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 Recruitment 
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Found the following amusing. From the Naval Chronicle (Volume 35):

THE PUFF NAUTICAL; OR JACK INVITED TO GLORY!

WHO would enter for a small craft? whilst the Leander! the finest and fastest sailing frigate in the world, with a good spar deck over head, to keep you dry, warm, and comfortable; and a lower deck like a barn, where you may play at leap-frog when the hammocks are hung up; has room for one hundred active smart seamen, and a dozen stout lads for royal yard men ? This whacking double-banked frigate is fitting at Woolwich to be flag-ship on the fine, healthy, full-bellied Halifax station, where you may get a bushel of potatoes for a shilling, a cod-fish for a biscuit, and a glass of boatswain's grog for two pence. The officers' cabins are building on the main deck, on purpose to give every tar a double berth below. Lots of leave on shore! Dancing and fiddling on board! And four pounds of tobacco served out every month!!! A few strapping fellows, who would eat an enemy alive, wanted for the admiral's barge. The officers already appointed, are Captain Skipsey, late Maidstone; Lieutenant J. P. Baker, late Royal Sovereign, Rippon, and Barham; H. Walker, late Courageaux and Menelaus; J. S. Dixon, late Caledonia and San Joseph; A. P. Le Neve, late Maidstone; E. A. Haughton, late St. Lawrence, and Princess Charlotte, (on the Lakes,) who will give every encouragement to their old ship-mates. Every good man is almost certain of being made a warrant officer, or getting a snug berth in Halifax dock-yard. All brave volunteers whom this may suit must bear a hand, and apply either on board the Leander, at Woolwich; at her rendezvous, the Half Moon and Seven Stars, Ratcliffe-highway, nearly opposite Old Gravel-lane; on board the Enterprise, off the Tower or at any other general rendezvous in the kingdom, from whence they will be immediately forwarded to the Leander.
God save the king!!
The Leander, and a full-bellied station !!!

***

Note: This is the Leander of 1813.

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Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:25 am
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The Times, September 1st, 1790:

" .. The town of Whitby have most spiritedly entered into a subscription to give a bounty of two guineas, in additon to the King's bounty, to such seamen as enter for Lord Mulgrave's ship, the Leviathan, at Chatham. ...."



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Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:45 am
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The Times, October 19, 1787:

" .. Yesterday the City of London's bounties to able and ordinary seamen, to encourage them to enter his Majesty's service, began paying at Guildhall; where two of the King's Naval Officers attend, to receive such men as may offer themselves, who, after being paid by the Chamberlain, are to be sent off to the ships, for which they may enter without the least delay. ...."



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Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:17 pm
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From Travels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Turkey; Also on the Coasts of the Sea of Azof and of the Black Sea (1827) by George Matthew Jones (a captain in the RN):

"Russia has a mode peculiar to herself of manning her fleet. Sailors are, of necessity, drawn from the interior like soldiers, because she has no nursery for them in commerce. It must be acknowledged, that under every disadvantage, as much is made of her sailors as possible. Russia has also her schools for petty-officers, without even the benefit of a long voyage to acquire practical knowledge; but Russians are clever imitators, and they become what is possible for men to become under such a system."

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Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:41 pm
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The Times, February 4th, 1791:

" .... PLYMOUTH .. February 1st ... There have been within a few days past, houses of rendezvous opened for the entry of seamen at Dock, and the men of war's long boats are lying on the beach at North-corner, with flags flying, for the same purpose. ...."




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Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:58 am
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The Times, January 28th, 1785:

" .... The Earl of Ferrers, who for some time past was indisposed at his seat at Staunton-Harold, is arrived in town, and intends to take the first opportunity to lay before the House of Lords his plan for manning the navy, without pressing. ....."


Has anyone any idea what his plan might have been?


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Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:00 pm
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The Times, June 16th, 1786::

" .... We are assured, that the plan for manning the Royal Navy lately drawn up by Earl Ferrars, has been approved by the Board of Admiralty, and will be adopted in case of a future war; by which the barbarous custom of pressing, which has long been a disgrace in this free country, will be entirely abolished. ...."


Could anyone elaborate on this, please?



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Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:22 am
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Post Re: Recruitment
I was interested to find the following about my neighbouring town, King's Lynn, in The Observer, January 6th, 1793:

" ...... The Corporation of Lynn Regis, have very liberally offered a Bounty of Two pounds to able bodied Seamen, in addition to the King's Bounty, to all such as enter into his Majesty's service during the present month. We trust every Corporation, in England, will adopt similar means to express their attachment to their King and Country.. ...."

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Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:45 pm
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Post Re: Recruitment
Two guineas seems to have been a common bounty, and would have been fairly generous in those days. Conversion tables give it a value, in the 1790s, equivalent to about £130 today. In the late 18th century it would have been equivalent to about 2 month's wages for an Ordinary Seaman, or several month's wages for a live-in servant.

Kings Lynn was a fairly prosperous port town in those days, and one can appreciate that the town would want to encourage men to join the Royal Navy in the early days of the wars with the French Republic.

I am rather puzzled by your earlier report (20 Feb 2009) that in 1790 the town of Whitby offered the same bounty "to such seamen as enter for Lord Mulgrave's ship, the Leviathan, at Chatham. ...."

