The Chapman

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About The Chapman

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    First Mate
  • Birthday 09/20/1967

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  1. Period Literacy

    I'm not really arguing about anything... I'm just running into records from various places in the European world at the time indicating that reading and writing were considered, somehow, totally separate skills, and being taught one (reading) did not seem to mean the individual was taught the other one (writing). I'm actually agreeing with you, Mr. Hand, on that; it does strike me as really, really weird. But maybe that's what Ms. Kass means about being careful about comparing ourselves (us 'modern' men and women) to people of the past... I'm going to think about that some more, and look into manual dexterity and studies on how modern illiterates or children learn to write, as opposed to read...
  2. Period Literacy

    There is apparently an entire field of study of the phenomenon of early modern writing known as 'signature literacy', or the above-noted subject, whether a person able to sign their name could read and/or write effectively. I'm finding a lot of mention of this kind of thing: Newfoundland history: In 1698 there was passed the famous or notorious Act - the Act 10 and 11 of William III for the regulation of the trade and fisheries in Newfoundland . There had long been jealousy between the merchants on the one hand and the planters and inhabitants on the other; and the merchants regarded this Act as the soundest policy pursued in relation to the fishery. It provided that courts of oyer and terminer [see this page for its application to Quebec] in any county in England should have jurisdiction in cases of robberies, murders, felonies and all other capital crimes done or committed in Newfoundland. By this Act was established the jurisdiction of the fishing admirals; it was, as Prowse says, "the surrender of the entire control of the colony, including the administration of justice, into the rude hands of a set of ignorant skippers, who were so illiterate that out of the whole body of these marine justiciaries only four could be found at all to sign their names." I've run across other written complaints about people who could "Barely sign their names". (France was about the same, even accounting for language differences; with large numbers of people who couldn't write at all, and a slightly smaller number who could sign but not really write.) Anyway, a common and apparently accepted thing was that, as mentioned earlier on this thread, reading ability was fairly widespread. A lot of people could read phonetically, more or less; but a far lesser number of people could write well, or for that matter, write at all. (This was also true in France.) It would appear that reading literacy was considered something quite different from writing literacy, and in studying 'literacy' of the early modern period it has to be considered that the so-called standards weren't so much lower as different. It seems odd to know that people owned books and could read them; but couldn't write a stroke or sign their names. ...Just thinking...
  3. tattoos

    I'm seeing a lot of reference to branding as visible sign or record of a conviction for criminal behavior; interestingly, equally as much for public information as for future reference in the case of recidivism. There are a lot of references to 'marks', without further description. In the case of slaves, at least in some circumstances and areas, it was not at all uncommon to brand or scarify a human being in exactly the same way one would mark, say, a cow or other personally owned animal. In France, the fleur-de-lis was a brand applied to convicted criminals on various parts of the body. For what it's worth: "Adultery, also, was punished in this way [tattooed] in some parts of Britain, and ‘bad characters’ were marked BC. . . In 1717, branding was abolished in the Army and replaced with tattooing. .. with the letter ‘D’ deserter’" (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 162) Virginia, c. early 1700s: COMMITTED to Suffolk Jail, on Suspicion of being a Convict Servant, a Man about five Feet eight or nine Inches high; he has brown Hair, of a fair Complexion with Freckles, says he is a Weaver by Trade, and that he came from Glasgow, but gives various Accounts of himself. Likewise a Negro Man about the same Height, well set, and very black; says he is a Freeman, and at other times says he has a Master, but will not tell his Master's Name. The Negro has not any Marks that I remember. WILLIAM GRANBERY, Jailer.
  4. British Ethno-centricity?

