The press- gang and the groom


Just a small but nice anecdote.

In early 1729, England was growing fearful that Spain had serious interest on Jamaica, a British colony. Reports had reached England that groups of Spaniards had been committing terrible depredations in the West Indies, so the Royal Navy sent a man-o-war to the island in order to deter the aggressors. It worked, but the authorities knew that more men would be needed in the event of further action, so the press- gangs got to work.

In Newcastle on Saturday, 19 April, they accosted a young man on the steps of a church, where he was about to marry his sweetheart. Just as they were dragging him away to their ship, the bride- to- be pleaded with the gang to at least allow her beau a few moments to get married. They refused, explaining that they were a religious press- gang, and believed it was a sin to part a man and wife.

Newcastle courant Saturday 26 April 1729

I have no doubt the Royal navy compensated the conscript handsomely…..

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