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Studies in the Genesis of the Naval Profession Author(s): Norbert Elias Source: The British Journal of Sociology, Vol.

1, No. 4 (Dec., 1950), pp. 291-309 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The London School of Economics and Political Science Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/586890 Accessed: 01/10/2009 21:27
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Studies

in

the

Genesis

of

the

Naval

Professionl

NORBERT ELIAS
_ -

I. GENTLEMEN ANDTARPAULINS AROFESSIONS, strippedof their gear and apparel,are specialized social Jfunctions whichpeopleperform in response to specialized needsof others; i i they are, at least in their fully developedform, institutionalized sets of humanrelationships. The study of the genesisof a profession, therefore, is not sply a study of a numberof individuals who first performed certan functionsfor othersandenteredinto certainrelationships urith others,but that of these functionsand relationships themselves. They all, professions) occupationsor whatevertheir name may be, are m a peculiarway independent, not of people,but of those particular people by whomthey arerepresented at a given time. They continueto exist when their presentrepresentatives die. Like languages, they presuppose the existence of a wholegroup. And if they change,if new occupations emergewthin a commanity,again, these changesare not simply due to acts or thoughts of this or that particular person,not even to thoseof a scientistor an inventor. It is the chanpg situationof a wholecommunity whichcreatesthe conditions for the rise of a new occupationand determines its courseof development. Scientific daiscovenes andinventions, newspecialized meansforthe satisfaction of human needs, are undoubtedly factorsin the development of a new occupation; so are new humanneeds themselves. But neitherof these two factors is by itself its fount-head and its source. They dependon each otherfor thelrdevelopment. Humanneedsbecomedifferentiated and specific
^ 1 This is the first of three studies in the ongins and the early development of the career of naval oflicers in England. It shows the initial situation in which members of the nascent profession were recruited from two very different social groups. The second study deals with tensions and conflicts between these two groups; the third with their gradual integration and the emergenceof a more unifiedhierarchyof naval ofEcescombig to some extent the functions and methods of training of both groups. In addition, a bnef comparisonwith the early develop ment of the naval professionin France shows some of the interrelationsbetween the development and characteristics of naval professions and those of the countries to which they belong. These studies are based on research undertaken some years ago for the Social Research Division of the London School of Economics. I am greatly indebted to Mr. H. L. Beales for his friendly advice and encouragement.
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THE GENESIS OF THE NAVAL PROFESSION 292 ; these on their part humantechniques with specialized only in conjunction emergeand crystallizeinto occupationsonly in view of potentialor actual is not due to that of therefore, humanneeds.2 The ciseof R new occupation, new needs or of new techniquesalone, buLto the interplaybetween both. It is, in essence,a processof trialand error3 in whichpeopleattemptto match occupationaltechniques or institutions and human needs. Every single step in this directionis executedby individuals. Yet, the processas such, or of any other occupation,is of a professionJ the genesisand development more than the sum total of individualacts. It has a patternof its own. of one kind or the other discrepancies For specific maladjustments, between professionalinstitutions and the needs they serve, and tensions impose their between grollps of people engenderedby these discrepancies, as such, are the mainlevers patternupon individuals. They, not individuals of a profession'sdevelopment. T}le adjustmentof institutionsand needs, may arise at is nevercomplete. Discrepancies m steadily changingsocieties, one time more from changesin technique,at anothermore from changesin social conditionsand requirements. Whatevertheir immediatecause, they frictionsand conflicts; they confront createspecificdifficulties; they produce not of his ownmaking. However, with problems of a profession everymember becomehis own problems these institutional as soon as he entersa profession, conflicts. his owrx his own diEculties,theseconflicts these difficulties problems, chanpg social hands. Sometimes Nor are the solutionsentirelyin his OWI2 conditionsfavouradjustment; at others,they delay it or blockit altogether. It may happen,as it happenedin fact early in the historyof the naval propeoplebecomeinvolvedtime after time fession,that, for severalgenerations, of the same type, wrestleagain and again with the conHicts in professional solution,areunwhatseemsanide21 and,knowing problems, sarneprofessional areset forthe individual ableto bringit about. In all thesecases,theproblems into whichhe enters,with its inherentdisparities by the webof socialfunctions with his short-term betweenmeansand ends. Impelledby them,he continues of his profession. aims what he did not start, the long-termdevelopment and otherinstitutions of professions studies,the development In historical
I shall send you books so that your children can read them." The headman said, " Thank you for your gift ", and raised his hands in salute as one must do whenever anyone oSers you something in Limbo. But then he dropped his hands and said with a touch of impatience, " Is not that like the man who gave the village a tiger and then gave the lrillage a gun to shoot it with ? " A roar of approval . . . came from his listeners. " B'e hase no books and so ue do not need to read." From Aubrey Menen, The Prevaletce of Witches,p. 94. and P. A. Wilson, The Professiorls,Oxford, I933, p. 297, where this 2 A. M. Carr-Saunders sterdependence has been noted though sith a stronger emphasis on one factor, on the progress of research. in J. A. Hobson and BI.Ginsberg,L. T. HobAsouse: of L. T. HobAzouse, 3 M. Ginsberg,The Work His Life and Work,London, I93I, p. I58: " The most common method of operation in large groups is strictly comparable to what in individual psychology is called trial and error. The accommodationof partial purposes to one another, their interrelationand correlation,is brought about by a series of efforts at adjustment within which the external observer may perchance detect a principle which the agents themselves certainly could not folmulate. There is in short a point by point adjustment but no comprehensive or settled purpose."

