SOME CONSIDERATIONS ON THE Reasonableness and Necessity OF Encreasing and Encouraging the SEAMEN.

Founded on the Gracious EXPRESSIONS, in their Favour, contained in His MAJESTY's SPEECH from the THRONE.

WITH SOME Proposed SCHEMES for the Effectual Performing it, without Prejudice either to the NAVY, or the COMMERCE.

Never made Publick before.

LONDON: Printed: And Sold by J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane. MDCCXXVIII. [Price One Shilling.]


A Proposal so evidently calculated for the Publick as this is, seems to want no Preface, and should have none, but for that dreadful Principle of Uncha­ritableness which rages among some Peo­ple, who search for Evil in every thing offered by a Hand they do not like, and seek not to be Serv'd or Pleas'd, but to find Fault.

Let such know, that the Author of this Tract thus acting without Gain or Reward, equally satisfied in his own sincere Endea­vour for the Publick Interest, whether accepted or rejected, and wholly Neglect­ing anyother Testimonial, depends upon Time and Truth, for his Vindication.

[Page]What is here offer'd, is upon a Point His Majesty has declar'd to be Important, and Experience has shew'd has been always Dif­ficult. That Difficulty was the Spring of these Thoughts, and His Majesty's Speech the Spirit that gave them Motion; and the Author cannot doubt but his End being sincerely the same, the Endeavour will, at least, give no Offence.

He could have gone farther in Schemes for Accomplishing the Great Work of Encou­raging Seamen, but he is no Projector, and desires not to be Officious.



A State of the Seamen's Case: Whether their Numbers are decreased, or not; and whether they are under Discouragements, or not. What those Discouragements are; and by what Ways their Grievances may be redress'd.

THE Subject of this Tract, tho' it will be hand­led in a new and different manner from what has been done before, is not new in itself; nor is the End and Design of it new, tho' the Me­thods proposed will be so. Many Attempts have been made, as well in this Age, as in the last, in Behalf of the poor Seamen (or at least said to be so) and much fruitless unsuccessful Pains has been taken, to shew us the Ne­cessity of entring into some just Measures for their En­crease and Encouragement; but they have indeed been fruitless and unsuccessful, because they have been weak and unperforming.

However, these frequent Attempts are a Concur­rence of Testimonies to the Importance of the Subject, and serve to let us see that it has all along been look'd upon as a Thing the Nation greatly wanted; that [Page 2] it was well worth the Consideration of those that had the Prosperity of their Country at heart; and that it would be a singular Service to the Publick, to find, if possible, a Remedy for a thing which was so sensi­ble a Grievance to the whole Nation, and yet so diffi­cult to be redress'd.

But in all the Attempts or Essays made on this Sub­ject, at least such as have been made publick, I have observed, they have rather run out into long Excla­mations upon the Grievance itself, crying out against the Oppression of the Seamen, the Frauds committed by their Officers, the Violence of Impressing Land­men instead of Sailors, tearing them in an injurious manner from their Families, their Trades, and Em­ployments, to carry them on board the Ships of War, where they are useless, ignorant, untractable, and rather burthensome than serviceable: Likewise the impres­sing Seamen, who are really such, in an Illegal manner; as particularly, taking them out of Merchant-Ships, after Protections granted them, and while those Ships lay upon Demorage, and at the Expence of Victuals and Wages, to the Ruin of the Voyage both to Mer­chants and Owners. These, and many other Oppres­sions and Injuries to the Seamen, and to the Merchants, things really great, and of Consequence in themselves, are the main Subject of these Complaints; and we find them frequently enlarged upon in former Writings, ve­ry emphatically.

But the Deficiency lies here, that in all that has been said on those Heads, the Complaints take up the whole, or the main of their Discourses, with perhaps a warm Recommendation to the Publick, or to the Parliament, to take it into their serious Consideration. But very few, if any, of all those laboured Pieces, at least that I have met with, enter into the grand Question, How, and which Way these things shall be remedied; what Specifick may be propos'd for the effectual Re­dress of the Grievance, or in a Word, How, or which [Page 3] Way the Seamen shall be Encreas'd or Encourag'd; and this Defect we shall now endeavour to supply.

It is most certain, that as to Encourage the Seamen, is to Encrease them, so by the Discouragements which they have met with, the Numbers of them have been very much decreas'd and diminish'd; and that not only at this time, but in former Reigns, insomuch that the Publick has been made sensible of the Scarcity of Seamen, by the Difficulty of raising them on any sud­den Emergence; which Difficulty has been such, that no Undertaking of Importance, and which requir'd ex­traordinary Expedition, could be enter'd upon, 'till a sufficient Number of Men could be procured, which was always a Work of Time.

This frequently retarded the Preparations in a most remarkable manner; as in the time of the Dutch Wars, during the Reign of King Charles II. and gave the Dutch sometimes Opportunity to appear arm'd upon our Coast, and Insult our Ports, before our Fleets were able, for want of Seamen, to go out to Sea. And not to look back so far, the very same Defect gave the French the like Advantage against us several times, du­ring the late War; as particularly, at the Engagement off of Beachy, in the Year 1690, or thereabout; and on several other Occasions, which it is needless to re­peat.

Nor is the Encrease and Encouragement of Seamen, meerly as Seamen, the whole Substance of the thing propos'd, but the Encouragement of them, as His Ma­jesty expresses it in his Speech, That they may he Invi­ted, not Compelled to enter into the Service of their Coun­try. This is the Point in hand. As to the Merchants Service, it is a thing by itself, and may be spoken of apart; but the Publick Service, I say, is the Point be­fore me, and for which the Seamen are to be both en­creas'd and encourag'd; and for the bringing of which effectually to pass, this Tract is made publick.

[Page 4]In all the former Essays of this kind (mentioned a­bove) this has been pretended, and we have often been made to expect it by flourishing Titles, and boasting Preambles, but little has been offered to make it Pra­cticable. Every body allow'd it was a necessary and useful Work; that it ought to be done; that the Pub­lick Occasions call'd for it; that Justice to the poor Seamen required it; and that, in a Word, it was almost every Body's Concern to put their helping Hands to such a Work, if it was in their Power to do any thing towards it. But whenever they came to consider (as the House terms it) of Ways and Means to bring it to pass, they could say very little to the Purpose; it proved a long perplexed Case to enter upon the Debate of, on the Writer's Side; and a dry barren Subject on the Reader's Side, so that in short, the World began to be sick of reading their tedious Calculations, and most People thought they knew little of the Matter.

In consequence of this, as it often happens in knot­ty and perplex'd Schemes, all the Proposals that I have yet seen or heard of, left the Case just where they found it; or rather, as it is said of Job and his Comfor­ters, they darkned Counsel with Words without Knowledge; they said little but what had been said before, and the World seemed not one Jot the wiser for all their Pro­jects: The Grievance run on in the old Road of Con­fusion and Disorder, and the poor Seamen were but just where they were 30 or 40 Years ago; besides groaning under additional Abuses and Impositions, Violences and Injuries, as well private as publick.

During these Hardships, the Numbers of Seamen visibly declined; and those that were left were very hardly, and not without the utmost Reluctance, brought into the publick Service; and about, as well as a little before the time of the late Revolution, it was a Dif­ficulty not easy to be got over, to raise Seamen to Man 30 or 40 Men of War, and not at all without Time.

[Page 5]King William was very sensible of this, and found the Inconveniencies of it in the very first Equipment after the Revolution; some of the Seamen fled from the Service, in publick Resentment, and on Party Rea­sons; some listned to French Allurements, and took Pay in the Navies of the Enemy; many fled abroad, and kept out in the Merchants Service, because of the Advance of Pay; some one way, some another, and some (too many indeed) unhappily turn'd Pyrates.

Several Proclamations were published to invite them home, but to little Purpose, some threatning them with Punishment if they continued abroad in Foreign Ser­vice, but all with very little Effect; at length they thought of a Method, since worn out and thread-bare (if you will pardon me that Word) I mean of giving a Bounty-Money to the Seamen, by way of Advance, to engage them to come in; at first it answered the End pretty well, and abundance of Seamen bit at the Bait (I won't say were catch'd upon the Hook) but they were brought into the Service by it.

But as this was but a temporary thing, the Seamen began to make light of it, and that perhaps more than they ought to have done; so that in a few Years the Government found Bounties, and little Advances upon the first Entrance of Seamen, did not fully answer the End, and the Want of Seamen was greatly detrimental to the Service every Year, and especially at the first sit­ting out of the Fleets, the Service calling for more Men every Year than other, for several Years toge­ther.

It is true, that the Publick at length employing so exceeding great Numbers of Seamen, as well for Winter as Summer-Service, and as well in the Trans­port Service as in the Men of War, the Number in­creas'd, as it were, by the consequence of the Service; so that the War itself might be said to breed up its own Seamen; also the Regiments of Marines serving long on Board, assisted to this Encrease, and the [Page 6] Soldier serving always on Board the Fleet, became so acquainted with the Sea and with the proper Business of Sailors, that in few Years they dropt off from the Regiments, got their Discharges of their Officers, and entred themselves afore the Mast. And it was parti­cularly observed, that at the end of the War, when those Regiments were broke and disbanded, almost all the Men turn'd Sailors, and entred themselves on Board the Man of War or Merchant Ships, as they could get Employment.

Besides this, among the great Number of vagrant unsettled People who entred into the Service, by Vertue of the several Acts of Parliament made in those Reigns, abundance of them proving diligent, and applying themselves to the Work, of which they understood no­thing before, became able Seamen, and encreas'd the Number of the general Tar-Fraternity, so that at last the Number of Seamen seem'd to be sufficient to the Service, at least the Ships were more easily Mann'd than before.

Had not this been the Case, how could England have sustained the loss of so many thousand Seamen, as must necessarily have dropt off during the continuance of that tedious, and to the Sailors fateaguing War? I make no doubt but during the Wars with France, in the two Reigns of King William and Queen Anne, a­bove 50000 English Seamen went to the Bottom by Battle, Disease and Disaster. And if other People who pretend to understand it may judge, I am very much within Compass in my Calculations.

