Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Shore Party Armaments: The Cutlass

'Figure of Eight' Naval Cutlass, c.1740-1750, Colonial Williamsburg.
I recently received an inquiry regarding the carrying of cutlasses. Follower Brian McNamara, a maritime archaeologist and historian, noticed that a lot of reenactors portraying naval seamen were wearing blades:
As I pour through images I find very little evidence of a sailor wearing baldric or scabbard, even if they do happen to have a cutlass in hand. In the instances where they do, it is often in a political piece where the author is clearly taking artistic licence. In what situation if any would a before-the-mast common sailor ever be granted such leeway to carry arms? 
In this post, I will approach two main questions: how were cutlasses carried, and by whom?

MacNamara is right that most images from the period show sailors with naked cutlasses. This is particularly notable in the numerous portrayals of the British Tar at Omoa. In each of these a common sailor is portrayed storming the fortifications of Omoa bearing at least one cutlass, and the image often includes background characters also armed with naked blades, but not a single scabbard or baldric among them.

Primary source artwork is of limited use here. There are many images of sailors with sword or cutlass, but most of these are cartoons and not illustrated by mariners familiar with the customs of the sea. Of the cartoons and other images collected there, it's a pretty even split between waistbelt and baldric, or no method of carrying cutlasses at all. Not exactly illuminating.

Even those pieces that are illustrated by mariners are not necessarily reliable or helpful, as is the case with this detail from East India Company mariner William Gibson. The figure on the right holds a sword, but has no visible belt or baldric for sheathing it.
Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park, Newport News, VA
Detail from Earl of Cornwallis Bound to Bengal, William Gibson, 1783
This would support the notion that sailors aboard were issued cutlasses only when necessary, and so did not need scabbards, baldrics, or waistbelts to haul them around. Certainly cutlasses and other weapons were stored aboard ship for easy access in an emergency, and not intended to be carried for long periods of time. When a press gang boarded the Boston merchantman Hawke in 1741, a young Ashley Bowen had to distract the Royal Navy midshipman who 'examined our small arms and missing some of our cutlass and pistols out of their places...began to examine our bulkheads' in search of the shipmates that presumably held those arms to resist.'[1] John Nicol, serving during the Revolutionary War, wrote: 'I was one of the boarders. We were all armed, when required, with a pike to defend our own vessel should the enemy attempt to board; a tomahawk, cutlass and brace of pistols to use in boarding them. I never had occasion to try their use on board the Proteus, as the privateers used to strike after a broadside or two.'[2] John Iver, 'mate of an East India Ship,' in a letter written to his wife and published in Jackson's Oxford Journal, resorted to an extreme measure to carry his cutlass when the ship caught fire and Lascar sailors tried to escape on the only boat available. Ordered by the captain to save the 'save him and the rest of the Europeans,' Iver 'took a cutlass in my mouth, and directly jumped overboard.'[3]
Aboard ship, sailors had little need of a scabbard. Ashore was a different story.

Sometimes this was for ceremonial occasions. James Wyatt, a privateer writing in his The Life and Surprizing Adventures of James Wyatt in 1753 mentions the carrying of swords for a midshipman's funeral ashore: 'Every one had a Pair of Pistols stuck in his Belt, a Hanger by his Side, and there were Swords cross'd on the Coffin Lid.'[4] Again, he says nothing about precisely how the blades were slung.

Gabriel Bray is perhaps the only artist to give us a reliable image of a sailor carrying a cutlass ashore. Bray, unlike most artists I examine on this website, was a naval officer and focused on daily life at sea during his 1774 voyage aboard the frigate Pallas to Africa. In one piece entitled Military Figure Leaning on a Pile of Bales (possibly created shortly before the Pallas voyage) a common seaman is in the background hauling casks.
​He wears all the paraphernalia of a boarding party: pistols tucked into a belt, at least one vambrace to protect the forearm in close combat, boarding helmet reinforced with (presumably) iron bands, and a cutlass in a scabbard.[5] There is no shoulder slung baldric so it must hang from his waistbelt. Given Bray's background, and the other pieces he has painted, I think we can reasonably conclude this is a slice of life depiction, rather than a metaphorical piece using visual shorthand as in cartoons of the day. The curators of the National Maritime Museum state 'it has been suggested he [the figure in this illustration] may be connected with anti-smuggling operations.'

My guess (and I stress it is a guess) is that the sailor was part of a shore party along with the officer who stands as the central figure of the piece, and that the party was dressed and accoutered for close combat in case something went wrong. This would make sense in an anti-smuggling mission.

Certainly merchantmen kept bladed weapons as well. As quoted above, Ashley Bowen served on a merchantman in which cutlasses were stored ready for the crew. Merchant captains also personally owned hand weapons for their personal protection and likely that of their crew. In examining the probate inventories of landowners in colonial London Town, Maryland, Mechelle Kerns revealed just such evidence. Captain Anthony Beck’s estate inventory lists both a pair of pistols and a cutlass among his possessions, just as Captain Richard Jones’ inventory mentions three guns, and Strachan’s lists a 'parcel of old sward blades.'[6]

So how common were cutlasses on non-naval vessels compared to men-ofwar?

Archaeology can be of some help here. Looking through archaeological reports for non-naval vessels the General Carleton (merchant), Defence (American privateer), and Philadelphia (American gunboat) made no mention of recovered swords, cutlasses, or associated leather gear.[7] Matthew Keagle, curator at Fort Ticonderoga, weighed in on the collection drawn from the sloop Boscawen. 'Somewhat to my surprise I don't believe there were any cutlass parts or belting recovered from the wreck. To a certain extent this doesn't surprise me, as it was built and manned largely by army personnel.' The Boscawen was even commanded by an infantry officer from the 77th Foot.[8] Interestingly, these vessels all have surviving artifacts of and related to flintlock small arms.

