One of the effects of the free introduction of foreigners into any Navy cannot be sufficiently deplored. During the period I lived in the Neversink, I was repeatedly struck by the lack of patriotism in many of my shipmates. True, they were mostly foreigners who unblushingly avowed, that were it not for the difference of pay, they would as lief man the guns of an English ship as those of an American or Frenchman. Nevertheless, it was evident, that as for any high-toned patriotic feeling, there was comparatively very little–hardly any of it–evinced by our sailors as a body. Upon reflection, this was not to be wondered at. From their roving career, and the sundering of all domestic ties, many sailors, all the world over, are like the “Free Companions,” who some centuries ago wandered over Europe, ready to fight the battles of any prince who could purchase their swords. The only patriotism is born and nurtured in a stationary home, and upon an immovable hearth-stone; but the man-of-war’s-man, though in his voyagings he weds the two Poles and brings both Indies together, yet, let him wander where he will, he carries his one only home along with him: that home is his hammock. “Born under a gun, and educated on the bowsprit,” according to a phrase of his own, the man-of-war-man rolls round the world like a billow, ready to mix with any sea, or be sucked down to death in the maelstrom of any war.
Yet more. The dread of the general discipline of a man-of-war; the special obnoxiousness of the gangway; the protracted confinement on board ship, with so few “liberty days;” and the pittance of pay (much less than what can always be had in the Merchant Service), these things contrive to deter from the navies of all countries by far the majority of their best seamen. This will be obvious, when the following statistical facts, taken from Macpherson’s Annals of Commerce, are considered. At one period, upon the Peace Establishment, the number of men employed in the English Navy was 25,000; at the same time, the English Merchant Service was employing 118,952. But while the necessities of a merchantman render it indispensable that the greater part of her crew be able seamen, the circumstances of a man-of-war admit of her mustering a crowd of landsmen, soldiers, and boys in her service. By a statement of Captain Marryat’s, in his pamphlet (A. D. 1822) “On the Abolition of Impressment,” it appears that, at the close of the Bonaparte wars, a full third of all the crews of his Majesty’s fleets consisted of landsmen and boys.Author and Text
IN the rude age, when knowledge was not rife,Author and Text
If Jove in Crete, and other were that taught
Arts, to convert to profit of our life,
Wend 1 after death to have their temples sought
If, Virtue yet no void unthankful time
Failed of some to blast 2 her endless fame;
(A goodly mean both to deter from crime,
And to her steps our sequel to inflame)
In days of truth if Wyatt’s friends then wail
(The only debt that dead of quick may claim)
That rare wit spent, employed to our avail,
Where Christ is taught, we led to Virtue’s train.
His lively 3 face their breasts how did it freat,
Whose cinders 4 yet with envy they do eat.
1 The past participle of the verb wene, or iveen, to think, suppose, imagine. 2 To proclaim as with the sound of a trumpet. — Nott. 3 Living. 4 Ashes.