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SIR,

know

provided for by parliament; T peke Hall has prevented me

1751. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 545 Therefore, I am sure, it is not now motion, but shall not make any till a proper time for us to lessen our I see how the housc seems to be in. own and add to their maritime pow- clined. er, by reducing our seamen, and thereby forcing numbers of them Q. Opimius stood up next, and spoke into the French service. What

to this Effects number of seamen we had in actual

A service in the year 1725, I do not

Mr. President, ; but there and ;

HE Hon. and if the lords of the admiralty

last

, took upon them to reduce their num. in taking notice of the difference beber, the then circumstances of Eu- tween the sentiments, or, at least, the rope was in some measure a justifi- B expressions of some gentlemen at pre

В cation of their conduct ; for France sent, and what they were for these was then under a minority, quite last two or three years; but as words regardless of their marine, and al. may be forgot, or may be alledged to molt at the eve of a rupture with be misrepresented, I hall beg leave to Spain. Can we then be so mad as read to you some parts of the speeches to make any thing done at that time,

from the throne, and addresses of a precedent for doing the same thing c In his majelly's speech from the

this house for the last two sessions. now? Besides, we all know, that this reduction in 1725 was followed throne at the opening of the session by a most violent press for sea- in November, 1748, his words are men the beginning of the very next these, and our fingnal successes at fee year.

must ever be remembered to the glory The noble lord was likewise of the British fleet, and entitle it to pleased to inform us, Sir, that the the particular attention and support of

D whole number voted by parliament this nation. To which we anlwered was not last year employed. As in our address, We are truly fenfible his lordship has said it, I do not of the importance of that signal success, doubt of its having been so ; but

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

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

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

G

cessary for the security and welfare of design; and in order to obviate eve- the nation, which, we say, cannot ry pretence for leaving it so exposed, be better provided for, than by main I must be against the coble lord's J-0

taining

a

taining the fiert in such a condition, as for wear and tear, and for ordnance may enable your majofty to preserve service; so that a considerable part sbat weight and influence, which of what is saved in the reduction, properly belong to the crown of Great- must be added to the ordinary of our Britain.

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

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

and will, in my opinion, be an inI say a little money, Sir ; for fallible consequence, if we continue I was surprised to hear the noble such harsh ulage towards our poor lord fuppose, that by reducing 2000 seamen, as we have practised for some Seamen we should save 104,000l. years paft. By the frequency and He certainly anderstands the affairs of severity of prefing, we have not only the navy, and he must know, tho', rendered the condition of our failors I believe, he did not reflect, that oui worse than that of any other part of his of the 41. a month allowed for each majesty's subjects, but when pressed, seaman, near one half is reckoned we have used them ina cruel manner,

SIR,

I

1751. PROCEEDINGS of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c.

5+5 by turning them over from Mip to Thip for a long tract of years, by dis- The next that fioke was Servilius milling them the moment we found Priscus, ulofi Speech was in Sub we had no further occasion for

fiance ihus. their service, and by neglecting to

Mr. President, pay them their wages for a great number of years. Our ministers A know too well, that a navy debt

BELIEVE it has very feldom is the debt which the nation will always most chearfully provide for; ftation, or in the Nation of the noble and therefore, if any fervice must go lord who made you this motion, in arrear, they take care it shall be ever argued for a diminution of the that of our navy. By this means it publick expence ; but the circumis known, that our seamen have been B ftances of this nation are such at presometimes kept for ten years without

sent, that, in my opinion, every man their wages, which exposes them to

who has the prosperity of his country 'the cruel mercy of afurers and ex- fincerely at heart, must be for saving tortioners, or obliges them to sell

as much of the publick money as their wages for one half of what posible. We must fave, Sir : We they have a right to demand. This

must fave as much as poftible upon usage will in time fo much diminish C every article; and as this is the first the number of British failors, that it article of the publick expence, that will be impossible to find any such has in this session been brought be even for the merchant-service, with- fore us, I hope, gentlemen will conout giving then higher wages than fider without prejudice, whether a are given by any of our rivals in little may not be saved even upon commerce : 'The consequence of this this, which is deservedly the most famust be, that our merchants will D vourite article of the publick charge. employ foreign ships and failors in Ourarmy is not now before us ; thereall branches of trade, where they can fore I wish gentlemen would avoid be employed by our act of navigation; making comparisons between our arand with respect to those branches of my and navy, for they are always intrade, where by that act foreign thips vidious, and may prove dangerous. or failors cannot be employed, they When our army is brought before us, must be entirely given up to foreign. E ve must save upon that article too, if ers, unless it be our plantation trade, it fhould be found confiftent with our where we cannot be rivalled by fo. immediate safety ; but suppose we reigners : Even that trade it will were to dilband one half of our army, be

very difficult to keep to ourselves, that would be no argument for our when the people in our plantations keeping more feamen in pay chan is tind, that they can have all sorts of necessary. Therefore the quettion now commodities at a cheaper rate from F before us is not, whether we shall save foreign countries than from their own. upon the article of our army or upon

In short, Sir, the consequences that of our navy: We must lave upon from the reduction proposed may be both, if poflible; consequently, the 'fo fatal, and the saving can be so only question now under consideration

Ymall, that I think, we ought at is, whether foco feamen will be suf-
• 'least to continue the establishment of ficient for the service of the ensuing
last year; therefore I hope the noble G year ; and I rejoice in the opinion,
lord will withdraw the motion he which I have formed from the most
has made, and make a new motion diligent erquiry, and the best infor-
for 10,000 seamen for the service of macion I could get from thole who
the ensuing year.

HP-
December, 1751.

