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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Leith] CAPTAIN PALLISER?S CONTUMACY. 277 to-morrow ; the sailors belonging to the said ships are to repair on board, under penalty of loss of wages and imprisonment as deserters. Thir presents to be published by tuck of drumme through Leith, that none may pretend ignorance. (? WALTER SCOTTE, B.? In 1752 the vessels of Leith amounted to sixtyeight, with a tonnage of 6,935; and two years subsequently we find an attempt upon the part of a captain in the royal navy there to defy the Scottish Court of Admiralty in the roads and harbour. Captain (aflerwards Sir Hugh) Palliser, when captain of H.M.S. Seahorse, in consequence of a petition presented to the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, 20th March, 1754, by Thomas ROSS, master, and Murdoch Campbell, owner of the Scottish ship CumberZand, of Thurso, was served with a notice to deliver up James Cormick, apprentice to the former, whom he had taken on board as a seaman. Accordingly, by order of the judge, the macers of court, messengers-at-arms, and other officials, repaired on board the Seahorse, at the anchorage in Leith, to bring off James Cormick; ?and the said Captain Hugh Palliser, and the other officers and sailors on board the said shipof-war Seahorre,? ran the warrant, ?are hereby ordered to be assisting? in putting it into execution, at their highest peril. (? All others, shipmasters, sailors, and others his Majesty?s .subjects,? were ordered to assist also, at their utmost peril. James Lindsay, Admiralty macer, served this notice upon Captain Palliser, who foolishly and haughtily replied that he was subject to the laws of England only, and would not send Cormick ashore. (? Upon which,? as the execution given into court bears, ?( I (James Lindsay) declared he had contemned the law, was guilty of a deforcement, and that he should be liable accordingly, having my blazon on my breast, and broke my wand of peace.?? On this, a warrant was issued to apprehend the commander of the Seahorse, and commit him to the next sure prison (i.e. the Tolbooth of Leith), but the captain having gone to Edinburgh, on the 26th of March he was seized and placed in the Heart of Midlothian, and brought before the High Court of Admiralt), next day. ? There he denied that its jurisdiction extended over a king?s ship, or over himself personally, or any man in the Seahorse, especially an enlisted sailor ; and maintained that the court, by attempting to do so, assumed a right competent to the Lords of the Admiralty alone ; ?( and by your imprisoning me,? he added, (( for not delivering up one of the king?s sailors, you have suspended my commission from the Lord High Admiral, and disabled me from executing the orders with which I am charged as commander of one of the king?s ships.? This only led to the re-commitment of the contumacious captain, till he (?found caution to obtemper (sic) the Judge Admiral?s warrant, in case it should be found by the Lords that he ought to do so.? He was imprisoned for six weeks, until the apprentice was put on shore. On this matter, Lord Hardwicke, who was then Lord Chancellor, remarked that the Scottiah Admiralty judge was a bold one, ?but that what he had done was right.? Captain Palliser, on his return to England, threatened to make the frauds on the revenue a matter for Parliamentary investigation, if not attended to, And the ministry then enftrced the duties upon claret, which, before this time, had been drunk commonly even by Scottish artisans. This officer afterwards behaved with great bravery at Newfoundland, in 1764 ; and on attaining the rank of Admiral of the White, was created a baronet, and died governor of Greenwich Hospital in 1796. In 1763 the shore dues at Leith had increased to A580. The Scots? Magazine for December, 1769, states that, ?take one year with another, about 1,700 vessels are cleared out and in yearly at Leith. Some days ago an acute merchant took a serious view of the shipping in the harbour of Leith, and reckoned upon a calculation that there would be between 30,000 and 35,000 tonnage at one and the same time mooring there.? This seems barely probable. In 17 7 I we meet with an indication of free trade, when the Court of Session, upon the application of the merchants of Edinburgh, ordered the port of Leith, and all other Scottish ports, to be open for the free importation of grain of all kinds. Arnot states that in the year ending January sth, 1778, there were, in Leith, 52 foreign ships, 6,800 tons, and 428 men ; 44 coasting and fishing ships, 3,346 tons, and 281 men. Five years sub. sequently, the shore dues were f;4,ooo; but in that year there was only one vessel trading with St. Petersburg. She made but one voyage yearly, and never carried tallow if any other freight could be obtained Now the sailing vessels make three voyages to the same port annually. In 1791 there was a proposal to form a jointstock company, to cut a canal from Leith to the middle ward of Lanarkshire. The tonnage in 1792 had increased to 18,468. In the same year, when those Radicals who