    I’ve been thinking about the concepts of European ethnocentricity for the last few days. It kind of begs the question, “How basically racist or ethnocentric are any given group of Europeans?” In the case of the English, as a category, I really don’t see a lot of tremendous ‘racism’ per se in accounts of the time; at least as individuals no more so than anyone else, and in the greater scheme of things, likely less; more on that below. White people in the US tend to view white people as white people. Not in Europe. They consider themselves separate races. I got royally sick of moronic, small-minded Euros asking me, “What are you?” meaning, “What race are you?” They did not see themselves as racist at all, or that the question might be insulting or rude. But as far as adopting or assimilating aspects of other cultures, how do the various Europeans fare on that count? It has some application in the ‘tattoos’ thread, too. The fewer Europeans present in other cultures, the more likely they were to assimilate, interbreed, and at least adopt some aspects of those cultures. This is largely true of any human grouping; numbers win out. But I do believe that some European ethnic groups are more accepting of cultural exploration than others; and here is where, as far as I can tell, the English are different. Those people were CONSTANTLY careening off to visit other peoples and cultures with truly goofy enthusiasm. They were prone to viewing other races as different from them, but also, with individual exception, don’t seem to have really gone off the deep end into routine genocide as a deliberate policy. What was that about? I suspect it has something to do with being folks from a backwater island that, well, just didn’t get out much. I recall an otherwise nice, decent couple in London, who matter-of-factly informed me that their dog was trained to attack people of African appearance because, “Everyone knows Blacks are thieves”. They were quite confused and offended when I told them I thought they were bigoted. They had nothing emotionally against Black people, they simply truly believed them to be thieves, and planned their lives accordingly. I chalk that up more to general isolation and cluelessness than deliberate racism, and is, I think, pretty typical of the general attitude. There are, of course, exceptions; and some English people are violent racist thugs. A quick listen of some skinhead lyrics will inform you of that. But as a general rule, I don’t find them too prone to putting racialist attitudes into physical practice as a societal structure. The history of the English attitudes towards the Other seems to consist of the feeling that not being English doesn’t make you subhuman, exactly, it just means you’re, well, not English. How anyone else feels about that isn’t really relevant to them. BUT; and this is important, I think, to understanding the behavior of the time period: the intrinsic duality of the national character. The familial culture is one of checks and balances. Not even necessarily of ‘fairness’, but of limits and controls, culturally ingrained, that lead to there being limits to the brutality and cruelty possible under an English system. They couldn’t send some chopper to oppress the natives without a bleeding heart running along behind them, wagging a finger and announcing the ‘immorality’ of the whole affair. There is a feeling of internal struggle in all things English. There is an awareness of balance, of running out of control and then saying whoops, that’s gone a little too far there…a balance in English/British explorations and colonies that is just not present in other places, such as the Spanish colonies, or the Dutch colonies, or the German colonies, or the Belgian colonies. These are the people who brought the world both the modern concentration camp and Winnie The Pooh. They beheaded their king, then changed their mind and brought him back. They blew sepoys in half with cannons, then made a real effort at eliminating the caste system. John Newton wrote ‘Amazing Grace’ while running a slave ship. For that matter, the English more or less invented the international slave trade, then shut themselves down. Would the Germans have desisted due to moral qualms? Did King Leopold wind down his organized genocide in the Congo until some Englishman started in on him? The thing is, the English have a long history of totally unchecked emotional behavior. This stiff-upper-lip stuff is horseshit. I have found the English to be emotional, sentimental, angry, sad, happy, to the point of having constant national fits of mood swings. I firmly believe the strong parental controls present in English society are there because of a self-awareness of a habit of running amuck and then feeling bad about it. They KNOW they’re prone to childishness and emotional immaturity. Why else would ‘British Humor’ be so beloved by 9-year-old boys the world over? ( Here I think of a prim and proper Englishwoman whose kitchen we remodeled; we were all careful around her until we saw her watch KEEPING UP APPEARANCES. She laughed uproariously and literally flailed around to the point that we were kind of embarrassed for her, and came staggering in, teary-eyed, and announced that her favorite person in the entire world was Onslow). Could Fletcher Christian have been anything other than an Englishman? Comprehending English people is largely a matter of understanding they’re leading with their hearts. Why did some Englishman do something? Who the hell knows? He probably doesn’t know; he felt like it. What’s he going to do next? Who the hell knows? He doesn’t know. This is what leads to the self-criticism and notorious self-deprecating humor, an hilarious example of which is found right here:
  5. Blind pyrates

    While not finding a lot about the cultural meaning of blindness in this time period, I am still looking, but under the category of characteristics generally known as 'disability' I found this fascinating listing: I had forgotten about Pepys' dinner with the deaf boy (hey, practically all that guy did was go to dinners; can you blame me?), and this site's speculation that the hand signing language used may have been related to Old Kentish hand signals. Cool!
  6. British Ethno-centricity?