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oftenappears as a smoothandsteadyprogress towards"perfection " the " perfection"of ourtime. Attentionis frequently focusedmoreon the institutional favade,as it appearsin this periodand then in the next and finally in the present,and less on the actual humanrelationships behindthe fa,cade. Yet it is only by visualizing these institutionsas part of a wide networkof human relationships, by resurrecting for our own understanding the recurrent difficulties and conflictswith whichpeoplein the orbitof these institutionsstruggled withinthis network,that one can comprehend why and how the institutional framework itself emergedand changedfrom periodto period. The unsolved problems raisedin the mindsof contemporaries by the shortcomings of their professional institutionsare, in other words,as essentiala part of the history of these institationsas the solutionitself. In retrospect, the latter comesto life only when seen together with the former. If one comes face to face, behindthe moreimpersonal faSade,with peoplestruggling, often in vain, to adjust their inheritedinstitutionalframework with all its incongruities to whatthey feel to be theirownneeds,then the atmosphere so oftensurrounding old institations in history books, the atmosphereof museum pieces, loses itself. In that respect,the peopleof the past are on a par with us; or rather we wth them.
II

The naval profession grew into shape at a time when the navy was a fleet of sailirlgships. In many respects,therefore,the training,duties and standards of naval officers weredifferent fromthose of our time. It has been said that the command of a modern shipwithits elaborate technical equipment requiires a scientifically trainedmind. That of a sailingshiprequired the niind of a craftsman. Only peopleapprenticed to the sea early in life could hope to masterit. " To catch'em young" wasa well knomrn sloganof the old navy. It sras quite normalfor a young boy to start on his future careeras naval officer at the age of g or IO directlyon boardship. Manyexperienced people thought it almost too late if he came on board at the age of I4 not only becausehe had to find his " sea-legs", and to overcome sea-sickness as early as possible,but becausethe art of splicingand knottingthe generalrudiments of rigging,the properway of going aloft graspingthe shroudand not the rattling-and a hostof othermorecomplicated operations couldonlybe learned by long and hard practice. To acquireunderstanding of sailingships people had to work, at least for a time, with their hands. Book learningwas of little avail. At the same time, all naval officers, at least fromthe eighteenthcentury on, regarded themselves,and wishedto be regarded by others,as gentlemen. To masterthe manner'sart was only one of their functions. Then, as now, naval officerswere militaryleadersin commandof men. One of their most importantfunctionswas to fightan enemy,to lead their crewinto battle and, if necessary,to boarda hostile ship in a hand-to-hand fight until it struck. Moreover, in times of peaceas in times of war, naval officers camefrequently