Naval vessels don't always turn up cutlasses themselves, but the associated gear does reliably appear. Perhaps the lack of swords and cutlasses had more to do with the crew taking those weapons with them than their lack aboard prior to sinking.The 1791 wreck of the Pandora turned up some leather scabbard fragments.[9] The 1798 wreck of the DeBraak, though after my period of study, provides the most complete surviving set of cutlass leather gear. Follower Andrew Lyter of the Zwaanendael Museum in Lewes, Delaware (which displays some of the artifacts recovered from the DeBraak) was kind enough to provide some photographs of the remarkably intact gear.
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, Department of the State, photographed by Andrew Lyter, Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes, Delaware.
Maritime material culture historian Matthew Brenckle pointed out that some of the buckles recovered from the 1770 wreck of the naval sloop Swift are remarkably similar to that on the belt of the DeBraak.[10]

Almost certainly, shore parties were equipped for what their commanders thought would be most useful and appropriate for the occasion. The thirty three officers and men of the Royal Navy dispatched on the Braddock Expedition in 1755 were armed with bright barreled sea service muskets, cartouche boxes, and bayonets, and no cutlasses (much less belts, baldrics, or scabbards).[11] Braddock's Expedition was a long term campaign and the officers in charge anticipated traditional restricted warfare of the eighteenth century style, with the occasional stand up fight brought on through ambush. Bray's men apparently anticipated close in fighting ashore.
"Figure of Eight" Naval Cutlass, c.1740-1750, Colonial Williamsburg.
All of this suggests that cutlasses were more common on naval vessels than any other sort.

Whether naval seamen carried cutlasses ashore depended very much on the particular situation. The sailors of the Braddock Expedition were on a very different mission than the sailor portrayed by Bray. How precisely they carried these implements requires more research than I've given you here. If you know of artwork I've missed, existing baldrics or waist-belts from the period, or primary source accounts that shed more light on this topic, feel free to share them and shed light on this topic.

[1] Bowen, Ashley, The Autobiography of Ashley Bowen (1728-1813), edited by Daniel Vickers, Ontario: Broadview Editions, 2006, page 38.
[2] Nicol, John, The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner, edited by Tim Flannery, New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, page 37.
[3] Jackson's Oxford Journal, January 6, 1759, pages 1-2.
[4] Wyatt, James, The Life and Surprizing Adventures of James Wyatt, London: W. Reave, 1753, page 12.
[5] Boarding helmets are rarely mentioned, and even more rarely researched. William Gilkerson did briefly examine them in his Boarder's Away: With Steel - Edged Weapons & Pole Arms, Lincoln, Rhode Island: Andrew Mowbray Publishing, 1991, pages 104-106.
[6] Kerns, Mechelle, London Town: The Life of a Colonial Town, unpublished master’s thesis, UMBC: 1999., page 244, 311, 347.
[7] Litwin, Jerzy, et. al., The General Carleton Shipwreck, 1785, Gdansk: Polish Maritime Museum, 2008; Shelley Owen Smith, The Defence: Life at Sea as Reflected in an Archaeological Assemblage from an Eighteenth Century Privateer, doctorate dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1986; Switzer, David C., "The Excavation of the Privateer Defence," Northeast Historical Archaeology, Volume 12, 1983, pages 43-50, via Binghampton University, The Open Repository,  <>; Bingeman, John H., The First Invincible (1747-1758): Her Excavations (1980-1991), Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2010.
[8] ; Campbell, Janet and Peter Gesner, 'Illustrated Catalog of Artefacts from the HMS Pandora Wrecksite Excavations 1977-1995,' Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Volume 2, Issue 1, Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 2000, page 88, accessed July 31, 2018, <;dn=888899821801914;res=IELHSS>.
[9] Personal e-mail communication with the author.
[10] Dolores Elkin, et al., “Archaeological research on HMS Swift: a British Sloop-of-War lost off Patagonia, Southern Argentina, in 1770,” The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Volume 36, Issue 1, March 2007.
[11] Keppel to Barrington, March 17, 1755, 'IV. The Norwich: Letters,' in The Barrington Papers, Vol. 77, ed. D Bonner-Smith, London: Navy Record Society, 1937, 115-165. British History Online, accessed July 31, 2018, <>.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Pets Afloat

Middle-Deck of the Hector, Man of War, Thomas Rowlandson, 1782, National Maritime Museum.

Thomas Rowlandson took a tour from his studio in London to the wreck of the Royal George in 1782. He completed an album of twenty-seven images documenting his vacation. Two of these images portray the Hector, a 74 gun man of war. Rowlandson's depiction of the gun deck of a third rate as she sits idle in port is telling. The Hector has taken on the appearance of a rounded community, almost like a village ashore. Unlike the almost universally male society of a warship at sea, there are women scattered throughout the scene. In this scene we see a telltale sign of domesticity in the terrestrial mode: pet dogs.
In his The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy, N.A.M. Rodger states it very clearly: 'Every ship had animals of many kinds aboard.' Most common were the pests like rats, followed by livestock, and finally pets.[1] For the sake of this post, I'm defining pets as animals that provided companionship, and were not intended to be eaten.

Sailors, like their brothers ashore, kept pets. Dogs were certainly among them. During the 2005-2006 excavation of the sloop Swift, a Royal Navy vessel that went down off Argentina in 1770, archaeologists recovered an intact metal dog collar.[2]
Photo by D. Vainstub, 2006 [3]
Drawing by N. Ciarlo, 2008 [3]
Dogs were common enough be included in (arguably) high art. William Hogarth's painting depicting Lord George Graham in the cabin of his 24 gun Bridgewater includes two dogs: Graham's spaniel and Hogarth's pug named Trump.
Captain Lord George Graham in his Cabin, 1745,
William Hogarth, National Maritime Museum.
As well as being companions, dogs could also serve diplomatic purposes. When Jacob Nagle accompanied a colonizing expedition to Norfolk island in 1790, both the Europeans and Pacific Islanders exchanged gifts of dogs:
They brought two small dogs as a great present, but so vicious that they had to gag them, which was excepted of, through friendship, and in return the Dutch capt gave them a hound slut, which they seemed to adore. They tied a string round hur neck and danced round hur with great joy and led hur up to the town.[4]
Dogs could also intimidate. When the cooper John Nicol was having trouble getting work done while surrounded by Hawaiians, 'the captain, seeing from the deck my disagreeable situation, hailed me to set Neptune, our great Newfoundland dog, upon them, saying he would fear them more than fifty men.'[5]

If things got difficult, dogs could also become a food supply. In his entry for February 8, 1774, gunner's mate John Marra of Captain Cook's Resolution was matter of fact about it: 'Ships head N. by W. This day roasted the lieutenant's dog for the gun-room.'[6]

