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SEAMEN IN TO THE 18 TH CENTURY

Seamen in to the 18 th Century

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Seamen in to the 18 th Century. Lewiston Civic Theatre http://www.lctheatre.org/ - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

SEAMEN IN TO THE 18TH CENTURY

Page 2: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Lewiston Civic Theatre• http://www.lctheatre.org/• We are all having a great deal

of fun. We would welcome your students to our Dress Rehearsal on March 17th (with no charge.) Curtain that evening will be at 7:30 p.m. (If they find the doors locked, use the side entrance on the east wall.)– Fred Dole. director of the Civic

Theatre's production of "Treasure Island."

Page 3: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Shifting position of England/Britain in the ocean going world

• Mid 16th Century• England began its first steps• Russia Company 1553• Levant Company 1581• East India Company 1600• Royal Adventurers to Africa 1660

– Became Royal Africa Company

Page 4: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Aim buy cheap sell High• Exploiting price differentials

between widely separated markets

• Others aimed to do the same thing in areas free of company monopolies– i.e. the Americas

• Initial problem for Britain was• The Dutch

Page 5: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Dutch at top of international capitalist economy

• ‘principal carriers’ of goods• 1650s England decided • “The seas are ours”• 1651 first Navigation act

– Aimed at reducing Dutch influence• All goods had to be brought to

England in English ships

Page 6: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Along with political maneuvers • Came warfare

– 1652-4– 1665-7– 1672-4

• Additional Navigations acts– 1660– 1663– 1672

• 1689 focus of attack shifted to French

Page 7: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Acts, political and military, helped launch England’s

• Commercial Revolution• New colonial system with

captive and growing group of producers and consumers

• English shipping tonnage–tripled in the last half of 17th century

Page 8: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Biggest port within England• London

• As London Grew so did England

• Early 18th C • Half population of London

involved in commerce• Home of “Universal

Merchants”

Page 9: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• As this struggle over the oceans going on

• Massive shift occurring in English society

• Based around consolidation and dispossession

• Dispossession• Disbanding of feudal retainers• Dissolution of monasteries• Foreclosure by debt

Page 10: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• And of course enclosure• They hang the man and flog the woman

• Who steals the Goose from off the Common;

• But let the greater villain loose

• Who steals the Common from the goose.– Anonymous, 17th century

Page 11: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• That which was dispossessed had to be consolidated

• Centralization of agriculture– Farms increased and so did production

• Manufacturing– Shipbuilding and mining expanded

• All were tied in to • International trade and the colonial system

Page 12: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Developments part of England’s move in to Capitalism– Political Arithmetics

• Sir William Petty referred to it as “primitive accumulation”

• the few gained power and control

Page 13: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• As a few gained• The many were• “suddenly and forcibly torn from their means of subsistence”

• And thrown on the labor market

• “as free, unprotected, and rightless proletarians”

• no alternative but to sell their labor

Page 14: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

•And for many of those (un)free workers

• The lure of London

•And pull of the sea was to strong to avoid

Page 15: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

“Those who would go to sea for pleasure would go to hell

for pastime”• Isolation• Hard never-ending work• Starvation• Disease• Brutality• Death• These were just some of the

“pleasures” that awaited the 18th century sailor

Page 16: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Disease• 1740-44 Captain Anson sailed around the

world• Only ½ of the crew survived• Typhus, malaria, yellow fever and scurvy• James Lind 1747 discovered antiscourbutic

qualities of Orange and lemons• Golden Age of Piracy before this• Seven years war 1754 – 1763

– After Lind’s discovery• 133, 708 sailors died due to disease• 1,512 killed in action

Page 17: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Why then did so many go to sea?• Shifts in English social structure were

a definite push factor• Edward Barlow

– Prestwich, England– Son of poor struggling farmer, with no

chance of betterment• Apprenticeship was possibility but,• “the tradesmen would not take

us without money or unless we would serve eight or nine years”

Page 18: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Agricultural laborer was another option

• But as Barlow wrote• “I never had any great mind

to country work, as ploughing and sowing and making of hay and reaping, nor also of winter work, as hedging and ditching and thrashing and dunging amongst cattle, and such like Drudgery”

