Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

*

selves and families, it will make them bold and daring, not being afraid to look death in the very face of their enemies.

** It is to be observed, that, for want of such payment as aforesaid, the seamen are greatly injured and discouraged; first, especially, when, instead of money, they are put off with tickets, whilst many of them, and their families, wanting food and raiment, are compelled to sell such tickets at one-third part, and, sometimes, one-half loss; so that, thereby, the seamen's pay is very small and insignificant ; who, after having exposed themselves to the greatest dangers, are so cut off, being but as slaves and drudges to the common ticket-buyers, and their upholders; who, for supplying them so with money, do carry away the greatest part of their labour, when many of their poor families are ready to perish. Secondly, the paying such their wages on board the fleet, at such time as they are ready to sail, is very injurious both to seamen and others; for, by such means, they have not the opportunity to serve themselves or families, but are obliged to buy all their necessaries on board the common biglers or boomboats, and they not many, who, making it their business to attend the fleet, do, by their extortion, bring away the greatest part of the seamen's wages. So that a great part of the treasure of the nation, which ought to be divided amongst all, falls into the hands of a few private persons; whereas, if such payment were to be made on shore, as aforesaid, tbey may have the benefit to buy all they want at the best hand, to pay their debts, and relieve their families. And, by this means, all such money would, as from a fountain, pleasantly distil itself into so many silver streams, until it returns again to its first rise'; which would be a great encouragement to seamen, and all other their majesties good subjects, who, being now obliged to give them, and their families, credit, are forced to sit down by loss, which is one great cause of the decay and detriment of trade.

** If it should be objected, that paying the seamen their wages on shore, upon the discharge of their service, as' aforesaid, will cause them to desert their majesties service, it is humbly answered, that, there being, in England, a sufficient number, to serve both their majesties royal favy and merchants ships, at one time, as, by sufficient iestimony, did appear this last summer, it is impossible to believe the royal fleet should ever want seamnen, if good payment was to be made, and encouragement given, as aforesaid, for these reasons following. First, they, being in such service, are more secure from the enemy, than in merchants ships. Secondly, being allowed thirteen months to the year, without after-claps, or paying damages, which, in merebants ships, often cuts off one month's pay in three. Thirdly, if a ship of their majesties happen to be lost, the seamen's wages stand good. Fourthly, being out of all danger of being impressed, during the whole voyage ; by means whereof, in merchants ships, they often lose both their wages and adventure. Fiftbly; having a prospect in making advantage, by taking of prizes. Sixthly, if loss of members happen, smart-money is allowed, with a yearly

pension, during life. Seventhly, if killed in fight, a considerable bounty-gift is bestowed on their families, according to the greatness thereof; when seamen, in merchants ships, running all risques, as aforesaid, fall short of these so great advantages,

Prop. 10. Furthermore it is proposed, that if any difference should happen, within the term of the said voyage, between the master of such merchants ship, or vessel, and any of the seamen, belonging thereunto, for, or by reason of any wages due, or goods damaged, by leekage of the ship, or vessel, such differences may be determined by such officer, as aforesaid; who may be impowered to call to his assistance two, three, or more, honest and indifferent men, being sufficient house-keepers, who may have power to hear and determine all such differences, as aforesaid, which would be of great advantage to poor seamen; who, by reason of poverty and the press, being not in a capacity to maintain or attend a suit of law, are often ruined and undune.

* If it should be objected, that this may prove prejudicial to the government, it is humbly answered, that the seamen in general, by such injuries, and for such reasons, as aforesaid, are not in a capacity to go to law; so that, where nothing is, nothing can be expected.

• So ibat by thus civilly impressing of some, and paying and encouraging of others, as aforesaid, it may be presumed, their majesties royal navy may, at all times, be readily and plentifully provided, with the most able seamen and mariners, on all occasions, and all extraordinary charge of impressing and maintaining them on board the fleet, in the winter-season (which, by Captain St. Lo, was computed at five-hundred and four-thousand pounds for one winter-season, besides sixty-thousand pounds, expended for conduct, bounty, and impress-money) avoided and saved, as well now as in former times. And, to this, all the seamen, and faithful people of England, will say Amen.

