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 Duties 
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I am reading 1788, which is a reprint of two accounts written by Watkin Tench, a marine officer with the First Fleet to Botany Bay. In the first chapter of the first book, he mentions that one of the duties of the marines, while their ships were anchored at the Mother Bank, was to inspect the letters to and from the convicts on the ships. I thought this was interesting.

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susan


Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:18 pm
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By any chance is there a mention of what they were looking for in the convicts' letters? And were they examining both incoming and outgoing mail or just one or the other?
Charity


Sun Aug 21, 2005 5:09 am
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No, he doesn't mention what they were looking for. I wondered the same thing. They were checking both incoming and outgoing.

I found an on-line version of the text here. (You have to scroll past all the credits and disclaimer info.)

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Sun Aug 21, 2005 5:19 am
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I might be able to help on this matter. I haven't read Tench's account, but the authorities were always mindful of preventing escape (or other rebellious behaviour such as mutiny/rebellion)

England was still at war with France (and variously Spain). Ireland was a colony of England, and there were no shortage of threats. So the censoring of letters was par for the course. But it would have been a role performed by officers I think - the marines were possibly no more literate than the sailors.

cheers for now


Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:38 pm
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Hi Chris,

Welcome to the SN Forum! Thanks for signing on.

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susan


Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:48 am
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Does anybody know, what sort of compliment of marines would be on board various rate, ships of the line. Also would some nationalities have more than others - Spanish for example?

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Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:44 pm
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CivvyCivvy wrote:
Does anybody know, what sort of compliment of marines would be on board various rate, ships of the line. Also would some nationalities have more than others - Spanish for example?


Hi CivvyCivvy!

The establishments for British and American Marines were set at one per rated gun - thus a 74 would have a complement of 74 marines. First and Second Rates had 1 Marine Captain and 3 Subalterns. A Third Rate had a Marine Captain and 2 subalterns. Fourth Rates had 2 Marine Subalterns, Fifth and Sixth Rates had 1 Marine Subaltern, and unrated vessels carried a Marine Sergeant in charge of the marines. I would say that there would be 1 Marine Sergeant under each officer as well. This number could, and often would be, exceeded for special missions.

The French didn't have marines per se, but the men who worked the guns were Army artillerists, not Navy matelots.

The Spanish didn't have marines ether, but carried lots of soldiers instead.

Hope that helps!

-clash

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Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:58 pm
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Brilliant Clash. As helpful as ever. Thanks very much. :D

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Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:42 pm
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