Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

finite length of time : Sir Edward miliar inspection. They will be enHughes' fleet, in particular, may be abled, without question, to draw every said, many of them, to have lived and farthing, if they want it; and they died in the East Indies, ten, twelve, will receive interest, on whatever they and even fourteen years' wages being chuse to leave behind. They will thus by no means an uncommon arrear at feel their money to be their own, as that time due to them. There was no though it were in their pockets-besystem then either, enabling seamen come familiarized with its possession; to assign a portion of their current and the following are a few of the adwages to their families at home; even vantages which would be derived from pursers' charges for slops were not such a change in their situation, wbich looked after as they should have been; will be found to apply both to discitradition accuses them accordingly, we pline and character, and to be both hope without foundation, of having remedial and preventive. given into many abuses; and, on the Rating and disrating are now, and whole, it is certain that seamen then have long been, familiar rewards and served, in many cases, merely for their punishments in the navy; but they clothes and prize-money-they died, are felt at present only as honour of or deserted, before returning home. disgrace, their consequences on emoluThe commissioned-officers were the ment being so remote. Did these aponly individuals exempted from these pear, however, at the conclusion of hardships ; they drew their pay quar- every monthly balancing, their effect, terly, then as now. Of late years, hown whether as stimulus or caution, would ever, much of this has been reformed. be increased many-fold.-To prevent No ship is ever more than three years the sale of clothes by seamen, a monthabroad-men are allowed to assign ly inspection-in some ships it used to half their current pay to their families be even a weekly one of their effects --it is impossible for irregularity or is constantly held, at the minute seruimposition to creep into a purser's ac- tiny of which the shy proud tempers, counts without detectionslops are in particular of our north-country seaboth very cheap and very good, and men, (the best in the world,) espethe warrant-officers and mates draw cially revolts; and it is their first amfor their pay quarterly, under the bition accordingly, when they become same testification by the captain, as the petty officers, to escape from it. In commissioned-officers.* But this will old times, officers did not care for their go further yet, and probably in the people's sulks-there were ways and following gradation : -The resident means to bring them out of them, or commissioners abroad will first be carry through all; but they would authorized to pay seamen's wages, as mar completely the best possible syswell as those at home-the periods tem of influence; and the occasion in when these are considered due will be question for them would thus, in the shortened-and ultimately the captain, way proposed, be altogether removed. and other signing officers, as they are - Again, the disposition of seamen to called, of each ship, will be empower- sell their clothes to raise the wind, is ed, conjunctly, to draw for them, or connected with some of the very worst for such portion of them as the men circumstances in their situation, with want, almost at any time. Books, of regard to morals and good order; and the nature of savings-bank books, will this is the only way possible by which at the same time be opened, to ac- to overcome it, or even make it very count for the remainder, under the reasonable to repress or punish it. It · men's own eyes, and open to their fa. is one of several lures, (all growing

* It ought to gratify Scotchmen to be reminded, that a Scotch family, ennobled for this and other services, has had the high honour, and special good fortune, to preside at the Admiralty, father and son successively, almost the whole time that the improve. ments which we have endeavoured to trace have been in progress in the navy; and that its name is thus identified with them in the memory of every sailor. The truest political wisdoin is to catch, in its infancy, the spirit of the age in which we live ;—the highest political fortune is to be entrusted with its guidance, and to be able to bequeath the trust, as an inheritance, to a son, together with the maxims by which it was administered. This good fortune was the late Lord Melville's

[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In out of the pay system which we have placed ; and that thus all the objects et explained, which make it a matter of contemplated by the present regula

course that sea-port towns should be the tions are certainly defeated, and the # common resort of knavish brokers, who only ones really gained are the plunI purchase seamen's tickets for long ar- der of the seamen by pawn-brokers, ** Tears, give them money on false assign- and their prosperity and multiplidments of pay, put a thousand false- cation.

hoods into their mouths, (of which, The following anecdotes we submus and the corresponding habits, they are join, considering them important, as Ein not unfrequently themselves victims, illustrating two points here insisted Es it is true,) but which, when they come on; the one, the indifference of seamit fresh from their mint, are designed to men, under ordinary circumstances, a impose on the officers who take an in- even to a very moderately distant pe

terest in keeping their people out of cuniary motive; and the other, their E their clutches; and finally, coax these accessibility to it, notwithstanding

to drink, and indulge in every simi- their proverbial carelessness, when it
lar
excess, just on purpose to profit is directly brought home to them ;-