It is true, Trade suffer'd great Losses and Convul­sions during those Reigns, and in particular met with great Obstruction; so that as the Navy Royal employ'd many thousands of Seamen more than ever before, Trade most certainly employ'd fewer Ships, and con­sequently fewer Men; Hence the Gross of the Sea­men were then employ'd, and to the End of that War, in the Royal Navy.

[Page 7]But as we have liv'd to see those Wars ended, and a Glorious Pacific Interval succeeding, the Navy Royal (some Squadrons excepted) laid up, and Trade begin­ning to extend itself abroad, as we shall see in the Se­quel of this Work; this has again employ'd, scatter'd and dispersed the Men. Those very Men who in their Castles and Wooden Walls were able to HUSH and de­fye the World, are now squandred up and down in private Business in all the known Parts of the Globe, and that so as not to be easily, if ever, collected again into one Body; so that the Number of our Seamen, especially as to the publick Service, is greatly dimi­nish'd and decreas'd.

Some of the several Articles which have thus de­creas'd the Numbers of Seamen, and by which it is become so difficult to find Men for the publick Ser­vice, are as follows.

1. The Rate of Wages continuing low in the pub­lick Service, and beginning with the Peace to fall also in the Merchant Service, has caused the Seamen to seek abroad for Service, where they could have bet­ter Wages, or more constant Employment.

2. To which must be added, the Advantages offer'd by Foreign Princes and Powers at the same juncture of time, to invite our Seamen into their Service; par­ticularly the Czar or Emperor of Russia, and the King of Spain; the former has, as I am assur'd, great Numbers of English Seamen, and the latter of Irish and Scots always in their Service.

3. The tempting Profits of going upon the Account, (so our Sailors call that wicked Trade of turning Py­rates) in which horrid Employment (however scanda­lous) many thousands of our Seamen have engag'd since the late War, most of them being of the ablest Sea­men, and best Artists that were to be found among them; and by which, besides the Numbers that re­main, abundance have been lost to their Country by Shipwreck, by Battles, by the Gallows, by Starving, and [Page 8] other Distresses natural to those desperate Adventures; so that this also has been a great Cause of the Decrease of the Numbers of Seamen among us, and will con­tinue to be so, unless some Remedy may be found out to reduce them, and restore them to the Service and Interest of their Country.

But this leads me also to a popular and more ac­ceptable way of calculating this Deficiency of Num­bers among our Seamen, and that is, that our Trade is happily encreas'd and extended since the prospe­rous Reign of his present Majesty, and his Royal Prede­cessor, by which the Merchants of Great Britain main­tain and employ an extraordinary Number of Seamen more than ever was call'd for by Trade before; so that at the same time that the Royal Navy ceases to employ Marines and raw Men, by which to encrease the Num­ber, the Merchants require more Men by many thou­sands, not only than they did during the War, but than ever they did before the War, in the Times of the most profound Tranquility of Affairs: This ren­ders the Number of Seamen less, in regard to the Ser­vice, whether they are numerically fewer in Tale or no; for as every Number is great or small compa­ratively, so it is here; if there were 200000 Seamen in England, yet if the Demand for them calls for more, they are then few, compared to that Demand, or compar'd to the Service they are demanded for, tho' their Number was more than had been ever known before.

This Encrease of our Demand for Seamen is the present Case, and it is indeed in itself a very consi­derable Article, if the Fact be true, and of that I shall speak presently by itself; I say it is very conside­rable, for tho' our Seamen were not diminish'd or de­creased by any of the Occasions mention'd above, yet if the Demand for Seamen, and especially the De­mands of Trade, which lye in several distant and re­mote Places, are encreas'd, the Number at hand for the publick Service of their Country is less in propor­tion [Page 9] to the Occasion than it was before. For Example:

If the Encrease of our Commerce and Shipping is evident, more Seamen are consequently wanting to carry on that Commerce and man those Ships; so that Trade employing the Men, and the Merchants giving better Wages than the King, which by the way is a Fault, they will be more easily supplied, and the pub­lick Service be in greater want of Hands than be­fore, tho' the Number of Seamen were the same.

It would indeed require a long Excursion here to demonstrate that Trade is so encreas'd in Great Bri­tain, and that the Merchants do call for and enter­tain more Seamen than they did, not only during the late War, but in the times of the profoundest Peace; yet something must be said to it, else we shall be said to beg the Question, which in a thing of such Im­portance I can by no means admit, but the Digression shall be very short.

I think it must be allow'd that since the late War there is a happy Encrease of Commerce carry'd on by the Subjects of Great Britain in several Parts of the World, and by which great Numbers of Seamen are call'd for, more than were before, not only in time of War, but even in times of the most settled Peace; for example,

1. The Greenland Fishery is a fair, open, and con­fest Addition to our Trade, and by which a considerable Number of Seamen are employ'd, where not a Man was employ'd before; and more are like to be call'd for every Year, as that Trade goes on.

2. The White Fishery at Newfound-land, since by the late Peace the Possession of that Island was con­ceded to the English, is very considerably encreas'd; and besides the Numbers of Vessels and of able Sea­men, who remain upon the Spot all the Winter, to carry on the Salmon Fishing on Shore, and the Banking Fishery in the Spring; we are assured there are above 100 Sail of Ships yearly employ'd there, and by that [Page 10] Trade, more than ever were before; by both which Articles we may allow 2000 Seamen to be yearly wanted more in Trade than were before, even in Time of the most establish'd Tranquility.

3. The like Addition is visible to our English Fish­ing on the Northern Coast of America, the Coast of Accadia, and the North Shores of New-England, most of which were possest, or at least disturb'd, before by the French; whereas now the British and New-English Fishing Vessels, Ships and Seamen are fully and freely employ'd on all those Coasts, and drive a very consi­derable Trade, with the Fish they take, to Spain and Italy, in which Places no English Vessels, or but few, were employ'd before; likewise more Ships in Propor­tion are employ'd by them to fetch Salt for that Fishery.

4. The Trade of our Colonies is visibly encreas'd, and consequently their Shipping; as particularly the Addition of the French Part of the Island of St. Chri­stopbers, being now become English, is so encreas'd in its Produce, and by that in its Inhabitants and Trade, that they send near as many Ships and as many Hogsheads of Sugar yearly to England, as the Island of Barbadoes itself, and must of necessity employ so many the more Sloops and Ships to furnish them with Provisions from the Colonies on the Continent, than they did before, and in all those Vessels the greater Number of Seamen are also annually employ'd, where few were employ'd before.

5. The visible Encrease of the Jamaica Trade, and of the Number of Ships employ'd in it, within a few Years past; this cannot be deny'd. The South-Sea Commerce, by the Assiento, is also a farther Encrease of it, most of that Trade being carry'd on from Africa to the Spanish West-Indies, by way of Jamaica. I leave that to be adjusted by the Merchants, and by any such as have liv'd upon the Island any time, and knew what Number of Ships were formerly employ'd in it. Some, who are fully acquainted with the Trade [Page 11] of Jamaica, assure me upon a serious Enquiry into this Part, that there are above 100 Sail of Ships yearly, and most of them Ships of Force, which are con­stantly employ'd in the Trade between Great Britain and Jamaica, including such Ships as go by the way of Madera with Wines, and by the way of Africa with Negroes, more than were usually employ'd in that Trade before; not including in this Number the great Num­ber of Ships and Sloops, employ'd between that Island, and the Colonies on the North Part of America upon the Continent, whose chief Business is carrying Provi­sions of all kind.

N. B. We had an Account printed here lately, of be­tween forty and fifty Sail of Ships come to Jamaica in about two Months upon these Accounts; only one small Vessel of them of forty Ton coming directly from England.

It might be to the Purpose also, to shew how our Trade is encreas'd to almost all our other Colonies in America, and especially to New-England and Carolina, since the Encouragement given to the bringing Naval Stores, Tar, Turpentine, Rice, and such like things from thence; of which, especially the Tar and Rice, very little was imported in former times.

Also we might mention the East-India Trade, in which, instead of five or six Ships abroad at a time, there are now forty to fifty Ships constantly abroad together; and tho' the Ships are not quite so large, yet they carry very near as many Men, and a great many more are employ'd in the Country on the Ships made use of from one Factory to another.

The Sum of all this is to demonstrate, that there are without doubt more Seamen call'd for in Trade, and employ'd by the Merchants on Board their Ships, than were before; and that as those are made use of in remote and distant Places in the World, they may at least be reckon'd as so many lost Men to the pub­lick Service, because they cannot be recall'd and re­stor'd to the Service upon any sudden Emergence; [Page 12] and indeed not at all, without giving a deep and sen­sible Blow to our Commerce, and weakening the In­trest of Trade in general.

Any Proposals then for the Encrease or Encourage­ment of Seamen, ought to be supposed calculated for such an Encrease, as shall bring up the Number of Seamen, to be equal to the Demand as well of the Public as of the Commerce. Otherwise, to encourage the Seamen and not so to encrease their Number, is do­ing nothing, but encouraging them to quit the Mer­chants Service, and enter into the King's Service; which, as to the Nation in general, may be said to be like a Man taking Money out of one Pocket and put­ting it into another; with this Addition too, that it wounds one Part to heal another. For Trade and the Publick, in this Article, are like a Body under two contrary Operations, where if you heal one Disease, you revive another, so that still the Patient is oppress'd on one hand or other.

But to encrease the Number of Seamen to such a Degree, that there shall always be a sufficient Supply for all the Services which may call for them, whether for Trade or for Defence, whether for Peace or War; that taking them on this side, should not lessen them on that; and that every Want might be supply'd; this would be the true, and, I may say, the only effectual way of encreasing them.

But who is sufficient for such an Undertaking, and how shall we find a Scheme equal to the Difficulty? If there is not a sufficient Number of Seamen to supply every Exigence, whether of Trade or War, then when the Demand lyes on one hand, the other must suffer by the dead Weight running against it. If the Navy Royal is to be man'd, immediately Embar­goes are laid, Press-Warrants are issued out, the Na­tion is rummag'd for Seamen, by which it is alledged that abundance of injurious Violence is made use of, to bring them in, out of the Merchant's Service; and so [Page 13] Trade suffers. On the other hand, if in time of Peace Trade calls out for Seamen, the poor Sailors are fully employed and carried away to all Parts of the World, and every Skipper's Demand is supply'd, while his Majesty's Navy is left naked, and liable to be insulted for want of Hands.

