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The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore   By:

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First Page:

Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously made available by the CWRU Preservation Department Digital Library.

THE PRESS GANG AFLOAT AND ASHORE

BY J. R. HUTCHINSON

CONTENTS

I. HOW THE PRESS GANG CAME IN.

II. WHY THE GANG WAS NECESSARY.

III. WHAT THE PRESS GANG WAS.

IV. WHOM THE GANG MIGHT TAKE.

V. WHAT THE GANG DID AFLOAT.

VI. EVADING THE GANG.

VII. WHAT THE GANG DID ASHORE.

VIII. AT GRIPS WITH THE GANG.

IX. THE GANG AT PLAY.

X. WOMEN AND THE PRESS GANG.

XI. IN THE CLUTCH OF THE GANG.

XII. HOW THE GANG WENT OUT.

APPENDIX: ADMIRAL YOUNG'S TORPEDO.

INDEX

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS:

AN UNWELCOME VISIT FROM THE PRESS GANG.

MANNING THE NAVY. Reproduced by kind permission from a rare print in the collection of Mr. A. M. BROADLEY.

THE PRESS GANG SEIZING A VICTIM.

SEIZING A WATERMAN ON TOWER HILL ON THE MORNING OF HIS WEDDING DAY.

JACK IN THE BILBOES. From the Painting by MORLAND.

ONE OF THE RAREST OF PRESS GANG RECORDS. A play bill announcing the suspension of the Gang's operations on "Play Nights," in the collection of Mr. A. M. BROADLEY, by whose kind permission it is reproduced.

SAILORS CAROUSING. From the Mezzotint after J. IBBETSON.

ANNE MILLS WHO SERVED ON BOARD THE MAIDSTONE IN 1740.

MARY ANNE TALBOT.

MARY ANNE TALBOT DRESSED AS A SAILOR.

THE PRESS GANG, OR ENGLISH LIBERTY DISPLAYED.

ADMIRAL YOUNG'S TORPEDO. Reproduced from the Original Drawing at the Public Record Office.

THE PRESS GANG.

CHAPTER I.

HOW THE PRESS GANG CAME IN.

The practice of pressing men that is to say, of taking by intimidation or force those who will not volunteer would seem to have been world wide in its adoption.

Wherever man desired to have a thing done, and was powerful enough to insure the doing of it, there he attained his end by the simple expedient of compelling others to do for him what he, unaided, could not do for himself.

The individual, provided he did not conspire in sufficient numbers to impede or defeat the end in view, counted only as a food consuming atom in the human mass which was set to work out the purpose of the master mind and hand. His face value in the problem was that of a living wage. If he sought to enhance his value by opposing the master hand, the master hand seized him and wrung his withers.

So long as the compelling power confined the doing of the things it desired done to works of construction, it met with little opposition in its designs, experienced little difficulty in coercing the labour necessary for piling its walls, excavating its tanks, raising its pyramids and castles, or for levelling its roads and building its ships and cities. These were the commonplace achievements of peace, at which even the coerced might toil unafraid; for apart from the normal incidence of death, such works entailed little danger to the lives of the multitudes who wrought upon them. Men could in consequence be procured for them by the exercise of the minimum of coercion by, that is to say, the mere threat of it.

When peace went to the wall and the pressed man was called upon to go to battle, the case assumed another aspect, an acuter phase. Given a state of war, the danger to life and limb, the incidence of death, at once jumped enormously, and in proportion as these disquieting factors in the pressed man's lot mounted up, just in that proportion did his opposition to the power that sought to take him become the more determined, strenuous, and undisguised.

Particularly was this true of warlike operations upon the sea, for to the extraordinary and terrible risks of war were here added the ordinary but ever present dangers of wind and wave and storm, sufficient in themselves to appal the unaccustomed and to antagonise the unwilling. In face of these superlative risks the difficulty of procuring men was accentuated a thousand fold, and with it both the nature and the degree of the coercive force necessary to be exercised for their procuration... Continue reading book >>




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