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Everything posted by Mission

  1. 18th Century Navies

    I don't know the answers, but I'm almost certain each of these things has been discussed here in the past. Use the search function, restricting your search to the appropriate forum. Most of them are probably in Captain Twill. (You may find the gunlock answer in Cacabel's Lock, Stock & Barrel forum.)
  2. Salted Horse

    ? Where did you see that? I've seen period accounts of salted pork & beef, the salting of fish, boars, seals and even penguins. But I don't recall ever seeing a mention of salted horse.
  3. My thoughts on Capt Johnson's book

    Read the version edited by Manuel Schonhorn, taking time to read the end notes for each chapter. He explains where everything came from in Johnson's book. Mostly it was newspaper accounts, public records and published court accounts. What Johnson did was sift and organize these otherwise dry, dull documents (trust me, I've read a lot of them) and the stuff he added is mostly regarded as being fictional like the story of Captain Misson, Blackbeard's supposed journal, philosophical speeches by some of the pirates and similar odds and ends. The author of these books is widely believed these days to be journalist Nathaniel Mist. Ed explains the reasoning behind this pretty well in this posting.
  4. Davy Jones and Fiddler's Green and Sea Myths

    This may interest you. “[Roberts, philosophy] [Thomas] Sutton used to be very prophane; he happening to be in the same Irons with another Prisoner, who was more serious than ordinary, and read and pray’d often, as became his Condition; this Man, Sutton used to swear at, and ask him, what he proposed by so much Noise and Devotion? Heaven, says the other, I hope. Heaven, you Fool, says Sutton, did you ever hear of any Pyrates going thither? Give me H———ll, it’s a merrier Place: I’ll give Roberts a Salute of 13 Guns at Entrance. And when he found such ludicrous Expressions had no Effect on him, he made a formal Complaint, and requested that the Officer would either remove this Man, or take his Prayer-Book away, as a common Disturber.” (Daniel Defoe (Captain Charles Johnson), A General History of the Pyrates, Manuel Schonhorn, ed., 1999, p. 246) (There's no indication about what happened after that.)
  5. Davy Jones and Fiddler's Green and Sea Myths

    As Foxe already explained, when you try and hunt them down, you'll find that many of the sea superstitions can only be traced back to the mid/late 18th century. I ran into that when trying to run down superstitions that we think were prevalent then when I was writing my article Dealing With the Deceased a few years back. I found the sea superstitions weren't much different than the landsmen's superstitions and a lot of the more "sea-based" myths came later. As I quoted in my article, "Writing several decades after the golden age of piracy about a shipwreck that took place in 1739, John Byron explained, That common people in general are addicted to superstitious conceits, is an observation founded on experience; and the reason is evident: but I cannot allow that common seamen are more so than others of the lower class. In the most enlightened ages of antiquity, we find it to have been the popular opinion, that the spirits of the dead were not at rest till their bodies were interred; and that they did not cease to haunt and trouble those who had neglected this duty to the departed. This is still believed by the vulgar, in most countries"
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean 5!

    Part of the crew, part of the ship.
  7. Davy Jones and Fiddler's Green and Sea Myths

    The more likely explanation is that Stynky is too lazy to take it down. (Trust me, I know Stynky...) Although I've no doubt that when the web page contract expires as Coastie mentioned, it will suddenly disappear. This has the added benefit of insuring that Stynky doesn't actually have to do anything to remove it. I have saved a lot of the files that interested me, although they're in separate Word files and so are a PITA to actually try and sift through unless you know what you're looking for. I mostly saved them to refer to stuff that I can use in writing future Surgeon's Journal articles.
  8. The Boots We Wear (On Bucket Boots)

    There's no challenge in that. The fun for me is in trying to be as PC as possible.
  9. My thoughts on Capt Johnson's book

    Or perhaps like something lifted from an assortment of newspaper accounts with lurid bits of historical fiction randomly thrown in to either make a political point or at least keep it interesting?
  10. The Boots We Wear (On Bucket Boots)

    Here you go, Jib. (And, for the record, I have never worn them. )
  11. How to split 2 ships and chase only one?

    You're assuming the merchant ships would fight. The majority of period accounts suggest merchant ships wouldn't. If the pirates ran their flag up, a merchant ship would try to outrun them more often than fight. It's probably just as (and perhaps even more) likely that they would just surrender without resistance. When ships resisted capture, they expected the pirates would punish them if they were caught by doing a variety of things including beating them, sometimes with swords, slitting their ears and noses, marooning them or possibly sinking or burning their ship. Five men who had taken a ship created "a black Flag, which they merrily said, would be as good as 50 Men more, i.e. would would carry as much Terror [in the minds of their prey]". (Captain Johnson, A General History of the Pyrates, 2nd ed., p. 417)
  12. Pirates were bloodthirsty criminals...

