Ten Days of Truxtun- Not the British Navy

Day 8. After some chatting with a friend whose knowledge of the British Navy in the 18th & 19th Century comes from reading novels and having a crazed roommate obsessed with the Horatio Hornblower series, we came to the conclusion that the last place you wanted to be was in the British Navy. There was the bad food, the floggings, the classism, disease, more floggings, and the warfare, ’cause no one likes getting shot at. Now Captain Tom Truxtun tried to move away from the British model with fewer floggings replaced with reprimands, and some idea about courtesy and mutual respect. The problem with the British system he wrote,

” A man of war is a petty kingdom and is governed by a petty despot… The little tyrant, who struts his few fathoms of scoured plank, dare not unbend, lest he should lose that appearance of respect from his inferiors which their fears inspire. He has therefore, no society, no smiles, no courtesies for or from any one. Wrapped up in notion of his own dignity, and the means of preserving it, he shuts himself up from all around him. He stands alone, without the friendship or sympathy of one on board; a solitary being in the midst of the ocean.”

[Ferguson, 147]
So therefore let Capt. Truxtun inspire you this day not to be a tyrant to your interns or underlings, smile at your co-workers or remember to show them some courtesy in your dealings with them this day.

2 thoughts on “Ten Days of Truxtun- Not the British Navy”

  1. but joining the British Navy was the best way to become a pirate! Right? It was like an internship for piracy!

  2. Depending on the time period, were a man was at a given time, there were other ways to become a prirate. Earlier on Capt. Truxtun was in the privateer business which was legalized piracy. He did do some time in the British Navy but the harsh "dicipline" led to a lot of munities.
    In some history book I've read some time back (maybe 'Under the Black Flag') by some marxist historian, escaped slaves, AWOL seamen and other seamen given a choice by pirate captured ships could become pirates.

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