Admiralty Board having discovered, during the late visitation of the dock yards, that persons had contrived to get appointed as Warrant Officers on board some of his Majesty's ships, who had not been brought up in the Navy, to the manifest injury of the deserving Petty Officers, who have bravely toiled through a long war, their Lordships have established the following Regulations to be observed in future as part of the standing orders of the Navy :-
- No person to be appointed a Purser who has not served two years as Secretary or Clerk to a Flag Officer, or Captain's Clerk of his Majesty's ships.
- No person to be appointed Gunner who has not been rated a Petty Officer of some description, for the space of two years out of the four years already established as necessary to be served, before he can be examined.
- No person to be appointed Boatswain who has not served four years, two of which must be in the capacity of Boatswain's Mate, or Yeoman of the sheets.
- No person to be appointed Carpenter who has not served a regular apprenticeship to a shipwright, and for the space of two years after the apprenticeship as Carpenter's Mate, or Carpenter's Crew, on board his Majesty's ships, or in his Majesty's dock-yards, and produced a certificate from the master shipwright of his being properly qualified, &c. and each of these persons must produce certificates of their good conduct, before they can be considered eligible to receive an appointment.
The late minute inspection of all the dock-yards and other great depots of naval stores has, under the vigilant eye of the present First Lord of the Admiralty, proved effectually corrective of the old complicated system under which the nation has been so long and shamefully defrauded.
From this salutary investigation, the conduct of all in public trust, throughout every department, has been brought under the strictest review. The contractors' accounts for timber, sail-cloth, hemp, iron, &c. were not only correctly examined, but the quantity of each article accurately compared with every item of charge ; and from which comparison the necessity of a vigorous reform was but too manifest !
This was of course immediately set on foot, and so well arranged by additional counter-cheque certificates and other precautionary measures, that none of these predatory practices are likely any longer to prevail.
The offences of most of the Officers dismissed from the dock-yards, during the late visitation, were frauds and peculations of various stores entrusted to them, rating persons as inferior Officers, who (contrary to the most positive orders) had been employed in their gardens and houses, to the injury of the individuals who actually performed the duties : giving enormous extra wages to Officers, their servants and favourites, for stated work which had not been performed : by entering infants as apprentices, and paying them the same rate of extra wages as the artificers. The old men who were charged, it appears, had been for many years past their labour, (nevertheless had been paid the highest extra wages.)
The First Lord of the Admiralty has ordered all the landmen, who had been smuggled by various means into the rigging lofts and ordinary, and had thereby swallowed up the asylum and birth right of the seamen, to be discharged, in order to make room for those gallant fellows, whose exertions have raised this country to the highest pitch of glory.
The expence of the dock-yards will be reduced more than one million per annum.
Having thus generally advantaged the country, Earl St. Vincent is now employed in the laudable endeavour to rescue her gallant supporters, the British Tars, from the rapacious arts of Jews, and swarms of other miscreants, to whom they have too long been suffered to fall an easy prey.
With this laudable view, his Lordship is now sedulously revising the several Statutes respecting Naval Prizes, and will probably, in the course of the Sessions, propose the sanction of some legislative authority for preventing such nefarious agents from obtaining letters of attorney, orders, &c. by which they have hitherto plundered his Majesty's seamen of their honourable earnings, and even their last asylum of Greenwich Hospital, of much of its revenue.
Fortunately, with the talents of an able Statesman, his Lordship combines that practical knowledge as a seaman, well qualifying him for this arduous task. His Country, and particularly those of his own profession, will gratefully acknowledge so important a discharge of public duty.
Lord St. Vincent has in contemplation a plan for paying all the pensioners of the chest at Chatham at their respective homes, without requiring them to make their appearance once in three years at Chatham ; by which those unfortunate mutilated seamen will be rescued from the harpies who have hitherto plundered them of nearly half the gratuities and pensions given to them by a generous country. A new Board of Control is, it seems, likely to be established as a kind of medium between the Board of Admiralty, and the Navy, Victualling, and Sick and Hurt Offices.
This new Board of Control, it is said, is to consist of two Naval Officers, two Gentlemen of acknowledged experience in public business, and two Gentlemen of the Law. The measure, it is understood, has been particularly recommended by Earl St. Vincent.