Sailors harbored an incredible affection for cats. When the American sailor Ashley Bowen took ill in 1746 as a prisoner in Hispanola, he found 'my cat was the greatest means of my recovery of my health.'[7] Henry Fielding was shocked at just how deep mariners' care for cats was during a voyage to Portugal in 1754:
While the ship was under sail, but making as will appear no great way, a kitten, one of four of the feline inhabitants of the cabin, fell from the window into the water: an alarm was immediately given to the captain, who was then upon deck, and received it with the utmost concern and many bitter oaths. He immediately gave orders to the steersman in favor of the poor thing, as he called it; the sails were instantly slackened, and all hands, as the phrase is, employed to recover the poor animal.
The cat was eventually saved by the boatswain, who stripped and swam to the stricken creature, carrying it back aboard in his mouth. Fielding wrote in his journal that some sailors were disappointed at the survival of the kitten, as 'the drowning of a cat was the very surest way of raising a favourable wind.'[8] As much as sailors' superstitions are overplayed, the belief that cats were somehow connected to the winds appears to be genuine. Samuel Kelly remembered just such a case in 1788:
Having got the pilot on board at Deal and some fresh provisions, we sailed for the river. Our pilot, seeing our cat frolicsome, who doubtless smell the land, and was running in and out on the bowsprit, became exasperated against the poor animal; he being superstitious concluded her gambols denoted a heavy gale of wind, which actually came on and we rode out the storm in Margate Roads, but I do not think the manoeuvres of the cat were in any way connected with it.[9]
Kelly appears to be wrong. Cats may indeed react to changing barometric pressure. Obviously, cats do not affect the weather, but they are affected by it. No less a literary figure than Johnathan Swift commented on this phenomenon when he published his 1710 poem 'A Description of a City Shower' in The Tatler:
Careful observers may foretell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower:
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o'er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.[10]
There is a key difference between the belief that Kelly's pilot held in cats predicting the weather, and Fielding's crew who believed that cats controlled the weather.

Christopher Hawkins many decades later related a fanciful and probably apocryphal tale of an unnamed British frigate captain during the Revolution that held a 'natural antipathy' to the ship's cat. While around it he was 'uneasy.' Either this captain was no lover of felines, or held to the belief around cats' control of the wind. In any event, Hawkins wrote that a sailor had been condemned to flogging by the cat-of-nine-tails, but escaped punishment by presenting the captain with this ditty:
Exotic pets were also sometimes acquired, especially by sailors in tropical climes. Peter Earle, in his book Sailors: English Merchant Seamen 1650-1775 found that a sailor named 'Thomas Marshall excused his desertion in St Kitts in 1738 by claiming he had only gone ashore to search for his parrot, while the British consul in Lisbon related in 1724 that some wreckage was known to be from a ship from Brazil because of the parrots and monkeys washing ashore.'[12] When sailing from Florida in 1785, Samuel Kelly served on a vessel that was a positive menagerie. He slept near 'two small white face monkeys' named Jacko and Caesar. Among his passengers 'The Colonel had also a racoon on board and each of the young ladies had a lap dog.'[13]

[1] Rodger, N.A.M., The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy, New York: W.W. Norton, 1996, pages 69-70.
[2] Ciarlo, Nicolás C., Horacio De Rosa, Dolores Elkin, and Phil Dunning"Evidence of use and reuse of a dog collar from the sloop of war HMS Swift (1770), Puerto Deseado (Argentina)" Technical Briefs in Historical Archaeology, Volume 6, 2011, pages 20–27, accessed August 15, 2018, <>.
[3] Ibid., page 21.
[4] Nagle, Jacob, The Nagle Journal: A Diary of the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor, from the Year 1775 to 1841, edited by John C. Dann, New York: Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1988, page 136.
[5] Nicol, John, The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner, edited by Tim Flannery, New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997, page 87.
[6] Marra, John, Journal of the Resolution's voyage: in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775, London: F. Newbery, 1775, page 127, via University of Michigan, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, accessed August 30, 2018, <;view=fulltext>.
[7]  Bowen, Ashley, The Autobiography of Ashley Bowen (1728-1813), edited by Daniel Vickers, Ontario: Broadview Editions, 2006, page 54
[8] Fielding, Henry, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, London: A. Millar, 1755, page 88, via Internet Archives, accessed August 15, 2018, <>.
[9] Kelly, Samuel, Samuel Kelly: An Eighteenth Century Seaman, Whose Days Have Been Few and Evil, edited by Crosbie Garstin, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1925, pages 159-160.
[10] Swift, Jonathan, 'A Description of a City Shower,' in The Tatler, Volume IV, George A. Aitken, editor, New York: Hadley & Mathews, 1899, via Project Gutenberg, accessed August 17, 2018,  <>.
[11] Hawkins, Christopher, The Adventures of Christopher Hawkins, edited by Charles I. Bushnell, New York: Privately Printed, 1864, pages 154-155, via Internet Archive, accessed August 16, 2018, <>.
[12] Earle, Peter, Sailors: English Merchant Seamen 1650-1775, London: Methuen, 2007, page 95.
[13] Kelly, Eighteenth Century Seaman, pages 124-125. 

Friday, October 5, 2018


The name Jack Tar comes from sailors' tarred clothing. There is no evidence, as yet, that garments were intentionally tarred for waterproofing, but sailing was an inherently dirty business. As a teenager, Ebenezer Fox found himself coated in tar:
I ascended the side of the ship, and, finding no one on deck, I lay down in my wet clothes, and putting my hat under my head, slept soundly all night. When I awoke in the morning, I found that I was unable to move in consequence of my clothes adhering to the pitch, which the heat of the climate caused to ooze from the seams in the deck.[1]
Recently Paul White raised the question: how did sailors do their laundry afloat?
Adam Hodges-LeClaire demonstrates laundry aboard the French frigate L'Hermione
While ashore sailors generally relied on women to do laundry. David Cordingly in his book Seafaring Women points to the role of sailors' wives in doing laundry for the maritime community, including no less lofty a figure than Frances Boscawen, well connected wife of the Admiral Edward Boscawen (albeit for her own household and not to make a living).[2] Samuel Kelly remembered joining a ship in the 1780's and mentioned the role of women doing laundry while still in port:
In the evening I was called into the cabin to sign Articles, where I found the captain's wife and his sister at work, ironing some washed clothes.[3]
At sea, sailors were largely responsible for their own laundry. Perhaps they did their laundry together in each mess, having a designated washer or rotating the responsibility among themselves. Hannah Snell (who disguised herself as a man and went to sea as a marine in the 1740's) made herself amenable to the crew partly by taking on the regular task of laundry that usually fell to the men at sea:
As she was very tractable, sprightly, and wiling, she soon was caressed by her messmates, for whom she would very readily either wash or mend their linen, or stand cook, as occasion required.[4]
Traditionally feminine tasks like sewing, cooking, and laundry often fell to men afloat. Entire ships were often completely devoid of women. It has been suggested that sailors' hypermasculinity and strongly avowed aversion to the idea that homosexuality was rampant afloat was in part a reaction to the requirement that they be competent in tasks outside their gender sphere.[5]

