Obrázky na stránke

510 PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. Dec. the sea service, or into any sort of Gentlemen muft from hence see, business that may furnih 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 pi. failor, may by custom be pressed in- rate to be met with in the ocean. to the government's service, not on. If prote&tion were the only reason, Jy in time of war, but as often as a we should have no occasion for keepminifter takes it into his head to fit ing one ship in commiffion, or one out 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 clity of presling, 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 must always hive a certain proporti neceffity of that oppressive and peron of expert seamen in their service, nicious practice of pressing feamen for the tafe 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 emand D for this purpose. fir fuch leamen for the publick ser Sir, I will be bold to say, that vics, the merchants must and will

?5,000 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 expe&t that many expert sea- should always have in its service ; men will enter voluntarily into the and if we should resolve to have no publick, 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 most always be the consequence of peace, nor any fine-cure places, of our keeping a small number of extravagant salaries, or unmericcd tainen in the publick service in time pensions in time of peace or war, I uf peace. But if we should in time of will say, that we mighe keep 20,000 peace kecp 15 of 20,000 expert sea- seamen in pay in time of peace, Brun in the publick service, we should F without ever "allowing the annual feldom want any from the merchant.

expence to exceed the annual produce Prvice: We should never want above of the malt-tax and a land tax of 8 or 10,000, and that number the

25. in the pound; for in that case nurchants could always spare, by his majetty might spare to apply employing 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 feamen would lift. be more effettual for gaining him the voluntarily in the government's fer- good will of his people, the surelt vice upon every occasion, if it were toundation of his throne, than dou. fois no other reason but for the lake ble that fum applied towards maincoveky.


1751. 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 one jesty never did, attempt to have a

other article of the publick expence. mercenary parliament.

It is indeed impossible 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, with 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 firft proposed buc much worse than either : I mean 3000 of these land seamen, but if that of forcing our seamen into fo- B their scheme had taken effect, that reign service; and every one knows, body of new sort of seamen was where they will be joyfully receiv- foon 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 sea40,005 seamen in the government's men t and soldiers. They then talks service; 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 naup to the sea, that before the end of vy always in a respectable condition. it, the merchant-fervice was almost Prefling was then set in the most hifully stocked. We have fince 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 ; menį at land: What then has be- and now since they find they cannot come of them? Some of them, 'tis 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 fion for in time of peace, even tho' they have gone by thousands into the we Ahould thereby lose our superiori. French or Spanish service. Can we ty at fea, the preserving of which imagine that, in case of a war, they F has 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 so, I say coß 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 defperate 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 takthis great reduction of feamen oco- 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

the . See London Magazine for 1750, P. 153.

+ Su Ditro, p, 1770

[ocr errors]

the most proper means for preserving in that way endeavour to afsift us :
our superiority at sea ; and now, ra- We know they are not very alert at
ther than dismiss our land armies, heges ; and before they could be
rather than not have land auxiliaries' masters of one of the French fron-
in our pay, we are to give up that tier towns, the French armies would
fuperiority. Really, Sir, if this were be mafters of this kingdom.
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 employs 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 econoyet 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 fuperiority at sea.

seamen so fast as we can make ships; Let us consider, Sir, that in case and the seamen in the merchant-sero of a war with France, and we should vice are never all at our command : lose our fuperiority 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 fercome to our affiltance ; 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 Dshould 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,

may now in a few days put to sea ; have no fortified towns, if our army and no man, furely, can now be igcould 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 should be forced to E ly restoring their marine, and resubmit to what terms of peace the pairing the losses they suffered in the pleased to prescribe; and those 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 fu- a little more authentick than comperiority 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 assistance, 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 indulreason 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. {pondence in France, and it is highed in the case of the brave queen ly probable it should be so ; for the of Hungary, now empress of Ger-G last 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 fuppofing they did are at least equal to us at sea.


as we

1761. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 549 Therefore, I am sure, it is not now motion, but shall not make any till a proper cime for us to lessen our I see how the house seems to be in. own and add to their maritime pow- clined. er, by reducing our seamen, and thereby forcing numbers of them Q. Opimius stood up next, and spoke into the French service. What

to this Effetti number of seamen we had in actual

A Mr. President, service in the year 1725, I do not know; but there were 10,000 voted

SIR, and ;

Hon. and if the lords of the admiralty

last ; took upon them to reduce their num. in taking notice of the difference beber, the then circumstances of Eu. tween the sentiments, or, at least, the rope was in some measure a justifi- B expressions of some gentlemen at precation of their conduct ; for France sent, and what they were for these was then under a minority, quite last two or three years; but as words regardless of their marine, and al- may be forgot, or may be alledged to moit ac the eve of a rupture with be misrepresented, I shall beg leave to Spain. Can we then be so mad as read to you some parts of the speeches to make any thing done at that time, from the throne, and addresses of a precedent for doing the same thing this house for the last two selfions. now? Besides, we all know, that In his majesty's speech from the this reduction in 1725 was followed throne at the opening of the session by a most violent press for sea- in November, 1748, his words are men the beginning of the very next these, and our fingnal successes at fee year.