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into contactwth representatives of other countries. They were expectedto of their own knowone or two foreignlanguages, to act as the representatives tact, and countrywlth firmness,dignity and a certainamountof diplomatic as goodbreeding to behave according to the rulesof what was then regarded and civility. In short,an oicer of the old navy had to unite in his personsomeof the qualitiesof an experienced craftsmanwith those of a rnilitarygentleman. of duties may seem neithersurpnsing At first glance,this combination " has nor problematic. In the courseof the twentiethcentury" gentleman becomea vague generalterm refemng to conductrather than social rank. It may be applied to manualworkers,to master craftsmenand noblemen alike. Duiing the seventeenthand eighteenthcenturies,however,it had a penodof the very muchstrictersocialmeaning. It was, duiingthe formative mark of men from the upper and some naval profession, the distinguishing portionsof the middleclasses,setting them off againstthe rest of the people. in Its meaningchangedfrom time to time, usually,with a certaintirne-lag, accordance with the changingcompositionof the House of Commons. But whateverelse it meant at a given time, those who workedwith their hands, werealwaysexcludedfromthe ranks whethermastercraftsmen or labourers, for a gentlemanthat of gentlemen. Even the mere suspicionwas degrading he had done manualwork at any time duringhis life. Pepys's often quotedremarkto the effect that amongnaval officersthe seamen were not gentlemenand the gentlemennot seamen,therefore,was morethan the elegantbonmotof a Stuartwit. It was the pointedexpression confronting naval administrators and of one of the gravestpractical problems navalofficers throughout the earlyhistoryof the navalprofession. Gentlemen could not learnthe art and craft of a seamanwithoutfeelingthat they had seamen,on the loweredthemselvesin the eyes of the world. Experienced otherhand,who had learnedtheir tradein the only way in whichit couldbe were not regardedas learned,startingearly in life as seamen'sapprentices, gentlemen; they lacked, or were thought to lack, some of the qualitiesof prowess,good breeding,military leadershipand diplomatictact considered as indispensableattrlbutes of people who were in commandof military operations and who came frequently into contact with foreign officers of a militaryfleet of sail mostly of noble birth. For the properfunctioning it was necessary that its offlcers shouldpossesssome of the qualitiesof both militarygentlemenand seamen. Yet, how could one expect to reconcileon boardship social and professional functionswhich on land appearedwholly incompatible ? The fusionof the duties of seamenand gentlemenas we find it later in not the simpleand obvious the historyof the naval profession was, therefore, arrangement whichit appearsto be if one appliesto it the socialconceptsof our time. It was the outcomeof a long drawnout struggleand a processof trial and esTor lastingfor morethan a century. Fromthe time of Elizabeth forthe navy wrestled to that of QueenAnneandeven longerthoseresponsible

295 with this problemwzthoutmuchimmediatesuccess. Veryspecialconditions, and conditionsprevailing in England,and partly in Holland,aloneof all the WesternEuropeancountries,made it possiblegraduallyto overcomethese difficulties to someextent. Andboth the difficulties andthe resulting conflicts themselvesas well as the mannerin which they were slowly solved, were responsible for some of the most outstandingcharacteristics of the English naval profession. But in orderto understand these developments, it is necessary to cast back one's mind to the social attitudes and standardsof that period and to visualize the problemsinherentin the growth of the naval professionas they presentedthemselvesto people of that age, not as they appearto us accordingto the social distinctionsand ideals of our own.
III

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ELIAS

In the MiddleAges Englandhad not a navy in the propersense of the word. The same military personnelwas used for warfareon land and at sea, the same ships for fightingand for tradingor fishing. Sea-battles, even in the Channel, werecomparatively rare. If they occurred they were fought by land armiesassembled on ships in almostthe same manneras battles on land. The seamenprovidedtransport; the knightsand their followersdid the fighting. The association betweenthe two groupswas purelytemporary. It would have hardlyoccurred to a noble knight to take over professionally some of the duties and responsibilities of a mastermariner. The situation changedgraduallyat the time of the great discoveries. Dunng that period,all European countries bordering on the Channel and the Atlantic with the exceptionof Germanyweakenedby inner dissensionswere drawn,one afterthe other,into the strugglefor domination of the newly discovered sea-routes and for possessions oversea. To hold her own, England like her nvals had to developher maritime resources. The growingstrength of some of her neighbours alongthe coastlineoppositeto hers threatened not only her sea-communications, but also her security at home. Englandfor her part threatenedwith her growingstrengthher neighbours on the other side of the Channeland the SpanishSeas. The emergence of a new power system all aroundthe WesternEuropean seas and the spiralof powerrivalry forcedall thesecountries into a contest; it compelled themto fight,to expand, to becomewhat we call imperialistpowers,and to go on fightingtill one or the other was defeatedand fell back. Therewas no escapefromits impact. Like hernvals and allies,Englandhad only the choiceto expandor to become dependenton others. Underthe pressure of this steadilyexpandingsea nvaAry, many requirements of these countriesand the corresponding techniques transformed themselves morerapidlythan before. It becamenecessary to reorganize fleet and militaryforces; accordingly, similarproblems of adjustment arosein all these countries. But as their strategicpositionand their politicaland socialconstitution were different, the degree,the speedand the methodof adjustment varied a good deal.