Britain was not involved in any major war in 1790: the Treaty of Versailles (1783) had brought an end to the War of American Independence, with France and Spain allied to the Americans. The wars against Republican France did not begin until 1793. So why the urge to pay a bounty in 1790? The 3rd Rate 74 gun Leviathan had been building in a leisurely fashion at Chatham - ordered 1779, keel laid 1782 and launched 1790 (Data from David Lyon). It is true that Lord Mulgrave was a local hero: as Constantine John Phipps he had had a distinguished naval career, including the Arctic explorations with the Racehorse and Carcass, and played an important part in Courageux at the Battle of Ushant. But his career at sea had ended in 1783. In July 1790 he had been made Baron Mulgrave, and the family had lived at Mulgrave Castle, near Whitby, since about the 1760s (the Phipps family still live at Mulgrave Castle and continue to support the Whitby museum, etc). Maybe that was why he was specifically named in the proposal to offer the bounty, even though his naval career had ended some years earlier.

Martin


Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:24 pm
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Post Re: Recruitment
Addendum to my last post: I felt sure, when I wrote that two guineas in 1790 was equivalent to about £130 today, that could not be correct. I had used the conversion facility at the National Archive. It must be based on an unusual data set.

There is a page of useful currency conversions, inflation statistics, etc at the EH Net website.

One of these converters reckons that in 1790 two guineas (two pounds and two shillings, or £2.10 in modern notation) would have had a purchasing power of £203 in today's money (based on retail price index statistics). However, calculated in terms of average wage inflation, it would have been equivalent to a wage of about £2,480 today.

The website also has some useful help when trying to find out the relative rates of exchange between sterling and the US Dollar in earlier years - not always a simple matter, because it involved notional interest rates on Bills of Exchange, and other matters that I don't really understand!

Martin


Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:23 pm
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Post Re: Recruitment
Martin

True there were no wars as such between 1783 and 1793, but in spring of 1790 the Spanish occupied British fur trading post on Vancouver Island and claimed sovereignty over the Pacific N American coast. There was immediate mobilisation of the fleet, the isuing of press warants and large scale recruiting of seamen, and minor war fever. (The so-called 'Spanish Armament') Thanks to the anticipatory measures of Pitt and Middleton, the British mobilisation was so quick that the Spanish promptly gave way. The same thing happened the following year when Russia seized Ochakof in the Black Sea.

Brian


Fri Dec 02, 2011 12:39 pm
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Post Re: Recruitment
Thanks, Brian, for reminding me. I had forgotten that the Nootka Crisis etc had been at that time.

I'm still puzzled as to why the Chatham ship was referred to in the press as "Lord Mulgrave's ship". Constantine Phipps (Baron Mulgrave) had been influential in the Admiralty during Sandwich's time, but he was out of office by 1782. I wonder whether he had been responsible for placing the order for Leviathan while still in office - she was a long time a-building.

N.A.M. Roger has a biography of him in the Oxford DNB.

Martin


Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:02 pm
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Post Re: Recruitment
Martin Evans wrote:
Thanks, Brian, for reminding me. I had forgotten that the Nootka Crisis etc had been at that time.

I'm still puzzled as to why the Chatham ship was referred to in the press as "Lord Mulgrave's ship". (..snip..) Martin


I have been searching in the Gale group cengage selection of old newspapers (which I mentioned recently in the Scuttlebut forum) as well as the London Gazette and the Times digital archives. I think that I have reconciled the press statements of the time with NAM Roger's assertion that Lord Mulgrave did not serve at sea after the end of the war of American Independence (1783).

As Brian Vale has reminded us, the hasty "Spanish Armament" put a lot of ships into commission that were still incomplete (such as Leviathan) or unready for sea. Many were listed in various newspapers in mid-May 1790. The St. James's Chronicle printed (May 13-15):

"Lord Mulgrave arrived here [ie Chatham] this afternoon, and went on board the Leviathan, a new ship of 74 guns, now upon the slip in this dock-yard. This ship is built upon a French plan, said to be a scheme of his Lordship's when belonging to the Admiralty. She will be launched in about six weeks, after which she is to be fitted for sea, and we hear Lord Mulgrave is to have the command of her."

His commission was confirmed in The Times, Thursday 28 October 1790:
"Yesterday [ie 27 October] ... Lord Mulgrave also kissed his Majesty's hand on his receiving the command of his Majesty's ship the Leviathan of 74 guns."

Although Leviathan was eventually launched (different dates are printed in different papers) she was still being fitted out in Chatham dock-yard when it was clear that the Spanish were withdrawing their aggressive claims. On Saturday 6 November the St James's Chronicle printed:

"Government had pretty certain information ... of the pacifick disposition of the Court of Spain. Mr Elliot was the gentleman who brought this information, and it was in consequence of it, that counter orders were on Wednesday sent off to Earl Howe to stop the sailing of the grand fleet."

By 18th November the Lords of the Admiralty ordered all work to cease on the ships that were being made ready, and that those still in harbour, which included the Leviathan at Chatham, were to be "immediately dismantled".

Mulgrave was still her commander, and though she was again being made ready during the Russian crisis in 1791, there is no record of her putting to sea. She was certainly active with Howe's Mediterranean fleet early in the war with the French Republic in 1793, but by then Constantine John, Lord Mulgrave, had died. So it is true that he did not serve at sea after the end of the war of American Independence.

As for the bounty, not only did Whitby (Mulgrave's seat at Mulgrave Castle) contribute, but similar amounts were given as bounties for Leviathan by the ship owners of North and South Shields as well as Newcastle. So effective was this recruiting bounty that when she was being decommissioned at Chatham in November 1790 that various papers reported:

""Lord Mulgrave arrived here again yesterday. His Lordship has been very attentive in fitting the Leviathan, of 74 guns, for sea, and at a very great expence in procuring a fine ship's company, they being all prime seamen. However, from the present prospect of peace, it is expected the ship will be paid off."

"the compleatest and best qualified seamen on board ever remembered at this port; to obtain them his Lordship has spared no expence..."

It was reported that the men who were to be paid off were to be taken on by the captain of an unnamed Indiaman.

Martin


Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:52 pm
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