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great numbers of feamen of all mari. ceffary in former times of peace; time nations are disbanded, and can- and I find, that with 8000 seamen not find employment in the merchant- we may keep as many and as good service ; and as this, had it happened, station lips, in the East and Weitwould have very much disturbed our Indies, on the coast of Africa, and trade, it was necessary to keep some in the Mediterranean, as have usually ships in commission, that they might A been employed in a time of settled be ready to fail upon the first order, tranquillity, and yet may have always to intercept and deitroy those enemies
4000 at home, which would be sufof mankind; but as none such have ficient for guarding our own coasts, yet appeared, we may reasonably and even for enabling us to fit out a conclude, that we shall not now be very powerful squadron upon any troubled with any such, and therefore sudden emergency, because here at it is unnecessary to keep any ships in B home, we may always, in a few readiness for such a service.
days, add double the number, in case In the next place, Sir, we had at it should by found necessary. the beginning of last year several In this opinion I am confirmed, more thips of war in the East-Indies, Sir, by considering, that in the year than we thall now have occasion for; 1725, we had bat 5800 seamen in and as those thips could not with any actual pay; and no gentleman can certainty be expected to return before C suppose, that all necessary services the end of the year, we were obliged were not then fully supplied, when to provide for them during the whole, I inform him, that the lord Berkein order to prevent the nation's run- ley, Sir John Norris, Sir Charles ning in debt, which ought always Wager, and Mr. Cockburn then to be avoided, if possible ; for, I fat at the admiralty board. If then think, it is much better, at the be- so small a number as 5800 was at ginning of every sellion, to have Dthat time sufficient for supplying all jome publick money to dispose of, necessary services, can any one ima.
than to have an account brought in gine, that 8000 will not now be suf. of services incurred and not provided ficient for the same purpose ? I know, for. In the third place, we were last I shall be told of the late great preyear obliged to have a good many parations of the French, and their ihips in the Mediterranean, on ac- diligent application to the increase count of disputes ard contests we E of their marine ; and I confess, that then had with some of the nations of late we have been by our Gazettes bordering upon that sca; but as these pretty much amused with these acdisputes are all now accommodated counts; but those accounts are very in an amicable manner, or in a fair much exaggerated; for all they have way of being so, we shall next year done yet can hardly be called a rehave occasion for very few ships in storing of their marine, after what that part of the world.
Fit suffered in the late war, and there Thus, Sir, it is evident, that the is a very great difference between next year's service will not require building of ships and fitting them fuch a number of seamen, as was ne. out to sea. They must build yet a cessary during the last ; and as less long time before they can be upon than 10,000 (for we had but 9800 in an equal footing with us ; and were actual pay) supplied all our occasions they now upon an equal footing with last year, I am persuaded, that 8000 G us, as to the numbers and rates of will be fully fufficient for the year hips, we have no occasion, to keep ensuing. Besides, I have taken all
a great number of seamen in actual posible pains to inform myself of pay, because it is known, that we the several services thought ne- can raise feamen, and fit out hips,
1751. PROCEEDINGS of sbe POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 539 faster than they ever could, or, I of. Economy must always be of hope, ever will be able to do. great service to faces as well as
I therefore hope, Sir, that by private families ; and I shall hearthese phantoms, which are dressed ily agree to its being absolutely neup by our news papers in order to cessary for us in our present distresamuse their readers, gentlemen will fed circumstances; for distressed I not allow themselves to be frightened A must call them, when it is of all into a greater expence than is necef- fides admitted, that we can hardly fary for the present service, especially support our government in time of as there is not the leat appearance peace, wichout laying violent hands that France has any immediate de. on that sacred treasure designed for sign of coming to a rupture with the discharge of our debts. But this nation. Gentlemen Mould upon however necessary æconomy may be this occasion reflect, that if in time B to us, I must be of opinion, that of peace we keep up a greater number what the noble lord advises, would of seamen than we have any call for, be a beginning at the wrong end. it may disable as from keeping up, Initead of beginning we fouid end in time of war, such a number as with, or rather at our navy ; for may then be absolutely neceflary for we have already reduced our numour safety at home, and the preser- ber of seamen more than we ought vation of our dominions in different C ever to do. At least, we should reparts of the world. This, tho'a distant duce every other article of expence, danger, ought to be a present dread; before we think of making any farand will have great weight with ther reduction of that which is real. every one who considers, that now ly the palladium of this country, I in time of peace we must pay off a mean the number we have of brave considerable part of our present debt, and experienced seamen.
Other otherwise we can expect no credit Dcountries may have as many ships as for carrying on any future war. we; and particularly France, it they This has with me a weight superior will be at the expence, may in a to every other consideration, and few years exceed us in number and will, I hope, be my excuse for ftrength of ships ; but ships of war, moving, That 8000 men only be without seamen, are like fortify'd employed in the sea service for this towns without garisons, only fit to current year.
