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"HMS Fowey, 1710 Officers were not always Gentlemen!" Topic

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Tango0125 Jun 2020 10:22 p.m. PST

"I've mentioned before in my blogs some of the unusual stories I've found in an 1889 book by W.Clark Russell entitled "Betwixt the Forelands" an informal history if the narrowest section of the English Channel. Part of the book focusses on smuggling in the 18th Century a far more brutal activity than that which is often so heavily romanticised. Carried out on a vast scale, and with high profits involved not to mention loss of revenue to government at a time when import and excise duties were one of the major sources of revenue this species of crime was comparable in scale with the international drugs trade today. Violence was the norm both in the trade itself, and in its suppression. One of the cases mentioned in the Clark Russell book does however give the impression that naval officers were themselves prepared to use suppression as a means of personal enrichment. The case came to light via a petition made to Queen Anne in 1710 by a Swedish merchant, named John Oriel, who was living in London. The date is significant the War of Spanish Succession (1702-1714) was in full swing, so that the waters between Britain and France were necessarily a war zone, and would thus have seen a heavy naval presence from both sides. Sweden was neutral in this conflict but had its hands full with the equally large-scale Great Northern War (1700-1721) against Russia and her allies.

Oriel's petition related to a Swedish trading vessel, the Hope, which was proceeding north-eastwards up the English Channel on 17th July 1710 when she was detained by a Royal Navy 44-gun fifth-rate, HMS Fowey, which had entered service the previous year. On the grounds of suspicion of contraband being carried, Fowey's commander, Captain Robert Chadwick, sent a boat across to bring the Hope's master and several of her crew back to the warship, one of these being named Olof Nolson Norborg. While the Hope's (unnamed master) was being interrogated on deck by Captain Chadwick he heard cries. Looking forward he saw that Norborg had been tied, spread-eagled, in the rigging presumably the fore-mast shrouds. Burning matches had been placed between is fingers and "there was also a Catt of 9 tailes and a bucket of pickle (i.e. brine) at hand with which the said Norborg was threatened to be whipt and pickled."…"
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JMcCarroll Supporting Member of TMP26 Jun 2020 8:56 a.m. PST

"whipt and pickled" sounds like a heavy metal band.

Tango0126 Jun 2020 12:40 p.m. PST



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