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In England, the militaryforces,formerly usedindiscnniinately forfighting on land and at sea, dividedinto land forcesand sea forces. The old sailing fleet, used as the occasiondemandedfor tradingor for fighting,developed gradually into two morespecialized branches, onemainlycommercial, the other mainlymilitaryin character. Specialized branches of fleet and army drawn togetherandfinallymerged into one formed in courseof time a newspecialized establishment, a militaryfleet which becameknownas the Navy. At the sametime,thesetwo movesgradually gavense to a newprofession, that of naval officers. The growingpowerrivalrybroughtabout what one mighttraditionally call a " divisionof labour". In actualfact, differentiation went hand in hand with integration, specialization with fusion,transforming not onlythe labour, but the wholesocialfunctions of people. It wasnot simply that mannersspecializedfor service in a military establishment, and that militarygentlemen attachedthemselvesmorepermanently to the fleet. The new departure in mantimewadarecreatedthe need for peoplewho in a new specialized formwere seamenand militarymen at the same time. However,while it was difficultenoughto masterthe technicalproblerns rased by the drive for largerand largerships specialized for warfare,while people learnedslowly and painfullyto build two-deckers and three-deckers with moreand moreguns, the solutionof the humanprobIems broughtabout by these changesprovedif allythingeven moredifficalt. Two sets of people, mariners and militarygentlemenJ whobelonged to very different spheres of life and whoin the past had had few professional contactswith eachotherwereas a resultof thesedevelopments forcedto collaborate morecloselyandforlonger periods thanthey haddonebefore. A definite patternof teamwork embracing both sets did not exist and could not exist at this stage unless an outside authontywerestrongenough to imposeit as in France andSpain. In England, in that situation,status-battles and a strugglefor positionwereunavoidable. Throwntogetherby circumstances beyondtheir power,both groupstned to preserve in their new relationship their traditional modeof life andthe professionalstandards to whichthey wereaccustomed. Both failedand resentedit. In Franceand SpaJn,the grouanginterdependence of these two groups producedvery similarproblems. But the solutionwas, at one time or the other, imposedfrom above. Openconfiictsbetweenseamenand gentlemen were hardly ever allowedto develop. They were suppressed by stact and immovable regulations. The two groups,therefore, never becamefully integrated. Nordid militaryand nauticalfunctions amalgamate. Noblemen and gentlemen remained in essencemilitarygentlemenand nothingelse. It was quite unthinkable that they shouldpass for a time througha trainingakin to that of a craftsman; or that craftsmen shouldbecomein any respecttheir equals. They continued,in fact, up to the French Revolutionand even longer,to regardand to conductthemselves moreor less as specialized detachmentsof the land army. Professional seamencontinued to providetransport for soldiers. The social distancebetweenthe two groupswas so great that neitherfeud nor fusion could ensue.

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In England, on the other hand, with its differentsocial and political organization, men from both groupsbecamefor a time naval officers. Collaborationbetween the two groups was closer than in France and Spain; undisgliised tensionsand open feudsweremorefrequent; they persistedfrom Elizabeth'stime to that of Williamof Orange. As a result, there emerged graduallya new divisionand hierarchy of dutiescomprising both groups,and these duties were both military and nauticalin character.
IV

The ixiitial relationbetweenthe two groupswas unequivocal; both knew their place. During part of the sixteenth century, the professional seamen were still undisputedmastersin their own field. The King, like other shipowners,usuallyleft each of his ships in the care of a master-mariner and his associates. The leading corporation of ship masters,the " Brotherhood of the most glorious and undindedTnnity " at Deptford-sur-Strand, was, during part of this century,in chargeof the CrownDepots at Deptfordand of the " Navy Royall" generally. It was this Corporation, the TrinityHouse,which selected the master for each of the King's ships. The master,on his part, brought his own " gang" together includingother craftsmenofficerslike boatswain, master carpenter,master gunner and cook. They formed the permanentstaff of the ship. The captain, on the other hand, was " lawfullychosenby a General".l He in turn was " to makechoiceof his lieutenant00.2 And at the end of the journeybothleft the ship. They,the militaryofficers, wereappointed temporarily as the occasionarose. However,whenin the courseof the sixteenthcenturymilitaryoperations at sea becamemorefrequent,and particularly after the exploitsof pnvateers like Hawkins andDrakehadopenedbeforethe youthof Englandnewprospects of fame and wealth, young gentlemenwere attractedin greaternumbersto the sea.3 Fromthat time on, for morethan a century,two groupsof officers existedin the navy, with few mterruptions, sideby side. Theywereknownby such names aLs " land capts" and " sea captains" or " gentlemencommanders" and " seamencommanders";4 the latter, after the Restoration, becamealso known as tarpaulincommanders or tarpaulins.5 But whatever their names,in their own time the differences betweenthe two groupswere obvious. Later generations often forgot or misunderstood what may have
Sir William Monson, NavaZTracts, ed. by M. Oppenheim, I9I3, vol. IV, p. I4. Ibid., p. I5s { Look at Drake. His reputation is so great that his countrymen Socli to him to share his booty " Cal. S. P. Ven., Aug. 20, I588. ' The term " commancler ", throughoutthat period, referredto the actual function of people, not to any specific rank. It could be applied to all people in command of a ship. 5 " Tarpaulin", a piece of canvas washed over with tar, was at that time what one might call the over-all of the ordinary seaman. It had many uses. It could be employed as cover during the night; it could provide shelter from sun and wind or serve as a raincoat. So, from the name of what they used as a garment, " Tarpaulin" became the sobriquetof the men. Being rather a long and 1lnhanflyword for a nickname, in course of times it became " tar " pure and
2
simple.