    Everyone sees things through the filter of their own experiences and culture. It is unavoidable. All human perception is subjective. In the past, and I was discussing this with a friend whose opinion I value very highly this evening, human perceptions were much more truncated than now. The physical and visual and for that matter emotional experience of any given ethic group was very limited. I had been arguing that humans are as limited as ever. My friend argued that all exposure to outside sources or influence change any given individuals' or groups' perception. I think, to a large extent, she's right. She is a rare example of someone I respect, and value, and therefore listen to and change my perceptions accordingly. But, speaking from my own admittedly limited and theoretically 'modern' experience, really, why do I have tattoos in a language not my own? Why do I identify with groups and cultures not familiar to my ethnic cohorts, when I was separated from them for so long? The world is a big place. Deal with it. Re-enacting does not have to, nor should it, consist of white middle-class suburbanites dressing up like Peter Pan and playing with rubber swords on weekends. There is much knowledge out there. Find it. There is no critic but yourselves.
  7. Pyracy Pub Book Group

    I'm reading MIRROR MIRROR by Mark Pendergrast, which is brilliant, and thinking I'm not taking word one of anything from anyone who abandoned their job six months ago due to God knows what. I don't give a shit about the Whydah.
  8. Carpentry

    I am very glad I started this thread. It interests me. I have no real interest in 'playing' pyrate' any more than I have in 'playing' with guns. The gun thing is why I will not 'play' war. A tool is a tool. It does what it does; the human (simian) user does what it does. As to whether a particular tool is 'period correct', well, I have to say... You need to use it. Every day. Over and over again. Does it seem correct in your hand? Does it seem like something you like? Can you use it all the time? Use this tool that you would like to know about for it's intended use, 6-14 hours a day, for a year, and hey, does it seem right? Well, does it? Use the God Damn thing and then get back to me. And I realize I'm setting myself up as a lightning rod, but so what? How many people now use hand tools? No-one knows anything about them anymore. It's a dead art. I went to a pissant (I need to watch this kind of talk; it makes me seem ignorant and unintelligent, and it reinforces what other people think about the trades) antique store today. The mall (I hope this is a MidWest US figment) had a setting of old tools. And I found two fantastic planes... or would have been, had they not been beyond redemption. Junk. The wood bodied plane I in fact would have taken home and cleaned up, except that the body was severely twisted, the mouth was BROKEN OUT, and the dumb sonofabitch wanted $45.00 for this piece of firewood. Anyway; fantastic hammer. it's certainly pretty. Why don't you use it for a couple of months, for its job, and find out whether or not its correct? Does it hurt your wrist? Does it damage you? What's up? Is it correct? The big question, in the absence of standardisation: IS IT CORRECT FOR YOU? Is it your hammer? Is it your mallet? Is this your friend, sidekick, a piece you cannot go to work without, without which you feel naked? Oh; the brace and bit, and various bit-holding practices, have been around a lot longer than you may think. I will not volunteer more. Not my job. Thanks everyone, Chapman
  9. Carpentry

