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Something From History You Probably Never Knew...

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Thinking a little more about the fuss about Rule Britannia. Can some one explain the difference between

1. Slaves - men taken by slavers from their families and work and compelled under threat of corporal and capital punishment to work for long hours at great danger. e.g. Africans sold into slavery and working on plantations in America and the Caribbean.

2. Jolly Jack Tars - men taken by the press gang from their families and work and compelled under threat of corporal and capital punishment to work for long hours at great danger. e.g. On the ships that would rule the waves and manned by Britons who "never never never never will be slaves."??

The Although not used after 1815, impressment remained legal until the early 1900s. It was replaced by conscription in time of war from 1916 and then national service.

How many 'Africans sold into slavery ' - often by their fellow Africans - were volunteers?


The Royal Naval Academy in Portsmouth was founded in 1733, to train 'King's Letter Men'.

The Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich was founded in 1692, at the express wish of Queen Mary , to look after old, sick and injured seamen.

The first purpose built Naval Hospital was built in Haslar in 1745, the largest brick-built building in Europe at the time.

Every sailor in the Fleet paid into the Fleet Fund to provide care for those too sick or injured in Service to work.


The Pressgang was by no means the only way of manning the Fleet - for example, Nelson's crew at Trafalgar contained 44 nationalities.

Every ship in the Fleet carried volunteers , serving without pay in the hope of preferment to the rank of Midshipman - and detested by ships captains who preferred to make lucrative arrangements of their own to train young men for a life at sea.

To portray life in the Royal Navy as in any way comparable with the conditions endured by African slaves in the Caribbean is absurd.
 
According to N A M Rodger, quite the authority on the Navy in the age of sail, the Navy was a better option than many merchantmen as the tonnage per person was much lower and discipline less of an issue until much later in the period (closer to the 1800s than 1750s). But at the time, the average person didn't join the Navy so much as a King's Ship. Crews changed around a lot more and in wartime the pool of trained seamen was really low and demand was high. In those times merchantman wages could easily outstrip wages in the Navy and in order to make up the shortfall in manning, impressment was necessary.

But yes it's fair to say claims conditions were comparable to slavery are mad.
 
Discipline in the Royal Navy was fractionally less harsh than in civvy street at the time. Yes, keel-hauling, hanging and gibbeting, but civvy street could get you far worse for far less, such as offending the upper classes pre-socialism / communism, their biggest threat. Matelots of the day favoured the merchant marine for greater average pay, but no bounty. Mutiny on the Hermione is a good read (HMS Hermione (1782) - Wikipedia to set the conditions, but both fields were better than being an uppity barrow-boy of Battersea. Even the courts martial offered a limited degree of protection to the average AB, compared to civpop.

No comparison to slavery, compared to average living conditions of the era.

(OK, not sure what's worse than keel-hauling. Death by Ougadougoo? Dunno)

Cheers easy. MK.
 
Discipline in the Royal Navy was fractionally less harsh than in civvy street at the time. Yes, keel-hauling, hanging and gibbeting, but civvy street could get you far worse for far less, such as offending the upper classes pre-socialism / communism, their biggest threat. Matelots of the day favoured the merchant marine for greater average pay, but no bounty. Mutiny on the Hermione is a good read (HMS Hermione (1782) - Wikipedia to set the conditions, but both fields were better than being an uppity barrow-boy of Battersea. Even the courts martial offered a limited degree of protection to the average AB, compared to civpop.

No comparison to slavery, compared to average living conditions of the era.

(OK, not sure what's worse than keel-hauling. Death by Ougadougoo? Dunno)

Cheers easy. MK.

I suspect this is another subject that has been subverted to someone's agena.
Only blacks were slaves.
Men were press ganged into the RN etc etc
I'm re-reading 'Breaking The Chains: The RNs war in White Slavery' Tom Pocock.
E.g reference to a smuggler who was given the option of serving in the 1820s. Black seamen who would rather stay on board a RN ship than go ashore and be taken as a slave (not in Britain obviously) - but none of this gets on to mainstream public knowledge. Quote Byron (Masque of Anarchy etc) and Shelley, their preoccupation with Greek Independence but Battle of Navarino and how the RN ACTUALLY curved slavery and the fervour of the RN etc - oh no!
The More and Spitehead Mutinies were as much about not being in good condition to fight as anything and whilst some were flogged - only the officer involved got executed.
The Men They Couldn't Hang did a passionate song 'The Colours' re the above.
Compare the lyrics to the actuality
 
Discipline in the Royal Navy was fractionally less harsh than in civvy street at the time. Yes, keel-hauling, hanging and gibbeting, but civvy street could get you far worse for far less, such as offending the upper classes pre-socialism / communism, their biggest threat. Matelots of the day favoured the merchant marine for greater average pay, but no bounty. Mutiny on the Hermione is a good read (HMS Hermione (1782) - Wikipedia to set the conditions, but both fields were better than being an uppity barrow-boy of Battersea. Even the courts martial offered a limited degree of protection to the average AB, compared to civpop.

No comparison to slavery, compared to average living conditions of the era.

(OK, not sure what's worse than keel-hauling. Death by Ougadougoo? Dunno)

Cheers easy. MK.
One other thing to remember from the period, living conditions on board ship were far healthier than on shore. The Navy at the time were fairly fussy about the ship being kept clean. The food was far better, pork and beef was salted, the famous ships biscuit. Fresh fruit and veggies were obtained at every opportunity, some of the larger Ships of the Line even kept live animals on board.
Once the Navy had been convinced, lemons and Limes improved the fitness of the ships crew ten fold.
Every Kings ship from Frigate upwards, would have a ships surgeon. Free treatment on board, on shore they’d some how have to pay for a Doctor.
All in all in sometimes you were better off joining the Andrew rather than the Army, food and conditions in the Army were better, but discipline was far harsher.
 