This is not to say women were not present at sea at all, nor that they did no laundry when they were. Suzanne Stark, in her book Female Tars: Women at Sea in the Age of Sail says this is the case, and that women on men-of-war sometimes used fresh water to launder shirts for the sailors (for a price) because salt water tended not to dry out. She suggests that laundry was expected to be done with salt water. Stark quotes Admiral John Jervis, 1st Earl of St. Vincent: 'the women, who still infest His Majesty’s ships in great numbers, will have water to wash, that they and their reputed husbands may get drunk with the earnings.' In 1796 he instructed his captains to reprimand the women of the fleet for wasting fresh water.[6]

The actual mechanics of laundry at sea are one of those details that were so mundane as to go unrecorded in most sources. However, by taking a look at this menial and routine task, we can reflect something about attitudes toward women at sea. While not bad luck, women could be seen as a nuisance by naval commanders, even when assisting with essential tasks. But the common sailor might welcome women (and women posing as men) if they could take on a traditionally feminine task that the sailors themselves bore only out of necessity.

[1] Fox, Ebenezer, The Adventures of Ebenezer Fox in the Revolutionary War, Boston: Charles Fox, 1847, pages 215-216.
[2] Cordingly, David, Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors' Wives, New York: Random House, 2009, pages 244 and 246.
[3] Kelly, Samuel, Samuel Kelly: An Eighteenth Century Seaman, Whose Days Have Been Few and Evil, edited by Crosbie Garstin, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1925, page 72.
[4] Snell, Hannah, The Female Soldier; Or, The Surprising Life and Adventures of Hannah Snell, London: R. Walker, 1750, in The Lady Tars: The Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot, Tucson, Arizona: Fireship Press, 2008, page 10.
[5] For the life of me I cannot find the paper in which this idea was put forward. The idea is not my own. It is hinted at by Stephen Berry: Berry, Stephen, A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life & Atlantic Crossings to the New World, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015, page 161.
[6] Stark, Suzanne, Female Tars: Women at Sea in the Age of Sail, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2017, pages 56-57.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Hornpipe

Detail from The Sailor's Fleet Wedding Entertainment,
M. Cooper, 1747, Lewis Walpole Library.
The Sailor's Hornpipe is arguably the most recognizable maritime tune in popular culture. Whether you've heard it at the Last Night at the Proms or at the very beginning of a Popeye the Sailor cartoon, you probably know the tune by heart. Given how prevalent the song is, and how dominant nineteenth century maritime music is today, I was surprised to learn that the tune dates to my period of study.
The above image is a scan of William Vickers' 1770 songbook, containing the original tune, from the Folk Archive Resource North East database.[1]

Follower and champion Scottish fiddler David Gardner was kind enough to record his performance of this page, including the first two tunes: 'Clap hir Warm They,' and 'The Humours of Wapping.' In David's performance you can hear a few differences between this original manuscript and the tune as we know it today, but it is undeniably the same song.

At the time it was called the College Hornpipe or Lancashire Hornpipe. Why, then, do we now refer to this tune as The Sailor's Hornpipe? Because sailors and hornpipes became inseparable in the eighteenth century.

A hornpipe is a dance typically performed by a single dancer in hard shoes. It has been suggested that the dense and crowded footsteps of the hornpipe lent itself well to shipboard performances due to the confined space afloat, though I can't say for certain if that is true. The term 'hornpipe' may also refer to the music that accompanied the dance, as is the case with the song above. Several secondary sources state that the hornpipe was not associated with sailors until 1740 when a hornpipe was performed 'in the character of a Jack Tar' at Drury Lane during the second act of The Committee, or, The Faithful Irishman.[2]
The play was well over a century old by 1740, and from all the editions I've skimmed through, I've found no mention of Jack Tar as a character. Even a much later version of the same play lacks that character. This is not wholly surprising. Eighteenth century theatrical performances often had dances between the acts, or to open and close a performance, that were unrelated to the narrative as a way of adding variety. So why was Jack Tar suddenly dancing the hornpipe in 1740?

Probably because the character of Jack Tar was gaining prominence in the popular consciousness. I asked collector and historian Casey Hill, who runs the War of Jenkins' Ear Facebook page, about why Jack Tar was becoming popular in 1740: 'I think a lot of it had to do with Admiral Vernon's victory at Porto Bello in 1739. That really boosted national pride specifically within the Royal Navy.'[3] His argument largely echoes that made by Paul Gilje in his To Swear Like a Sailor: Maritime Culture in America, 1750-1850. In Gilje's eyes, the association of the sailor and the hornpipe is one event in the rise of the character of Jack Tar.[4]

The association between mariners and the hornpipe was also present in art. The caption to the 1743 print of Humours of a Wapping Landlady declares that 'Tom Gunter bids the Fidler strike up a hornpipe which he fools about with such agility.' It is possible that this print, and more importantly the painting it was based on, were derived from The Humours of Wapping recorded on the very same page as The College Hornpipe in the 1770 manuscript by William Vickers above, further cementing the sailors to hornpipes.
Detail from The Humours of a Wapping Landlady, Francis Hayman,
publisher unknown, 1743, British Museum.
The association of the hornpipe with sailors became stronger as the eighteenth century progressed. In the fictional 1762 exchange below, one gentleman expresses surprise that women would dance the hornpipe, 'appropriated to the rough sailor only.'[5]

In the 1760 cartoon by Matthew Darly below, an unnamed sailor lives up to that 'rough sailor' stereotype. Boldly approaching a woman at a sermon with the ever-present stick under his arm, the tar turns his back to the famous reverend George Whitefield. The sailor declares 'I wish Nancy I had him in the Round top Id make him Dance a Hornpipe to my whistle.' Darly created a sailor who embodied the national idea of Jack Tar's character: a womanizer, violent, and irreligious. Included in that package of the cartoonish sailor is the hornpipe.
Detail from Squintums Farewell to Sinners, 1760, M. Darly, Yale University.
During a 1761 theatrical performance penned by the famous playwright David Garrick, an actor spoke to the diverse audience and directly affiliated hornpipes and 'hearts-of-oak,' referring to the famous song extolling the virtues of British sailors.[6] Again the character of common sailors comes to the fore: Garrick was speaking directly to the association of sailors, hornpipes, and the nation.
While often characters in plays, actual sailors were not always welcome in the theater. According to a (probably fictional) story in a 1760 edition of The Derby Mercury, a sailor and his several 'temporary Wives' attempted to enter a theater and occupy a box well above his station. When informed the performance would be 'based on scripture,' the unnamed tar declared 'we'll sheer off to Wapping, get a fiddle, drink flip, and dance Hornpipes.'[7]
The character of Jack Tar was both something to be lauded through song and dance, and to be avoided as an ill disciplined ruffian.

