Page images
PDF
EPUB

holy orders without paying four crowns, nor contract matrimony without a licence, which costs ten shillings.

I had almost forgot mentioning one thing, which is even more intolerable, than the heaviest tax I have yet spoke of, I mean, the raising, or lessening the current coin; and, to explain my meaning, I must observe to you, that when the French king is at a pinch for money, then he raises his coin as high as he pleaseth ; and afterwards he lesseneth it when he hath no such need. Thus louis d'ors are risen, at this time, from eleven to fourteen livres, and his crowns in proportion; so that, whenever this war shall be at an end, people will lose four shillings and sixpence in every louis d'or, and sooner too, if this war continues. For the king, by his royal edict, will, as he hath already done several times, set a lower value upon the same pieces, and command them all to be brought into the mint, by a certain stated time, under severe penalties, to be new stamped, and then afterwards he will raise the price as high as he pleases; by which means he will get a vast profit himself, to the depression and ruin of bis people. One instance will serve to clear up this: The louis d’ors, which are current now at fourteen livres, will be valued but at twelve, and they must be carried to the mint, where the king will pay them in, at that price, with his new stamped coin : and, some time after, those very louis d'ors, with the new royal stamp shall be worth fourteen and fifteen livres, or whatever other higher value the king is pleased to put them at.

I must not forget neither the five millions of livres, that the cit of Paris is now, al this day obliged to pay to the king, as we may see in our Gazette. This forced payment, which amounts near to four hundred thousan, pounds sterling, is a little hard, considering the other taxes, which that city is charged withal.

ARTICLE VII. Of the French King's yearly Revenue, and how it is

collected.

NOTWITHSTANDING all the taxes I have already mentioned, and the many others, which I have here omitted, yet the French king's yearly revenue amounts not to so great a sum, as one would be easily tempted, at first, to imagine. I have ben often told, that it came to above an hundred and fifty millions of livres ; but, after a narrow inquiry into it, I found, that, at the death of Monsieur Colbert, it came only to an hundred thirty-ihree millions, two hundred thousand livres, or ten millions, two hundied forty-. six thousand, one hundred and fifty-three pounds, sixteen shillings, and sixpence of our English money. Now, when we consider, that, since this war, the French king hath raised his taxes higher than ever they were, and created many offices and employments, we shall be apt to think, that his revenues must needs he so much the more increased; but yet, if, at the same time, we do but reflect upon the lamentable decay of his trade in that kingdom, we

shall find, upon a serious examination, that the increasing of his taxes can hardly make amends for the loss of his customs, and, consequently, that his revenue is much about what it was at the time I speak of.

But, perhaps, somebody will say, bow can the French king keep such great armies in pay, if his yearly revenue be no more? The answer to this objection is very easy to any one, who knows, that twenty-thousand horse stand this nation in more, than an hundred thousand cost the French king. Our single troopers have near two shillings and sixpence a day, and the French have hardly five pence; our foot foot-soldiers have eight-pence, or, at least, sixpence in the field, and the French have only six farthings and the ammunition-bread.

Here I could very well put an end to this discourse, but that I think myself obliged to remove one objection more, which, I know, some people will be apt to make against me, viz. That, if the French pay yearly but ten millions, and England five, we lie under harder circumstances, than they do, since France is twice as big as England, at least.

This, I confess, seems, at first, to be a very specious and consj. derable objection; but, in answering of it, I would desire my reader to make, with me, these following remarks: First, it is a truth beyond contradiction, that the taxes land in England, how heavy oever they may seem to be, are but for one year, and these, too, laid on as by our own consent; but those in France have been made perpetual, by the grand imposer on his subjects estates, and liberties, for above these twenty years. This is a very notable difference. Secondly, it must be observed; that all taxes in France, except the taille, are let to farm, whereby it is manifest, that they must produce more than what the king receives: for, as a farm, in any country, must not only produce enough to make the farmer able to pay bis landlord his rent, but also to repay his expences, and maintain himself and his family: even just so it is, in relation to the taxes that are laid on the French, but with a far more comfortable difference to the farmers of the French king's revenues, I mean, to those who have the least finger in them; for they, in a short time, become so vastly rich, that the greatest lords in France, as the Marshal de Lorges, and several others, have thought them. selves happy in marrying their daughters.