    I have seen (In my picture references) a variety of mallets. Now, as to what was 'regulation', or more common than not, a relatively small-bodied wooden (what kind of wood? Don't know! This is the major problem with this kind of issue; the idea of the occupation of 'Forester'... Okay, not boring anyone with that right now) mallet for that job would, of course, have varied. However, it was likely a small-diameter (2" or smaller, possibly flared head, possibly not)) diameter head, perhaps banded with iron, rawhide, or wood, or of simply wood, attached to a shaft of handy length. It would seem to me that, much like all repetitive-use hammers, the usable head is large, the diameter of the head is reduced for lightness of weight. My personal favorite for roofing was a 12-OZ Rocket of large face and small diameter, the better for fitting in a 'hammer-holster'. In pictures of these mallets the haft is almost always short. This is for constant, repeatable action. The wrist would have been in motion, not necessarily the entire arm. You're not looking to brutally hammer a nail into wood; you're looking to continuously pound a resilient compound into a crack. Some hammering noises: Tap WHAP tap WHAP tap WHAP (This is the sound of shortish roofing nails being 'fed' by hand into roofing material and driven first, to 'stick' the sharp point of the nail to set it upright, and second, to set it home. Tap Whap, tap Whap). Bounce the head of the hammer off the material to avoid penetrating the roofing. Story: It WAS 36 degrees F and raining. I could hear over the peak of the roof: 'Tap WHAP, tap WHAP'. I heard, tap THUNK! and Larry walked up over the peak, his left hand draining blood: "Man, that's gonna hurt like a bitch when that hand warms up". A hammer is not necessarily used for brutal fixation; it was most often used, in the period, for relatively gentle insertion of fitments. Caulking certainly fits the bill. You know, for insertion of wood pegs, or dowels, you don't need a 20-oz hammer made of tensile steel. A wood mallet is what you need.
  10. ^, <, V

    ^I've spent so much time in ultra-macho environments I'm tired of it, and no longer have anything to prove. Anything 'men' can do to test themselves, I've pretty much already done, voluntarily or, most of the time, otherwise. Given a choice I'll work around women. Leading me to... > Having a rare chance to have my daughter by myself for several days, I am enjoying her company immensely. For instance, last night, I informed her we were going to the liquor store for beer, and I'd get her a soda and chips for being tolerant, and she said, "Well, Dad, why can't we just go to a bar?" YEAH! THAT'S MY GIRL! V What kind of plain (not flavored) potato chips do you most like?
  11. nautical folklore customs info

    Thank you, Kenneth.
  12. nautical folklore customs info

    Uhhh... Subject of Jacobites? What was that about? No offense, man, but... what are you asking, exactly? Chapman
  13. Carpentry

    I got to go to Berland's House of Tools in Schaumburg today. Oh, my. I really wanted to see some brace drills to replace the good one, meaning no ratchet action, I used to have (although, I have to admit I preferred and loved my 24" breast drill, with the selective double gearing). Notable tools seen (My camera, which I share with The Girl's mother, is elsewhere): An actual framing chisel (big sonofabitch) made, naturally, in England, Sheffield, to be exact. Most of the hand tools I saw were made in Japan, England, or Germany. The framing chisel was so unusual I had to note it. But for my money (close to $200.00) I'll grind down a vehicle leaf spring and wrap it with leather. A lot of indifferent planes. A good one is that magic number, again, $200.00. I'm buying hickory stock (yes, beech is traditional, but...) from the amazing wood supplier and making my own block planes. Despite the insistence on chip breaker arcs, I almost think the arc is unnecessary. The dowel in the body is the key to setting the wedge, and I really, really, feel the fine-setting screw is both unnecessary and counterproductive. I say this from a childhood of playing the cello; a good plane body is, in my opinion, extremely similar to the body of a musical instrument; some rosin to hold the (replaceable) wooden wedge, and you're good to go. I do not like iron or steel bodied planes. they don't resonate or hum. They don't feel right. To me. But, some cool, cool planes, if a little too 'machiney' for me (I am reminded of a children's book I read over and over when I was about, oh, seven or eight years old: 'SIR MACHINERY', with the word machinery pronounced as a Scottish name, 'MacHinnery'. It was about a robot made in a past magical age by a wizard, brought to functionality for the purpose of defense against demons. Just an old, old thought). Oh, and I also don't like the modern plans for block planes, where they want you to build the thing out of SEPARATE PIECES, with the sides a different wood. They only tell you to do that so nobody screws up the angles, which you can set on your expensive power chop saw. Well, you know what? You can rechisel or reline a mouth and throat cut from a single piece of stock; but you CANNOT reset the two ends of a block plane when assembled wrongly. Your work was in vain. I hate the intrusion of machining into woodworking. Not right. Okay, enough crankiness. On with the tool erotica. Oooh, that came out wrong, but I'm leaving it! No brace drills. Damn! I just wanted to see if anyone made them anymore. Guess not. I don't want to make my own, but so much of the antique-store stock is junk, and overpriced, and the good stuff is bought up by half-assed 'collectors' who have no intention of using it. The Girl played with reel chalk lines, and made me guess passwords to get through aisles (sample passwords: Tool; Drill; Hammer. I love my daughter). What did I eventually buy? Well! I had to collar an employee to OPEN A CASE! ...I bought a 6" try square, made out of stainless (philistine, I know). Made in India (where all the good stuff comes from anyway, ever), and oh, baby, is it beautiful. And I lifted a fistful of Tootsie Rolls. For The Girl, of course! And I bought yet another hand saw. Aagh! I can't help it! I need the camera back. Details to come.
  14. Wot...