Given that it was sailors who connected and protected the far flung British empire, it is no surprise that sailors' hornpipes were also performed on stage in the American colonies. Closing out the many performances being advertised in The New-York Mercury as part of a show in 1753 was 'a hornpipe in the character of a sailor by Mr. Dugee.'[8]
Interestingly, despite the hornpipe's affiliation with sailors, it was still performed by the higher classes. When advertising his services in Philadelphia as a dancing master in 1772, Alexander Russell promised 'Those gentlemen who choose to learn high dancing will be taught the sailor's hornpipe,' among others.[9]
In fiction, art, and theater (both on stage and off) the hornpipe was affiliated with sailors in my period of study. Of course, popular perceptions of sailors and their behavior do not always reflect the truth. But in this case it appears that sailors did indeed dance the hornpipe.

When Janet Schaw sailed from Scotland to the New World in 1774, she kept a journal in which she described the passengers and sailors at leisure: 'We play at cards and backgammon on deck; the sailors dance horn pipes and Jigs from morning to night.'[10]

Captain Cook's sailors danced the hornpipe for the entertainment of a Pacific monarch. In August of 1773, the seamen of the Resolution performed a dance to bagpipes for the King of Tahiti and his retinue. Among the Tahitians, Cook noted a few could imitate the sailor's dances, 'both in country-dances and hornpipes.'[11]
An Irish gunner's mate aboard the Resolution named John Marra, also wrote about the entertainment for the King of Tahiti, and the delight with which the Tahitians enjoyed the hornpipe:
They were entertained and amused...particularly with music and dancing in a grotesque taste, which gave them infinite pleasure, as among other humorous performances a hornpipe was introduced, at which they could scarce contain themselves.[12]
Mary Ellen Snodgrass, in The Encyclopedia of World Folk Dance, states that Cook sometimes ordered his men to dance hornpipes for their health.[13] She also states that one of Cook's protégés, William Bligh, adopted this practice on the notorious 1787-1789 voyage. This fact borne out in this snippet from Bligh's log quoted by Caroline Alexander in her book The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty:
I have always directed the Evenings from 5 to 8 O'Clock to be spent dancing & that every Man should be Obliged to dance as I considered it conducive to their Health.[14]
Whether for work or pleasure, for themselves or royalty, sailors of the eighteenth century did indeed dance the hornpipes we are familiar with today.

[1] Vickers, William, 'College hornpipe, or, Lankinshire [sic.] hornpipe,' 1770, via Folk Archive Resource North East, accessed August 30, 2018, <>.
[2] The London Daily Post and General Advertiser, May 19, 1740. It appears that most (if not all) secondary references to this event refer to Emmerson, George S., 'The Hornpipe,' Folk Music Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1970, page 22, via Jstor, accessed August 30, 2018, <>. Unfortunately, Emmerson did not include his original source in his notes, but Paul Gilje cited this clipping in his To Swear Like a Sailor: Maritime Culture in America, 1750-1850. I am indebted to Mike McCarty for tracking down the original newspaper advertisement included here.
[3] Personal communication with the author, September 3, 2018.
[4] Gilje, Paul, To Swear Like a Sailor: Maritime Culture in America, 1750-1850, New York: Cambridge University, 2016, page 43.
[5] 'Dialogue between Mr. Gay and Mr. Rich,' The Beauties of All Magazines, Vol 1, London T. Waller, 1762, page 353, via Google Books, accessed August 20, 2018, <>.
[6] Garrick, David, 'Epilogue to the Same,' The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, vol 28-29, London: John Hinton, 1761, page 327, via HathiTrust, accessed August 20, 2018, <;view=1up;seq=375>.
[7] The Derby Mercury, March 14, 1760, page 3.
[8] The New-York Mercury, August 20, 1753, page 3.
[9] The Pennsylvania Packet; and the General Advertiser, December 14, 1772, page 3
[10] Schaw, Janet, Journal of a Lady of Quality; Being the Narrative of a Journey from Scotland to the West Indies, North Carolina, and Portugal, in the Years 1774 to 1776: Electronic Edition, University of North Carolina, Documenting the American South, accessed August 30, 2018, <>.
[11] Cook, James, 1773 August, Saturday, 28, A Voyage towards the South Pole, and Around the World, Vol 1, London W. Strahan, 1777, page 156, via Google Books, accessed August 20, 2018, <>
[12] Marra, John, Journal of the Resolution's voyage: in 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775, London: F. Newbery, 1775, page 188, via University of Michigan, Eighteenth Century Collections Online, accessed August 30, 2018, <;view=fulltext>.
[12] Snodgrass, Mary Ellen, The Encyclopedia of World Folk Dance, New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016, page 141.
[14] Alexander, Caroline, The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, New York: Penguin, 2004, page 102.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Women Aren't Bad Luck

Detail from The Sailor's Joyful Return, artist unknown,
date unknown, National Maritime Museum.
In 1808, Cuthbert Collingwood wrote, 'I never knew a woman brought to sea in a ship that some mischief did not befall the vessel.'