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state of affairs. Their appealed to them as a strangeand sncomprehensible took it for granted; they could alwaystell to whichof these contemporaries belonged. For althoughmen fromboth naval officer two groupsa particular in the navy, at least nominally,the same functions,had groups performed often the same rank and competed,to some extent, for the same positions, trainingbut alsoto their not only to theirprofessional withregard they differed social descent. althoughin details their careersvarieda good The seamencommanders, deal, had this in common,that they were craftsmenor " artists". They all had started as shipboysearly ln life; they had served their apprenticeship on board ship usually for seven years. Whetherthey had done so in a madelittle difference;nordid it very much or in a man-of-war merchant-man fromoneto the other. In course laterin life they had changed matterwhether they had become corporation, of time, with the dueconsentof the shipmasters' masters,slowly and by degreesif they had nothingbut their meritsto speak for them, moreeasily and quicklyif they had moneyor friendsto help them. as commander by chanceor by choice,appointment Then,they had procured, of one of the King's ships, usually, at the beginning,of one of the smaller ship enlisted vesselssuch as a frigateor a fifth rate, or perhapsof a merchant braveor in the King'sserviceduringa war. And if they wereexceptionally lucky, there was, in principle,nothing to prevent them from rising to the position of an admiral. The " gentlemencommanders",on the other hand, came to thew commard muchln the sameway as othermilitaryofiicers. Therewas no question the trade of an or of leg for them of going throughan apprenticeship mighthave passed" through commander seaman. Whilea tarpaulin Ordinary in all the officesand degreesin a ship" 1 beforehe had becomea commander the King's service, for gentlemen,newcomersas they were to the sea, no for the sea existedin senes of steps, no reglllarmethodof traiIiing comparable Elizabeth'stime; and all attemptsmade duringthe seventeenthcenturyto seriesof steps for them failed establisha similartrainingarlda corresponding moreor less, mainlybecauseone couldhardlyhopeto attractyounggentlemen with their status to the navy by forcingupon them a trainingincompatible or apprentices that is, togetherurithyoung craftsmen and honour,a trailiing, at least similarto theirs. art by sharing learnedthe seamen's of cases,gentlemen In a smallnumber seamen. Like Monsonor for a tirnethe hard and roughlife of professional 2 As a rule, all that was they became privateersor pirates. Mainwaring
1 Monson, Naval Tracts, vol. IV, p. 24. hIonson stressed the differencebetween the authonty of captains in the Royal Navy who " had power from a General" and that of " private captains " who had merely been granted letters of reprisal. The latter was in exactly the same position as the master and other mariners their OWD whether he was a professional seaman or a gentleman. For they all went out " Ox1 adventure " and received no pay. " Therefore they will ", wrote Monson who was obviously speaking from experience, " tie the captain to the same conditions, in his dietJ. . . as themselves are tied. His authority is little better than the captain in a pirate " (Naval Tracts,vol. IVJP. I7). The diflerencebetween privateers and pirates was at that time not as great as it may appear to
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was in the narry qualifyfor a commission reqed of a gentlemanin ordertcx a few sea journeysas volunteeror in a similarcapacity which involved no regulartraining. It was only in the early eighteenthcentury that a post devethe post of a midshipman, and station in the careerof youngmarlners, loped finally into a regulartratningstation reservedfor young gentlemen. By then, however,the dividingline betweenthose who were, and those who were not, regardedas gentlemenhad slightly shifted its place in the social spectrum. many gentlemenwent to the Duringthe seventeenthcenturr,therefore, by favouror purchase. appointments procuring sea with little sea-expenence, who only take uponthem that name wrote,l" Captains as Monson They were-, holdmg it a maxime that they need not experience". In the same vein, wlth the same Pepys half a centurylater, still strugglingnot too successfully upon the Elizabethannalryratherwistfully: 2 problem,remarked
Observe. . . that in '88, though there was a noblemanAdrniral,they were fain to make two plain tarpaulins,Drake and Hawkyns, their Vice- and Reartherewerea great many men of qualityin the fleet.... Adm*als notwithstanding could be (morethan to shew their prowess) But of what servicetheir inexperience is easy to be judged.