E be taken or destroyed by an enemy:
and unless it be our own fault, nei. The next that spoke in this Debate ther France, nor any country in the
was C. Numisius, whose Speech whole world, can ever exceed us, was in Subfiance thus.
or equal us in number of brave and Mr. President,
This, Sir, is an advantage which SIR,
F we have from nature, not from our THAT the noble lord has been conduct ; for our late conduct has
pleased to say to us, seems been such, we have treated our faito me something like the fabulous lors in such a harsh manner, as if we Scylla, as described by Virgil, all designed to banish from our domini. beauty above, all deformity below; ons every man that could pretend to and if what he proposes should be be a failor; and indeed, considering complied with, it will be as per-G our methods of pressing, our method nicious to our marine, as that mon- of paying them their wages, and our fter was to the marine of the an. method of turning them over from cients. His lordship set out with fhip to ship, I am surprised that any a maxim, which I highly approve of our common men ever enter into R- N.
Y y y 2
the sea service, or into any sort of Gentlemen muft from hence see, business that may furnish a pretence Sir, that the noble lord has put the for pressing them into that service ; necessity we are under of keeping a for their case is the more grievous, number of seamen in the publick as they live in a country where no service, even in time of peace, upon other sort of men, above the charac
a very wrong foundation. It is not ter of a vagabond, can, even in time A for protection, Sir, we do so. We of war, be pressed into any service; have no occasion for protection, whereas a man who has been bred a when there is neither enemy nor pifailor, may by custom be pressed in- rate to be met with in the ocean. to the government's service, not on. If protection were the only reason, Jy in time of war, but as often as a we hould have no occasion for keepminifter takes it into his head to fit ing one thip in commission, or one but a squadron; and this must always B failor in pay, during a time of probe the case as long as we keep such found tranquillity. But the true a small number of seamen in the reason, and indeed the only reason publick service in time of peace ; for our keeping any ship in commisfor it is ridiculous to think of any fion, or any failor in pay, when o her method for preventing the ne there is neither enemy nor pirate to celīty of pressing, but that of keep- be apprehended, is to preserve our ing a sufficient number in pay even C character as a maritime power, and in time of peace. The merchants to prevent our being reduced to the molt always hive a certain proporti- neceflity of that oppreffive and peron of expert seamen in their service, nicious practice of pressing feamen for the safe navigating of their ships, into the service of the government; and will give any wages rather than and will the noble lord say, can any not have them; therefore, when man say, that 8000 men is sufficient there is a sudden and great demand D for this purpose. fis fuch feamen for the publick fer Sir, I will be bold to say, that vice, the merchants must and will
75,000 is not fully suficient for this give greater wages than the publick
purpose ; 20,000 expert and able can afford to give, consequently we seamen is the least the government cannot expect that many expert sea- should always have in its service ; men will enter voluntarily into the and if we should relolve to have no fublick, when they can have higher E useless troops at home, nor any wages in the merchant service ; and princes in our pay abroad, in time. this mof always be the consequence of peace, nor any fine-cure places, of our keeping a small number of
extravagant salaries, or unmerited fainen in the publick service in time pensions in time of peace or war, I of peace. But it we should in time of
will say, that we might keep 20,000 3-ace keep '15 or 20,000 expert sea- seamen in pay in time of peace, men in the publick service, we should I without ever allowing the annual teldom want any from the merchant.
expence to exceed the annual produce Tervice: We should never want above of the malt-cax and a land tax of 8 or 10,000, and that number the
2s. in the pound; for in that cafe nurchants could always spare, by his majetty might spare to apply cmploying landmen in their stead;
100,000l. or two yearly out of the cito that they would never be obliged vil lift revenue, towards supporting to ou bid the publick, and numbers G our navy, which, I am very fure, would of expert young feimen would lift be more effectual for gaining him the voluntarily in the government's fer- good will of his people, the surelt
vice upon every occafion, if it were foundation of his throne, than dou. Tip no other reason but for the lake ble that sum appied towards mainsovelty.
PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 548 taining a numerous mercenary army; height of imprudence; and it is the for I hope, no king of this realm more unaccountable, as we have ever will, I am sure, his present ma- shewn no such economy in any ong jesty never did, attempt to have a
other article of the publick expence. mercenary parliament.