Collingwood is quoted by several historians in relating the belief that women were bad luck at sea.[1] Dorothy and James Volo state in their Daily Life in the Age of Sail that this superstition is 'widely documented,' but provide only this quote as evidence.[2] Suzanne Stark, writing in Female Tars, is more measured in her assessment of Collingwood's words: 'one might suspect him of believing women at sea are bad luck.'[3]

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Linda Grant de Pauw does not mince words: 'Women at sea were not considered bad luck.'[4] 

David Cordingly, writing in his book Women Sailors & Sailor's Women: An Untold Maritime History, presents the evidence against this superstition:
As with so many sailors' superstitions, it is hard to discover the origins of the belief that a woman on a ship bring bad luck, and even harder to find any factual basis for it. Columbus, Magellan, and Drake might not have taken women on their epic voyages, but the ships of the Pilgrim Fathers were loaded with women and survived the Atlantic crossing, as did the hundreds of emigrant ships that followed in their wake...The British navy was prepared to turn a blind eye to the wives of warrant officers living on board; and the wives of captains, diplomats, and colonial governors frequently traveled overseas without bringing any harm to themselves or their fellow passengers. Those naval officers who did object to the presence of women on their ships seem to have regarded them as a nuisance, rather than a source of bad luck.[5]
Most historians agree that the belief that women were bad luck at sea, if it was present, took a back seat to a belief that women could cause real world trouble in a male dominated ship. Marcus Rediker summed up the likely situation nicely (albeit for an earlier age) in his essay "Liberty Beneath the Jolly Roger": 'Many sailors saw women as objects of fantasy and adoration but also as sources of bad luck or, worse, as dangerous sources of conflict, as potential breaches in the male order of seagoing solidarity.'[6]

Stephen R. Berry did not even address superstition regarding women when he wrote in his A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life & Atlantic Crossings to the New World, 'the entrance of females into the confines of this male community could create a sexually charged atmosphere.'[7] It was the tension of an 'aggressively masculine' society afloat converging with women that caused tension and raised the hackles of many a naval officer or merchant master.

General Wolfe incorporated British seamen's violent misogyny into his strategy to reduce Quebec in 1759. A naval officer wrote that Montcalm responded to Wolfe's 'cruelty' in devastating the region around Quebec with a threat to turn over his British prisoners 'to the mercy of the Indian savages.' Wolfe's reply was a threat to turn over 'all the French Ladies, without the  delicate embraces of the English tars.'[8]
Detail from Grog on Board, Thomas Rowlandson, 1789, Royal Collection Trust.
More often than superstition, mariners harbored a misogyny that cast women as immoral temptresses, unwelcome distractions, or likely victims. In this light, Collingwood's later assertion that women were the cause of 'mischief' may not be superstition at all, but merely an officer expressing his concern about an under-sexed and over-masculine group driven to distraction and dangerous ill-discipline by the mere presence of women. Historians have often noted how women have taken the brunt of the blame for any incidents that did occur, despite sailors themselves being instigators of sexual violence or willing participants in consensual acts.[9]

Despite the academic debate involving all of these historians over decades, there is very little evidence that common sailors thought of women as bad luck. The topic is never breached in any sailors' memoir that I've ever read. There is evidence that sailors of earlier and later eras did believe women were bad luck at sea, but the period of 1740-1790 is not a particularly superstitious time among sailors in the first place.

If women were indeed considered bad luck at sea, the treatment of women discovered posing as men (like Hannah Snell) would have been very different from what Stark described in Female Tars:
When a seaman or marine was discovered to be a woman, she was not reprimanded, let alone convicted and punished for having duped the navy by enlisting under a false identity. On the contrary, she suddenly gained the kindly attention of her officers. Previous to the revelation of her gender, when she was merely one of hundreds of seamen, she was below the notice of her ship's commissioned officers unless she misbehaved, in which case she was severely disciplined. But as soon as it was discovered that she was a woman, the officers' attitude toward her changed; they were fascinated by her and treated her with gentle solicitude.[10]
There wasn't much call for sailors to craft or continue such a superstition under the sailing conditions of the period. While admitting that a woman's 'presence was clearly a temptation to sex-starved men and sometimes led to trouble,' Peter Earle found that 'most mariners seem to have been able to manage without women without any great difficulty. Most voyages were not all that long between ports, where there were always plenty of women to satisfy their lust.'[11]

In short, there is a lively academic debate around whether sailors in my period of study considered women to be bad luck at sea, but I simply haven't seen any evidence to prove that was the case.

[1] Cordingly, David, Women Sailors & Sailor's Women: An Untold Maritime History, New York: Random House, 2001, pages 154.
[2] Dorothy Denneen Volo, James M. Volo, Daily Life in the Age of Sail, London: Greenwood, 2002, page 155.
[3] Stark, Suzanne J., Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1996, page 53.
[4] Grant de Pauw, Linda, Seafaring Women, Houghton Mifflin, 1982, page 15.
[5] Cordingly, Women Sailors, pages 154-155.
[6] Rediker, Marcus, 'Liberty Beneath the Jolly Roger,' Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920Margaret S. Creighton and Lisa Norling ed., Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1996, page 9.
[7] Berry, Stephen R., A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life & Atlantic Crossings to the New World, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015, page 160.
[8] Author unknown, 'Letters of a Volunteer,' in Doughty, Arthur G., The Siege of Quebec and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, Quebec: Desault & Proulx, 1901, page 20, via Internet Archive, accessed August 15, 2018, <>.
[9] Cordingly, Women Sailors, page 237; Berry, Path in the Mighty Waters, page 161; Stark, Female Tars.
[10] Stark, Female Tars, page 111.
[11] Earle, Peter, Sailors: English Merchant Seamen, 1650-1775, London: Methuen, 2007, page 101-102.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sailors' Funerals

Death was ever present in the minds of people of the eighteenth century, and the dangers of the sea made it especially so among seamen. Much has been written on eighteenth-century funerary practices afloat and ashore. Burial at sea has featured prominently in mass media.
Outlander, Season 3 (2017)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
It is easy to see why this tradition is well remembered. In the words of Commander Royal W. Connell and Vice Admiral William P. Mack (both United States Navy, retired) in their book Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions: 'Arguably the most powerful ceremony of the sea is that which consigns mortal remains to the deep.'[1] There have been changes to the ceremony over the centuries, but it is remarkable how little has changed. Hessian soldier private Johann Conrad Döhla witnessed the ceremony on his voyage to America in 1777:
As soon as someone on the ship dies, whether he is a soldier, sailor, or anyone else, he is fastened onto a piece of wood or a board and then a sack filled with sand or a stone, or a piece of iron, or a cannonball, is fastened on the piece of wood or board so that the dead body, which later will become food for the fish, is immediately pulled under the water.[2]
As Commander Connell and Vice Admiral Mack point out 'it is seldom necessary nowadays to bury at sea,' but 'if the deceased is buried at sea, the body is sewn in a canvas shroud or placed in a coffin that has been weighted to ensure sinking.'[3]

