George the Second.
Soon after the accession of George the Second in 1727, a peace was concluded with Spain, which lasted twelve years.
Parliament voted a sum of 780,000 pounds to pay the wages of 15,000 seamen.
On the 16th of April, by an order in council, twenty of the oldest surgeons in the Royal Navy were to be allowed two shillings and sixpence per day, half-pay, and the twenty next in seniority two shillings per day.
Notwithstanding the treaty with Spain, the Spaniards continued to annoy the British trade, and to treat British subjects with the greatest insolence and inhumanity. As an instance, Robert Jenkins, master of the Rebecca brig, of Glasgow, was boarded by a Guarda Costa. The Spaniards treated the crew with the greatest barbarity, and cut off one of the master’s ears, which the captain of the Guarda Costa, giving to Jenkins, insolently told him to carry that present home to the king his master, whom, if he were present, he would serve in the same manner. Some years afterwards, when Jenkins was examined at the bar of the House of Commons, being asked what he thought when he found himself in the hands of such barbarians, he replied with great coolness, “I recommended my soul to God, and my cause to my country.”
Four 20-gun ships and two sloops of war were sent out, therefore, to the West Indies to cruise for the protection of British trade.
In 1731 an account of the reflecting or Hadley’s quadrant appeared in a paper given by a member of the Royal Society. After Dr Hadley’s death, however, among his papers a description was found of an instrument not much dissimilar to Hadley’s, written by Sir Isaac Newton, who may, therefore, be considered the first inventor of the reflecting quadrant.
In 1732 the king granted a commission to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to erect a corporation to relieve the poor widows of sea-officers. The terms of admission to the institution were that each member, who must be an officer in the navy, was to allow threepence in the pound per annum out of his pay. Soon after the establishment of this fund, Lieutenant George Crow generously resigned his half-pay for the use of this charity, stating that he had a competency to live on. The king gave 10,000 pounds for the support of the charity.
The Sallee rovers still continued very daring and troublesome to our trade, and in 1734 a small squadron was sent out, under Captain James Cornwall in the Greyhound, to block up the ports of Morocco, and capture the vessels of the barbarians. Two large corsairs were taken and destroyed, and 140 British subjects released by the Emperor of Morocco, who concluded a treaty with Great Britain.
That year his majesty issued his royal proclamation recalling all British seamen from the service of foreign powers, and offering a bounty of twenty shillings to every able-bodied seaman, and fifteen shillings to every able-bodied landsman who should enter the navy.
In the following year 30,000 men were voted for the sea-service.
An Act of Parliament was passed this year appropriating the rents of the estates of the Earl of Derwentwater and Charles Ratcliff to the completion of the royal hospital at Greenwich. By this Act all seamen in the merchant-service who may happen to be maimed, not only in fighting against pirates, but also in fighting against any enemy whatever, should be admitted into, and provided for, in that hospital.