Jack Nastyface: Memoirs of an English Seaman

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Naval Institute Press, 1973 - Biography & Autobiography - 155 pages
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William Robinson used a pseudonym in 1836 to publish this now-famous memoir, knowing his all-too-realistic description of life on the lower decks would create a scandal. But he hoped it also would provoke changes in the practices of impressment and severe and unfair punishment of sailors. Writing from the point of view of the ordinary Jack Tar in Nelson's navy, he describes the press gangs, floggings, keel-haulings, poor food, and long watches that were routine as well as the relief found in drinking grog. Such vivid accounts of forecastle adventures were rare in the literature of the day -- and remain rare today. Robinson himself fought at Trafalgar in 1805 and took part in many other notable events in the long war against Napoleon. His revelations about the brutal conditions of everyday shipboard life in the classical age of sail -- an era that nevertheless managed to produce some of England's finest seamen and most famous victories -- provide a valuable record of the seaman's experience. This paperback edition includes the work of caricaturist George Cruikshank, a contemporary of Jack Nastyface well known for his sketches of nautical life, and an introduction by the noted Nelson scholar Oliver Warner. Book jacket.

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About the author (1973)

Robinson used a pseudonym in 1836 to publish Jack Nastyface.

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