Imatges de pÓgina


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The following pages have been written with the view of showing some of the causes why British seamen have been gradually drifting out of the Mercantile Marine, and seeking employment in other paths of life, in order to gain a livelihood for themselves and those dependent on them.

Their places are being taken on our ships by foreigners—men of every nation-anda

strong feeling is clearly rising in Great Britain that this state of things, besides being most unsatisfactory, might, in the eventuality of a great war, constitute a national danger.

This book refers mainly to one port, San Francisco, a great rendezvous of the largest British sailing-ships. In spite of the increase of steamers, there still remain many hundreds of these sailing-ships, manned by thousands of men and boys, and it is about those longvoyage ships that these pages are written.

The facts recorded are written on the responsibility of the author alone, and refer

years 1892 to

to what happened between the 1898.

Since this book was written, a Blue Book has been issued by the Foreign Office, containing reports from a number of H.M. Consuls abroad on the subject of the large number of desertions from ships in foreign ports.

A remarkable consensus of opinion may be observed, especially in distant ports, amongst these Consular reports, which goes far to prove that the cause of a very large number of these desertions may be found in the conditions under which men live and work on

many vessels.

Several Consuls complain of the food supplied to the men, the small allowance of pocket-money in port, withholding liberty from men, and on a certain number of ships

-efforts made to run the men out of those vessels.

The author can confidently recommend any readers who may think his statements are overdrawn to carefully peruse the Blue Book, and they will find much that is written in this book more than borne out by official statements from H.M. representatives in foreign ports.


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