1
by their prodigality and distress. Sai- they both occurred within our own
lors know very well that this is their observation. A seaman who was in-

character, and these their arts ; and if valided on a foreign station, on his they could touch their current pay, or way home took a passage in the ship even a part of it, as they wanted it, he had belonged to, from one port would never go near them. But they to another; but the vessel touching will not want money altogether; and, at an intermediate port on her way, he as matters stand now, they only make was permitted to go on shore with his bad worse through this knowledge, by comrades to take a walk. And he dereconciling to their consciences accord serted,—that is to say, he got drunk, ingly, upon the approved principle of outstaid his time, was afraid to return, diamond cut diamond, every imposi- (the prospect of his money within a tion which they can put upon them. few months not even weighing down And lastly, however small the arrears this,) and not appearing, was marked due to seamen at any time upon our “ run," on the ship's books, the plan, and its amount would always only way of disposing of him. Two depend on themselves, it would in years afterwards, however, when the truth keep them from deserting a thou- shoe began to pinch, and he saw sand times more certainly than any others getting their wages, while he undefined and distant sum can pose was cut out of his, the same fellow sibly do. A sailor's balancing turns walked 400 miles, from London to much more on present and future time, Edinburgh, and back again, to get than greater or smaller emolument: his captain to speak for him that he “What's the use," says he,“ of my might be forgiven; and as his case was hanging on here for this wage? I certainly a peculiar one, and he never may be dead or ever I get it." And could have meant to desert, a reprethus, although seamen seldom leave sentation was ultimately made to the their ships with the int tion of de- Admiralty to this effect, and was sucserting, it is inconceivable how small cessful. Again, a ship on the Halia lure will sometimes spirit them fax station, in 1816, received orders to away. The change in question, how- proceed to Quebec, collect convoy, and ever, would first apply to their pre- return to England, with a tolerable sent character, and, as shall be after- certainty of being paid off. There wards noticed more at length, will ul- was not a farthing among her crew, timately modify it; and, we repeat it and accordingly, the officer who comtherefore, all these reasons together manded her was familiarized with the will certainly produce it in the long system of clothes-selling, and allowed run. The rather, and we ought to for it; but on the present occasion, on notice this, that the mode of enabling his way to Quebec, he acquainted his seamen to touch a portion of their cura ship's company with their destination, rent pay abroad, by conniving at their and their near prospect, in conseselling their clothes taken up on cre- quence, of receiving their arrears. dit, is now almost methodized in the Meanwhile, he added, they shculd service at any rate, in consequence of have leave as usual, and, he knew, the circumstances in which it has been would sell their clothes as usual ; but

as

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]

that those who wanted slops should, same time. In dealing with them, it notwithstanding, have them, to the is necessary to invert the old adage, present diminution of their balance; and write, fortiter in modo, sed syariter and on coming out of port, he would in re-musing, perhaps, a strong invec. make every man complete to two suits, tive, even while the action is beneroto cross the Atlantic with, in further lent, and the feeling most kind. diminution of it, if it was necessary. they fancy, themselves courted, like The men could not resist the tempt- children, they cast all control behind it ation of taking up some slops at the them; but, like the same children, moment, that they might enjoy them- they are very sensible of real interest

, selves while in port; but there they although neither deceived by a soft nor had leave till they would not go out a gruff voice; and when they feel of the ship even to take a walk, not themelves obliged, surrendering enone

deserted, and on putting to sea, tirely to the present impulse, (it does it was only necessary to issue four not generally last long,) they will go jackets among them all. Let us add, through fire and water to indulge in at the same time, with respect to their it, and make personal sacrifices which not deserting, that several of them had calculators would never do. Only really no arrears at all, and were they will do just the same, as the scarcely out of debt when they came whim moves them, in the opposite die spin home; these did not remain, there- rection ; and the strong bit which was fore, from a pecuniary motive, but a once in their mouth being broken

, we much better one, a sense of obliga. must ride them with the snaffle, and this tion for sympathy with their feelings, spirit is therefore inconvenient. Their and regard for their interests

, peremp- character, in one word more, is just torily, expressed, but cordially felt, Burke's character of Lord Chatham's and timeously extended. As it hap- last administration, pens, there is nothing attaches sailors pavement, here a bit

of black stone, in their present state so much as this, and there a bit of white, most beautiand it retains their respect at the ful to look at, but now utterly unsafe