musi ever be remembered to the glory The noble lord was likewise of the British fleet, and entitle it to pleased to inform us, Sir, that the the particular attention and support of whole number voted by parliament

D this nation. To which we answered was not last year employed,

As in our address, We are truly sensible his lordship has said it, "I do not of the importance of that signal success, doubt of its having been so; but

which has attended your majesty's can it be said, that all necessary ser- arms at sea, thro' the course of the vices were provided for? We had war, and are fully convinced, borrie not so much as one man of war up- necessary it is to maintain our fieets ir

E on the coast of Africa, nor had we perfect frength and order, even ir one upon the coast of Nova Scotia ; times of the most profound peace. for which reason I am resolved to Again, at the opening of last session, take the first opportunity to move in November, 1749, his majesty, in for an inquiry into the present state his speech from the throne, after of those two parts of the world, the having told us, that he desired only care of which is of the utmost im. such supplies as should be found ne

F portance both to our trade and na- cessary for the security and welfare vigation ; and as the French, by of the nation, adds thus : And in this means of their Indians, are carrying view I must earnestly recommend to you on a sort of war against us in the lat- the maintaining of my fleet in its full ter, I must think it was an egregious Arength. To which we answer in neglect to leave it so much exposed. our address, that we would grant If it be left so for the year ensuing, such supplies as should be found neI shall

look upon it as a most wicked G cessary for the security and welfare of design ; and in order to obviate eve- the nation, which, we say, cannot ry pretence for leaving it so exposed, be better provided for, than by mainmust be agains the poble lord's


taining may enable

$44 PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. Deć. taining the fiert in such a condition, as for wear and tear, and for ordnance

your majefty to preserve service ; so that a confiderable part that weight and influence, which of what is faved in the reduction, properly belong to the crown of Great- must be added to the ordinary of our Britain.

navy, and therefore I reckon that Sir, we know that in this house the most we can save by reducing the speech from the throne is always A 2000 seamen, will not amount to looked on, and I believe, very justly, more than 64,000l; and our foreign as the speech of the ministers ; and I subsidies, if we go on with them, as am sorry to say, that for many years I suspect we Mall, will soon excced be address of this house upon that this lum. But even as to this 64,000l. occasion, may with the same justice can we think, that the whole will be looked on as the address of the be money actually saved ? If we reministers ; we may therefore, from B duce 2000 this year, we may prothe words which I have read, judge bably have occasion for them the very what were the sentiments, or at least next”; and unless we have recourse to the pretended sentiments of our the infamous method of presling men ministers at the opening of the last into the service, we must, in order two sessions of parliament ; but this to get what we want, raise the wages last summer, I do not know how, of all the seamen in the publick terthey have taken up quite another C vice, by which we shall add to the way of thinking ; for fince that time, next year's expence more than we the security and welfare, the weight have saved by our ill-judged economy and influence of this nation is not, in this ; with this further disadvan. in their opinion, to be provided for, tage, that we shall thereby raise by maintaining our fleet in perfect the wages of all the feamen in the ftrength and order, but by strength. merchant-service, which our com. ning and securing the tranquillity of D merce cannot well bear; for as we the empire, and for that purpose tak- are now rivalled in commerce by al. ing most of its princes into our pay; most all the nations in Europe, our and in consequence of this their new navigation must suffer by every ad. way of thinking, we find not a word ditional expence we bring upon it ; relating to our navy or feet, either and as some branches of our trade, in his majesty's speech, or the ad. particularly that of Hamburgh, are dress of this house, at the opening E already carried on by foreigo Tips of this session. @conomy is now and foreign seamen, our merchants the word, and at the same time that may at last be obliged to carry on we are throwing away our money every branch of our trade, so far as upon princes, that may desert, or is consistent with the act of navigaperhaps declare against us, as soon tion, by foreign fhips and foreign as a war happens, we must, for the

seamen. fake of saving a little money, banish F This, Sir, is a consequence which or Starve a great number of our brave we have great reason to dread, Seamen.

and will, in my opinion, be an inI say a little money, Sir ; for fallible consequence, if we continue I was kurprised to hear the noble fuch harik ulage towards our poor lord fuppofe, that by reducing 2000 seamen, as we have practised for some seamen we should save 104,000l. years paft

. By the frequency and He certainly anderstands the affairs of Gleverity of prefing, we have not only the navy, and he must know, tho', rendered the condition of our failors I believe, he did not reflect, that out worse than that of any other part of his of the 41. a month allowed for each majesty's subjects, but when pressed, seaman, near one half is reckoned we have used them in a cruel manner,


« PredošláPokračovať »