*** If any objection should be made, that, in manning the royal navy, according to the methods of this second proposition, their majesties affairs may be prolonged or prejudiced thereby, then it is humbly proposed, that a recourse may be had to the aforesaid register, as followeth.

Prop. 11. That the right honourable the lords commissioners of the Admiralty, calling to the port-officers of London for a general list of all seamen in each connty, taken as aforesaid, may direct their warrants to the several sheriffs of the counties aforesaid, requiriog them to direct their precepts to the several constables of each parish, as aforesaid, who, with the assistance of the churchwardens and overseers of the poor, shall forthwith, to the utmost of their power, cause such, and so many as are required, by an equal quota, to appear before the next port-officer, who shall dispose of them on board their majesties ships, as shall be most meet and convenient for their majesties service; and such as press men, to be allowed but twenty-four shillings per month. And what seamen soever shall abscond from their habitation, or usual place of being, at such time as the service of their majesties shall require them on board the fleet, shall suffer imprisonment, or as the parliament shall think fit. And that the port-officer do then forthwith

pay unto the said constables, for travelling, and other necessary charges, the sum of two shillings and six-pence per head, for every person by them delivered, or produced as aforesaid; and that the said port-officer be allowed the same (with other necessary charges), for sending such on board the fleet, out of their majesties treasury'

By what hath been proposed, I hope, it will appear, that the impressing of seamcn, and others, by sea-officers, may be wholly laid aside, which hath, hitherto, been very chargeable to their majesties, and injurious to the subjects, as is briefly summed up as followeth.

1. That several vessels, employed in that service, after having laid twelve or fourteen days in the river of Thames, on that occasion, have, by the ill management of some lieutenants, thereunto belonging, been sent on board their majesties ships with twenty or thirty men at one time, who, being not fit or useful in such service, have been often discharged, and turned ashore; by which means, their majesties treasure hath been vainly expended, and many landmen and tradesmen have been often carried from their habitations to the Downs, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, to their great charge and prejudice.

2. That the impressing and detaining seamen in their majesties service, on such hard terms as before specified, caureth many to defer their majesties service, who, by such means, come to an untimely exit. And many seamen there be, who, having families, will rather expose themselves to such vile and shameful ends, than leare their families to perish for want of food and'raiment.

3. Many other inconveniencies there be attending the present discipline of the navy; as, paying the fleet at Portsmouth, &c. wbereby their majesties affairs are often retarded, and the seamen, whose wives or friends are very populous about the river of Thames, do, by travelling and attending at such remote parts, ofteli expend more than they receive, whereby many families are ruined and undove: and many others there be, who, for want of money, are obliged to take up all they want upon trust, paying one shilling for the value of nine-pence, losing thereby 251. per cent. and, by selling their tickets, as aforesaid, they generally lose 30, 40, or 501. per cent. so that, by a modest computation, their whole loss amounts to 60l. per cent. out of their small wages.

4. The turning of seamen over from one ship to another, after having been in such service, one, two, or three years, without money, produceth the same effect as the former. · 5. For the aforesaid reasons, the seamen, their wives and friends, are at a great charge and trouble, by petitioning and attending the admiralty and navy-board, on such occasions, who spend great part of their time in hearing and examining these and such like grievances.

6. Whereas if seamen were paid and encouraged, as aforesaid, these mischiefs and disorders, with many others, occasioned by several indirect practices of clerks of the navy, &c. would soon cease and be abolished.

7. And, for promoting the same, it is further proposed, that a suitable fund of money be raised and set a-part for such uses and purposes : and if the same should fail, or fall short of what is intended, that then they may be supplied with such funds as shall be appropriated to pay merchant-dealers and tradesmen, who, being under no compulsion in making agreement for their commodities, are in a capacity to help themselves.