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

u on

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66 a tesselated

[ocr errors]

we only generally

reminded by it, even

we cannot bear

spleen, only the

* We do not mean here that it is ever absolutely necessary to swear on these och sions, although, no doubt, it is sometimes exceedingly convenient,renew an argument on which we once before touched, that in a

certain state of society men must be ruled peremptorily; and add, that in the same state

, a bark does not offend their ears, and they are the better for being when you are most kind to them, that a bite may follow, should they come to want it. There is no argument tempts us so much at all times as this, to hear the old institutions of the navy sweepingly

condemned, without a single time ference to the change of times ; and it most especially moved our other day, when we observed that the surviving relations of the late Admiral Bufo ney could not even eulogize his memory without descending to this çant People shbuld have more sense than thus institute invidious comparisons, when they are in no degree called for, or conceive that they can only praise an individual by des preciating the profession to which he belonged. Admiral Burney was, unquestionably, an able and highly-gifted officer ; every thing, in a word, which this eulogy, abstractly

, calls him. What then? He early took to sea with him those literary accomplish, ,

have already noticed. And, with them, he had a measure of the faults of the state of society to which he thus properly belonged. And be it said, with every proper respect

to his memory, he would have been neither a worse man, nor a less eminent officer, had his failings To return to our argument, however, we may observe, that the beau ideal of a chief

, in a rude

people's fancy, is always a bluff speaker ; and an anecdote occurs to this fantas rably in point, which seems to shew that this is not without reason. morning of the charge on the American lines before New Orleans, on the 8th January;

we

[ocr errors]

On

, field a few truth, for the night had been very cold. An officer, thinking to encourage them, caldo ed out, 66 Come along, my brave fellows ; come along!”_" Me no brave, massa, dis morning, me no hab rum,” was the cool reply of one of their number ; but which cuffed, poor Mungo warmed forthwith to his task, and behaved well throughout the remainder of the affair.

half frozen, in

scene, like

[ocr errors]

a

to stand on.” We say now, for it once culated on a much more limited scale. was otherwise ; and as we write, the We think, therefore, that in time, whole

every thing else in seven, or even five years, will come to this world, for which there is no be considered as entitling a man to his longer a direct use, is shifting. It is discharge; and a very reasonable tax not yet time to say all that occurs to such service will then be, considering us as we make the observation ; nor to that those who will pay it, will owe express

the

regret which, spite of our- the prosperity and security which selves, we feel, when we think that the constitute their other means of existromance of this character must pass ence, to the same navy which they away with its rudeness, and that what will thus for a short period contribute it gains in outward decency, perhaps to man. in morals, perhaps in wisdom, it must On the other hand, however, such a lose in what are honestly worth them system of pensions as was lately reall,-- generosity and feeling.

sorted to, was perhaps indispensible at The next change in the situation of the conclusion of a war like the last, seamen on board of men-of-war, which in which we had forcibly detained the we shall now notice as bringing about persons, and exhausted the manly viby the spirit of the age, relates to the gour of a number of men, whom we limitation of their service. Formerly could not, in common decency, abanthis was quite indefinite-once im- don in the end without provision. pressed, they were kept till worn out, Practically, however, it has its inconand then dismissed without pension veniencies. Men enjoy their pensions or allowance of any sort, unless they only while out of the navy , if they had the good fortune to be desperately rejoin a man-of-war, although their wounded. Towards the close of the prolonged service gives them a claim last war, however, those who had ser- to a higher rate of allowance when

ved twelve years, got their discharge, again dismissed, what they have at Eif they chose it; and, at the general the moment, merges in their com- dismissal, all retired pensioned accord-' mon pay, which has not, at the same ing to their length of service above time, been raised. It operates thus as seven years. A sense of justice dicta a borus against entering; and although ted these regulations: A sense of jus- we have not yet experienced much in

tice and policy mixed, will, we think, convenience from this, it has been in s modify and improve them. We shall some degree felt, and on an emergency endeavour to state our own views on would be so yet more. Besides this, the subject.

