Friday, May 25, 2018

The lot of the Royal Navy in the 1660s

Rotten ships and ill-fed, unpaid crews too often hampered the efficiency of naval operations. The later remarkable breed of professional navy officers had not yet developed. Some were courtier captains, who could barely keep their feet planted on deck in a moderate sea; others were crude, unlettered, but effective "tarpaulins," who had risen from the forecastle. As Macaulay remarked, "There were gentlemen and there were seamen in the navy of Charles the Second. But the seamen were not gentlemen; and the gentlemen were not seamen."

(from A History of England and the British Empire)

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