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House in Committee


MONDAY, December 12, 1774.

The Order of the Day being read,

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to consider of the Supply granted to his Majesty.

Mr˙ Speaker left the Chair.

Sir Charles Whitworth took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr˙ Buller moved that sixteen thousand men be employed for the Sea Service, for the year 1775, including four thousand two hundred and eighty-four Marines. He prefaced his motion with setting forth, that Admiral Harland was daily expected from the East Indies with three Sail of the Line, and by that means sixteen thousand would be sufficient, which was four thousand less than last year.

Mr˙ T. Townshend desired to know why twenty thousand were necessary last year, and sixteen thousand would do this; and what quantity were necessary to be sent to America, and what proportion left to guard us at home.

Mr˙ Buller attempted to solve these questions, but could not; he therefore read an extract of a letter from Admiral Amherst, Commander at Plymouth, informing, that they had several supernumerary Seamen, and that their guard ships were full; that the number of Ships in America were


three third-rates, one fourth-rate, six sixth-rates, seven Schooners, and two armed Vessels; the number of Seamen two thousand eight hundred and thirty-five.

Mr˙ Luttrell said he was much surprised to hear the honourable gentleman mention the state of our Seamen in such a manner; that, had he been apprized of the business coming on that day, he would have prepared himself to have answered him more fully; yet he was so much a judge of maritime affairs, as to know it was impossible that the Ships or Seamen the honourable gentleman had mentioned to be in America, could be there for some months; for Ships that went out at this season, were prevented by winds and weather, so that they were obliged to go to the West Indies, or put back, and could not arrive in America till the Spring; that he should be glad to be informed whether or not the Seamen sent in the Fleet to America were taken out of the guard-ships here, which consequently weakened our strength at home, and left us almost defenceless; and whether the Admiral' s account of the full complement of men did not include those draughted off to other Ships, and sent to America, which might be set down as lent, but were absolutely lost, as a defence to this country, until they returned.

Colonel Barre' said he had been informed, that unless Admiral Harland arrived in ten days, it would be impossible for him to arrive in less than four months, therefore, the number of Seamen expected from his coming home was very precarious, and not to be depended on.

Mr˙ Hartley desired to know the number of Ships that were on the American station before the present disturbance.

Mr˙ Buller answered, one fourth-rate, six sixth-rates, seven Schooners, two armed Vessels, and about one thousand nine hundred men.

Colonel Barre desired to know what force we had at home to defend us against any attack of an enemy.

Mr˙ Buller replied, five thousand nine hundred men in the guard-ships, and one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight men in the other Ships on the British and Irish coasts.

Mr˙ Luttrell said he was much afraid, as we would not take the Spaniards' words, that they would not take ours, but take advantage of our weakness, and repay themselves for the piracies we committed prior to the last war.

The Resolution was then agreed to.

Mr˙ Speaker resumed the Chair.

Sir Charles Whitworth reported from the Committee, that they had come to several Resolutions, which they had directed him to report, when the House will please to receive the same.

Ordered, That the Report be received to-morrow morning.

Sir Charles Whitworth also acquainted the House that he was directed by the Committee to move, that they may have leave to sit again.

Resolved, That this House will, upon Wednesday morning next, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House, to consider further of the Supply granted to his Majesty.