And who shall reconcile these Contraries, or joyn these Extremes? There seems to be an insuperable Difficulty in it; for if you will encrease the Hands, you must find them Work, or maintain them idle.

The Seamen are but one Species, and are wanted but upon two extraordinary Occasions; in Peace the King has no Occasion for them, the Merchants must em­ploy them, or they starve: In War the King must have them, or the Service is starv'd; and if the King takes them, the Merchant stands still, and the Trade starves: If they are encreased to a Number equal to both Peace and War, then, unless you have always a War, the Seamen are too many for the Merchants, and if they are not equal to both, then, in time of War, the Merchants are too many for the Seamen, because the Government will be serv'd, and takes them by force.

This makes a kind of a Struggle between Trade and the Government. The Government uses Force, and takes the Seamen by Impress and Arrest; the Merchants use a Force also, tho' of a different Kind, and that is the Force of Persuasion, I mean the powerful Per­suasion of Money, giving higher Wagers; and as they are always in a Condition to out-bid the Publick, they leave it to the Seamen to avoid the Impress, and keep out of the Hands of the Government as well as they can; and they do not, generally speaking, want Stra­tagems to secure themselves, for all Men will serve those they can get most Money by.

Now to reconcile all these Difficulties, is the Case before us. I have indeed seen very little offer'd towards it in the World; the thing seems to have something [Page 14] Impracticable in it. The King's Speech, with all Duty and Regard to his Majesty's Person and Expressions, mentions indeed the Importance of it, but recommends it to his People, to consider of the Method. It can be no Offence, I hope, to His Majesty or to the Par­liament, to make an Essay at that without doors, which His Majesty himself recommends as a thing of the ut­most Importance; and well worth their Considera­tion within doors.

To speak then to that First which His Majesty first mentions, viz. the Encrease of the Seamen: I must observe, that to encrease the Number of Seamen with­out finding them Employment, would be to bring a Rent-Charge upon the Nation, like a Work-house full of Poor, with nothing for them to do.

How to have a Number of Seamen sufficient for War and Trade together, seems to me to be the Question; and the Answer seems to be as natural, viz, that it is an Inconsistency in itself, that it cannot be done; that as, in time of War, the Publick entertains and employs fifty or sixty thousand Seamen, and in time of Peace none at all, that is to say very few; how is it possible Trade should either have Men enough in time of War, or not too many in time of Peace.

Even His Majesty's Speech does not propose it; the King recommends it to his Parliament, to consider of Ways to encourage the Seamen, so that they may willingly and by Choice enter into the Service of their Country, and without being forc'd in. But, with humblest Submission to his Majesty, I would ask leave to propose a Difficulty here: From whence must they come to Enter into the Service of their Country? They must either be in Employment be­fore, or out of it.

If they are out of Business, and refuse or decline the Publick Service, they are in a Fault, and deserve Punishment; or, to say no more, deserve to be brought in by force; for the Seamen, as they are a People [Page 15] necessary to the Safety of the Publick, are, as it were, actually the Government's Servants, by the nature of the thing; and 'tis upon that Foot that they can be Impress'd by Warrant, as Physicians and Surgeons may be commanded by Authority to perform the Duty of their Profession, and may not only be obliged to it, but punish'd for refusing it.

On the other hand; if they are in Employment, it must be in the Service of Private Persons, that is to say, in the Merchants Service, in the Collieries, the Fisheries, the Coasting, or some other Trade, which requires their Labour, and gives them good Pay.

To prevail with, or persuade the Sailors to quit this Business, and enter freely into the Service of their Country, there seems to be but one Way that I can see; no Encouragement but Money, better Wages, and less Work, will weigh with any of them; and I doubt it is hard to find any other Medium. And this must fall heavy upon the Merchant, because what is gain'd by the Navy, I doubt, must be lost by the Trade, and you take with the one Hand what you give with the other.

The Proposal to Encrease the Number of Seamen, seems to point at bringing more and greater Numbers of Seamen into the Class, to breed up or introduce more than are ordinarily so brought up to the Sea, of which I shall say something very particular in its Place.

His Majesty's Speech seems to intimate that the Case is difficult, and therefore offers at a Medium, by joyning the Parts together, to Encrease them, and to Encourage them; by encreasing their Number, the Navy may be sure of a Supply on an Exigence; and by encouraging them, that Number might be so dispos'd of that they might not starve one another, or be a Burthen to the Nation. And thus indeed His Majesty has as it were led us by the Hand to the Remedy, however difficult.

Having thus touch'd upon the two main Heads, viz. Encrease of the Number of Seamen, and Encouraging them [Page 16] to Enter into the Service of their Country, I come to take them a little in Pieces, and state the Case between them all.

1. I would state the Case between the Seamen and the Publick, and enquire (if possible) whether the Sea­men are at present under any Hardships with respect to the publick Service; what those Hardships are; and what Redress can be thought of to do Justice and Right between them and their Country.

2. I would state the Case between the Navy Service, and the Commerce, and enquire whether it is not pos­sible to do something for the Encrease of the Seamen, which may be consistent with the publick Service, and yet be not fatally injurious to the Seamen themselves, or to the Trade.

N. B. Pray take it with you as you go, that I say not fatally Prejudicial, for I allow it is impossible but Trade must suffer; but the Business is to have Trade duly considered, and its Interest regarded so, that Trade may suffer as little as may be, and yet the Publick Service may be duly attended; and perhaps I may find out some way to reconcile these Difficulties.

A skilful Surgeon being called to a difficult Opera­tion in the course of his Profession, is careful first of the Patient's Safety, that's the main Article; to preserve which, his Business is to go on in a regular manner with his Work, and perform the necessary Part according to Art.

But after this, his great Concern is to put the Patient (if possible) to no Extremities; he knows he must bear a great deal of Pain, Loss of Blood, and Decay of Strength, but his Care is to put him to as little Pain as he can, consistent with the Cure; be it the Amputation of a Member, the Openings and Incisions of Lythotomy, the Cuttings and Scarifications needful in Mortifica­tions, Gangreens, &c. or any other desperate Cases.

In like manner, with respect to the Seamen; in Case of a War, the Royal Navy must be mann'd; perhaps [Page 17] an Invasion is threatned, or the Enemy is fitting out a powerful Fleet, we are not to stand debating about Right and Wrong; the Seamen must be had; you must take them where-ever you can find them; in such Cases Trade may be a great Sufferer. But now as Trade is an important Article, and no wise Government shews them­selves unconcern'd about it, or willing to oppress and injure the Merchant in their Trade, where it can be avoided; so it is an Enquiry of just Concern to us all, to see what can be done in such Cases of Extremity to serve the Government, and yet to oppress and in­jure Trade and the Merchant as little as possible.

And why may not some happy Medium be found out for this critical Case? Let every Man cast his Mite into the Chest; Who knows but something to the Purpose may be said, where you do not expect it, even perhaps where you do not desire to find it?


A farther State of the Seamen's Case: With an Enquiry, Whether it is not possible to do something for the Encrease of the Seamen, which may be consistent with the Publick Service, and yet not fatally injurious to the Seamen themselves, or to the Trade.

BEFORE I enter too far into the Debate, as I have stated it, I desire to make a needful Explana­tion of Terms, that I may not be misunderstood, stum­ble at the Threshold, and open the Door to the Cavils and Impertinencies of the Times.

In order to this, I lay it down as a Postulatum, That when I say the Seamen do labour under Hardships in the Publick Service, I am not to be understood as [Page 18] if I thought they were injured, used ill, oppress'd, wrong'd, or anywise injuriously treated, in Consequence of the Service. They may indeed be used ill, oppress'd, wrong'd, and injuriously treated by this or that parti­cular Officer, or in this or that particular Ship; and I may take the Freedom to speak of that Part too, in its Place. But I am now speaking of the Hardships suf­fered by the Seamen in general, and by the meer natu­ral Consequence of the Service in general; and these may be call'd Hardships, I hope, without Offence; because tho' it may be in the Power of the Publick to remove some of those Hardships, yet we cannot com­plain of them as the Act and Deed of the present Ad­ministration, or lay them to the Charge of any parti­cular Person. For Example,

1. The Seamen employ'd in the Publick Service are in the same Condition, with respect to their Pay, and other Provisions, which they were in 50 or 60 Years ago; whereas they are not in the same Condition, with respect to Subsisting on that Pay, as they were in at that time; and if this Difference is such, that they cannot really subsist on their Pay at this time, tho' they could subsist on it at that time, of not so well, then they are under more Hardships than the Seamen were 50 or 60 Years ago.

We are told, how true I cannot particularly learn, or know how to enquire, that the Pay of the English Seamen on board the Royal Navy, in the Reign of King Henry VIII, was after the Rate of Seven Shil­lings to Nine Shillings per Month; that afterwards in Queen Elizabeth's Time, the Rate was rais'd up to E­leven Shillings, and afterwards to Thirteen Shillings per Month. I refer the Enquirer to the proper Regi­sters of those Times, by which any Mistake in those Particulars may be rectified; tho' it is not material if it was not just so much to a Shilling or two, more or less, the Fact in the gross is, that their Wages was conside­rably less, and that is enough to my Purpose.

[Page 19]But it is answered, and I allow the Answer to be good, That if the Sailor was as well able to live and subsist his Family, furnish himself with Cloaths, &c. with Eleven to Thirteen Shillings per Month then, as he was with Twenty-three Shillings per Month in King Charles the Second's Time, then Queen Elizabeth gave as good Wages as King Charles II. But then, by the same Rule, it must necessarily follow, that if the Wages had continued at the same Standard of Queen Eliza­beth's Pay, to the time of Charles II, the Way of Living, and the Subsistence of the poor Men and their Families, being raised and made different, as we know they were, the Seamen would have been under a Hard­ship that must have been unsufferable; since 'tis a known Maxim in Business of all Kinds, That the Pay of the Labouring Poor, whether Seamen or Landmen, must always bear a Proportion to the Rate of Living, that is to say, to the Price of Provisions.