The ceremony was often brief. In his The Slave Ship: A Human History, Marcus Rediker states this was because 'seamen were "plain dealers" who did not care for elaborate rituals.'[4] Given the eighteenth century sailors apathy toward traditional religion, this seems likely. This brevity is reflected in the Diary of John Harrower, an indentured servant sent to America in 1773:
Sunday, 27th. Wind at N. V. at 4 AM Tack'd ship. At same time the man who was bade with the flux was found dead in his hammock, at 8 he was sewed up in it and at 9 AM he was burried in the sea after reading the service of the Dead over him, which was done by the Mate.[5]
Hammocks were a common entombment for the dead. Richard Glover makes this explicit in his 1740 ballad Admiral Hosier's Ghost:
All in dreary hammocks shrouded, Which for winding-sheets they wore,
And with looks by sorrow clouded Frowning on that hostile shore.[6]
On a voyage to Angola, scurvy tore through the ship on which Carl Peter Thunberg was sailing. He remembered later:
Five men had been reported dead, all of them had been sewed up in their hammocks, and two had already been thrown overboard, when the third, the instant he was put on the plank, called out, 'Master Boatswain, I am alive still!' to which the Boatswain with unreasonable jocularity replied,-'You alive, indeed! what, do you pretend to know better than the surgeon?'[7]
On the slave trade, some sailors got no funeral at all. Both Rediker and Peter Earle, in his book Sailors: English Merchant Seamen, 1650-1775, quote a sailor from a 1744 slaving voyage aboard the Florida:
We conceal the death of the sailours from the negroes by throwing them overboard in the night, lest it might give them a temptation to rise upon us.[8]
The opposite was true on Olaudah Equiano's Middle Passage. As a young man, he witnessed the crew beat a sailor to death before 'they tossed him over the side as they would have done a brute.' This was a different kind of deterent, because it 'made me fear these people the more; and I expected nothing less than to be treated in the same manner.'[9] Robert Barker, a shipwright on a slaver, uses the term 'thrown overboard' to describe the method by which the bodies of slave ship sailors were disposed of. He implies a distasteful treatment of the dead on the slave trade.[10]

More ceremony could be expected in the Royal Navy and aboard merchantmen. Aboard British warships, only the Anglican Book of Common Prayer was used in burials at sea. Below is an excerpt from the 1762 edition of that religious text, giving the precise language to be used when committing a body to the deep.
We therefore commit his Body to the Deep, to be turned into Corruption, looking for the resurrection of the Body (when the Sea shall give up her dead,) and the life of the world to come, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who at his coming shall change our vile Body, that it may be like his glorious Body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.[11]
As many ships were without clergy, this was read by the captain or officers, or, as related by Stephen R. Berry in A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life & Atlantic Crossing to the New World, even by passengers:
The German schoolteacher Gottlieb Mittelberger assumed all the duties of a minster. 'I held daily prayer meetings with them on deck, and, since we had no ordained clergyman on board, was forced to administer baptism to the children. I also held services, including a sermon, every Sunday, and when the dead were buried at sea, commended them and our souls to the mercy of God.'[12]
At first, burial at sea might have been distinctly British. Connell and Mack state 'In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries French men-of-war sometimes carried the remains of those who died at sea in the holds until the ships reached port. Old reports indicate that this was a very disagreeable practice and one that served solely the purpose of burying the deceased in consecrated soil.'[13] 'French and Spanish Roman Catholic mariners,' writes Berry,' usually transported the deceased in the hold of the ship so that they could be interred in consecrated ground.' He suggests that part of the reason for burial at sea may have been sailors fear of their shipmates 'body haunting the ship.'[14] On the other side of the coin, Earle states that 'most sailors had a superstitious aversion' to burial at sea for themselves.[15] I'm inclined to disagree with both of these historians, as neither provides strong evidence for sailors' feelings toward burial at sea, and sailors' superstitions are often overplayed. But then, neither claims superstition as the sole reason for this aversion to burial at sea.

A more significant reason that Berry points to for sailors wish to be buried ashore is the prevalence of sharks. Rediker agrees that 'the shark was the dread of sailors.'[156] John Atkins, who sailed aboard a slaver in the 1730's, was aghast at the sharks that swarmed around burials from slavers:
Their Voracity refuses nothing; Canvas, Ropeyarns, Bones, Blanketing, &c. I have seen them frequently seize a corpse as soon as it was committed to the sea; tearing and devouring that, and the Hammock that shrouded it, without suffering it once to sink, tho' a great Weight of Ballast in it.[17]
Alexander Falconbridge, a former slave ship surgeon sailing on the coast of Nigeria, witnessed what the sharks did to the bodies of the enslaved, and noted that sailors were not buried at sea on this part of the African coast:
The river Bonny abounds with sharks of a very large size, which are often seen in almost incredible numbers about the slave ships, devouring with great dispatch the dead bodies of the negroes as they are thrown overboard. The bodies of the sailors who die there, are buried on a sandy point, called Bonny Point, which lies about a quarter of a mile from the town.[18]
Perhaps this was the captain splitting the difference between frightening the enslaved with the callous disposal of the dead as mentioned by Equiano, and preventing the enslaved from knowing how their enslavers were being weakend as the sailor of the Florida attested to.

Private Döhla, the same Hessian who said bodies would 'later become food for the fish,' witnessed other sea life consume the dead:
It happens before one's eyes that, as soon as the dead body is thrown into the water, the fish or other creatures gather and tear him apart and consume him, and there are crabs that are so large that they can hold a man in their pincers and pull him under the water. These are called lobsters and are twelve feet long and as large around as a man's body, and one claw weighs over twenty pounds. I myself have seen an English soldier thrown into the water who was grabbed by a crab with his claws and pulled under the water.[19]
The uncertainty about where their bodies would wind up is reflected in the standard form of a sailor's will. Below is an example, repeated countless times, from the 1756 will of mariner Jonathan Hill:
I commend my Soul into the hands of Almighty God hoping for Remission of all my Sins thro the Merits of Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour and Redeemer and my Body to the Earth or Sea as it shall please God.[20]
"Will of Jonathan Hill, Mariner now belonging to His Majesty's Ship Trident 
of Gosport," National Archives (UK), 11 March 1756, PROB 11/821/151
Officers buried ashore, as you might guess, received a bit more ceremony with their funerals. James Wyatt, a privateer serving in the War of Austrian Succession, remembered just such a funeral:
When I came to our Ship, I found one of our Midshipmen (whose Name I have forgot) was drowned in Catwater, in endeavouring to swim ashore. He was buried very decently in the new Churchyard, in Plymouth; and those of our Men that made the best Appearance, and which we were sure would not run away, attended at the Funeral. Every one had a Pair of Pistols stuck in his Belt, a Hanger by his Side, and there were Swords cross'd on the Coffin Lid.[21]
Other burials could be hasty and sloppy. Christopher Prince, an American mariner pressed into British service in the opening years of the American Revolutionary War, related a harrowing near death experience when the people of New York believed he had succumbed to the smallpox epidemic that swept the continent:
I was placed under a sand bank, and there was a number of people over me throwing down sand that often covered me. I then struggled until I got my head above the sand and breathed. But they continued shoveling it upon me until I thought it would be impossible to get my head out and fetch my breath. And the last struggle I made, I was sure it would be the last, for my strength was nearly gone.[22]
When the diggers realized that Prince was still alive, they abandoned him on the beach, presumably still half buried.