• So he headed off to sea– similar thing is found in Robinson

Crusoe

Page 19: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• This was just one reason• We may never know multitude of

reasons sailors chose the sea• Historian Ralph Davis gave us as good

a list as we may ever have• “To see the world, to get a good

rate of pay, to get a good job of some sort at any price, to do what father did – these were the motives of those who went to sea”

• “perhaps some went willy-nilly, drunk or unconscious, as the crimp made up the required crew as best he could”

Page 20: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Once in the life, what did they become?• John Fielding observing sailors in mid

century London wrote• “When one goes to Rotherhithe or

Wapping, which places [in London] are chiefly inhabited by sailor, but that somewhat of the same language is spoken, a man would be apt to suspect himself in another country. Their manner of living, speaking, acting, dressing and behaving are so particular to themselves”

Page 21: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

•Speech• Technical terms• Distinctive pronunciation• A generous portion of cursing•Movement• Sailors swung “their Corps like a

Pendulum and believe it the most upright steady motion”

• Gave them stability of rolling decks• “They are sure to walk firm, where

all other creatures tumble”

Page 22: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

•Dress• Wide baggy breeches, cut a few inches

above the ankle• Made of heavy rough material

– tarred against cold and wet weather• A checked linen shirt• A ‘fearnought’ jacket• A Monmouth cap• Often made his own clothes

– Years of mending sails taught him how• Hardened cheese or shark bone for

buttons

Page 23: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

•The Body• Also had its own distinctive feature• Tattoos – on the forearm and

elsewhere• “metal coloured” skin from sun and

sea water• Missing fingers, missing ears,

missing eyes• All aspects that marked him out to

the Press gangs

Page 24: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• They were men •who looked as if they

had been hammered into an uncouth shape upon Vulcan’s Anvil;

whose iron sides, and metal-coloured faces seemed to dare all

weathers, spit fire in the frigid zone, and bid

death defiance

Page 25: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Late 17th century Navy could not meet needs

• Press Gang was the primary recruitment tool

Page 26: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

•1728 General Oglethorpe–Leader of Georgia in 1733 and campaigner for reform of jails

•Complained that impressments violated the Magna Carta

•Act in 1704 (2 & 3 Anne, c. 6) allowed parish official to bind young boys to a shipmaster for 7 years without pay

Page 27: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• By 1700 Navigation Acts allowed ¾ of merchant crew to be non British

• Issac George – Sailor hung in London July 1738

• 22 years of Age when he died– Father was born in Guinea– Mother described as a “mulato”

• He was literate• He had already made more than ten

transatlantic voyages aboard British Ships

Page 28: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Life on Board• “Folk memory of tyranny”• Ship society based in a hierarchical

organization• Captain at the top with full power• Could make life tolerable or

unbearable• “a Captain is like a King at

Sea, and is Authority is over all that is in his possession”

– Mathew Bishop 1744

Page 29: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Captains authority had grown with the social changes taking place in England

• Costal trips often short with all having share in the profit

• Deep-sea bulk trade shifted this– Crew had less investment in voyage

• Investors were often absent• Captain become their authority and

guarantee of successful voyage– Powers became more autocratic and

discipline became crucial

Page 30: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• “There is no justice or injustice on board ship, my lad. There are only two things: duty and mutiny. All that you are ordered to do is duty. All that you refuse to do is mutiny”

• A policy that many captains chose to use on board

• for some, violence was necessary to train, or tame, new recruits

Page 31: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Idle Prentice sent to sea - Hogarth

Note the cat o’ nine tails that one sailor holds and the hanging sailor that another points to

Page 32: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• 1708 on board the Unity to West Indies

• Crew man John Pattison, forgot to do a chore

• Captain Beesley• Grabbed him by the hair forced his

head under a gun, to trap him, and beat him for “so long and in such a barbarous & cruel manner” that Pattison could not lift his arms above his head for several weeks

• He later beat him so hard the “almost a pinte of blood” flowed from his nose

Page 33: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Captain Thomas Barry lashed Richard Sargent for “irregular steering” in 1729

• Gilbert Lamb returned late to the ship while in harbor and was smashed “several blows on the head with a piece of Oak”

• “so much hurt that he could not for some time swallow any victuals”

