1740: 13 George 2 c.17: An act for the increase of mariners and seamen to navigate merchant ships and other trading ships or vessels.
WHEREAS it is necessary to give all fitting encouragement to persons to apply themselves to the sea service, and the practice of navigation, and also to foreign mariners and seamen to engage in the British service; be it enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That every person herein after mentioned shall be freed and exempted from being impressed into the service of his Majesty, his heirs and successors (that is to say) every person being of the age of fifty five years or upwards, and every person not having attained the full age of eighteen years, and every foreigner, being a mariner, seaman, or landman, who shall serve in any merchant ship, or other trading ship or vessel, or privateer, belonging to the subjects of the crown of Great Britain.
II. And, for the encouragement of able-bodied landmen to betake themselves to the sea service; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid. That every person of what age soever he be, who shall use the sea, shall be freed and exempted from being impressed for the full space of two years, to be computed from the time of his first going to sea; and that every person who, not having before used the sea, shall bind himself apprentice to serve at sea, shall be Freed and exempted from being impressed for the full space of three years, to be computed from the time of his binding himself apprentice as aforesaid.
III. And, for the better securing to all the persons before mentioned the benefit intended them by this act; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the lord high admiral of Great Britain, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being, or any three or more of them, shall, upon due proof made before him or them of the respective ages and circumstances (as the case shall happen) of any of the persons before mentioned, grant a protection to every such person to secure him from being impressed, for such time as by the true intent and meaning of this act such person is to be free and exempted from being impressed; all which protections shall be granted without any fee or reward to be taken for the same.