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Old 23-07-2011, 15:41   #1
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From Pirate to Citizen

Pirates roamed about in the 17th and 18th century bound about by articles of agreement. Lore was thrown about that the scum of the earth was the pirate. Merchant men to gentleman had that little bit of voice in them wanting to be a pirate and go sailing. Young men wanted to be a scoundrel just to get the whores and tobacco. A sailor ie pirate was generally a bad thing. What century did sailing turn the book into a good thing and throw out an example.

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Old 23-07-2011, 16:33   #2
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

I think your supposition that being a sailor was a bad thing is flawed. Sailors have long been valued for food, trade, exploration and war. Royalty and merchants alike gave successful captains large sums of money to find new worlds and new trade routes.
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Old 23-07-2011, 20:11   #3
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

Yes sailors have always been valued as food. I personally find them quite tasty served with Fava beans and a nice dry Chianti.
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Old 23-07-2011, 20:28   #4
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

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Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
I think your supposition that being a sailor was a bad thing is flawed. Sailors have long been valued for food, trade, exploration and war. Royalty and merchants alike gave successful captains large sums of money to find new worlds and new trade routes.
The British navy for years had to "press-gang" (which wasn't a pleasant process) men to "persuade" them to take up sailing.

Some English towns even emptied their jails (gaols) to provide their "quotas" of "suitable" potential sailors. Kill two birds with one stone sort of thing.
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Old 23-07-2011, 20:29   #5
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

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Yes sailors have always been valued as food. I personally find them quite tasty served with Fava beans and a nice dry Chianti.
The Maori people found sailors particularly tasty. Even without Chianti.

(Tarnation. Perchance beat me to this reply!)
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Old 23-07-2011, 20:39   #6
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

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The British navy for years had to "press-gang" (which wasn't a pleasant process) men to "persuade" them to take up sailing.

Some English towns even emptied their jails (gaols) to provide their "quotas" of "suitable" potential sailors. Kill two birds with one stone sort of thing.
That's relatively modern history when it comes to nautical voyaging and the need for press gangs spoke more of the brutal conditions of life as a common sailor them the value placed on sailors in general. The officers on board would have been "high born". Captain Cook was the first sailor to come up from the ranks and command a ship in the British Navy.

Maritime history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 23-07-2011, 20:52   #7
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash from the officers point of view and Rum, Bum and Baccy from the Seamans.
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Old 23-07-2011, 21:00   #8
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

The Press Gang was to force men aboard warships, where the pay was poor and often held in arrears and where men were often prevented from being given shore leave because captains rightfully feared many would desert. Although life on merchantmen wasn't a picnic, pay and conditions were generally much better.
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Old 23-07-2011, 21:04   #9
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

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Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
That's relatively modern history when it comes to nautical voyaging and the need for press gangs spoke more of the brutal conditions of life as a common sailor them the value placed on sailors in general. The officers on board would have been "high born". Captain Cook was the first sailor to come up from the ranks and command a ship in the British Navy.

Maritime history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I guess the initial discussion was about the 17th and 18th centuries, which was what I was thinking about when I posted.

However going further back, probably Ben-Hur (as symbolic illustration) and his fellow galley slaves were "valued", although whether that excited them greatly is maybe doubtful.

Was it surprising that so many "valued" sailors left, by desertion, mutiny or whatever other means were available to them, to become pirates?

And perhaps those fortunate enough to be"high born", could find their own rewards in whatever activity. Say by upgrading the description of their profession to "privateer" (Francis Drake, Henry Morgan etc.) and thus maintaining respectability.
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Old 23-07-2011, 21:04   #10
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Quote:
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The Press Gang was to force men aboard warships, where the pay was poor and often held in arrears and where men were often prevented from being given shore leave because captains rightfully feared many would desert. Although life on merchantmen wasn't a picnic, pay and conditions were generally much better.
Able seamen were never pressed

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Old 23-07-2011, 21:19   #11
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

To amplify, if I recall rightly, the press gang in England during the Napoleonic era was principally a branch of the Royal Navy called the Impress Service. Their principal theoretical function was to scour coastal areas, and they were particularly interested in finding men with some sort of nautical experience, especially former seamen. But, in a pinch, such as during the height of the war, they would take whatever they could get. Needless to say, anyone wearing a nautical tattoo would be a prize find for an impress gang.

Pressed men might be brought directly on board a ship, or they might be temporarily crowded into disease-ridden hulks called receiving ships, to await assignment to a warship.

Those crew who were new to the sea would be assigned simple pull-haul duties and rated as landsmen, often stationed in the waist of the ship at deck level. As they acquired more experience they might eventually be rated as seamen, or receive more advanced ratings, always at the pleasure of the captain and subject to revocation unless perhaps after many years a very select few might receive a King's warrant appointing them to the highest positions possible for non-commissioned, non-gentlemen crew. Ship's carpenter, or the master Gunner would be examples.

A few sailors were (at least theoretically) exempt from being pressed by virtue of influence their employers might have to have gotten them certificates of exemption.

In some times and places, such as later during the clipper era, including the USA, "crimps" would resort to dirty strategems to trick people on board... such as slipping something in a drink or knocking the victim in the head.

Captains could also try to take trusted men ashore to recruit crew members. Some would have better luck than others.

Edit this as needed -- I've probably forgotten some of the details or may need some corrections made.
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Old 24-07-2011, 08:45   #12
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

Walter must be from Norfolk Va. Because that is the only place where they had signs on their lawns saying; Dogs & Sailors Keep off the grass.
There are people that don't like and look down on other classes of people... We call them 'Snobs'. The Snobs love to spread lies & false rumors about people they don't like.
So you hear many rumors about us sailors... Many are false. But the one about us enjoying a good time is true. Meeting fellow sailors is true. splewing tall tales about storms and sea monsters, could be true...
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Old 24-07-2011, 08:57   #13
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

yay, boasun... thankyou!!!


saying all sailors were bad is like saying all folks named tony are bad.
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Old 24-07-2011, 18:08   #14
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

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Walter must be from Norfolk Va. Because that is the only place where they had signs on their lawns saying; Dogs & Sailors Keep off the grass.
There are people that don't like and look down on other classes of people... We call them 'Snobs'. The Snobs love to spread lies & false rumors about people they don't like.
So you hear many rumors about us sailors... Many are false. But the one about us enjoying a good time is true. Meeting fellow sailors is true. splewing tall tales about storms and sea monsters, could be true...
No not from snob hill at all, been a floridian for 50 years. Popped out in seaside heights nj and by the way have owned many a boat unfortunately none sail although now at 61 years I yearn to sail and no am not thrashing pirates or sailors.

Walter
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Old 24-07-2011, 18:25   #15
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Re: From Pirate to Citizen

"Pirate" is generally a point of view - usually that of the potential victim. The current actions by an international coalition of forces off the horn of Africa are, in fact, engaging in some acts of piracy (by legal definitions) in order to fight piracy.

Just as English highwaymen of the same period, north american gun fighters of the 'wild west', and ninja assassins of Japan are mythologised and admired today, so too the pirate of yore is made into a carricature of reality with both admirable and despicable versions depending on our mood. In literature, at least, it seems to have been the practice since at least Homer.
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