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278 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith named themselves the ? Friends of the People,? were alarming the authorities by threatening to hold a national cqnvention in Edinburgh, and to seize the Castle, the seamen in Leith seemed disposed to complicate affairs by absolutely refusing to go to sea unless they received a considerable advance of wages. A meeting was held for the purpose, if possible, of accommodating matters, and it was attended by the Provost, the Sheriff, the two Bailies of Leith, and a number of ship-masters and merchants belonging to that place; and, after a lengthened discussion, the following terms were offered to the banded seamen of Leith, who were then ? on strike : ?- I. The voyage to London, instead of three guineas as hitherto, to beA4 15s. in full of wages, loading or unloading. 11. The voyage to Hull &3 in full. 111. To Newcastle 10s. in full. IV. All other runs to be in proportion to the above. V, The monthly wages to beAz, instead of 30s. ; the seamen to pay Greenwich money,.and be at liberty to pay poor?s money to the Trinity Hospital at option; but if omitting to pay, to derive no benefit from the funds of that establishment. . VI. The wives at home to get 10s. monthly out of their husband?s wages. VII. The latter to continue until the vessels are discharged by the crews, and to be in full of all demands. These arrangements, having met with the warm approbation of the merchants and shipmasters of Leith, were presented to the seamen for acceptance, and they were required and enjoined ? immediately to return to their duty, and behave in the most peaceable manner, with certification that ;f, after this date, they should be found assembling in any tumultuous manner, or stop or impede any person whatever in the execution of his duty, they would be prosecuted and punished in terms of law.? The proffered terms proved agreeable to the seamen, who at once returned to their duties, leaving the magistrates free to deal with the ? Friends of the People,? many of whom were arrested, and tried before the Court of Justiciary. In 1805 five vessels sailed for the whale fishery, the largest number that had ever sailed from Leith in one year. In 1816 there arrived in the port two vessels, each having a rather remarkable freight. They were entirely laden with broken musket-barrels, locks, sword-blades, and other warlike relics of the memorable retreat from Moscow, all of which were sent to the iron-works at Cramond, there to be turned into ploughshares, harrows, spades, and other implements for the tillage of the earth. In the same year the Scots Magazim records the pursuit of six smuggling luggers by one of the king?s ships in the Roads, adding, ?? one of these luggers is armed with sixteen guns, and is com. manded by an authorised British subject, who has expressed his determination not to be taken, and to a revenue cutter he would be found a dangerous enemy, though he would not stand long against a king?s ship.? In the year 1820 the Edinburgh or Leith Seaman?s Friendly Society was instituted. The Ship masters? Widows? Fund had been established fifteen years before. In 1849 the tonnage of the growing port of Leith increased to 22,499. The tonnage dues on vessels, and. shore dues, outwards and inwards,amounted toA24,566 6s. I Id. The aggregate revenue accruing to the docks was Lzg,209 10s. IIBd, while the Custom House returns for duties levied in the port was A566,312. In 1881 we find the number and tonnage of vessels arriving and sailing from Leith to stand thus :- Sailing vessels arriving, 1,705, tonnage 262,871 ; departing, 1,702, tonnage 259,143. Steam vessels arriving, 2,695, tonnage 711,282 ; departing, 2,695, tonnage 712,056. The chief articles of export are coal and iron, and the appliances for placing these on board ship are of the most approved kind. In 1881 there were 127,207 tons of pig-iron shipped. The chief imports are grain and flour; thus, 1,135,127 quarters of grain and 238,313 bags of flour were landed at Leith, and the importation of guano, wood, flax, and hemp was very considerable, according to the Scotsman for that year. Therevenue of the port in 1881 was &37,491. In 1880 the company owning the Arrow Line put on a number of steamers direct between Leith . and New York ; and the venture has been so successful that now there is regular communication between the former place and America every fortnight. By the prosperity that has come with the new docks, which we shall presently describe, Leith can now boast of a population of 58,000 souls, being an increase on the last decade of 13,000. We have shown how, from small beginnings and under many depressing influences, the shipping and the tonnage of Leith has steadily increased, till the traffic has become great indeed. Now steam vessels, either from Leith or Granton, ply to Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Bremerhaven, Copenhagen, Dantzig, Dunkirk, Ghent, regularly ; to London, four times weekly ;
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