    You could read the original source material and give your own account of it. (I much prefer this to interpreted accounts, although they certainly have their place as well.) The easiest book to follow is A General History of the Pirates. It contains is a certain amount of artistic license in the way the accounts are presented along with some embedded political philosophizing, but it is still mostly based on the facts and contains the easiest narrative to follow. I recommend Manuel Schornhorn's version which includes decent endnotes that will help to understand where the original source material came from. Plus it can be bought fairly inexpensively. (If you want to remain free from some of the most blatant pirate romanticization, skip the chapter on the pirate philosopher Captain Misson, an almost entirely fictional, politically-motivated account by the book's author. The accounts of Captains Lewis and Cornelius are also considered fictional, although they're not quite so blatant in their biases.) Or if you want to read the original source material on which much of that book was based, get hold of Joel Baer's four volumes of reprinted source documents called Pirates of the British Isles. That contains a lot of the court trials and quite a few period newpaper accounts. I got that one through inter-library loan because it's expensive (and apparently out of print.) It doesn't give much of a narrative sense of things, however. There are also some other good sources of original documents, such as Dr. Foxe's annotated Pirates in Their Own Words and John F. Jameson's Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period Illustrative Documents. To add to the list of barbarous pirates, the court accounts of Francis Spriggs show him torturing prisoners pretty regularly.
  13. golden Age Pirate how truthful are the shown

    I don't know what the Grinner is (sounds like a villain from a superhero comic), but it is sort of interesting how the General History has (somewhat inadvertantly) molded the perception of the pirate population so that the only historical pirates of note in popular culture are the pirate captains. If I were looking to create other characters, I think I'd read the chapter on Bartholomew Roberts as well as the actual court document, both of which contain a lot of material on men other than Roberts. (There's a lot of overlap because Charles Johnson used the court document - called Tryal of all the Pyrates, Lately Taken by Captain Ogle - to write much of his chapter, but the original document contains quite a few things that Johnson chose not to use.) In fact, nearly all the court documents I've read have some information on men other than the pirate captains if you want source material. If that interests you, Joel Baer's four volume work British Piracy in the Golden Age: History and Interpretation, 1660-1730 is what you'll want. You'll probably find Volumes 2 & 3 particularly interesting. (Although, if you decide to read them, get them through interlibrary loan because they're prohibitively expensive to buy outright.) Another really interesting account with quite a bit of detail with daily life on a pirate ship is that found in George Robert's The four years voyages of captain George Roberts (wrongly attributed to Daniel Defoe in the 1930s), pages 37 - 98. where Roberts describes being captured and held by Edward Low's crew.
  14. golden Age Pirate how truthful are the shown

    I doubt if there's ever been an accurate portrayal of pirates in mass media. Hell, I still don't think we reenactors get more than 50% of it correct. There's a huge swath of unknowns about this small group who lived 300 years ago and kept almost no records of what they did. (Documentation could lead to hangings... ) Most of what we know about them is gathered up from the State Papers, newspaper reports, court accounts and a couple of accounts published by victims. Even the General History of the Pyrates is culled mostly from such documents. (Although there are a few exceptions. See the book Pirates in Their Own Words by Ed Fox if that interests you.) Take what historical reenactors (who are explicity trying to get it right) get wrong and add a layer of the things that are wrong in the much Hollywood-loved pre-Hollywood pop culture (such as works created by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson, James Barrie, Howard Pyle and NC Wyeth) and you have a potpourri of misinformation in the pop-culture renditions. Still, some are better than others. David Fictum has commented on some of the recent pop-pirate phenomenons. He actually talked about the accuracies and inaccuracies found in Assassin's Creed 4 from an historic POV in an article he published on Dropbox. You will find that article here.
  15. introduction Ahoy, this be an introduction

    Sorry if it took awhile to approve your registration. (Which I can not take credit for because I haven't logged into that section in weeks... and therein lies the problem.)
  16. 17th century slang and words

    That's a good point.
  17. 17th century slang and words

    I am also guessing, but I have heard that a man wearing only a shirt with no waistcoat or a woman wearing a shift with no stays and mantua were considered undressed.
  18. A rare reference to a figurehead in a pirate document. (Although it could be argued that Philip Roche was less a traditional ship-taking pirate than just a mutineer.) "And when they came to Dartmouth the s[ai]d Peirce Cullen ordered the Examinate to procure a Carpenter and to agree with him to run a spare Deck upon the Vessel [the 40 Ton Ship St. Peter] and to alter her to a Snow by taking down the Misen Mast, and he the sd Cullen pro[c]ured one Taylor a Carpenter to doe the same; And he the sd Cullen and the aforesd Neal before she came to Dartmouth took off the Figure that was in her Head and painted her. And at Dartmouth the sd Carpenter run a spare Deck upon her and took down the Mizen Mast and put up a Lyon in her Head." (Ed Fox, "31. Philip Roche The Examination of Philip Roche, 11 April, 1723. HCA 1/55, ff. 36-41", Pirates In Their Own Words, 2014, p. 149)
  19. Lighthouses

