The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore

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Language: English
Wordcount: 95,472 / 294 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 52.6
LoC Category: VD
Downloads: 362
mnybks.net#: 3787
Origin: gutenberg.org
Genre: Nautical
Excerpt

deeply moved by the scenes of violence that followed. They were, he roundly declares, "a shame to think of."

The origin of the term "pressing," with its cognates "to press" and "pressed," is not less remarkable than the genesis of the violence it so aptly describes. Originally the man who was required for the king's service at sea, like his twin brother the soldier, was not "pressed" in the sense in which we now use the term. He was merely subjected to a process called "presting." To "prest" a man meant to enlist him by means of what was technically known as "prest" money--"prest" being the English equivalent of the obsolete French prest, now _prêt_, meaning "ready." In the recruiter's vocabulary, therefore, "prest" money stood for what is nowadays, in both services, commonly termed the "king's shilling," and the man who, either voluntarily or under duress, accepted or received that shilling at the recruiter's hands, was said to be "prested" or "prest." In other words, having taken the king's rea

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