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 Impressment 
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Post Discontinue pressing??
From The Times of August 2, 1791.

" ... Portsmouth. July 31. This morning the signal was made from the Royal William for a Lieutenant from every ship at Spithead; when they came on board, they received orders to discontinue pressing for seamen, etc...."

Has anyone any ideas what that was all about?

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Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:35 pm
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Post Re: Discontinue pressing??
Mil Goose wrote:
From The Times of August 2, 1791.

" ... Portsmouth. July 31. This morning the signal was made from the Royal William for a Lieutenant from every ship at Spithead; when they came on board, they received orders to discontinue pressing for seamen, etc...."

Has anyone any ideas what that was all about?

I imagine it has to do with the end of the Spanish Armament and the rapid commission of ships for deployment against Spain and into Northeastern Pacific waters being halted. The Nootka Sound incident rapidly passed into the history books as an alarm, rather than a war, and it was overshadowed in the next few years by the militaristic nature of the French Revolution.

I should have posted on this earlier, but the date finally jingled with me (I've been researching the time frame for something distantly related...).

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Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:09 am
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From The Times, of April 4, 1803:

" .... A Lieutenant arrived at the Admiralty yesterday afternoon from Weymouth, to give information of a number of people having attacked the persons employed in the Impress service in that neighbourhood, by which some few were wounded ....."



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Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:25 am
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From The Times, of November 11, 1803:

" .... A letter from Margate, dated November 8, says: - 'Last night a naval officer landed on the Pier abut ten o'clock with a press-gang, and having exercised his authority in a manner deemed improper by the high constable, and another peace officer of this port, they interfered, and informed the naval officer, that the persons he had impressed were not objects of the impress act. In consequence of this interference, the gang seized the two constables, and sent them with several others on board the ship' ....."




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Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:28 am
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From The Times, of August 26, 1805, reporting from Brighton:

" .... This day, about one, La Loire frigate, commanded by Sir Thomas Livingston, appeared off this port, under full sail, and fired a gun for a pilot. About four she dropt anchor, at ebb tide, three miles off shore, and about six weighed again, and came nearer in; at which time she fired several guns, some of them with ball, to bring-to two or three cutters, which appeared under sail within gun shot. Her guns were well directed, as her shot was observed to fall close to the cutters, which immediately obeyed the formidable summons, and came along-side. Her object appeared to be impress of seamen. The Captain, a Lieutenant, and some other Officers, have just come on shore. ..."




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Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:19 am
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From The Times, of July 14, 1806:

" .... Lieut. Rowe of the Balahou schooner, of four guns, in attempting to impress some sailors from a Guineaman, at Dominica, was fired at, and killed in his boat. The Coroner's Jury found a verdict of wilful murder against the Master of the Guineaman ....."




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Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:24 am
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Post The Spanish Armament
Yes. quite corrert. The Spanish seized British ships and trading posts iand claimed Nootka Sound, where Vancover now is, in spring 1790. In July the fleet was mobilized, press warrants were issued and orders given to bring the navy up to 55,000 men. The mobilization was so successful that the Spanish climbed down in the spring of 1791. The mobilization ceased and the press was cancelled in July. Royal William was the flagship of Admiral Roddam, commanding at Potsmouth who was responsible for the press in the south of England.

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Tue May 13, 2008 8:54 pm
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From The Times, September 14, 1795:

".... The press-gallies were on Friday and Saturday on the River. Every ship from Gravesend to London Bridge was visited. This effort is made in consequence, as it is said, of the necessity of forwarding, by every possibly means, the expedition under Sir Ralph Abercrombie and Admiral Christian to the West Indies ....."






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From The Times of May 17, 1790:

" ..... The Lords of the Admiralty have ordered a great number of protections to be given out for the security of persons employed on the river in the merchants service. The craft on the river have been almost wholly unemployed for the last ten days, from the apprehensions of the Lightermen of being impressed ..."


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From The Times June 28, 1790:

" ... No orders have been issued from the Admiralty to press from all protections. Though the greatest efforts are making to obtain seamen, no such violated measures have been yet adopted.

The Secretary of State has written circular letters to the principal jailors in the kingdom, to find out such felons in their respective jails as have been bred to the sea, and to make such returns immediately to the Admiralty ....."







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Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:59 am
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From The Times of July 19th, 1790:

" ..... PLYMOUTH, July 15: Last night a King's Messenger, arrived late, when the hottest press began throughout Plymouth and the Dock, since the commencement of the bustle - the Press-gangs pressed from all protections; they took every seamen from the coasters, fishing boats, &c. all of which we sent on board the Admiral. ..."


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Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:49 am
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The Times, July 8th, 1801:

" ... the press on the river below Bridge has been more severe within the last week than has been known during the war. Scarcely a privileged person has escaped. It is computed that one thousand seamen have been pressed from the homeward-bound Oporto and West India fleet. A gun-boat is stationed off Southend to bring every ship to....."


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Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:26 am
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I split the above posts from the Recruitment thread and have pasted Mil's posts from an old Impressment thread below.

Mil Goose wrote:
I don't think we have a dedicated thread about Impressment, or the men who were impressed, so I thought perhaps a few accounts of those pressed might interesting to share.

Accordingly from The Life, Voyages and Travels of Capt. John Myers, published in 1817, Myers writes that he was " ....impressed into His Majesty's service, the 16th Feb.1793, on board the Maria, Tender in Passage. Previous to this I served three years and a half to John Roche, Esq. on board the Bloom of Cork, in the West India trade ..... Naturally fond of a seafaring life, and ambitious to see the world, I felt no great regret at being forced into the King's service; and it not appearing to me a matter of any great importance whether I was rated as an impressed man or volunteer, I entered as the latter. .......

I remained six weeks on board the Tender, suffering innumerable privations, destitute of every convenience. It's ill appointed state without any prospect of alleviation, gave me daily additional horror of a sea-faring life; and my sufferings augmenting with my stay, caused me to regret I had not paid submission to the dictates of a parent. Though my ardour for the sea remained unabated, my spirits were so dejected by all the circumtances of my confinement, that I began seriously to complete the additional privations in progress for me on board whatever vessel I might be appointed to: never up to this period having seen, that rigid, manly and necessary discipline practised in his Majesty's Navy. ....."


It continues; so will I later with some more from Myers :)


Mil Goose wrote:
More from Myers:

" ....I was sent on board the Slop Ship, to pass the ordeal of Surgical Inspection...that on being certified by the Surgeon, as rather sickly at that time; (from our ill treatment on board the Tender;) I was stripped of all of my clothes, and dipped in a Vat of Vinegar and Water: several others were bathed at the same time ... I was equipped in a new suit of clothes, hammock and every necessary; ...transferred to the Hospital on shore... here my bedding was stored until I received an appointment ..."

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The Times, September 5th, 1804:

" ... A very hot press has lately taken place throughout the kingdom. Even the different signal houses along the coast have been deprived of their hands, many of which are now worked wholly by landsmen, under the command of a Lieutenant of the Navy. ..."



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Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:53 am
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The Times, October 3rd, 1787:

" ... On Saturday night, a press-gang, assisted by several constables, took from the out parts of St Sepulchre's parish, upwards of 50 idle and disorderly young fellows, whom they found in the courts and alleys about Saffron-hill, Chick-lane, &c and carried them on board the Tenders; amongst them were several who have a long time infested that neighbourhood. ...."



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