By Clive Emsley

ISBN-10: 0333240227

ISBN-13: 9780333240229

ISBN-10: 1349161152

ISBN-13: 9781349161157

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43 Unlike the specified allowance for militia families, the rate and nature of relief granted to the impoverished families of other servicemen was the same as that granted to ordinary parish paupers. The question which remains unanswerable is: how great would the burden have been on the rates if so many men had not enlisted as a refuge from unemployment? The war hit people's pockets in other ways. The armed forces, their equipment, the subsidies for foreign powers all had to be found by the Treasury.

However on his release the ropemaker insulted the captain responsible for pressing him and when this was reported to the commissioner of the dockyard he instantly dismissed the man. Promptly the 300 ropemakers in the dockyard walked out, demanding their workmate be reinstated. Work in the yard came to halt; a warship was unable to put to sea as its cables were left unfinished. The Times commented that if there was not a rapid return to work 'the public cause must sutTer very materially'. After three days the commissioner capitulated; the otTending ropemaker was reinstated and work recommenced.

An act of the following year set out to ensure that British merchant seamen serving in the Royal Navy would get their peacetime jobs back at the end of the war; it stated that on the return of peace any vessel registered as British must have a British master and three-quarters of its crew made up of British subjects, while British coastal vessels must have wholly British crews. This latter was probably little consolation to 36 BRITISH SOCIETY AND THE FRENCH WARS seamen forced to serve on warships, and the former could not guarantee crews for merchant ships.

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British Society and the French Wars 1793–1815 by Clive Emsley


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