Z Z Z

are as

are best acquainted with the nature neceflity of pressing for the land as of that service, and with the present well as sea service. situation of our rivals in naval power. In my opinion therefore, Sir, it From that information I am con-. is imposible to prevent our being revinced, that 8000 seamen will be duced to the necessity of pressing at fully sufficient for the ensuing year ; the beginning of a war, by any oand in our present circumstances, A ther method but that of keeping in under our present load of debts and time of peace as large, or very near taxes, surely, no gentleman will say, as large a number of seamen in that we ought to keep a man more the pay of the publick, as we can than is sufficient for that service. have occasion for at the breaking

I Mall grant, Sir, that in the pre- out of a war ; and this, I think, fent question our character as a mari. no man will ever advise, especially time power, and the supply of our B in our present circumstances ; conle. navy upon any sudden emergency quently, when we are to confider without distressing trade, are both to what number of seamen may be nebe confidered; sor as to that of pref- ceflary in time of peace, we are to fing, I am of opinion, that it is im- have regard only to the preserving Follible to prevent the necessity of of our character a maritime it, by any other method than that of

power, and to that of preventing keeping, in time of peace, as many Cour being obliged to bring too great seamen in pay, as we could have oc. a diftress upon our trade, when we cafion for in time of war. Suppose happen to be involved in war, which, we were in tine of peace to keep I hope, will not be for many years 20,000 seamen in pay, we should to come. It is this regard alone, want 20,000 more upon the first sir, that in time of peace obliges breaking out of a war, and it would us to keep any fhip in commiflion, be impollible for us to get that num-D or any able seaman in the pay of the ber without pressing ; because our publick; for I agree with the Hon. merchants will always give higher gentleman, that at present, as we wages than the publick can afford to have neither enemy nos pirate to give, and no man, or at least very fear, we should not otherwise have tew, will ever chuse to lift in the any occasion to put the publick to publick service, when they can have higher wages in that of the E Now, Sir, with regard to our merchants. To fupply our navy, character as a maritime power, it upon the breaking out of a war, with. depends more upon the number of ont preffing, is therefore to me a ships we have ready to put in chimera ; and every project hitherto commission, and the number of seaoffered for preventing ihe necessity men we have at command, than upof pressing has upon examination ap- on the number we have at any time peared to be chimerical. It would be F in commission, or in the actual ser. the same in the land service, if no man vice of the publick. With regard could be a soldier but he that had to the latter, it must always depend ferved a seven years apprenticeship upon the conduct of our neighbours, to the trade ; but as every plowman, or of those who can be called our every tradesman, or servant, may be rivals in naval power : When they a soldier, we have hitherto found vo- keep sew ships in commission, and lunteers or vagabonds enough for G few seamen in pay, we may take supplying that service ; tho', if the that opportunity to save the publick war ihould become so heavy as not money by following their example ; to find from thence a sufficient sup. and as soon as they begin to increase Fly, we should then be reduced to the their expence that way, we ought

to

a

this expence.

1751. Proceedings of the POLITICAL CLUB, &c. 547 to increase ours, in order to guard feamen may have lately gone into against any surprize. This his ma- foreign service. It is a laudable jelty may do, Thould he find it ne

concern, Sir, a concern which I am cessary; and if it should be neces. glad to see gentlemen atfected with ; sarily done, I am persuaded, next but to alleviate their fears in this session would make it good, and respect, I must observe, that during that I am for trusting to rather than A the war multitudes of landmen of for granting more money than ap- all professions entered into the sea pears to be necessary; for notwith. service, and multitudes of foreign standing the port I have the honour seamen were employed by our mer. to enjoy under his majesty, I Thall chants : The former have returned never be for putting more money to their usual employments at land, into the hands of ministers than and the latter to their respective nathere appears to be occasion for, B tive countries. To this I shall add, because I had rather see tbe parlia- that great numbers of our own seament granting money for services men, who were provident enough to incurred and rot provided for, than save something out of the high wages calling ministers to an account for a they received, and the many prizes walte of publick money, which they they were concerned in taking during had been tempted to commit, by the war, are now settled in fome having more than was necessary puc C bufiness or employment at land, into their poffeffion.

either here or in our plantations; and Our character as a maritime power from all these we ‘may, I believe, may therefore be preserved by keep- account for the whole number that ing our ships of war always in per- have been dismissed the government's fect trim, by encouraging our com- service, without fuppofing that many merce and fisheries, and by having of them have gone into foreign feralways a number of seamen in the D vice. For my own part, I am conpublick service, equal to that of any vinced, that very few of our seamen of our rivals; and for this last purpose have gone into foreign service, ex8000 muft for next year be sufficient, cept such as had lost all character at because there is no potentate in Eu. home, or were become liable to rope has at present so many in actual fevere punishment for some atrocious service. This number will likewise, crime i and such as dare, will, I am in my opinion, be sufficient for pre. E persuaded, return as soon as possible ; venting our being obliged to distress

for there is no country in the world our trade upon the appearance of any where the seamen are so well prorupture ; for it has been admitted, vided for as in this, nor any country that we may take 10,000 seamen where they are not exposed to all from our trade without distressing it, the hardships that are complained of and with that number added to what in this. we have, and such a proportion of F The fears, therefore, of our seamen landmen as the service will admit of, being gone into the service of France, we may in a few weeks fit out a however laudable, are, in my opimore powerful squadron, than any nion, groundless ; ard as to the apstate in Europe can in several months prehenfions fome gentlemen have fit out againit us; and if we should from what we hear of the efforts want a greater number, we know of France to reitore or increase their how to tupply our trade, by giving G marine, we cannot, furely, have any them leave to employ foreign fea

thing to fear from thence for this men ; which leads me to consider ensuing year; for in that time it that concern fome gentlemen seem will be absolutely impoflibie for w be under, lett multitudes of our France so to increase their marine,

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