• A captain beat Richard Desborough with

• “his fist, Roaps, Sticks & Canes . . . And beat and cut out one of his eyes”

Page 34: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Anything and everything was used for a weapon

• Samuel Mathews in 1733 was battered with a bulls foot and a “Manyocker (which is a tough root as thick as a Mans Legg)” before getting 100 lashes from the Cat

• Andrew Andrewson, 1736, was beaten “upon the head with an Elephant’s dry’d Pizle”

Page 35: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• All above were on naval ships but, harsh punishment was not limited to the navy

• 1746 John Cressey was forced to place his middle finger in a specially bored block of wood weighing 50 lbs

• Captain the drove wedges into the hole causing “his hand and Arm then very much to swell”

• He was then forced to walk with the wood on his finger for over 30 minutes while the captain kicked the block occasionally

Page 36: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Above are of course extreme cases of the imposition of authority

• But in the close knot world of seamen they were remembered

• Become what one historian has called the “folk memory of tyranny”

• That is the idea that such punishments could and did happen

• And happen far away from any “official” authority other than the Captains

Page 37: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Petition to Virginia legislature in 1722 three ship captain

• “That as no society can be long kept in Order, without discipline, so it is but to well known that common sailors are of all men least Capable of Submitting to the authority of their commanders, when they find themselves under no fear of correction”

• But what if we change least capable to

• Least Willing

Page 38: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Least willing• Although Captain had total

power• relationship with his crew was

like all such relationships, in part, a negotiation

• Common sailors developed oppositional tactics to limit and on occasion stop the exercise of tyrannical behaviors

Page 39: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Sailors were well known for being aggressive and violent, both physically and in defense of their ‘rights

• Going to sea took courage• “No man can have greater

Contempt for Death. For every day he constantly shits upon his own Grave”

• To go on strike– Comes from the decision of London

seamen in 1768• To strike their sails to halt the flow of

commerce

Page 40: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Sailors lives were often surrounded by, or immersed in, unlawful behavior

• From kidnapping at the beginning of many careers

• To the excessive punishment of captains

• It is no surprise then that they developed extra legal methods of resistance

• A resistance that occurred not only on ship

• But also on land

Page 41: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Deep-sea shipping ensured that sailors were often outsiders in any port they were stationed

• Therefore outside local power structure

• Often at the head of any protests– Boston 1690s and 1740s– Philadelphia in 1741, 1742, & 1759

– 69– Charleston 1701– London and Liverpool regularly

during eighteenth century

Page 42: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Aspiring in their Noble Thought• Above the Law as they’d been

taught,• Presum’d to make a Street

Convention,• To Prosecute a New Intention

– Ned Ward, 1711• The 1747 “Knowles rebellion”

against impressments in Boston• Used by Sam Adams in his

explanation as the deal example of fighting for the people rights against tyranny

Page 43: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Resistance on Board• Individual sailors could use violence or

the threat of violence to rebel• When ordered to set sail aboard the Christabella in 1721, David Mackay replied

• “God Damn you, you may come out and sett it yourself and be dammed for I will not do it”

• On the same voyage, when asked to work on the maintopsail, Michael Carmichael old the captain

• “he may kiss his Arse for by God he would not do it”

Page 44: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• John Porter of the St Quentin was drenched in water and beaten by the captain

• He then “fell upon ye Master and beat him and Swore he would be none of his Slave nor be beat like a Dogg”

• 1717 after a similar altercation George Drummond told Captain Norman

• “God damn him he’d skin him alive and slit his nose”

Page 45: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Individual action however did not alter the state of the ship

• For that to happen a number of crew would need to fight back

• Leading to:

•Mutiny

Page 46: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Mutiny

Page 47: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• The depiction of mutiny just seen is, of course, one of several slave mutinies that occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries– Very few of which were successful

• This location, Africa, and activity, the slave trade

• Also reported the highest incidence of sailor to pirate mutinies within Rediker database

Page 48: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Mutinies were usually, and unsurprisingly violent activities

• records available– probably record only a small number

of total mutinies• Show that in one in every five

mutinies in the early eighteenth century – one or more officers were killed

• Once taken a crew reorganized

Page 49: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

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• Contact Michele 208 310 6373.

