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Punished for Abusing a Sailor

January 26, 1882, Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas

Punished for Abusing a Sailor.

(From the New York Maritime Register).

We have often called attention to the necessity of severely punishing those officers who abuse their sailors. We are glad to see that one of this class has met with the reward his inhumanity warrants. One Millais, the second mate of the ship?David Crockett, while on a voyage from San Francisco, kicked a sailor so terribly so as to cause severe hernial rupture and to break the man's finger.

Millais pleaded guilty to the charge, and in the United States Circuit Court in this city on Monday was sentenced to two years hard labor in the state prison at Auburn as a punishment for his cruelty. This is a severe sentence, but it was no doubt well deserved. Punishment of offenders is the only way to stamp out cruel practices from the merchant service, and that of Millais will no doubt have a restraining effect upon those officers who are accustomed to taking the law in their own hands.

Judge Benedict administered a most scathing rebuke to Millais and pointed out the evil of using physical force upon the sailors without just cause or authority. After admitting everything that can be alleged in defense of officers who beat their men, all that can be said offers no excuse for brutal treatment. Officers who indulge in those practices seem to forget that there is even a limit to punishment. If they were punished proportionally to the amount of excessive punishment they inflict themselves, they would spend most of their time in jail.

It is to be hoped that they sentence of Millais will be a warning for officers of this class, for it is about the only admonition that seems to weigh with them. Enforcement of authority is proper and good officers can maintain it without difficulty, even with a poor crew. It is only the officers who are cowards at heart, or have the passions of brutes, that must descend to the means employed by Millais in order to enforce their orders.

The Marlinspike SailorThe Marlinspike Sailor.
Hervey Garrett Smith
"Knowledge of marlinspike seamanship is what distinguishes the true seaman from the man who merely ventures upon the water. No one can become a skipper, or should aspire to that distinction, who has not mastered knots, palm and needle work, and the making of small objects on board as necessary. In fact the few required knots, hitches or bends should be so well known that they can be tied blindfolded or in the dark....The greatest single value of this work is the amazing clarity he achieves in his drawings. He has set a new standard for all time. Rope is a difficult subject to draw. Like the sea itself, it changes its appearance constantly" -From the Forward.
(Second Edition. Enlarged. 2012 reprint of 1952 edition.). Exact facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software.

Shanghaiing Days
The Thrilling Account of 19th Century Hell-Ships, Bucko Mates and Masters, and Dangerous Ports-Of-Call from San Francisco
Shanghaiing Days, Dillon.Shanghaiing Days in San Francisco.
Richard H. Dillon
In the last quarter of the 19th Century, American Merchant Marine went into a decline, and sailors were forced to serve under conditions that were little better than serfdom. Seamen were exploited in wholesale fashion, disfranchised of almost all their civil and human rights, and brutally punished forminor offenses. Successful skippers turned into slave drivers, cracking down on the sailors, sometimes even murdering their "hands." Though captains were legally prohibited from flogging their crews, they did not hesitate to wield belaying pins, marlin spikes, or bare fists. The seamen's lot was so horrible that entire crews jumped ship when in port. New crews were kidnaped, crimped, or shanghaied from the unsuspecting populace of the ports. These "impressed" or "hobo" crews were still further conspired against. They often had their wages stolen from them; they were poorly fed and clothed. Their lives became "hell afloat and purgatory ashore." Our "first and finest employ" in colonial days was turned into a disreputable profession-one that was classed with criminals and prostitutes.

Sea Chanties sung by The Luebeck German Sailors Chorus

Jack Tar and the Baboon Watch: A Guide to Curious Nautical Knowledge for Landlubbers and Sea Lawyers AlikeJack Tar and the Baboon Watch.
Jack Tar and the Baboon Watch.Frank Lanier
A collection of unusual, nautical-based phrases and trivia tidbits for Jack Tars and landlubbers alike. Author and mariner Frank Lanier began to compile these entries while serving in the Coast Guard; they were included in the Plan of the Day published aboard various ships Lanier was stationed on starting in the 1980s. He explains these colorful terms and entertaining phrases and presents their origins. Words and phrases incluide: Over a Barrel -- Sailors were sometimes tied over a barrel while being flogged. Rummage -- A ship's cargo or the packing of it in the vessel's hold, the yardsale-type association of the term arising from the fact damaged cargo was often sold at a "rummage sale," a clearing out of unclaimed goods at the dock. Rubbernecker -- A sailor who stood by and looked on as his shipmates worked. Square Meal -- A solid, hearty meal, said to be derived from the square, wooden platters hot meals were served upon aboard ship in good weather. To "Fudge It" -- A sailor's term for a lie, nonsense; exaggeration that can be traced to one Captain Fudge, a seventeenth-century sailor whose propensity for telling outrageous whoppers prompted his crew to meet any tale of dubious origin with a cry of "You Fudge It!" Kissed by Mother Carey -- Those whose destiny seemed forever tied to the sea. Suck the Monkey -- Clandestine siphoning of spirits from one of the ship's casks via a straw or other such tube. Swallow the Anchor -- An old salt who retired ashore, forever giving up his life at sea.

Oregon Shanghaiers: The Columbia River Crimping from Astoria to PortlandOregon Shanghaiers.Oregon Shanghaiers.
Barney Blalock
In the hardscrabble early days of Portland's seaport, "shanghaiing" or "crimping" ran rampant. The proprietors of crooked saloons and sailors' boardinghouses coerced unwitting patrons to work on commercial ships. Shanghaiers like James Turk, Bunko Kelley and Billy Smith unashamedly forced men into service and stole the wages of their victims. By the 1890s, these shanghaiers had become powerful enough to influence the politics of Astoria and Portland, charging sea captains outrageous fees for unskilled laborers and shaping maritime trade around a merciless black market. For nearly a century, the exploits of these notorious crimpers have existed mainly in lore. Now historian Barney Blalock offers a lively and meticulously researched account of these colorful and corrupt men, revealing an authentic account of Oregon's malicious maritime legends.


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