trainlngand career of between the professional The markeddifference these two groupsof officerswas, in other words,closely connectedwith an in their social antecedents. The seamencaptalns equally markeddifference came as a rule fromwhat one might call the urbanmiddleand lowerclasses. They belongedto the mass of the commonpeoplecompnsing,at that time, wealthy merchantsas well as poor craftsmenand artisans. The gentlemen on the other hand were courtiersor at least men with Court capts connections. Like other people moving in court society they came for the greater part from nobility and gentry. Even if they were of middle-class descent, as sometimeshappened,life at Courtconferredon them a special social status. For membersof Courtsociety formeda group apart. They distinpshed themselvesfrom membersof other social groupsnot only by influenceand powerdenved fromclose contactswith their real or pretended those who ruled the land, but also by their maers and ambitions,their virtues and nces and their whole mode of life. madem the seventeenthcenturybetweengentlemen Thusthe distinction of that made captains and seamencaptainsin the nalrywas the equilralent in society at large betweenmen of quality and men of mean birth. It was in London,betweencourtiers closely connectedwith that made, particularly by a wide social and citizens. Onland, these classesof peoplewereseparated gulf. At the outbreakof the civil war, most courtiersand citizensbelonged
us. The formerplundered,burned and destroyed foreign ships with the permissionof Queen or Historie of Virginia,I629, chap. 28, King, the latter without it. Capt. John Smith in his Generall mentioned a number of Elizabethan sea-ofiicers who in King James's time for lack of employment, because they " were poore and had nothing but from hand to mouth", became pirates officersfor his navby. and were " mercifullypardoned" when the King needed again encpenenced X Monson, Naval Tracts, vol. IV, p. I4. atav Minxtes, ed. by J. R Tanner, N.R.S., Ig26, p. II9. s G. PepysJ

the City of Tendon, their own cause.

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to oppositecamps; and the seamenof the navy joinedhandswith the citizens in protectingParliament.l Ashore,they lived in difielentworlds. Courtiers couldhardlyadmitcommon peopleto theiracquaintance on termsof equality, let aloneof tntimacy, vethoutlowering themselves. Yet in the navy menfrom both groups,gentlemenand seamen,wereforcedinto closercontacts. There, differentin socisl rank as they were, they often held positionsof equal prb fessionalrank; it could even happenthat the roles were reversedand that gentlemenbecamethe subordmates of their social infenors. Obnously,this situationwas liable to give rtse to tensionsand conflicts. In orderto see it in perspective, one has to remember how different werethe social diorisions of that period from those of the nineteenthand twentieth centunes. Wealth,in the seventeenthcentury,certainlycountedfor much; but birth axldupbringing still took precedence over wealthas factorsof social rank, and caste over class. In the courseof the nineteenthand twentieth centunes socii life revolved more and more aroundtensions and conflicts between middleandlowerclasses. Corresponding socialtensions werecertainly not absentduringthe seventeenthcentury,but they werestill overshadowed by thosebetweenthe mlddleand lowerclasseson the one handand the upper classes on the other. From the seventeenthcentury on, the upper layers of the commercial classesdrewnearer to the upperclasses; craftsmen and artisans,on the other
I942,

with us too morrowto defend the Parlisment by water with muskets and other ammusiitionsi searerallressels which was accepted by us." A panwphlPt, " The omwrl's Protestation . . . concerning their Ebbing and Flowing to and bom the ParliamPnt House at Westminster, the tIth of January I642", also indicateS how strong was the {eeling rmang the seanaenof ffie navy that the cause of Parliament, and of " . . . a rumourbeing spread amongst us that that great Court was in fear to be dissolved, and howmg too well the happiness of this Kingdom consists in their services, rememberingthe wordsof Arch-bishopCranmer,a bIartyrof ever ble memory,which were: WO be to England when there is no Pat1itmfbnts we seeing and heaeiIlg the whole City to be in compleat arms, presently turrkedfreshwater soldiers, and with as sudden expedition as we could, attended by water their progressthither, and joyned our thunder of powder with the City Muskets, at their entrance into the House, (the Temple of our safety) to the terrourwe hope of all Papists and the Ands R-nemi".... We who are alwayes abroad can best tell no governmentupon the Earth is comparableto it; . . . Witnesse tihe heavie and lamentable distractions in France, Spain and Germalliefor want of them or the like Government.... Now the kingdom is involved iD a civill war and a mighty Army of Papists (and Atheists) contrary to the known Lawes of the Land are in Arms against the Parliament,if they could, to destroy the same and so trample the Common Laws and the CONIMONS of Frigizrfl under foot, and to make us all slaves in our Religion, immuniti and priviledges. It behoves us that are geamen to bestir us and looke about us the better and the rather because we, and who but we, are to nanage the Navy of ships which are and ever have beene accomptedthe brven Walles of the Kingdom against Forrasnne
invasion . . ."