Page 50: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Mutiny

Page 51: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• War of Spanish Succession ended with truce in 1713

• Lot of Privateers now out of work• 1716 Captured pirates• “never consented to the articles

of peace with French and Spanish”

• Another crew learning of peace• “sett their captain ashore and

turned pirate”

Page 52: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Mutinies were usually, and unsurprisingly violent activities

• records available– probably record only a small number

of total mutinies• Show that in one in every five

mutinies in the early eighteenth century – one or more officers were killed

• Once taken a crew reorganized

Page 53: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• They take a large sheet of paper, and strike two circles. One a good distance without the other; in the inner Circle, they will write what they have a mind to have done; and between the two Circular Lines, they write their Names, in and out, against the Circles; beginning like the four cardinal points of the compass, right opposite to each other, and so continues till the paper is filled; which appears in a Circle, and no one can be said to be first, so that they are all equally guilty

Page 54: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century
Page 55: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• 1710s and 1720s • Rediker reports a minimum of 31 mutinies• Number is tentative for several reasons

– 1) definition of mutiny– 2) failure of reportage

Page 56: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Rediker’s research has revealed that of 31+ mutinies

• ½ of crews moved into piracy• The form of these ship-born

revolutions varied• 1718 a mutiny led by Phineas

Bunce and Daniel Macarty began when the crew began to sing

• “Did not you promise me that you would marry me”

Page 57: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Other successful mutinies to piracy include ones led by

• Howell Davis – 1718• George Lowther – 1721• Philip Roach – 1721• John Phillips – 1723• John Gow – 1725• As Rediker writes “almost all of whom would subsequently be killed in action or hanged on the gallows”

Page 58: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

John Gow• Hung June 11,

1725• Not a successful

career as pirate• 22 years old• Born in a

‘Northern-Country, of Honest Respectable Parents’– Orkney

Page 59: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• A lot of information about him comes from his confession to the court– not forthcoming initially

• Charged with murder• “To this indictment John Gow

refus’s to plead. For which (by Order of the Court) his Thumbs were ty’d with Whip-cord, by the Executioner and another office, till the Cord broke”

• Example that pirates were not the only people to use violence to gather information

Page 60: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Gow still refused to plead• “The Court pronounc’d

Sentence, that (according to the law) next Day he should be Prest to Death. When the Press was prepar’d for Execution of the Sentence, he sent to pray the Court, that he might be admitted”

• He then told the tale• But still ‘deny’d any premeditation

design against the lives’ of the Captain and other officers

Page 61: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Gow further stated that •“the rest of the Crew oblig’d and in manner forc’d him to accept the command, there not being one left but himself, who could Navigate the Ship”

• Commonly known as the • ‘a big boy did it and ran away’

defense

Page 62: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Mass mutinies stuff of films and novels– However, roughly 1 in 5 pirate ships began

this way• and 1 in 5 pirates?• Although this is the ‘sexy’ style of

piracy 101• more common process for transfer

from seaman to pirate was more individual

• Particularly in the early golden age

Page 63: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Pirate Captain England took 9 vessels off the coast of Africa in 1719

• Of the 143 seaman on board this vessel

• 55 willingly signed up to go “on the Account”

• Governor Spotswood of Virginia• Who later sponsored the voyage

that killed Blackbeard• Noted that the number of pirates

was growing, though• “they will force no man into

their service”

Page 64: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• As time progressed• Less volunteers stepped

forward• However, some had

always been forced• Especially those in

skilled positions• Such as • Surgeon• Navigator• One of the most

successful pirates of the golden age was a forced crew member

• ‘Black’ Bart Roberts

Page 65: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• Slave ships particularly prone– Wydah

• Chronic complaints of conditions• “So as we Eat shall we work”• If white crew complained they

could find themselves • “as slaves linked & coupled

together & were fed Yams & water the usual dyet for slaves”

Page 66: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

• George Lowther took RAC ship

• Gambia Castle in 1720s

• “knocked down the cabins, made the ship flush fore and aft, prepared black colours, new named her the Delivery”

• “It was not their business to starve or to be made slaves”

Page 67: Seamen in to the 18 th  Century

Pirate Tech