Excerpt from Mr. Taggart's Address to His Constituents, on the Subject of Impressments
Sufficient length of time to become citizens, and afterwards betakc themselves to the. Sea for an employment. It is therefore a mistaken idea that this practice is either novel or peculiar to Great Britain. The regulations of France, we have seen to be peculiarly severe on the subject, as appears from several edicts issued from time to time. From the year 1650. If not from periods still more early, down to the era of the. Republic. The some practice has been recognised by standing regulations of Great Britain, at least as far back as the year 16-10. Authorities to that effect have been recently' laid before the public. A citation of which would protract; these remarks beyond their intended limits. During the preo sent war in Europe, this practice has been probably more common than in any former period. The reason, without doubt. Is that during this period, a greater number of Bria tish seamen have found means to shelter themselves undera neutral ﬂag. This was the first time in which it affected the United States as an independent nation. That they have Been more affected bv it than any other nation has arisen from their speaking the same language, and from such a similarity of manners and customs, more striking perhaps among sea faring people, than among those of any other description as renders it almost impossible to discriminate. Iiad either France or Spain been the neutral which was carrying on a. Lucrative commerce. The English sailor could not have taken refuge on heard their ships, without being liable to almost in stant detection. But on board of an American ship itis al nwst impossible to distinguish him from one ofour native sea men. It is natural for a scaman to prefer peace to war, the quiet pursuits of commerce on board ofa neutral, to the dau get-s incident to the service on board a ship of the line or a frigate. This preference given to the. Service, connected with that ﬂourishing state of the American commerce, which ena bled the merchant to give such high wages to seamen, held out such powerful inducements to British sailors, as prevailed Upon vast nu mhers to abandontheir country and to seek employ ment on board of American ships. For several years pre vious to our adoption of the restrictive system, which gavca check to commercial enterprise, the numbcrof foreign sea men, principally British, who have been inthe American cm ploy, have been computed to average not less than It cannot be denied that the withdrawing of so large a num ber ofa class of people, necessary in the present situation of the country to her very existence as an independent nation, was such a serious injury to Great Britain as, if continued, must greatly diminish her power, lessw her security, and even put her safety at. Hazard; an evil which probably there is no.
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