The Press Gang

   The Royal Navy had three ways to recruit men during the Napoleonic Wars. These were: volunteers, quota men (vagrants supplied by inland courts), and pressed men. Quota men were supplied by magistrates in order to fill a counties obligation to the Navy. They were usually convicted felons, and had little to no seafaring experience, resulting in them being known as "Landsmen". Pressed men, however, were merchant seaman forced to enter the navy, and as such were a much better source of trained manpower for the Royal Navy in time of war. The Royal Navy had the power to stop all incoming merchant vessels, and take a portion of their crew. This was legalized through the Royal Navy supplying an equal number of men to the merchant vessel. These men were usually landsmen, and the Royal Navy always took the best seamen. The Royal Navy may alternatively give the merchant ship men who had instructions to desert the merchant ship as soon as possible, and return to the Navy.

   The Press Gang was not so much a violent force, but also a recruiting tool, as they would always look for volunteer's, ....and also knock people over the head and drag them to a ship. They would force men to take the King's Shilling, once they had received it, they were in the service of the King.