To bring this down to the present Case: The Sea­men in England have here an evident Disadvantage, es­pecially those of them who serve in the Royal Navy; and it must necessarily be a great Discouragement to the Service itself, as well as to the Seamen: Their Pay in the Royal Navy is (not to call it small) no more now than it was as far back as the Reign of King Charles II. namely twenty-three Shillings per Month for able Seamen, and Eighteen Shillings per Month for the inferior Sort, that is able-bodied, but unexperienc'd Men; and the Times being changed, and the Rate of Provisions and other Necessaries for the Subsistence of Families be­ing raised, and that to a very great Degree, this Pay is less sufficient to their Maintenance than it formerly was, es­pecially to such of them as have Families on Shore to support, and those indeed are the Men who are the most to be depended upon for the Service; these are anxious for their Wives and Children, carefully save and re­serve their Wages for their Supply, and these merit on that Account the Encouragement I am speaking of.

[Page 20]Now the Support and Subsistence of these Families is greatly lessened since the Times mentioned above, when they had twenty-three Shillings per Month Wa­ges as well as now, by the exceeding Dearness of House-keeping, and of almost all necessary things for a Family, above what it formerly was.

This Advance of the Price of Provisions, Cloathing, and almost all necessary things, is too evident to be disputed; the Causes of it, at least some of them, are known and felt by us all; and many poor Families groan (I do not say repine) under the weight of them; such as the Taxes, and Funds establish'd on those Taxes, and by which they are bound down upon us for ma­ny Years, upon Coals, Candles, Soap, Malt, Salt, Lea­ther, &c. The New Customs and Imposts upon Imported Commodities, and particularly such as are use­ful in Families, such as Oil, Linnen, Fruit, Sugar, Spice, Tobacco, Brandy, &c. The additional Excises upon Beer, Ale, Malt, Spirits, and other Liquors. The first of these are things necessary to their Families at home, and the Last to the poor Men themselves, when on board the Men of War; most of which Taxes and Duties, and others not named, are of modern Standing, and were not known, or so much as named in the said Times of King Charles II. when yet the Wages of Seamen was as great (the same) as it is now.

The Case of the poor Seamen seems harder in these Par­ticulars than that of any other Class of the People, from the Nature of their Employment, which is always a­broad: Other Poor are not separated from their Mother Soil; these labour in a comfortless, unproducing Ele­ment: The poor Seamen neither Sow or Reap, Breed or Feed, Plant or Gather, so that they have no Assistance from the Product of the Earth, as the poor Landmen generally have; the Sea yields nothing to­wards the Maintenance or Support of Life, but Fish and Salt, the smallest Article in an Englishman's Food, and [Page 21] which will go but a very little way in his Family; all he has he must buy with his Money; and so many ne­cessary Kinds of his Supply being thus heavily load­ed with Taxes, those Taxes fall harder upon him than upon any other Class of the Poor whatever.

The poor Cottager and Labourer can glean his Corn, brew his Beer, raise his Poultry, keep a Cow upon the Common, and a Hog in his Yard, can Dig and Trench in a little Enclosure for his Vegetables, gather and cut his Fewel on the Heaths and in the Woods: But the poor Seaman buys all with dead Money, gain'd at the Hazard of his Life, and lay'd out with all the Dis­advantage imaginable; Things all discouraging enough, and which render him an Object of our just Concern; and as he is a useful necessary Servant of his Country, his Case not only moves our Compassion, but seems to claim that he should have all reasonable Helps to en­courage his Services, and to keep him in heart, that he may go on cheerfully in the important Business he is bred up to.

By these Differences and Disadvantages in their Ex­pences, if we may not say the Seamen have a Hardship, we may at least allow they have a very great Discou­ragement; particularly, they are straitned, and kept low and poor by the Encrease of their Expence, having not at the same time any Encrease of Pay. And this may be assign'd as a true Reason, or at least as one of the Reasons, why they are sometimes backward to en­ter into the Service of their Country when they are called upon to come in Voluntier, on any Publick Oc­casions, having not Money wherewith to fit and fur­nish themselves out, that is to say, to supply themselves with Cloaths, Bedding, and other Necessaries to cover them in a cold Climate, or to comfort them in a hot, and for want of which many Seamen (especially such as have been pressed into the Service, and on that Ac­count not entitled to the Bounty of the Government) have suffered great Extremities by the Severities of the [Page 22] Seasons, and the Inclemency of the Climates, either such as extreme Cold, or excessive Heats, as the Ser­vice may have presented.

This Poverty, and these Hardships in the Circum­stances of the Seamen, has been partly the Occasion that has mov'd the generous Compassion of our Prin­ces, on many Occasions, to publish Bounties, and pro­mise Money to be advanced to them for their Supply, to encourage them to come voluntarily in, and enter themselves on board the Royal Navy; and it has not been without its desired Effect in part, tho' not to such a Degree as was at first expected. The Reasons for which we shall see farther into presently; but in the mean time, it may not be amiss to observe,

1. That this very Grant of Bounty, which, if I mistake not, was first directed by the late Glorious King William, a Prince eminent for his Knowledge and Expe­rience in the true Methods of managing the Marine Service, was a Testimony to the Truth of what I have alledg'd, (viz.) the Poverty and Exigence of the Sea­men at their first entering into the Service; and that this Exigence consisted, as above, in their want of Money to furnish themselves with Necessaries at their setting out.

2. The Exigence being prov'd, as to the Fact of it, the Justice of considering the poor Seamen, and bestow­ing a Royal Bounty for their Encouragement, seems to be tacitly acknowledg'd also; or if we must not call it Justice, but rather a Charity, for the Words Boun­ty and Justice seem to clash a little; yet then, the Rea­sonableness of the Charity seems evident, and the Di­stress moving; so that it is as much, almost, as to ac­knowledge that there was a Necessity to do something for them, or that it could not be expected they would come voluntarily into the Service.

The Effect indeed shew'd that this was the Case, for upon the publishing such a Benevolence, the Sea­men, especially those of them as had kept off upon [Page 23] that very Foundation, began to come freely in, and the Navy felt the Benefit of it, by saving very much the Expence of Pressing; for impressing Seamen to the Service, that is, as his Majesty is pleased to express it, Compelling them by Force and Violence to enter into it, is not only grievous to the Seamen, but very expen­sive, as well as tedious to the Publick.

It is Expensive by the incident Charges attending it, employing Officers and Gangs of Men to range about City and Country to pick Men up; Press-Smacks, or Vessels to lye in the Rivers, and proper Ports to re­ceive the Men when Press'd; attending the Commis­sioners appointed to hear and redress Grievances when Men are impress'd, who by Law ought not to be taken, and the Charge of Maintaining such Men 'till they are legally Discharged by the Commissioners; sending Sloops, Smacks, and sometimes Frigates, to pick up Men upon all the remotest Coasts of Great Britain, whose Expences are very considerable, as well on board those Vessels as on Shore for the Pressing Work.

Add to all this, the Length of time, which sometimes the Capital Ships are oblig'd to wait before they are ready for the Service, for want of their Complement of Men; and sometimes the whole Fleet has been de­lay'd, and the Service interrupted, for want of such and such Ships (whose Assistance they could not safely want) being sufficiently mann'd.

All these Things had their Share among the Rea­sons for granting the Bounty-money to the Seamen. But to bring it all back to its true Original, all those Reasons are first founded upon the necessitous Circum­stance of the Seamen, occcasion'd as above, by the Dis­parity between their Pay and their Wants; or if you will, between the present Circumstance of the poor Men, and their past.

Nor are the Taxes, mention'd above, the only Cause of the Dearness of poor Families Subsistence; we may appeal to Experience, whether it is not occasion'd also by [Page 24] the real Encrease of People among us, or the Encrease of Commerce, or from a greater Cause than both, (viz.) the Luxurious way of Living, which Custom and the Pride of the Age has introduced among us, by which the Consumption of Provisions being encreased, the Rate of Provision rises by the mere consequence of that Consumption; but be it which it will, if the Fact is true the Thing is the same: let us appeal to Expe­riences. The Rate of almost all sorts of Provisions are, and have been for many Years past, exceedingly advanced; so that a Family, whether great or small, whether Rich or Poor, are not maintain'd, fed, or cloathed upon the same Terms, and at the same Ex­pence as formerly they were.

If this be the Case then, as the Rate of Wages to the Poor ever did, and we may say, ever will, rise or fall in Proportion to the Rate of Provisions at the Mar­ket: if the Poor Seaman's Wages is but the same that it was before, may he not be said to have a Hardship in this, (viz.) that, as we say, he has not Neighbour's Fare, he can gain no more, and yet must spend much more than he did before.

As to the Wages of other labouring Poor, I believe it may be prov'd, that almost in all kinds of Labour the Poor have raised their Price upon us: In the Country, or Husbandry-work, we find it so; in La­bourers, in Journey-men's Wages of almost all kinds it is so, and the Works they finish are raised in Propor­tion. It would be too tedious to make the Enquiry ge­neral in this Place: I appeal to the Knowledge of Tradesmen, every one in their own way; I appeal to the Knowledge of Gentlemen in the Wages of their Servants, and in particular to the Ladies, in the Wages of their Maid-servants, Cooks, Waiting-women, &c. the Advance of which is such, that 'tis risen up al­most to a Common Grievance.

Does it not seem somewhat hard that all our Servants should have their Wages advanced, their Support and [Page 25] Subsistence considered; but the poor Seamen who, we may say, are the Nation's Servants, and indeed their best Servants, had no such Advances made them in Price, however the Necessaries of their Subsistence are advanc'd, and however heavy that Advance may lye up­on them?

There are other Discouragements upon the poor Men besides these, and which, tho' not immediately respecting the Government, yet as they are in the Power of the Government to redress, and that His Majesty has been pleased to recommend the Encou­raging the Seamen in General to the Parliament, I can­not but think it a dutiful Concurrence with that Re­commendation, and hope it will be so taken, for a pri­vate Hand to lay open some of those Discouragements, for the special Cognisance of the House, in order to pave the way to that Encouragement and Relief which the House may think fit to give them, the poor Seamen.

One natural Consequence of the Disparity, as above, between the Pay or Wages of the Seamen, and their necessary Expence for Subsistence, is, that they are often something Necessitous; and, generally speaking, the Seamen, especially such as have Families, and serve in the Navy-Royal at 23 s. per Month, with all the Deductions and Defalcations attending it, are not very rich.