As Paul Gilje points out in his To Swear Like a Sailor: Maritime Culture in America, 1750-1850, 'the selling of the contents of a sea chest became a final ritual commemorating the death of a sailor aboard ship. After the burial at sea, the men would haul the chest on deck and then auction off each item with the intent of sending the money raise to the dead man's family.'[23] The practice was so common that muster books were printed with a column for deductions from pay that went toward 'Dead Man's Cloaths.'
ADM  36/6179, Nightingale Muster Book, 1754 Oct - 1756 Jun, photo by Alexa Price.
As Gilje states, 'this sale also became an effective way to distribute used goods among the crew. It also connected the sailor at sea to his family on land.'[24] Among sailors themselves, the chest and their late shipmate's possessions could also serve as a sentimental reminder.

Equiano, enslaved aboard the Preston, made friends with a young man named Richard "Dick" Baker. It was an unlikely pairing, but the dangers of the sea bred an unbreakable bond between them:
He was a native of America, had received an excellent education, and was of a most amiable temper. Soon after I went on board he shewed me a great deal of partiality and attention, and in return I grew extremely fond of him. We at length became inseparable; and, for the space of two years, he was of very great use to me, and was my constant companion and instructor. Although this dear youth had many slaves of his own, yet he and I have gone through many sufferings together on shipboard; and we have many nights lain in each other's bosoms when we were in great distress.[25]
In 1759, Equiano received terrible news:
I ran to enquire about my friend; but, with inexpressible sorrow, I learned from the boat's crew that the dear youth was dead! and that they had brought his chest, and all his other things to my master: these he afterwards gave to me, and I regarded them as a memorial of my friend, whom I loved and grieved for as a brother.[26]
Hardened men though they were, sailors mourned one another. Funeral rites could help them cope with their loss.

[1] Connell, Cdr. Royal W. and Vice Adm. William P. Mack, Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions, sixth edition, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004, page 70.
[2] Döhla, Johann Conrad, A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution, edited by Bruce E. Burgoyne, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press: 1993, page 20.
[3] Connell and Mack, Naval Ceremonies, 71.
[4] Rediker, Marcus, The Slave Ship: A Human History, New York: Viking, 2007, page 38.
[5] "Diary of John Harrower, 1773-1776," The American Historical Review, Volume 6, Number 1, October 1900, page 73, via Internet Archive, accessed August 1, 2018, <>.
[6] Glover, Richard, "Admiral Hosier's Ghost," via, accessed August 1, 2018, <>.
[7] Thunberg, Carl Peter, Travels in Europe, Africa, and Asia, made between the years 1770 and 1779, Third Edition, London: F. and C. Rivington, 1796, page 118, Yale University via the HathiTrust Digital Library, accessed August 1, 2018, <>.
[8] Rediker, Slave Ship, page 246; Earle, Peter, Sailors: English Merchant Seamen 1650-1775, London: Methuen, 2007, page 140.
[9] Equiano, Olaudah, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings, edited by Vincent Carretta, New York: Penguin, 2003, page 57.
[10] Barker, Robert, The Unfortunate Shipwright: Or Cruel Captain, London: Robert Barker, n.d., c1760., page 23.
[11] The Book of Common Prayer, 1762, via Google Books, accessed August 2, 2018, <>.
[12] Berry, Stephen R., A Path in the Mighty Waters: Shipboard Life & Atlantic Crossings to the New World, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015, page 66.
[13] Connell and Mack, Naval Ceremonies, 69. Follower Adam Hodges-LeClaire points out that this may not have been the case by the mid to late eighteenth century. Boudriot, Jean, (trans., Robert, David H.), The Seventy-Four Gun Ship: A Practical Treatise on the Art of Naval Architecture, Volume IV, Manning & Shiphandling, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1986, pages 155-157. This work is also without notes and citations, though the author suggests the Naval Ordinance of 1765 includes a detailed approach to burial at sea in the French Navy. I have not yet found the Ordinance and so cannot verify one way or the other.
[14] Berry, Path in the Mighty Waters, page 124.
[15] Earle, Sailors, page 140.
[16] Rediker,Slave Ship, page 38.
[17] Atkins, John, A Voyage to Guinea, Brasil, and the West-Indies, Scarborough: Ward and Chandler, 1737, page 46, via Google Books, accessed August 1, 2018, <>.
[18] Falconbridge, Alexander, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa, Second Edition, London: James Phillips, 1788, page 67, via Google Books, accessed August 1, 2018, <>.
[19] Döhla, A Hessian Diary, page 20.
[20] "Will of Jonathan Hill, Mariner now belonging to His Majesty's Ship Trident of Gosport," National Archives (UK), 11 March 1756, PROB 11/821/151.
[21] Wyatt, James, The Life and Surprizing Adventures of James Wyatt, London: W. Reave, 1753, page 12.
[22] Prince, Christopher, The Autobiography of a Yankee Mariner: Christopher Prince and the American Revolution, edited by Michael J. Crawford, Washington, D.C.: Brassey's Inc., 2002, pages 95-96.
[23] Gilje, Paul A., To Swear Like a Sailor: Maritime Culture in America, 1750-1850, New York: Cambridge University, 2016, page 266.
[24] Ibid.
[24] Equiano, Interesting Narrative and Other Writings, page 79.
[26] Ibid., page 80.