The story I was told by a Bristolian publican, was the glass bottomed tankard was used so the person drinking could see the pressgangers coming through the door whilst drinking, giving them a few vital seconds to leggit out the back door.

Must have had some unusual drinking habits. Most people have a tankard at that angle for about a second.
 
Some success, which got him noticed and into higher office. His questioning of the commander when the Thames barrier chain was cut by the Dutch revealed the commander certainly had time and resources to have his personal fortune sailed safely away, but abandoned his post and all its resources to the Dutch.

His diary is a good read, he was a bit of a bloke's bloke, and he didn't want it read during his lifetime for sure.

Medway I think...?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
A bit of Afghan history I never knew of.
Apologies if it's been posted previously.
 
Thinking a little more about the fuss about Rule Britannia. Can some one explain the difference between

1. Slaves - men taken by slavers from their families and work and compelled under threat of corporal and capital punishment to work for long hours at great danger. e.g. Africans sold into slavery and working on plantations in America and the Caribbean.

2. Jolly Jack Tars - men taken by the press gang from their families and work and compelled under threat of corporal and capital punishment to work for long hours at great danger. e.g. On the ships that would rule the waves and manned by Britons who "never never never never will be slaves."??

The Although not used after 1815, impressment remained legal until the early 1900s. It was replaced by conscription in time of war from 1916 and then national service.


.
These guys knew the difference. I believe upwards of 20,000 escaped slaves served with British Forces in the revolutionary war...mainly with Army, but plenty found their way aboard. This incident occurred during the war of 1812.

"As HMS Victorious lay at anchor in Lynnhaven Bay, off Norfolk, in the early morning hours of 10 March 1813, a boat approached from the Chesapeake shore.1 Its occupants, nine American Black men drew the attention of the sailors in the guard boat circling the 74 gun ship. The men were runaway slaves. After a cautious inspection, the guard boat’s crew towed them to the Victorious where the nine Black men climbed up the ship’s side and entered freedom. This scene would be repeated many times during the coming twenty-one months. American Blacks came individually and in both small and large groups seeking escape from slavery within the wooden hulls of the British Navy."
 
The More and Spitehead Mutinies were as much about not being in good condition to fight as anything and whilst some were flogged - only the officer involved got executed.
A very British mutiny I dare say, the mutineers had already agreed that they would immediately return to their posts if the French fleet sailed.
 

HSF

LE
Thus endorsing my opinion that the majority of afghan muslim males are happy to keep the country(I use the term loosely) living in the dark ages.Except for armaments of course.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
These guys knew the difference. I believe upwards of 20,000 escaped slaves served with British Forces in the revolutionary war...mainly with Army, but plenty found their way aboard. This incident occurred during the war of 1812.

So what. Thousands of black slaves followed their Boer Masters into battle and into British concentration camps. Many black slaves fought of the Confederacy..

At the risk of being seriously non PC I suspect we may be guilty of a form of "Orientalism" when we dismiss slavery as a pure evil. The Ottoman Empire was managed by slaves and its fearsome Janissaries were christian slaves. The Roman Emperor Claudius' slaves were powerful civil servants.

"Free man" and "Slave" are on a spectrum not a binary choice. Somewhere in the middle are conscripts, bonded labour, and citizens of communist states.
 
So what. Thousands of black slaves followed their Boer Masters into battle and into British concentration camps. Many black slaves fought of the Confederacy..

At the risk of being seriously non PC I suspect we may be guilty of a form of "Orientalism" when we dismiss slavery as a pure evil. The Ottoman Empire was managed by slaves and its fearsome Janissaries were christian slaves. The Roman Emperor Claudius' slaves were powerful civil servants.

"Free man" and "Slave" are on a spectrum not a binary choice. Somewhere in the middle are conscripts, bonded labour, and citizens of communist states.
Can't equate the two...the point here is agency. I doubt if slaves opted to follow their Boer masters from choice. I think you may be in danger of trying to be too clever.
 
Can't equate the two...the point here is agency. I doubt if slaves opted to follow their Boer masters from choice. I think you may be in danger of trying to be too clever.

Particularly in the case of Jannisaries - children taken from their Christian parents, without recourse, indoctrinated into becoming Muslim and trained to be used against other Christians more often than not.
By virtue of being a veritable Islamic Foreign Legion they often wielded some power but were also ruthlessly annihilated by various Sultans who felt threatened.

Ultimately, a slaves life was not their own, it belongs wholly to someone else without mutual agreement.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
@Pteranadon - I think your original statement has been comprehensively trashed. End of....
 
Thus endorsing my opinion that the majority of afghan muslim males are happy to keep the country(I use the term loosely) living in the dark ages.Except for armaments of course.
Yes, a Madrassa can hardly be described as a seat of learning can it and that is about it for most of 'em.
I remember a scene from my time in Seismic watching a group of Sudanis clustered around a radio one evening, listening to some tedious infant reciting the Koran from memory...and thinking I will never complain about crappy talent shows on TV again..... whilst sipping my flash and tonic.
 
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The Jolly Jacks actually got paid. (Even though the recruitment method may leave something to be desired) And there was the potential to make a lot of money in prize capture of enemy ships.
I read somewhere that amongst sea farers the Royal Navy was something of a cushy billet. Commercial ships sailed with just enough crew as required to man the ship to maximise profits. The Navy sailed with enough men to man the guns: vastly more than was needed just to move the ship about the globe. Food and grog we’re guaranteed and prize money was a possibility. Discipline was brutal but Georgian times were a brutal age thus the navy was not much more savage than elsewhere.
 

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