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Statement Respecting the Prevalance of Certain Immoral practices in His Majesty's Navy
London: Printed By Ellerton and Henderson, 1821. Small Octavo. . iv, 42 pages. This rare pamphlet gives an account in detail of the sexual practices on vessels both in port and in foreign countries. There were hundreds of prostitutes along with sailors wives (and children) were also inside the closed quarters with each bunk or hammock measuring 24" sexual activity began to take place. The Lords describe the various encounters in the narrow hammocks, the stench, the drunkeness, and the crude blasphemies and mockeries of the Lord's Prayer and Apostle's Creed. Of course, the problem of venereal disease was overwhelming and many of the ship's surgeons resigned if they had any other opportunity to avoid service on these ships. The outroar came when George Charles Smith whose ministry was on behalf of sailors and their families (see DNB) who wrote a series of pamphlets for the laymen in the seaports of England. Harvard University Library has many of his bound pamphlets under the title Prose and Poetry (not found on OCLC), all of which are related to the conditions of the sailors. He reported the nature of the wide open work of prostitutes of ship in port with first hand accounts of those who had served in the Navy and had to endure them. He notes firsthand accounts of those who confirmed these facts and while he was horrified with the constant blasphemies, it was the young boys brought into the service who at ages as young as 14 were not only exposed but encouraged to participate with the activities on the ships. He quotes Hatchrds (1822) which also exposed this one year after the issue of this pamphlet which was supposed to be available only to members of the Admiralty and select members of Parliament. He notes that when he first read the secret report's contents he thought it was simply the stuff of fiction until the came to learn it was literally true nor had His Majesty's government done anything to abolish it; moreover, they tried to suppress the information from getting to the public. He warns mothers against letting their little boys enter the naval service which he calls "floating hells" A recent account at Portsmouth is cited in one of his pamphlets where over 400 prostitutes [he calls them 'unhappy creatures'] are crowded on to one ship. He notes the dereliction of duty of the officers. He cites the disregard in the Admiralty's The Regulations and Articles of War. He notes that after this pamphlet His Majesty Proclamation declared: "all flag officers….to take care to avoid ...debauchery and other immoralities.." This crusade began to take effect and by the mid-19th century the worst abuses had ceased. After Smith's death his son published a book on the crusade entitled: "The Great Moral Reformation of Sailors'. In 1822 just one year after the report The Christian Guardian Magazine (official publication of the Church of England) published more sordid details. There we learn that the scandal broke out shortly after our suppressed pamphlet was issued so an edited version appear with the declaration: "The Lords of the Admiralty have deemed it necessary to adopt any measures for preventing the evils which the Statement was drawn up to expose" then, it goes on to say that this second edition has been somewhat edited. In 1914 a reprint was issued and even it is uncommon. Bound in original paper wraps with a couple of small chips.
      [Bookseller: Alcuin Books, ABAA-ILAB]
Last Found On: 2016-10-05           Check availability:      Biblio    


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