    The Opening of the First Eddystone Lighthouse, 1698 by Peter Monomy (c. 1703). This was an octagonal structure built by Henry Winstanley beginning in 1696 located on the Eddystone rocks, 12 miles off of Plymouth Sound. "England was at war with France at this time and such was the importance of the Eddystone project that the Admiralty provided Winstanley with a warship for protection on the days when work was taking place. One morning at the end of June in 1697 the protective vessel did not arrive; in its stead a French privateer arrived, and subsequently carried Winstanley against his will to France. When Louis XIV heard of the incident he ordered that Winstanley be immediately released saying that 'France was at war with England, not with humanity'." (Trinity House Website, Eddystone Lighthouse, gathered 7/26/16)
  20. pirates the savers?

    Actually, I got something wrong in my original post (which I have changed). I had said the ship was seized by George Lowther, which would have been impossible because this all occurred in 1696. Lowther's pirate career didn't begin for another 25 years. (I had thought they had mispelled his name which was fairly common until I realized the dates were so out of synch.) Instead, the money was taken by a Captain Lowth of the East India Company. He seized the ship the Margaret, which was under the command of Samuel Burgess, for reasons not stated in the accounts found in Ed's book. Burgess had sailed to Madagascar in the Margaret to sell goods to pirates and obtain slaves for the return trip. It seems likely that Lowth thought he was seizing pirates (although they had pardons, which he also seized) and pirated goods; the four men claiming that the money was not pirate treasure, but gambling or care-giving earnings in their testimonies was an attempt to claim the money was legally obtained and get the money back. Without futher evidence, however, who can say? Because Lowth seized the ship, the owners of the Margaret sued the East India Company. Burgess was convicted of piracy in a trial in London as a result of these events, so it would seem that the owners of the ship lost that suit, although I don't actually know that. I suppose the pirates could have brought individual suit to get their money back since they had received pardons... although their explanations for how they came by the money were absurdly flimsy and, based on other court accounts of pirates from this period, probably wouldn't have held up.
  21. pirates the savers?

    This is interesting and related to the idea of saving money, at least in the short term. It is from Ed Fox's book Pirates in Their Own Words, being taken from court examinations of four former pirates who traveling from Madagascar (where their money would have had only limited value) to New York (where there would be many opportunities to spend it.) Ed explains, Their money was seized by Captain Lowth of the East India company who seized the ship when it stopped at the Cape of Good Hope. The four men being questioned included: 1. Thomas Bagley - "...he saith that he had ...in gold and silver to the value of Two Thousand one hundred and Fourty peeces of Eight together with his Chest and Cloaths, and saith that he wonne the foresd mony at play." (Fox, p. 62-3) 2. Michael Hicks - "...he had aboard ...abt the value of one hundred pound sterling in silver and in gold abt the value of six hundred pounds sterling, great part of which mony he won at play." (Fox, p. 65) 3. Richard Roper - "...he had aboard ...abt the value of four hundred pounds sterling in silver and gold and Cloaths and other things to ye value of ten pounds, most of the sd mony being given him for tending upon sick people working of Cloaths and other services." (Fox, p. 68) 4. John Barret - "he had aboard ...one and twenty hundred Lyon Dollars [a large Dutch silver coin], thirteen hundred ps of Eight, in plate and small mony to ye value of one hundred ps of Eight and in corrall and amber to the value of one hundred peeces of Eight more, a great part of which mony he won at play." (Fox, p. 71) Had they not lost the money, it would have been interesting to know what happened to them after they reached New York.
  22. Pewter Buttons and Breast Cancer Pins

    You can definitely post to the old posts if you would like. Although I can see a good argument for creating this as a new post too. Those buttons do look neat.
  23. 18th Century Nassau and Pirates

    If you want the POV of a historian whom I'd trust and who also happens to like the show from what I can tell, check out David Fictum's blog post on Black Sails. (He posts here as Brit Privateer.)
  24. 18th Century cleaness and Health