If they were so before, viz. in the Reign of King Charles II. when 23 s. would go so much farther in the providing for the Food and Cloaths of a Fami­ly, than it will now, it may be allow'd that they must be so now; nay, if it must be allow'd, that all Things necessary to Life and the Subsistence of a Family are so exalted in Price, the poor Seamen must be, in the Consequence, just so much impoverish'd and reduced as that Inequality amounts to.

Taking it for granted then, that the Seaman having a Family to provide for while he serves in the Navy, is reduced as above; let us enquire a little into some of [Page 26] the Consequences of this Poverty, for there are many, and those very discouraging.

The first Discouragement is touch'd at already, namely, Declining the Service, with-drawing himself either into the Merchants Service, or, which is worse, the Devil's Service, and turning Pyrate, plundering our Ships and Merchants, and setting up for a sort of Ma­rine Highway-men to make his Fortune by Rapine, or revolting from Duty, and entring into the Ser­vice of the Enemy.

This scandalous Employment has indeed recommen­ded so many of them to the Gallows, that the Num­bers of them seem to wear out pretty much, and they seem weary of it, so that we may hope there are not so many of our Seamen carried off that way as former­ly. The next Discouragement, which however I must place to the Account of the first, is, that those Sea­men who, tho' they may be poor and reduced, yet are honest, and willing to enter into the Service of their Country, and willing, at the same time, to sup­port and subsist their Families, are driven by their Po­verty to anticipate their Pay by borrowing Money be­fore-hand, either for furnishing themselves with Ne­cessaries at their setting out, or for putting it into the Hands of their Wives for the Support and Subsist­ence of the Family while they are abroad.

In doing this, they are not only exposed to the un­happy Necessity of devouring their Pay before they earn it, or, as they ordinarily call it, eating the Calf in the Cow's Belly, which is very discouraging in itself: But they are farther expos'd to the cruel Exactions and Extortions of those who thus advance Money upon their Pay, who (that Security being so many ways pre­carious) will not lend upon the ordinary Consideration of Legal Interest; and the poor Borrowers being di­strest for Money, are oblig'd to submit to the hard Conditions; by which Cruelty, or rather by which Necessity, the poor Mens Pay, however small or insuf­ficient [Page 27] of itself, is lessen'd, and render'd yet smaller to a degree which really is very affecting, even but to relate: so that if the Pay itself is at best but ill able to sup­port and subsist the Family of a poor Seaman; it is much less equal to it when thus reduced, perhaps one fourth, or one third, by Usury and Extortion, and this exacted with the utmost Rigour; so that the poor Sea­man, or his Family, when the Ship comes to be paid off, cannot receive one Farthing of his Pay 'till this Loan is first wholly paid off and discharged, the full Powers for receiving the said Pay being transferr'd from the poor Wife, or perhaps Widow of that Seaman, whose Life perhaps is lost in the Service, or under the weight of the Discouragement itself; for I verily believe, the Grief and Oppression of Mind which the poor Seamen (such of them as can think) feel from the constant Reflections on the Hardships they suffer by such Things as these, kills as many as the Shot and the Swords of the Enemy.

But their Discouragements do not end here; the Ex­actions as to Interest, as above, are great, but that is not all: The Abuses put upon them by the Len­ders go farther; as first, in taking Powers from them for larger Sums than their just Debts, whether Prin­cipal or Interest, on pretence of Security for the Ac­cidents which attend the Loan of their Money; and secondly, their taking Powers for the whole Pay ab­solutely, leaving the poor Borrower to apply, not to the Publick, but to the unmerciful Creditor for the Over-plus; in which Case many times the Lender proves Insolvent and Bankrupt more than the Borrower, and the poor Seaman loses it all; or if not, the Exactions for Trouble, pretended Charges in Attendance at the Office, Expence in receiving, and abundance of such like Pretences, are brought into the Account, 'till the poor Man's Pay is quite devour'd, or reduced to so miserable a Pittance as makes him desperate, and con­sequently miserable.

[Page 28]Again: when all these Defalcations are allow'd and given up, yet the poor Man is left to wait, intreat, and perhaps, at last, to sue for the Ballance; and some­times, if the Landlord keeps a Publick House, as of­ten is the case, is drawn in to spend the Ballance in Drunkenness and Excesses, and receives the last Pay­ment in extravagant Reckonings, long unjust Scores, and such Methods as is usual among such People, to the utter Ruin of the Morals of the poor Seamen, as well as of their Families.

It may be true, that the poor Men themselves, some for want of a just Principle, and some made desperate, and exasperated by these Violences and Abuses, do sometimes act the unfair Part, and do enter into dou­ble Engagements upon their Pay; pledging it more than once for Money, affirming, tho' falsly, that it was not engag'd or pledg'd before; so as it may be call'd Mort­gaging the same Effects to different Persons, grant­ing false Powers, and making fraudulent Wills, and fraudulent Assignments of their Pay to particular Per­sons, when the same Pay has been assign'd and dispos'd of to other Persons before.

This I say may be true, and I doubt does too often happen. Nor is this unfair Practice of some Seamen the least of the Causes of the rest being impos'd upon by the Lenders of Money, as above; who, considering the Hazards they run of the Seamens Integrity, as well as of their Lives (for if the Borrower dies, or runs from the Service the Debt is lost) insist upon it, that they ought to have the greater Premium as a Consideration for the Risque, as well as for the Loan; and by this way of Reasoning they pretend to satisfie their Con­sciences in their Exactions and Extortions upon, as well those who are honest, as those who are dishonest.

But notwithstanding all this, the Complaint of the Discouragement which the Seamen lie under in the Particulars above stands good, and it is certainly well worth the Consideration of the Publick to re­dress [Page 29] them. The ill Conduct of some of them, is far from a just Reason why Justice should not be done to the rest. And I make no doubt but were the general Dis­couragements of the whole Body removed, the Kna­very would be the less among the rest, as we shall see immediately.

Besides, when the Parliament shall be pleas'd to take the poor Seamen's Case into their Consideration, and apply suitable Remedies to the Discouragements men­tion'd above, they will never want Ways and Means to prevent all those Frauds of such Seamen as are dis­honest; which, as we shall see in its Place, may be done without the least Difficulty, and without Injury to the Borrower or the Lender. Nor can the House be at a loss to prevent the Oppressions and Extortions of the Lenders, by which the poor and honest Part of the Seamen are so abused and discouraged; of which I shall also speak in the Course of this Work: for it is not design'd to make this Work a meer Clamour of Grievances, without giving a due Prospect of the proper Means to redress them; that would be to write a kind of a Satyr upon the publick Management of the Navy, which is indeed no Part of the Business before me, or of my Design.

But I go on to the Detail of the Seamens Discou­ragements; another of them is the horrid Practice of forging and counterfeiting the Powers and Assignments of the Seamen for receiving their Wages, by which the poor Men are defrauded of the full Reward of their most faithful Services; and when they have worn out a tedious Summer, and perhaps a Winter or two also, in all the Fateagues of Service, too ma­ny to reckon up, have born the excessive Heat, the Storms, and Tempests, the Diseases and Distem­pers of contrary and unhealthy Climates, and the Hazards of Enemies, and come home in Expecta­tion of receiving their Wages, find themselves robb'd, their Wages taken up and receiv'd by the [Page 30] help of Perjury and Forgery, and by those worst sort of Thieves, the Pretenders to Right, when they nei­ther had any Power to claim by, or real Debt to pre­tend to it from, and which is worse, know not who the Plunderer has been, or where to look for or en­quire after him.

Who can describe, in Language moving like the thing it self, the Grief, the Agonies of the Soul of the poor injur'd Creature, and of his starving Family? who, after the Hardships they have suffer'd, the poor Man abroad, and the poor Wife and Children at home, in a long starving Expectation of the Return of the Ship, run in Debt to all that would trust them on the Credit of the poor Man's Labour, and the certainty of his Pay, find themselves after all thus cut off, at the very Hour of their greatest Expectations; yet those things we see often done in a manner too vile to express.

Some of these Creatures have been detected, and, as often as they are, it will be acknowledg'd they have been severely punish'd, as far as our Law directs. If the Law is defective, and the Punishment is neither equal to the Crime, or sufficient to deter others from such Practice, that is the Misfortune of the Country, and in common with other Cases. It is but a little way from us, and even upon the same Island, where it would be rewarded at the Gallows; which indeed I cannot but say, I think it richly deserves. But neither is that our Business here.

This Practice also of counterfeiting Powers, and thereby receiving the poor Seamens Pay, is attended with another piece of Forgery, viz. forging of Wills, by which the poor Families of a deceased Seaman are defrauded of his Pay after his Death. This has been a Practice so frequent, and has been so much harder to detect than the other, that the wicked Contrivers of it have had but too much Encouragement, in carrying on the horrid Trade; so that when a Ship or a Fleet comes into Harbour, they have no more to do but [Page 31] get a Sight of the Ship's Musters, and see who are dead, getting their Names, and if possible a Sight of their Hand-writing, or the knowledge whether they were able to write or no; and immediately they forge a last Will and Testnment for the deceas'd, make themselves Executors, and then claiming a Debt from the Deceased, receive the Money as entitled to it, in satisfaction of their pretended Debt.

I need not add that this likewise is among those Grievances of Seamen, which are most easy to be re­dressed; the Parliament with the Breath of their Mouth are able to put an effectual Stop to all those Practi­ces; a Clause of five Lines is sufficient; that is to say, 'tis done with the greatest ease imaginable; and 'tis in order to that Relief that I take the Freedom to mention it in this Place, and at a Time when the Sea­men have the happiness of seeing their Case recom­mended to the Parliament from the Throne.

After what has been said thus briefly, and perhaps with rather too much Backwardness and Caution, lest it should give Offence, and so do the Seamen Harm rather than Good, and after what his Majesty has been pleased to say from the Throne, of the great Impor­tance of the thing in General, I flatter my self with the Belief, that none will say the Seamen do not want Encouragement, in order to bring them to en­ter freely and willingly, and without Force and Violence, into the Service of their Country. Nor can it be said, with justice to the poor Men, that they are not at present under these Hardships and Discouragements, their Numbers are greatly diminish'd, and the Diffi­culties of bringing them into Service are encreas'd; and, which is still worse, many of them are by these things irretrievably dispersed and scattered into the re­motest Parts of the World, and into the Service of al­most all the Christian Powers, and even some Heathen and Mahometan Powers, as well their Princes as their [Page 32] Merchants, from whence it is far from an easy Task to recover them, and bring them back.

