person may be preferred according to his deserts and merits.
Prop. 2. • That the said seamen be allowed their full share of all prizes that shall be taken, and that some law be passed to prevent embezzlements therein; and that those persons, in what station soever, that shall endeavour to defraud them of sueb parts and shares, as have by custom, or may hereafter be allowed, shall (being convicted thereof) forfeit his said office, or employment.
Prop. 3. That, if any seamen be dismembered in their majesties service, such smart-money, as hath been formerly allowed,,
may be advanced, and be forthwith duly paid. And further, that there may be an additional allowance made for all such pensioners, as shall be dismembered in their majesties service.
Prop. 4. • That, if any seamen be killed in their majesties service, that the bounty-money, generally allowed on such occasions, be forthwith paid to those who shall produce a just right to receive the same.
Prop. 5. • That all profaneness, which having, by long custom, gotten the ascendant on board the fleet, be forthwith suppressed and abolished; and all offenders, being officers, may be displaced, and others receive such punishment, as may be appointed by authority of parliament.
Prop. 6. • And that no seaman or mariner, that hath served twelve months in any of their majesties ships, shall be turned over, to serve on board any other of their majesties ships, before he be paid all wages due to that time.
Prop. 7. That when, and so often as their majesties, by their royal proclamation, shall require the service of such seamen, on board the royal navy, by such a day or time prefixed; that all able seamen, who shall, in obedience thereuuto, voluntarily enter themselves, by applying to the next port-officer, or officers, shall be allowed, during the whole voyage, twenty-eight shillings per month, according to the course of the navy; and that so often as any of their majesties ships shall arrive into any harbour, to lay up for any time, that then the seamen and mariners, thereunto belonging, shall be forth with discharged; and that all wages, to them then due for such service, be fully paid, not in tickets, but in money : and, if the voyage be long, that then their wives or friends, having a lawful power to receive the same, may be paid six months wages out of every nine months, that such ship shall be abroad.
Prop. 8. " That all such seamen, now belonging to the royal navy, as shall be continued on board the fleet, at such time as the service of others shall be required by proclamation as aforesaid, may have and receive the full benefit of such, as shall then enter themselves voluntiers.
Prop. 9. ' That there be one clerk at the navy-office, to attend all accidental business that may happen touching the premises, and that he be allowed, by their majesties, fifty pounds per annum, to answer and receive money for all such persons, as shall employ him on such occasion ; and that he may be allowed six-pence or twelve-pence per pound, as shall be thought fit, for all such money as he stall so receive; and the said clerk, making default therein, to be displaced, and suffer such fine, or other punishment, as the parliament shall think fit.'
By such payments, as aforesaid, seamen may be inabled to provide for themselves and families, and to pay their debts; which is one means to make money plenty, throughout the nation, and will encourage them, when occasion shall require, freely and gladly to enter themselves into their majesties service, without the charge of being pressed, or continued in pay for the whole year. And being certain of such provision, made for the maintenance of them