8. And if a sufficiency of money cannot be raised, as aforesaid, that then it may be borrowed; and suppose at 10l. per cent. per annum, yet will be of so great use in answering these ends, that it is presumed their majesties will thereby save 200,000l. per annum, or more: but if the late ingenious proposals to supply their majesties with money, at 3). per cent. per annum, be put into practice, the advantages accruing to their majesties by this proposed method will be much greater, and the doubts and objections that may arise touching the insufficiency of making such orderly payments, as aforesaid, will be removed.

9. Thus, by preferring frugality, and abolishing extravagancy, their majesties, with the usual funds generally raised and allowed for such occasions, will soon be in a capacity of paying and providing, with ready money, all things necessary for the carrying on the war; and the enemy, taking notice of our industry and abilities, the usual forerunners of great actions, will be thereby discouraged, as they are certain presages of their approaching downfall.

10. And that, by such means, the general trade of the nation will be better supplied at home, and secured abroad; and the subjects thereby inabled and encouraged to give supplies to carry on the war, and their majesties thereby be the better supported to prosecute and continue the same.

il. Thus having, as I humbly conceive, proposed a sure and certain method to prevent those evils occasioned by the sea press, which, if put in practice, I dare affirm, will be a useful instroment to vanquish and overcome all our enenies, both foreign and domestick; it being observable, that, since my former proposals made for performing of shipwrights work, the impressing of workmen for that service hath been little practised.

In all that hath been most humbly offered, I have studied brevity more than curiosity, my design being to serve my country, rather than to shew my skill in learning; and therefore do present the same, not as the labour of my spare minutes, but as the fruit of a laborious brain, that hath and will be always ready to serve their majesties and the government upon all occasions. I shall only offer these following queries, most humbly praying they may be considered :

1. Whether the nation, under the present circumstances of a war, can long continue a suitable supply of money to carry on the same, under the pernicious effects of extravagancy?

2. Whether money raised in parliament with care, collected with trouble, and paid with tears, requires not the most serious thoughts and endeavours of all its disposers, for converting the same, in all circumstances, to the most useful and advantageous purposes ?

3. Whether the king exposing his royal person, in so many dangers abroad, for promoting the happiness and well-being of the nation, doth not expect the due assistance of all other his officers and subjects, indispensably to use their utmost endeavours for the full accomplishing his royal purposes ?

4. Whether the saving those immense sums of money, as aforesaid, will not settle the minds of their majesties good subjects, and stop the mouths of the most disloyal and restless spirits, who raise animosities amongst us, and instil wicked notions into the minds of their majesties subjects, representing the government as under an upsettled condition, and groaning under oppression, by reason of great taxes, and a lingring and expensive war, and a want of trade, and raising their expectations of a' speedy change, who finding their bopes defeated, by an unanimous resolution of rooting out the evils occasioning the same, can have no future pretence to such calumniating reflexions on the government for bringing to pass their evil purposes?

5. Whether the buying and selling of publick places be not an undoubted inlet to bring their majesties enemies into such stations, being of dangerous consequence to the government ?

6. Whether it will not be for their majesties, and the nation's interest, to advance persons to places of trust according to their merits, and not permit those to be discountenanced, and to labour under difficulties, who expose frauds and extravagancies, and propose proper remedies for the cure of those evils ? And whether the brow beating and discouraging those, who endeavour to make such discoveries, is not an effectual means to prevent all others from appearing in such like cases ? Much more might be added, which, for brevity-sake, is omitted. I shall humbly conclude with the following admonition of king Henry the Fourth, who, upon his death bed, spoke to his son as followeth: So long as Englishmen have wealth, so long shalt thou have obedience from them; but, when they are poor, they are then ready for commotions aná rebellions. From which, and all other evils, good Lord deliver us, both now and for evermore.

« ForrigeFortsæt »