It has been alledg'd, tho' I am loth to say much of it here, that many of our Seamen run from the Ser­vice in Circumstances which render their Return hopeless; for that, in so many words, they dare not come home; and this not only as Deserters from the Service, for that an Act of Oblivion would take off; but as Debtors, having borrow'd Money on their Pay, or otherwise run into Debt at or before their entring in­to the Service, and not willing or not able to pay, cannot appear again in the Service, for fear of a Jail, the Service being no Protection against an Ar­rest.

Some have suggested that the Seamen, having been thus basely drawn in by the Money-lenders, mention'd above, to make over their whole Pay, for the Loan of but a little Money, and being visibly oppressed by the Avarice and Extortion of those wicked People taking advantage of their Necessity, and making them acknowledge more Debt than they owe, have in meer Revenge for that Usage run from the Service, for­feited their Pay, and in a manner banish'd themselves for ever from their native Country, because they ab­hor'd to be imposed upon in so gross a manner. Thus punishing themselves to the last Degree, on purpose to avoid paying such an unjust Demand.

I will not take upon me to affirm this Part, tho' I doubt the Truth of it might too easily be prov'd from the Acknowledgment of those who have actually done so. But this I venture to say, that tho' the Practice cannot be justify'd in the Seamen themselves, howe­ver provok'd by the ill Usage of those Extortioners, yet it also shows, that those Abuses of the Seamen are, together with the Injustice and Avarice of it, a very great Discouragement to the poor Men, and by con­sequence an Injury to the publick Service; seeing eve­ry thing that assists to diminish the Number of Sea­men, [Page 33] banish them from the Service, and scatter them abroad in foreign and remote Countries, so as that they are lost to their Country, is so far a publick Grievance; and besides its being criminal in it self, as all such illegal Practices are, is criminal also in its Consequences, as it is an Injury to the Publick, and indeed a Calamity to their Country.

It is true, the Seamen that act thus are not to be justified by any means; on the contrary, they are Of­fenders in several Denominations, as acting unjustly to their Creditors, whatever they can say of their Ex­tortion, as the Occasion or Pretence of it; for an In­jury receiv'd, does by no means justifie an Injury done; nor does their extorting more than is their Due, dis­charge the Debtor in point of Conscience from pay­ing what was really due. But the Right and Wrong of the Question is not before us here: the present Business is, whether this is the Case or no? and whether by this Extortion and Avarice on one hand, the Seamen being made desperate, do fall upon those unjust desperate Methods, to defraud the Lenders, on the other hand, or no? If the Affirmative is true, then they both concur to obstruct the Service, and so far both are Offenders; and 'tis worth while for the Le­gislature to enter into Measures, to prevent the Pra­ctice; for all just Governments chuse rather to prevent Crimes, than punish them: The main End and In­tent of Laws is to deter Men from Offences, not to leave them at liberty to commit them, tho' at the Price of the Penalty; that would be to suppose the Crime lawful to him, that is willing to run the Risque of the Punishment; a Principle fit for a Highwayman, or a Smuggler to act upon, not for Men of Conscience and Honesty.

There are many other Hardships and Discou­ragements which the poor Seamen often complain'd of formerly; some occasion'd by the Cheats and Frauds of their Officers; as in particular the Allowance [Page 34] of their Provisions, as to Quantity, and sometimes in the Quality also; especially in such Provisions as are added to the Ship's Stores abroad, where the laying in such Provisions is of course left to the Prudence and Discretion of the Captain or Pursers, or the Agent of the Victualling abroad. But these things are past, nor have been complain'd of for some Years.

It is not the Business, much less the Design of this Work, to arraign the King's Officers of Mismanage­ment, or to make this Account a Charge upon any Body.

Besides, the Abuses of Officers are no part of our Case; they are punishable, if the Fact be proved, by the Laws, as well as by their Superior Officers, and the Seamen have an open Door to make their Com­plaint, after they come Home. To recommend such things therefore to the Parliament, is to trouble the House with what they ought not to be troubled with, unless Redress could not be obtained in the Ordinary Way.


Of the immediate Redress which presents itself for these Evils, and of the proper Means to Encrease and Encourage the Seamen, so as to have suf­ficient Numbers always ready as well for the Service of the Publick, as for the Support of Trade and Service of the Merchant.

YOU have seen, as distinctly as the narrow Compass of this Work will admit, some of the Reasons of the Seamens dispersing and scattering themselves into foreign, remote and distant Parts of the World, their wilfully banishing themselves (as it were) from their own Country, and their running head-long into Pyra­cies, [Page 35] and other desperate Services: By all which their Numbers are exceedingly diminished, and abundance of them irretrievably lost as to the Service of their Soveraign.

It remains, according to his Majesty's Gracious Re­commendation to his Parliament, to find a Remedy, if possible, for these Evils, that the Seamen may be en­couraged, their Numbers encreased, and they may be invited, not brought by Force and Violence to enter into the Service of their Country.

I am far from crowding the Heads of the Town with Projects: The unperforming Schemes of our Pro­jectors and Pretenders, those Quacks and Mountebanks of the State, are my Aversion, as they have been the Ministry's Burthen, in all our late Reigns; they have often perplexed this very Case, but never, as I have yet seen, advanced one Step towards its effectual Cure and Redress.

But I remember a long and intricate Proposal, once offered to the Publick, in the Reigns of King William, and Queen Anne, which went so far as to be thought worth considering of by his Royal Highness Prince George, then High-Admiral, and to be laid before a Committee of Parliament. I shall give a Summary of the Scheme, because it was new, and thought at first to be practicable, but it is too long to repeat all the Particulars.

The Proposal was, (1.) to form all the Seamen, or Sea­faring-men into a Body, and enter them all into the immediate Service and Pay of the Government. So that they were all at once the Government's hired Ser­vants, their Names and Abode always registred, and Books kept distinctly in every Port, by the Customer or Collector of the Port; so that there should be no Charge of new Offices and Officers, to eat out their Country's Treasure by unnecessary Salaries.

For the Encouragement and effectual Supply of Trade and Navigation, whether for the Merchant-Ships, [Page 36] Coasters, or Fishery, they should always be supplied with Good and Able Seamen from the Custom-house, the Collector having no more to do than to send a Summons to the Men to their Dwelling; knowing always by their Books who was abroad, and who was at home, with Orders what Ships to go on board of, and where; and One Port to borrow and lend to another, as Numbers were found over, or wanting.

For Encouragement of the Seamen to be always at hand, the Government was supposed to allow them Half-pay when out of Employ, and travelling Pay to return home when unship'd, or to go to the Port when shipped where the Ship should lie.

That the current Pay of the Seamen from the Go­vernment being at that time 23 s. per Month when on board the King's Ships, the Merchants should pay to the Government 26 s. per Month for every able Sea­man, which was the ordinary Pay the Merchant gave at that time, and was not thought grievous, for it was raised to 30 s. per Month, and higher, as the War made Men scarce. That by this Over-plus of Pay in the Merchants Service the Government would be able to pay all the Half-pay to the Seamen out of Employ­ment.

Also out of the same Fund Hospitals should be pro­vided, for taking Care of poor sick Seamen, and a Chest erected for Allowances to such as were maim'd, whe­ther their Maims were received in the Service of the Publick, or of the Merchant.

Also Hospitals to relieve at least, if not to maintain the Widows and infant Children of such Seamen as died abroad in Service, as well in Merchant Ships as in the Royal Navy; others to be left to the Parishes.

All the Male-children of Seamen so deceased to be bred up by the said Hospital to the age of 14 years, and then entred into Pay in Proportion to their Age, and to be shipped as Occasion presented.

[Page 37]Commanders of Merchant Ships, and other Officers in proportion to their Commands, and to the Burthen of their Ships, to be obliged to take such Boys as their proper Servants, and to take care to instruct them in the Art of Navigation, and to allow them Pay after the age of Fifteen Years, such as shall be adjusted.

The Rest of this Proposal is indeed too large to in­sert it here: But the Proposer shews fully the Advan­tages to the Merchants, by removing all the Difficulties in getting Men, in abating the Expence of Victuals and Wages while in Port waiting 'till they are fully mann'd, and on many other Accounts.

Also the Advantages to the Government, that a cer­tain number of these Seamen, while out of Employ, and in Half-pay, should be always at hand, for doing the necessary Works belonging to the Navy, cleansing the Docks, Yards, Harbours, &c.

And for the Encrease of the Number of Seamen, the Government should entertain all such able-bodied Land­men as were desirous to enter into the Marine-Service, whose Half-pay should be proportioned to their usual Pay at Sea, and should, notwithstanding their Half-pay, be at Liberty to work for themselves, at any time when the publick Service did not call for them, either Abroad or at Home.

That every Merchant-Ship entertaining Ten Seamen and upwards, should be obliged to take one such able-bodied Landman at the Rate of 20 s. per Month, the Government to pay the same Men 18 s. per Month; by which means the able-bodied Landmen may be sup­posed in about two Years Service to be sufficiently inur­ed to the Sea, and to be entertained as able Seamen.

This Proposal in all its Parts, of which I have a Copy, tho' too long to insert it here, was so far thought practicable, that it was as last declined only upon some Scruples about Liberty and Compulsion, which some nice People, who have got over all these Difficulties in other Cases not less dangerous, pretend­ed to raise.

[Page 38]Upon this Foot, I say, it was laid aside, (not re­jected) and had the Prince lived a little longer would, I believe, have been brought to be practicable. In which Case there would always have been a sufficient Number of Seamen on every Occasion, as well for private Service as Publick; for the growing Number of Landmen, upon the Encouragement of a Half-pay, with Liberty to work for their own Account while out of Service, would always have given you a Supply of Seamen for any Emergency, and yet their Number would not have been a Burthen to the Publick.

