Money that used to be paid at recruiting centres to encourage volunteers for service in the British Navy in time of war. At the beginning of the 18th century, state or royal bounties amounted to 30 shillings (£1.50) for an able seaman and 25 shillings for an ordinary seaman, rising later to four or five guineas. There were additional municipal bounties to encourage local recruitment, ranging from £2 to as much as £40. Thus in 1795 the City of London offered a supplementary bounty of ten guineas for able seamen, eight for ordinary seamen, six for landsmen, and one or two for boys according to their height. The payment of recruitment bounties disappeared in Britain with the passage of the naval Continuous Service Act in 1857. In general, volunteers for naval service brought in by the bounties were objects of scorn to those in the navy who considered themselves real seamen.
Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.