Impressed into Navy

The Petition of Mary Quick, wife of Michael Quick, 23 April 1791 (ADM 1/5119/16)

Impressment – the act of taking men into a navy by force with or without notice – was common practice in the 18th century. People liable to impressment were sailors, however non-seamen were sometimes impressed, as in this case.


23rd April, 1791

The Petition of Mary Quick, wife of Michael Quick

Humbly Shewth

That your Petitioner’s Husband is a Housekeeper a the Parish of St. Giles and by Trade a Coach Spring Maker, having wrought seven years at that Branch of Business with his Master Mr. Wildey, as it will appear by the annexed Certificate.

That her said Husband is no seaman, nor seafaring man, nor ever worked upon the water, nor in any business relating thereto.—

That notwithstanding thereof the said Michael Quick was impressed into His Majesty’s Sea Service, and now lies on board a Tender [boat, or larger ship used to transport men/supplies to and from shore or to another vessel] in the River—

That your Petitioner with two small children (and she is pregnant with a third) have no other support than the exertions of her said Husband, of which she is deprived by his detention as aforesaid, and which must soon bring her and them to ruin unless he is speedily released therefrom.

Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays that you will be pleased to grant her relief by giving such orders as may be the means of restoring the said Michael Quick to his distressed family and as in duty bound she will ever pray—

Signed by Janet Seton* for Mary Quick

No 26 Tower Street

Seven Dials

23rd April 1791

I believe the whole of what is set forth in this petition to be true and should be very glad if I could contribute to the redress there prayed for— 23rd April 1791, Robert Harries

*I believe the whole of the above Petition to be true and can attest the Petitioner to be a Sober and Industrious Woman, Janet Seton

[A further witness statement from Michael Quick’s employer was also attached in support of the Petition from Mary Quick.]

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