Saturday, 7 May 2011
Which is scarier, Dr Who or Press Gangs? You decide!
"I Do hereby Depute Lieut Wm Balfour belonging to His Majesty's Sloop Lynx under my command, to Impress Seamen, Seafaring Men and Persons whose Occupations and Callings are to work in Vessels and Boats upon Rivers, according to the Tenor of this Warrant. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this thirtieth day of April 1803."
In our Ernest Marwick Collection (Reference D31/1/6/15) in a transcript of a letter from Alex Skene on 6th November 1800 he states that "I assure you Sir that the impress service is to me the most unpleasant part of an officers duty and it is impossible to defend the propriety of it but on the score of necessity"
Ernest Marwick goes on to describe several places where seamen hid from the press gangs in caves and peat stacks in Orkney and of men escaping up their chimney's and hiding on cliffs.