I have mentioned this, because as I take the Encreas­ing the Number of Able Seamen to be one of the greatest Difficulties before us, as it shocks our ad­justment of Numbers, and makes that Number in Time of War, be as much too numerous for Trade in a Time of Peace, as the Number to be spared in a Time of Peace is too small to Man out the Royal Navy in Time of War.

But by this Method the Number in general would be ek'd out, and greatly enlarg'd, and the Ways and Means taken by the Government to support the su­pernumerary or extraordinary Men, will be doing that without a Burthen which would otherwise be an in­tolerable Weight upon them.

The Proposal enters into some very just Calculati­ons of the Number of Seamen in England, a Point so very nice, that the most critical in what they call Po­litical Arithmetick have been able to do nothing in it that we may depend upon. He judged that, includ­ing the Transport Service, and the extraordinary Num­ber of Vessels just then employed in the Service, there were not less than 70000 Seamen at that time in the Go­vernment Pay, which notwithstanding he shews they could not reasonably be thought so, yet because a given Number must in all such Cases be the Basis of just Calculations, he supposes to be near one half of all the Seamen in England, that is to say, employed by the [Page 39] Navy and by the Commerce of England. So that he states the Number in General to be 150000 Seamen.

From this Number he inferrs, and for this Reason I mention it, That upon such a general Enrolling of Seamen there being one Man in Ten allow'd to be entertained, who he calls, according to the Language of the Navy, able-bodied Land-men, there would then be 15000 such Land-men always in Service, or on the List: And these being supposed to be trans­mitted from the Class of Land-men to that of able Seamen in the Space of every Two Years; that very Article would supply all the Incidents of Mortality by Disaster among the able Seamen, allowing the nur­sing up of Boys, the Children of Seamen, to go on in its ordinary Course for a Succession to the general Fund of Seamen as it is already.

I must confess this Scheme for the Encrease of Sea­men seems the most fitted for Practice of any I have yet met with, because it provides a Fund for the Support of the supernumerary List, without bur­thening the Country, and lays a Foundation for the Supply of the Navy, upon any sudden Emergencies, in so easy, certain and expeditious a manner, as would make the Naval Power of England very terrible in the World; for by this Method, whatever Exigence of sudden Service might present, the English would be able to man out a formidable Fleet in a shorter Time than any other Nation in the World: For the Government would be supposed to have always 30000 Seamen at Home, or so near Call, the coasting Naviga­tion included, that they might be all shipp'd in four­teen Days time at farthest, and that without Hurry, without Violence, without Fail, and without Ex­pence.

I forbear to enlarge upon this Scheme, because, as I have said, it may be called a Project, and is not I doubt likely to be attempted, and perhaps would re­quire some more than ordinary Application to be re­duc'd [Page 40] to Practice, especially at first; but I cannot quit it, without acknowledging, that if it might be set on Foot, it seems to me to be a Scheme the most like­ly to answer all the Ends, as well of Encreasing, as of Encouraging the Seamen of England, and the most capable of Improvement of any I ever met with.

But I must take a little Notice of the Schemes and Projects for this Work, which have been accepted by our Superiors, and have been reduc'd to Practice; some even of these we have found, cautiously speaking, Un­performing, or at least Insufficient, such as Hospitals for Sick and Wounded Seamen, which during the late War were found necessary to be erected in several Places, I mean Temporary Hospitals on Shore, as well as Hospital Ships.

These were very useful indeed, and it was an En­couragement to the Seaman to see Provision made for him in case of Accident, whether by Wounds or other Disease; but I say, this is only Temporary, and these all cease with the War: Nor is this any thing at all to the Encreasing the Numbers of the Seamen, or Encouraging them in the Sense now propos'd, that is to say, to come in without Pressing.

The next and great Project, which made indeed a great Noise for a while, was that of Registring the Seamen by Name in Books, and an Office for that Purpose to be kept at a great Expence, and for which the Seamen themselves were to pay. But what has this done for them more than entitling them to an Hospital, which, with Submission, they were in­titled to Parochially before? which, tho' it was not an equal Provision in the State and Magnificence of the Thing, or in the Plenty and Convenience of it, yet it may without Offence be said to be a superior Provision for the Poor, as well Seamen as others, to any other of that Kind in the World.

[Page 41]It is true, and it has been often boasted abroad, that there are many more and greater Hospitals for Mainte­nance of the Poor in Spain, Italy, France, and Portu­gal, than there are in England; as the Misericordia at Naples, which they tell us has 100000 Crowns a Year Revenue; another at Seville; and several others at Madrid, besides innumerable others; but this might be effectu­ally answered by telling them, that we have above 9000 Hospitals in England, besides all the Hospitals of private Endowment, every Parish being the poor Man's Hospital, in which he has a Legal Right by Inheri­tance to be maintained, and that therefore no poor Man in England can be said to starve, if the Parish-Of­ficers do their Duty.

But not to lessen the Advantage to the Seamen of their Claim to a Retreat in the Royal Hospital of Greenwich, which the Register is said to entitle them to; nor to lessen the Value of that glorious Founda­tion itself; yet it may be added, that still in the main this straitens the Circumstances of the poor Seaman's Family, whose Pay, tho' not large before, is yet made so much less by the Allowances which he was obliged to make out of it towards this Hospital; besides all those other Deductions made be­fore, such as to the Surgeon, to the Chaplain, to the Chest at Chatham, &c. all which may be said to assist in reducing the Pay of the Seamen; and this at a time when the Support and maintaining his Fami­ly is heavier upon him, than ever it was upon his Fore­fathers, the Seamen of the past Ages.

His Majesty has indeed recommended the Hospital of Greenwich to the Consideration of his Parliament, and I will not doubt but Ways and Means may be found out to make that Foundation yet more extensive, and more capable of relieving the distress'd Seamen; I will, for once, suppose it were, as I believe it might be made, an universal Support, so that all the decay'd and invalid Seamen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, were [Page 42] to have their Assistance from it when they came to want it.

But I do not see much of the immediate Influence this will have on the present Encouragement of Sea­men, or on the Encrease of their Number; for,

1. The Hospital does nothing, that I know of, for them 'till they come to be Old and Decayed, or Wounded and Disabled, and 'tis a great Matter to do that; and were our Seamen a Generation of People that looked so far be­fore them as from Youth and Strength, to Age and In­firmity, and from sound and whole Limbs, to Wounds and Disasters, things which they have as much Reason to think of as most Men, it might be of some more Weight with them than I doubt it is. But it does not seem to belong much to the Character of an English Seaman to think much, especially of such remote things, and therefore we cannot say that Part is so much of an Encouragement, as in the Nature and Rea­son of the thing it ought to be.

2. The Hospital is concerned principally in taking care of Seamen, out of the Service, not in it, and of Seamen past Service, not encouraging them to the Service; it is the Seamen's Interval between the Sea and the Grave, where he is made comfortable to him­self, when he is good for nothing to any body else. Nor is this Undervaluing the Hospital in the least, it is a very great Article in itself, and well worth the Cha­rity of a Christian Nation to take care of the latter Days of those poor Men who have spent their Strength and Prime in the most useful Service of their Coun­try.

But tho' the Hospital of Greenwich were in its utmost designed Perfection, it does not seem to reach the pre­sent Case, or indeed to be much concern'd in it; 'tis the bringing Men into the Service, not the sending them out of it, that is the present Enquiry.

The Introduction of Seamen is chiefly by breeding them up from Childhood on board the Ships, bringing [Page 43] them up to the Sea as an Employment or Trade; and 'tis chiefly done by our Colliers, Coasters, Fishing-Boats, Wherries, Keels, Lighters, and all the small Craft of Home-Navigation; the Merchant Ships in­deed carry some such, as Cabbin-Boys, chiefly by the Captain, and some Officers are allowed to take Boys, but these are few.

As the Seamen (at least three-fourths of them) are thus bred to the Business from their most early time, it can hard­ly be suggested that the Benefit of an Hospital for their latest time is any Part of their Consideration, or is of weight in their Choice of the Employment; so that this can have no great Share in a Proposal for Encrea­sing the Numbers of Seamen; that must be a Work of a different Nature, and would well employ the Care of a Parliament, and indeed of any one else that can assist the Publick in an Affair of such Conse­quence.

To bring it into as narrow a Compass as I can, I see but two Ways by which the Numbers of Seamen can be encreas'd, I mean such as the Publick can concern itself in; for as for the Parish-Children, and the Chil­dren of distress'd Families, on or near the Sea-Coast, it is the natural Consequence of their Situation, they flow as naturally into the Sea-Service, whether for War or Trade, as the Rivers run into the Ocean; but to do something in a publick Way, is to bring such Men or such Boys into and up for the Service of the Sea, which could not, or would not be done before.

For the Parliament to direct sending such to Sea, as would of course go there without that Direction, is doing nothing, or nothing to the Purpose, which is all one, and is below the Dignity as well as the Wisdom of Parliament to be concerned in; but the Encrease which may be thought to come with such an Autho­rity as that of the Parliament, may be suppos'd to be some of these, or such like:

1. Some Measures to be taken to bring up for this [Page 44] Service all that unhappy Swarm of young vagrant Boys, who at present are the Burthen, not of this City only, but of all the Towns in England, and who seem to be brought up for the Devil, that is for the Gallows; for they generally learn to be first Beggars, then Thieves, and if they are early transported, 'tis a Mercy in their Fate which they have great Reason to be thankful for.

No Law, that I can think of, could be establish'd up­on a more true Christian Foundation; 'tis the height of Charity, and the most shining Virtue of a private Man, and the most glorious of a Nation, for it snatch­es a Breed of Imps (as they may many of them be call'd) out of the Clutches of the Devil, out of the very Jaws of eternal Destruction, whose Fate is sum­med up in few Words, thus, That they are born Beg­gars, bred Thieves, and dye Criminals.

Nor would the Number of them be inconsiderable; 'tis scarce credible what a black Throng they are; many of them indeed perish young, and dye miserable, before they may be said to look into Life; some are starv'd with Hunger, some with Cold, many are found frozen in the Streets and Fields, some drowned before they are old enough to be hang'd.