These farmers advance money to the king, and then they repay themselves out of the people's pockets, and God knoweth with what vexations and tyrannical oppressions, for they are impowered to do whatever they please. Those, who have computed, as near as possible they could, how many men are employed in the levying the king's revenues, do assure us, that they are above eighty thousand who are kept at the people's charges, the keeping of whom is dearer by far, than the barely maintaining of an hundred thousand soldiers; but a man must have seen this to believe it.

Now, whosoever will consider these things, will, no doubt, agree with me, that the French nation groans under a very slavish

and worse than Egyptian bondage, and that they pay a great deal more, than what appears in the books of the royal treasury. I was, one day, discoursing in France upon this point with a very learned man, and one that very well understood this business; and he told me, that, upon a very modest computation, he had found, that the kingdom of France paid yearly ab two hundred thousand millions, upon account of the king's taxes, that is, above fifteen millions, three hundred eighty-four thousand, six hundred fifteen pounds, seven shillings, and six-pence sterling. Tho' I will not absolutely rely on my friend's account, yet this small treatise, I hope, will be enough to convince any unprejudiced person, that it is not altogether improbable.

I will only now desire my readers to peruse this little book with care, and then to consider how much they are obliged to those, who are indefatigable in their labour and industry to bring this nation under the dreadful tyranny of France.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR SEAMEN AND MARINERS.

IN TWO PARTS.

Being a proposed Method for the more speedy and effectual furnishing their.

Majesty's Royal Navy with able Seamen and Mariners: And for saving those immense Sums of Money, yearly expended in attended the Sea Press. In order to prevent those many Mischiefs and Abuses daily committed, by disorderly Press-Masters, both at Sea and Land, to the great Prejudice of their Majesties, and Injury of the subject. By George Everett, Shipwright, London, Printed in the Year 1695. Quarto. Containing twenty-four Pages.

To the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and

Commons of England, assembled in Parliament.

IM

With Submisssion, N humble respect to his Majesty's most gracious speech, I do

most humbly offer these following proposals, for the encouraging of seamen, in order to furnish their Majesties Royal Navy on all occasions: Wherein is briefly set forth the great hardships and sufferings of those employed in the sea-service, together with proper remedies to prevent the same; whereby their Majesties, and the publick, may save those immense sums of money yearly expended on such occasions; the seamen be happy and easy in such service; the merchants enjoy a free trade, without interruption; the whole nation be happy under the present influence of a war, many grievances attending thereon be redressed, vice punished, virtue promoted, our enemies terrified, and ourselves encouraged, by the blessing of the Almighty, to prosecute this so great and glorious undertaking, and thereby regain our former honour of being master of the British seas, to the glory of their Majesties, and the peace and happiness of the whole nation : most humbly begging your honours to pardon this my undertaking, to pass by my errors with patience, and to correct all that is amiss with prudence, and to consider my former proposals, humbly offered for the saving one hundred thousand pounds per annum in building and repairing the royal navy; which, by his Majesty's order of the 22d of March last, was referred to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and, at the writing hereof, is yet lying under their lordships consideration. All which, out of a hearty and zealous inclination of serving their Majesties, and the publick, I do most humbly recommend to your honours consideration, as the only physicians under God, from whom a redress of our grievances is desired and expected, in hopes of your favourable acceptance and encouragement thereof, for the service of their Majesties, the benefit of the subject, and the good and welfare of the whole nation ; most humbly praying, that a committee may be appointed to examine and consider the same ; and that I may be admitted to give reasons, and answer to all objections. I humbly submit myself. Your honours most faithful and obedient servant,

GEORGE EVERETT.