    Turkey Baloney sandwich. Berland's House of Tools!!!! The Girl's Grandmother. My brother (deceased).
  15. Barrels & Casks about an authentic camp

    I am killing the last of my alcohol for this one. And I'm not going out for more. Oh, and everyone please feel free to tell me to shut up. I'm delighted that SOMEONE is posting here. For, like, three months, I was the thread-ender, except for sycophants looking for Mr. Foxe (No offence, Sir). Like all history, this is pure speculation: 1) Barrels would be whatever the cooper contracted for the work would supply. They should be roughly the same volume as others; but outside dimensions may/may not be different. The 'hoops' will be roughly the same, whether wood or iron/steel (which was later). A barrel made in Catbox-on-Avon would be, by modern standards, different from a barrel made in Dogbuttshire, yet close enough in volume to pass inspection for shipboard use (see 'monkey', nowhere below). 2) As info, CANNONS were not standardised until into the 18th century (unless I'm mistaken, correction will now ensue). STANDARDISATION was unknown into the early 19th century. Please keep that in mind, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Pretty please with Culver's Double Chocolate Oreo Surprise on it. A) The first day on the job with, we'll call him Chuck. I looked at this structural issue, and gave my opinion about what to do. Chuck says, "I think that's a really stupid idea". Me: "Really? Well, what's you're brilliant plan?" -And in fact, his idea was better. And I backed down and went along. Nobody over here take me too seriously. Some insights into my personality: I worked with this punk kid on the high-line roofing crew. 40 feet down, easy. I made a fundamental mistake in rolling out, while moving backward, a sheet of stock. I went backward off the roof, because I was working in a 'notch', where I could see roof next to me, to my right, but the surface underneath my feet was shorter. I rolled the stock right off and went with it. I wasn't wearing my harness because I figured, what could go wrong? That punk ran over and grabbed my sleeve, and hoisted me to safety. I will never, never forget that moment. I had never liked Jason. I had had to go to his parent's house, and literally drag him out of bed to go to work roofing. But he saved me from, at the very least, serious injury that time. I had abused him verbally in the past, giving him 's---'. After the day was done, I went up to him privately, and thanked him, quite honestly, for saving me from death or the alternatives, none of which were too pretty. It changes your perception of a person, even if they are nothing special. They save your life? They are special to you. And Jason was/is. He is still special to me. He is/was a complete jagoff, but to me, he did something that I have to appreciate. He saved my ass. Mr. Foxe, when you're up on those sails, who do you trust? The hobbyists next to you? Man, when I did high-altitude stuff, I HAD to trust the people around me. How does that work with sails? They're like tarps; they will blow around, and take you down if you are not careful. I think about that, from time to time. I saw the Windy II, and unless I completely and utterly trusted the workers around me, there is no way I would go up that mast. No effing way. You must really, really trust the workers around you. Bye now, Chapman