however, it in no material degree beThe navy is not a profession by it- nefits the seamcn, unless on occasion - self for seamen, it is only a branch, of such a temporary pressure on busimaking a greater or less demand on ness as was lately experienced, when the maritime population of the coun- work was not to be had upon any try, according to circumstances; and terms. In ordinary circumstances, it yet it is necessarily a very different merely enables merchants to lower the school for sailors from the merchant rate of their wages, for Jack asks no service. So many men are required more than just to be able to live and

to work the guns of a man-of-war, the work; and if his pension will keep his other duty on board her is compara- family, and give himself now and then tively lighter than in a merchant- a cruize ashore, he will go to sea for e ship; and habits of what are deemed his grub (provisions, ) rather than rein this last skulking, are thus speedily main idle. In time, then, we think generated in her crew. But twelve that this system will be thus far am

years are too long to keep a man in mended ; pensions will be given even * such a service against his will

, unless to those who have served the shortest the country burdens itself with his en- time in the navy entitling them to tire future provision, which no scale their discharge, graduating, however, of pension, hitherto proposed, at all up to the longest ; but they will be pretends to ; a seaman's pension, un- given to none until they retire, in old like the half-pay of an officer, being age or testified disability, from all acmerely a contribution to his support, tive employment; when they will be laying no restraint on him, debarring made, in some degree, comfortable him from no means of ekeing out his provisions for their entire support. livelihood, and being, therefore, cal. The expence to the country of a sys

[ocr errors]

Dera

tem like this, would not be more than according to their perseverance, but it is now; were it substituted for the always a comfortable addition to what

. present bounty system, it would even ever they may amass besides. The be less--seamen do not usually live power of ever afterwards going and relong. And we can conceive no higher turning on their avocations in perfect light in which the navy of a country security from violence, will be conlike ours could be placed, than that it nected in idea to them with a few should thus employ and protect the years voluntary service in it; and this youthful industry of our maritime po- service will accordingly come to be pulation, while it sustained the feeble- considered by them all as a necessary ness of their declining years ;-on the debt, well over when discharged. condition only that a short period of They will enter young accordingly

, if their manhood shall be contributed to they can ; the rather that it is in youth its own support.

that the imagination is most struck We shall now state but one more by the tales of merry days and occachange, which the springs thus at sional sharp service, such as those will work in the navy and in the times, delight to tell whose time is over

, and will yet produce, we think, in the si- their battles fought. And even among tuation of seamen with regard to it; them, should any sudden emergeney which is, that thus the system of im- call at a moment for an increased force

, pressment will be virtually, if not form. numbers will be found willing again mally, given up. While the fleet was to try their luck for a brief period, ruled by force, it was necessary that it certain of increasing their rate of sushould be manned in like manner; perannuation, in hopes probably of com and we repeat a sentiment, which we ming to blows, demolishing a Frenchonce before expressed on the same oc- man, blowing up agalleon, &c, all on casion-so beautiful is the structure of the approved pattern of elder times; our nature, the wind was tempered which, whatever may have been their to the lamb thus shorn, and sailors hardships to those

actually engaged in laughed and made jests on the one them, we may be sure tradition will system, while they came to lean on the paint to our posteri ty as days of life other as a guide. As coercion, how- and spirit, which their own eras will ever, ceases in the one case, and even never equal, far less surpass. its means are withdrawn, it must also cease in the other, for no man will be the future in the navy, such as we

In drawing up this brief sketch of influenced to do his duty in a man-of- think we are able

to read it, we war, if the very scene is hateful to have purposely omitted to mention him, from a recollection

of the vio- minute points, relating to internal mes lence, the anomalous violence, as it gulation, for example, to giving leveres will then have become, which brought breaking up men's chests.com boards him there. The truth is, however, bringing their

bags on deck througla that when the whole system shall the

day, &c., on all which, and many come to be matured and perfected—we more, we see changes in progress

, like shall not say, as we have attempted to ly, in our opinion, to be limited only sketch it, but as the elements of im- by what is physically impossible in provement, now at work, must

make the way of relief, but which might it in time, and which inay be much thus give occasion to difference of opibetter than we have divined-it will nion, and bring in question the soundbecome of , sailors to get into the navy, rather that they are wire-drawn. We have ver be so to the present generation, we the particulars of innovation; and, confess, but it will to others. They in our next

Number, we shall comwill be at all events well taught, welt clude the subject by a brief exposition paid, kindly treated, not severely work- of its last division,

the probable effect ed, and not necessarily long detained of the whole on the character of our in it. Besides this, if we augur right, seamen,

E. they will earn a provision for their declining years in it, greater or less,

the

Very score

8

« ForrigeFortsett »