    The answer is that we don't really know the answer. For the somewhat 'pro' hygiene argument, see the thread GAOP Era Grooming & Hygiene starting at this post. (You can pretty much ignore the posts before it because while they contain a few correct ideas, they contain an awful lot of incorrect ones.) For the somewhat 'con' hygiene argument, see: Do You Want to Be Truly Period Correct? (I personally spent much of that thread trying to find the most horrible examples of period hygiene that I could.) This may also interest you (particularly Captain Sterling's responses): Let's talk dental hygiene. This is the trouble with researching the reality of the period - there are LOTS of holes. The best information I've found on hygiene are brief mentions in diaries and journals, usually written by people on land, not at sea. I have read a variety of period and near-period sailor's journals and many things don't seem to merit mentioning such as hygiene. Anyone who has ever kept a journal or diary will probably agree that such things don't usually wind up in there because the writer doesn't deem it worth mentioning. However, here is the one example I have, "[washing] Moreover, I had more than enough to do already, what with tending the ship's crew, patching my clothes and washing my linen; doing, in short, what one must do for himself if he wishes to keep himself free from vermin, which are terribly numerous and are always running up the masts. Thus, one puts the dirty linen into a baler or tub and pours fresh water over it (for one can neither drink sea-water nor wash with it); the clothes are then rubbed with soap and are then rinsed in sea-water and hung up on deck and quickly dried. For one would scarce believe how dense, salt and drying the sea-air is." (Johann Dietz, Master Johann Dietz, Surgeon in the Army of the Great Elector and Barber to the Royal Court, Translated by Bernard Miall, London, England, 1923, p. 129) You would think that the Navy would have regulations about this, but they didn't during this period. The earliest British Naval Regulations book we have is Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea, dating to just after the golden age of the pirates in 1731. While it doesn't mention the cleanliness of the men. It has much to say about keeping the ship clean: [Regarding the store room] "...such of the Stores [supplies] as require it [are] to be frequently brought upon Deck, to be survey d and to be aired, and their Defects repaired; and the Store-Rooms are to be cleaned, aired, and put into good Condition, and made as secure as possible against Rats." (p. 27) "[The sick bay] The Captain is to appoint some of the Ship's Company to attend and serve the sick Men Night and Day by Turns, and to keep the Place clean." (p. 54) "[The ship's Master is to] see the Balast [is] all taken into the [hold of the] Ship, and that it be clean, sweet [not foul-smelling], and wholsome..." (p. 93) "He [the gunner] is to visit the Powder-Rooms, and see that they be well secured, clean, and in right Order, before the Powder is brought into the Ship." (p. 99) "...the Decks are immediately after [firing the cannons] to be thoroughly swabbed, and cleaned of the loose Powder that may have fallen." (p. 100) I've saved the best for last. We have this entry from Nataniel Boteler's Botelers Dialogues (this is from the 1688 version, based on the original which dates to around 1630-40, well before the GAoP), which were written to represent guidelines in force on naval ships. (Were they the rules in force on every ship? It isn't certain.) "The Office of the Swabber is to see the Ship kept neat and clean, and that as well in the great Cabbin, as every where else betwixt the Decks; to which end he is, at the least once or twice a week, if not every day, to cause the Ship to be well washed within Board and without above Water, and especially about the Gun-walls, and the Chains; and for prevention of infection, to burn sometimes Pitch, or the like wholsom perfumes, between the.decks: He is also to have a regard to every private Mans Sleeping place; and to admonish them all in general to be cleanly and handsom, and to complain to the Captain, of all such as will be any way nastie and offensive that way." (Boteler, p. 18)
  25. 18th Century Nassau and Pirates

    I haven't seen either Assassin's Creed or Black Sails so I can't say one is better than the other, although the two things seem like different animals entirely. However, I've found nearly everything in the entertainment industry lives up to its label by being entertaining, with history merely providing a tableu for that entertainment. (As it should. Entertainment by definition exists to amuse.) I do know of BS, Ed Fox said something to the effect that while he found it enjoyable to watch, he did so by basically suspending his knowledge of pirate history. Actually, if you really want to understand the history, you're best off learning about it yourself so you can recognize what is real and what isn't. (As well as recognizing that there are more than a few holes in our knowledge which the entertainment industry winds up filling in.) While there are a variety of modern books available, I prefer the actual sources from the period. There are three essential ones that I know of: Joel Baer's four volume set Pirates of the British Isles (get that through inter-library loan, they're too expensive to buy), Ed Fox's Pirates in Their Own Words, and Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates. Johnson's book is the trickiest of the lot because it actually inserts a lot of things that either are not or at least may not be true. I've been told the best version to read is the Dover version annotated by Manuel Schornhorn. (And then you have to read the notes to see what parts are real and what are likely fabricated by the author.) There are two others worth looking at if you really want to delve. The first is John Franklin Jameson's Privateering and Piracy in the Colonial Period Illustrative Documents, which you can find at archive.org. Jameson's book covers a very broad period, however, and you have to pick and choose through his documents. The second is George Francis Dow and John Henry Edmonds' The Pirates of the New England Coast 1630-1730. A lot of the material in their books is covered by Johnson and Baer's books, although it is a nice, narrative presentation of the material.