1 Jo2ernal of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, ed. by W. H. Coates, New Haven, Yale University Prew, p. 348, IO J. I64t (I642): " A propution came from the saylen and minen to bee

Sir John Laughton, in a paper " Historiansand Naval History " (publ. in Navat and AIilitary Essays,Cambridge,I9I4, pp. 4 .), complaining,on good grounds,that the influenceon England's national life attnbuted to the Navy in historical studies was usually confined to battles won at sea and main+ainirgthat, in fact, this influencewas far greateraxldwider, gave among others the following example (p. 7): " . . . it is, I think, Amiliarly kno that in the Civil War of the searenteentih century, the Navy adhered to the Parliament,but as no battles were fought, the advantage to the ParLiament was believed to be trifling, if not negligible. It was left for Dr. Gardiner,after more than two hundredyears, to show that it was really the detel.s.ining factor of the struggle; but even Gardinerdid not consider it necemsary to examine why the Nalry took the Parliamentarzr side."

NORBERT

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3ot

hand,peopleengaged m manual work,sanklowerin the socialscale; and from the latter part of the eighteenthcentuIgon the chief dividingline of society, the mainaxis of tensions,shiftedmoredefinitely to the commercial and industnal sectionof the population, dividingit into two camps,the working classes and the middleclasses. In the seventeenthcentury,the line of demarcation betweenthe ncher and the poorersectionsof the commercialclasseswas still less sharply drawn. The differenceswithin these classes, great enough ixI themselves,weresmallcompared to those separating all these groupstogether from the upperdasses and particularly from Courtsociety.
v

The relationship betweengentlemenand seamenin the navy was greatly influenced by that betweenthe broader strataof Englishsocietyto whichthey belonged. Gentlemen who cameas officers on boardship naturallycontinued as best they couldto live in the style to whichthey wereaccustomed. They assumedas a matterof coursetowardsseamenthose attitudesof supenority which had becomesecondnatureursth them in their relationmathpeopleof inferiorsocialrank.l They were,in short,separated by a wide gap fromthe rest of the ship's company. The socialdistancebetweenseamencaptainsand their subordinates was, by companson,small. A seaman captain was not above dining unth his subalternofiicers. He might, as Sir WilliamBooth did, sleep for years on deck " with nothingolrerhim but a tarpaollirl that his seamenbe the better contented".2 If he took his young son on a journey,we might find the capt's son learning, plapg andbeingwhipped togetherwiththe children of boatswainand carpenter.3 And unlessthe captainhad moremoney,his son's chancesin life wereprobably not verydifferent fromthoseof his playmates. Nor was thereany great difference betweenthe socialstatus of a seaman commander in the navyandof the commander of a merchant-man. Whenthe middleand lowerclassesbecamemoredifferentiated and the gap betweenthe naval and the merchant senriceundened, the officers of the formercame as a
1 Richard Gibson, a clerL: in the Navy office at the time of Pepys and an ardent partisan of the sOmen, os!..p*red m a memorandum(published m Life and Worksof Sis Henry Mainwaring,N.R.S., l922, vol. II, p. Issxvi f.) the attitudes and qualifi^ationc of genflemenofficer_and se3men oficers. Though obviously biased, the companson is, m some respects, quite instructiere. " . . . A gentleman i8 put into command of (suppose a) 4th rate shipp, complement 200 men; he shall bring neare 20 lanflmen into the shipp, as hic footmen, taylor, barber, Eddlers, decayed kindred, voluntier gentleman or acquaintance, as companions. These shall harrethe scodation of a master's mate, mirlshipman,quartermaster,master trumpeter, cowswaiDe etc. and too often their pay.... Now all that gentle-men captaines bring aboard with them, are of bishop Willinmws opinion, that Providence mnde man to live ashore, and it is necessity that drives him to sea. When on the contrary, a seomAn, as soon as he has commzntl of a 4th rate hipp of 200, has none bPlonFngto him but such as devout themselves to the sea as a trade. . .. " A mxn captaiD takes up less of the shipp for his accomodation. " A gentlen*n captain ims the steridge for his grandeur,quarterdeck for his pidgeonsetc. " A se8JTInn u bmili:tramongst his men, talking to severall on the watch, is upon deck all night m foul weather, gives the most active a dram of his bottle. " A gentlemnn has a sentinrll at his great cabbin doore (to ke sxlencein the belfry) and Oft dmes beates his master for not comeing to him foslhwith when hee rings his bell iD the night...." s Pepys, Tangicr Papers, ed. by Edw. Chappell, N.R.S., x933, p. t35. $ Ramblin' Jack, thc Jowrnal of Captvin John Cremer,I700X774, T4pflof, I936, pp. 45 S.

