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Extra info for British Society and the French Wars 1793–1815
14 II Industry ana Labour People's lives, and their attitudes to the war, were also affected by the economic disruption caused by the conflict. In spite of the British navy's supremacy, French privateers and cruisers successfully preyed on British merchant shipping throughout the war. On 12 February 1793 The Times reported that the price of coal in London had risen after a report that several colliers had been captured. The colliers from the Tyue and the Wear began travelling in convoy, but this led to hold-ups and queues in the Thames, where the unloading system was not geared to dealing with large numbers at the same time.
In the parish of All Saints, Newcastle, where most of the town's seafaring population lived, the parish rate doubled to sixpence in the pound during the first year of war as a result of the wives and families of impressed or volunteer seamen turning to the parish for assistance. 43 Unlike the specified allowance for militia families, the rate and nature of relief granted to the impoverished families of other servicemen was the same as that granted to ordinary parish paupers. The question which remains unanswerable is: how great would the burden have been on the rates if so many men had not enlisted as a refuge from unemployment?
When newly formed regiments were ordered to be broken up and drafted into older, existing corps (often because they lacked both good discipline and capable officers) these regiments, in their tum, could become particularly turbulent. Troops in the large camps on the south coast became restless and bored. In their civilian lives many of the militiamen and the new recruits had worked twelve or even more hours a day. They could not be drilled and trained with the same incessant regularity; and the French invasion did not come.