1

PART I.

NORASMUCH as it is altogether needless to give an account of

the particular charge of the nation, in impressing seamen for their Majesties service, that being already performed by others; and it being well known, that, after all the charge and trouble therein, many of the most able and fitting for sea-service, do lie lurking and concealed, taking an opportunity to make a voyage or two to Newcastle, or otherwise, as they see most convenient for their own advantage, to the great hindrance of their Majesties service, the discouragement of others belonging to the fleet, and great prejudice of many, who, being unfit for sea service, are forced to supply in such case.

Proposal 1. For remedy thereof, upon the especial approbation of the honourable Admiral Russel, and several other eminent

persons of known experience in maritime affairs, it is humbly proposed, • That in every sea-port town, according to the greatness thereof, an officer or officers, being persons of known integrity, and good repute, may be erected and settled, for taking and keeping a register of seamen and mariners: and, to that end, the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of every parish, within ten miles of any sea-coast, or navigable river, within this kingdom, shall, within fourteen days after notice given by proclamation, be sworn duly lo enquire and take a list of all seamen and mariners, inbabiting and residing within their respective parishes, being between the ages of sixteen and sixty, whether at home or abroad, and sball deliver the same, under their hands, to the sheriff of the county to which they do belong; which said sheriff shall, within twelve

days after the receipt thereof, transmit a copy of the same to the next port-office, where the same shall be carefully entered aiphabeticaily, for every parish and county distinctly, in a book or books for that purpose to be provided.'

This cannot be accounted any great trouble, there being in every parish four or six such officers at least, who, dividing themselves, with their beadle, who is generaliy acquainted with all the parishioners, may perform the same effectually in one day.

* Neither can it be accounted troublesome to the sheriffs, it being not expected to be more than once a year at most ; and may, by their directions, be performed by their servants : And, being a national concern, oughi to have a national assistance, which wili partly be effected by such officers changing places every year.

Proposal 2.' And that all masters of ships, and other vessels; using the sea, or trading from port to port coast-wise (except such vessels as are, or shall be employed in the home trade of fishery, for supplying the several markets of this kingdom) shall, at the beginning of their voyage, and before they depart the first port, give into that port office a true list of the names of all seamen and mariners retained to serve on board their said ships, or vessels, together with their age, and what outward marks may be found, as also their place of residence, or habitation, if any such they have; which being performed, the said masters, if not restrained by embargo, or other order, 'may, with their company, have liberty to proceed on their intended voyage, both out and home, without danger of being impressed ; one of the said officers first giving a certificate under his hand and seal, as a protection, for the use of every seaman thereunto belonging, being between the age of sixteen and sixty years, as aforesaid; and also a duplicate thereof to the master, for which he shall pay unto the said officer, if a coaster, two shillings and sixpence, and, if a trader to foreign parts, five shillings per head for erery person therein nominated; which said monies may be allowed for and towards the maintenance and encouragement of such officers.'

By the aforesaid means it may be possible to obtain a full register of all the seamen of England, and thereby know who is in service, and who is not; whereby the royal navy, upon all occasions, may be readily manned with able seamen, and no hidingplace left for deserters, or others; and the head-money proposed will be gladly paid, to avoid those great perils and losses, wbich too often happen, to the great prejudice of their Majesties, and all others concerned at sea, by means of the sea-press.

Proposal 3. ' And, upon return of the said ship, or vessel, to her port of delivery, or unlading, that then the said master thereof shall be further obliged (if belonging to a ship or vessel using the coast-trade) within four days; or, if a merchant-ship trading to foreign parts, within ten days, or more, as may be thought convenient, to pay such his ship's company, in the presence of one of the aforesaid officers, at a place and day prefixed. And, if it happen that any change or alteration hath been made amongst the said company, during the said voyage, that then the said master

« PreviousContinue »