University of Virginia Library

3865. IMPRESSMENT, Certificates and.—

From the debates on the subject of our
seamen, I am afraid as much harm as good
will be done by our endeavors to arm our
seamen against impressments. It is proposed
to register them and give them certificates
of citizenship to protect them. But these
certificates will be lost in a thousand ways;
a sailor will neglect to take his certificate;
he is wet twenty times in a voyage; if he
goes ashore without it, he is impressed; if
with it, he gets drunk; it is lost, stolen from
him, taken from him, and then the want of it
gives authority to impress, which does not
exist now.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. iv, 133. Ford ed., vii, 65.
(M. March. 1796)