How noble a Foundation would an Hospital be, e­qual in Magnitude to that of Greenwich or Chelsea, to receive the whole Body of these Miserables, to Feed, Cloath, Govern, and Teach them, from the Age of about Five to Fourteen, and then send them out civi­lized, instructed, bred up to good Letters and good Manners, into the King's Service, or into the Mer­chants Service, as occasion should present. I say no more here; the Parliament, or the Government, if they espouse such a Proposal, know well enough how to improve upon it, and a small Payment to be made where I humbly think it would be no Burthen to the King, or to the Commerce, would raise a sufficient Fund to endow and support it.

[Page 45]Such a Step as this would raise a Succession of able Seamen, and in a few Years would come to remit a thou­sand, or perhaps two or three thousand sturdy Youths every Year into the general Class of English Seamen; and it were easy to entail that Supply upon the Navy, by way of Preference to all other Service, by entailing some little Payment upon them from the House, as of­ten as the Navy giving a public Call, they shall come chearfully in, and enter themselves for the Service of their Country. I could enlarge very agreeably upon such a Proposal as this, and upon the many Ways which it may be improv'd, and made useful to the Public, but I have not Room for it here.

As this Scheme would help to supply the Navy with bred Seamen or Mariners, brought up to the Sea from their Childhood, so another would bring a Supply of able-bodyed Landmen into the Service, equivalent to what is contain'd in the Scheme mention'd above, by which poor Men wanting Employment might be entertain'd in the Service of their Country, and brought in by Time and Experience to serve as able Seamen.

The only Difficulty in either of these Proposals, is, how the Government shall find Business for any con­siderable Number of Men in time of Peace; and if that time of Peace should last long, as sometimes has been the Case, what Use shall be made of them?

To this might be answer'd very directly, the Go­vernement are oblig'd to keep a very considerable Number of Men always at work in Naval Affairs, tho' it were a Time of continued, settled, and la­sting Peace, and may keep more than they do now; and were I intending to make this Tract a Book of Schemes, I could lay such Ways open to the publick View, as would convince every Reader, there is no Difficulty in it, nor any Charge but what the things themselves should supply. But as I have said above that I am no Projector, so I shall not pretend to lead [Page 46] my Superiours in matters wherein they are so abun­dantly sufficient to themselves.

This is certain, that 4000 to 5000 able-bodyed Land-Men might with ease be employ'd in the Home Affair of the Navy, such as in Docks, Yards, Guardships, Rope­walks, repairing, building; and on every Occasion of Service, be transferred to the Navy with advantage. It would perhaps be thought Impertinent for an Au­thor without doors, to tell the Gentlemen in His Ma­jesty's Service, how, and in what manner unexperienc'd and raw Men, such as by the Usage of the Navy are call'd Landmen, are to be fitted for the Sea Service, by those several Employments about the King's Yards and Docks, which yet do not immediately denominate them to be Seamen: It is enough to say that those Employments do so much qualify them, as to make them handy at the Work, knowing in the Terms, and ready at many Particulars of the Sea Service, and they are with much the less Difficulty enur'd to the Sea, and made capable of every part of the Duty of a Seaman; and if other Men are two Years in ripen­ing up, or finishing for the Degree of an able Seaman, such Men will in one Year be equal to them.

Thus the King's Service will be its own Nursery, and the Navy be in a manner sufficient to itself, or at least as far as such yearly Encrease would contribute to it.

I could here also propose Measures for the Encrease of Seamen, by the Method mention'd above, of obliging the Merchant-Ships to take always a certain Number of such able-bodyed Landmen on Board every Voyage they went, paying as is usual for raw unexperienc'd Seamen, the Publick paying an additional Sum to eke out their Pay. But those Schemes are too tedious for this Work. I must go on.


Of the several Ways and Means for encouraging Seamen to enter into the Public Service.

AS I have given some Specificks for the Encreasing of Seamen, being the First Head mention'd in His Majesty's Speech, it remains to speak of their En­couragement, which, tho' mention'd last, is indeed the most important, and most extensive Part of the Grie­vance, tho' it may perhaps admit of the plainest and easyest Remedies.

It is in a few Words express'd thus; The contrary to those things which have been enumerated as dis­couraging to the Seamen, and in which they are said to be under Hardships and Disappointments, are the just Measures for their Encouragement: This is speak­ing plain and to the Purpose.

I have seen a Proposal in Print, and by an able Hand too, for an Addition to the Smallness of their Pay. If, as is said above, by Reason of the Difference between the Rate of things necessary to the Support of a Family, the Seaman is under Hardship and Discouragement, and is not able to live as the Seamen formerly could, then it may be properly said, his Pay is not so suffi­cient to him as it formerly was: For if it is not so e­qual to his Expence, tho' it may not be less in Quan­tity, yet 'tis less in Effect; to give the Seamen what they cannot subsist upon, tho' it be the same specific Pay which they had before, yet it is not the same in the Language of Wages, because the poor Men cannot live as they did before, Provisions necessary be­ing advanc'd in Price, their Money will not go so far as it did before, neither in buying them Food or Fewel, Meat, Drink or Cloaths.

[Page 48]It is not my Business to enter into a Calculation of the Proportions, in the difference of the Money, be­tween 23 s. per Month forty Years ago, and 23 s. per Month now; nor am I making a Demand for the Sea­men: I am rather stating their Circumstances, and lay­ing the poor Seamen at the Foot of the Parliament's Goodness, to consider their Condition, and to encou­rage them (as is the usual Terms of a Petition) in such manner as to the Honourable House, in their great Wis­dom, shall seem meet: In short, I am only laying open the Fact, namely, that the Seamen are under some Disadvantages from the Proportion of their Pay, to the manifest Difference in the way of Living, occa­sion'd by the dearness of Provisions, Taxes, &c. as e­numerated above.

As far as their Discouragements lie in this Particular of their Pay, so far an addition of their Wages would be an Encouragement, that's certain; whether the Par­liament will think fit to encourage them by that Addi­tion, or by what other Method, is not my Business.

But I cannot refrain earnestly recommending to the Legislature, the second Head of Discouragement, un­der which the Seamen suffer the Abuses and Injuries mention'd in our second Chapter, page 26. (viz.) First, The Exactions of Usury and Extortion, lending Mo­ney to the poor Seamen upon their growing Wages, and taking exorbitant Interest on Pretence of the Risque they run of the Sailor's Honesty; besides taking As­signments and Powers to receive their whole Pay, and leaving the Sailors to get the Overplus how they can, and sometimes not at all.

2. The Forging false Powers, and taking up the poor Mens Pay without any legal Right; so defraud­ing the poor Men of their Pay, after it being so dear­ly earn'd at the Expence, or at least the Hazard of their Lives.

Both these Evils call aloud to the Legislature for Redress, and both are most easy to be redress'd; the [Page 49] first, by establishing an Office of Loan from the Go­vernment, by which the Seamen may be allow'd to borrow Money of the Government itself at a reasona­ble Interest, as the South-Sea Company gave leave to the Owners of Stock to borrow Money upon it of the Company; which Loan upon their Pay, may be well secured, by only keeping a current Account for every Seaman, between their growing Pay and the Cre­dit given them: in which Case the Seamen would be sav'd from Usury and Extortion, and their Families be reliev'd, instead of ruin'd by the Loan. Whether it can be just to prohibit the poor Men borrowing Mo­ney upon the Security of their Pay, without some such Medium as this for their Supply, I dare not determine without Doors, the Legislature will no doubt consi­der that Part when it comes before them.

But if this Method is not taken, and yet the Sea­men left at Liberty (as Reason and Necessity seem to me to dictate, to borrow) then the Frauds of the Len­ders, and their Extortions on the poor Borrowers, may yet effectually be prevented by a Register of Powers; which if duly kept, as has been often pro­posed, no Counterfeit Powers could be made use of, nor any Person receive the Pay or Wages of a Seaman but those who had a legal Claim to it, nor receive more of it than they had a Right to; so the Seaman could not be abused, or the Lenders defrauded of their Right.

This Registring of Powers, like Registring of Mort­gages, would also put an end at once to the Frauds of that scandalous sort of People the Sollicitors, who go about to help People to their Wages, to get it receiv'd for them, and pretend to bring it to them; but much oftner conceal their having receiv'd it, and cheat the poor Men that labour'd for it.

While these Things are doing for the Safety of the Seaman's Property, and to secure him from the [Page 50] Cruelty and Extortion, the Frauds and Exactions of Lenders of Money and Sollicitors; there remains a­nother Clause on the Government's Side, which I shall but mention, and recommend it to Authority, as a piece of Justice to his Majesty's Service; namely, whether some Restraint may not justly be laid on the Commerce, that is, on the Merchants Service, that private Men, Masters, Owners of Ships, Merchants, &c. should not give more Pay to the Seamen than the King, or at least be limited to a certain Rate.

It is certain Trade can have no Injury by this; for whatever Pay is given to the Seamen, in time of Scar­city of Men, tho' given by the Masters and Owners, is all levied upon the Trade, and that with an Encrease, by advancing the Price of Fraight; This was evident in the late War, when Fraights of Ships were rais'd from 40 s. per Ton from Spain and Portugal, to 6 l: from 6 l. per Ton from our Colonies to 12 and 14 or 16 l. per Ton, and in others to a certain Rate on the Weight of the Goods, not the Bulk; all which was done on Pretence of the advance of Pay to the Seamen, whose Wages were raised from 24 s. per Month to 30 and 35 s. a-fore the Mast; and in proportion for Carpenters, Coopers, Cooks, and other Officers, to the great Obstruction of the Publick Service, and no less to the Loss and Da­mage of the Commerce in General.

A due Restraint upon this part would be no Hard­ship upon the Seaman, but would make the Service of the Publick and of the Merchant more indifferent to him than it was before; nor wou'd it be any Damage to the Merchant, and would also be an Advantage to Trade in General. To conclude all, out of this Em­bryo may be brought forth a Sea-born Creature, which might out of its own Bowels effectually supply the Publick all that it could be out of Pocket for the pro­pos'd advance of Wages to the Seamen, and yet Trade be so far from suffering, that the Merchants would bless [Page 51] the Proposal, and think themselves good Gainers by the Payment. But this is not my Business; it is enough that I have started this Thought into the World, the Publick does not want more able Heads to work it in­to shape, and make it, as it is abundantly capable of being, the best Scheme of its kind that has yet been laid before them.


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