It is indeed imposfible to account for But, Sir, the loss of our charac- our late conduct, or to reconcile ter as a maritime power, and the A what some gentlemen now fay, withe continuance of our necessity of press their way of talking two or three ing, are not the only fatal conse- years ago. Those gentlemen were quences of such a great reduction of then for keeping up a great number seamen ; it will always be, and I fear of seamen by land as well as by sea*, has lately been, attended with a it is true, they at first proposed but much worse than either : I mean 3000 of these land seamen, but if that of forcing our feamen into fo- B their scheme had taken effect, chat reign service; and every one knows, body of new sort of seamen was where they will be joyfully receiv., soon to have been augmented to ed, and better treated than ever they 10,000 ; and it is remarkable, that were in their native country. At they had at the same time a scheme the end of the last war we had above for making Naves, both of our sea40,000 seamen in the government's men t and soldiers. They then talk, fervice ; and during the war such a C ed of nothing but preserving our funumber of young men had been bred periority at sea, and keeping our na.. up to the sea, that before the end of vy always in a respectable condition it, the merchant-service was almost Prefling was then set in the most hifully stocked. We have since the deous light; and this scheme of war already reduced above 30,000 ; land seamen, was to prevent our be. and it is imposible to suppose, that ing ever reduced to the necessity of one half of them could get employ. D making use of such a method for ment in our merchant-service : It is manning our navy. But their en equally impossible to fuppofe, that daving scheme was defeated, and the other half could get any employ the other shewn to be ridiculous : menţ at land : What then has be- and now since they find they cannot come of them? Some of them, ʼtis make slaves of our seamen, chey are true, have miferably perished at Ty, for having as few of them as polle. burn, or more miferably rotted and E ble in the publick fervice. Soldiers starved in our jails, by the cruelty of are now their only darlings ; and our usurers ; but the number cannot therefore we must maintain twice as be very considerable ; and therefore many of them as we have any occa. I think it bighly probable, that Sion for in time of peace, even tho they have gone by thoufands into the we should thereby lose our fuperiori. Prench or Spanish service.
ty at sea, the preserving of which imagine that, in cafe of a war, they F bas cost us so many millions of pounds, would return upon a proclamation? and so many thousands of lives. If any of them inclined to do fo, I say cost us, Sir ; for the preferthey would be prevented ; and as to vation of our superiority ac sea was the rest, we should probably find them the popular pretence made use of the most desperate enemies we have for inducing us to engage fo deeply to deal with.
in the war, both in king William Other gentlemen, Sir, may call G and queen Anne's reign. Our tak. I this great reduction of feamen ceco- ing a number of land auxiliaries in. nomy ; but for the reafons I have
to our pay, and raising numerous mentioned, I always thought it the land armies, was then thought to be
• See London Magazine for 1750, p. 153.
+ Su Ditro, p, 1770
the most proper means for preserving in that way endeavour to assist us : our superiority at sea ; and now, ra- We know they are not very alert at ther than dismiss our land armies, fieges ; and before they could be rather than not have land auxiliaries masters of one of the French fronin our pay, we are to give up that tier towns, the French armies would fuperiority. Really, Sir, if this were be masters of this kingdom. I not too serious an affair, I could not A therefore think, there is nothing more help comparing it to a scene in the certain, than that our very being, Rehearsal, where the hero einploys as a free independent nation, depends and bribes the nurse to gain the mis- entirely upon our being always masa tress, and after being at a large ex- ters at sea ; and for this purpose we pence, neglects the mistress and mar- must have seamen as well as fhips. ries the nurse. I hope, we have not Nay, if we must begin our æconoyet played the fool and married our B
my with our navy, where, I believe, land armies and foreign auxiliaries : it will end too, we should, I think, If we have not, I think, we should begin with our ships rather than our dismiss both, rather than give up seamen ; because we cannot make our superiority at sea.
seamen so fast as we can make ships; Let us consider, Sir, that in case and the seamen in the merchant-ferof a war with France, and we should vice are never all at our command : lose our superiority at sea but for one C Many of them are at all times abroad, fummer, it would be gone for ever. or at a great distance from our docks; If our enemies were matters at sea, and considering their late treatment, none of our foreign auxiliaries could all, I believe, would avoid the sercome to our affittance ; and twice vice by absconding. the number of troops we have now I am therefore afraid, Sir, that on foot, would be utterly unable to if this reduction takes place, we defend us ; for France would by D should not be able in some months to means of her fleet pour in her nu- fit out such a squadron as the French. merous armies upon us, and as we may now in a few days put to fea; have no fortified towns, if our army and no man, surely, can now be ign could not keep the field, she would norant of the French method of bein a few days be in possession of our ginning a war. The noble lord was capital and our seat of government, pleased to say, that they are now onby which we fould be forced to E Îy restoring their marine, and resubmit to what terms of peace fhe pairing the losses they suffered in the pleased to prescribe; and chose terms late war. I wish it may be so ; but would be such as would for ever pre- if my information be right, and it is vent our being able to recover a su- a little more authentick than come periority by sea. I know it may be mon news papers, their maritime said, that our allies and foreign aux- force is already much beyond what iliaries would fly to our allistance, by F it was at the beginning of the last attacking the frontier of France, war, and they are every day augFrom an old proverb, Sir, I have menting it with indefatigable indusreason to doubt it. Help yourself, try, and at a great expence, Every it is said, and all your friends will one knows this who has any correhelp you. This was lately confirm. fpondence in France, and it is highed in the case of the brave queenly probable it should be so ; for the of Hungary, now empress of Ger-G laft war has convinced them, that in many ; and I am afraid, that if we case of a war with this nation, their did not, as she did, repel the invad- commerce and their colonies will ing enemy, all our friends would always be at our mercy, unless they. Aand aloof. But supposing they did are at least equal to us at sea.