302

THE

GENESIS

OF THE NAVAL

PROFESSION

rule froma highersocialstratumthan those of the latter. At the end of the seventeenthcentury,we can still find in the same family one son a captain in the navy, anothermasterof a merchantship.l We can find officers of the navy takingoverpostsas masters in the merchant service,masters of merchantmengettingcommissions in the navy. Eventhe Mateof a merchantman could say that he " considered himself full equal of any man holdingthe King's commission ".2 The antecedents and familyconnections of seamencommanders showthe same pattern. Someof them were sons or brothersof well-to-domerchants. Capt. ThomasBest, for instance,who was " bred to the sea " in the usual manner, procured the command of a shipwith his father'shelp,foughtin I6I2 as an East-Indiatraderthe once famousaction off Swally (at the mouth of the Surat river)againsta superiorPortugluese force, and as a fairly wealthy man left the East India tradefor the King'sservice. Wars,or the threat of wars, always inducedthe governmentto employ a considerable numberof merchant-ships.The ownersand commanders of ships " so taken up by the government"were often employedto command them for the Crown.3 This was one of the many ways in whichmerchants, ship-owners or ship masters might become naval captains. Sir ThomasAllin4, a native of Lowestoft, appears to have been originally a merchant and ship-owner. At the outbreak of the civil warhe adhered like his native town to the King. In I665, he was knightedand appointedadm*al of the blue under Lord Sandwich. In the navy of the Commonwealth, formermerchants, ship-owners and shipsmasters played an even more prominentpart. Richard Deane, James Peacock, NehemiahBourne,RichardBadiley, they all, apparently,had gained some sea expenenceas merchants or shipownersbeforethey becamecaptains,lriceadmiralsor adrnirals in the Commonwealth navy. Giles Penn, a captainin the navy, was at anothertime of his life consulfor the Englishtrade in the Mediterranean.His eldest son becamean opulentmerchantin Spain; his youngestson William, bornat Bristolin I62I, " servedwith his fatherfroma boy in variousmercantile voyages",5becamean admiralin the time of the Commonwealth, servedin the samecapacityunderCharles II and wasknighted for his services. ZIany other tarpaulincommanders came from a stock of craftsmen. Therewere sons of mastermariners or mastergunnerswho in courseof time
1 Ramblin' Jack, the Journal of Captain John Cremer,I700-I774, London, I936, pp. 33 ff. John Cremer'sfather made his living as master of merchant-men. His father's brother was a captain in the navy, his cousin a naval l,ieutenant. His mother was the daughter of a master rope-maker " living high " and keeping his coach and livery. His mother's sister was mamed to " Captain Masne, uncle to Admirall Maine". He was brought up by an aunt who was first married to a Captain (without specification), then to a storekeeper in the Customs-house whose nephewwas a naval captain. His grandmother,widow of the master ropemaker marriedfor a second fne an " old gentleman who had two sons, lieutenants in the navy, and three daughters, one of whom was married to a captain of an East-India-man, one to a master of a merchant-man and the third to a wealthy farmer". 2 Journal of Edw. Barlow, col. by B. Lubbock, I934, II, 328. 8 G. Penn, Memorials of theProfessionalLife and Timesof Sir Williae7D Penn, s833, vol. I, p. 3. ' Arfcle ln Dict. of Na. Biography. 5 G. Pe, Memosials, p. 5.

3o3 had followed in ther fathers' footsteps. Penn, for instance, while still a master,had trained,and taught to te, one GeorgeLeake,who himselfhad been " taken to sea by his own father while a very little boy and bred by times to do anything of a boy's work as Penn was too''.l GeorgeLeake becamelater well knownas a mastergunner. He was the fatherof Admiral Sir John Leake. The textureof that largesocialgroupfromwhichthe seamencommanders camewas in manyways different fromthat of any comparable groupof a fully developed industnal society. If one applies to it present-daylabels, for nstance that of " middle classes", one cannot lose sight of the fact that craftsmenand artisans,people who worked,or who had worked,with their own hands,could be foundnot only in its lower,but also in its higherlayers, that its ranksshadedover imperceptibly into what we might call the " lower classes", and that by far the greaterpart of the members of this groupwere not regardedand did not regardthemselvesas gentlemen.2 In the majorityof cases the seamencommanders came probablyneither from the richest nor from the poorestsection of the commonpeople. The small groupof merchantprinces,peoplelike Sir ThomasSmytheor William Cockayne of the East-IndiaCompany, certainly knew moreprofitable ways of employingtheir time than that of commanding a man-of-war. For a poor lad without fnends or family influence,on the other hand, it was not very easy to rise above the subordinatepositions on board ship. In order to obtain the more profitableplace of a master,it was usually necessaryto have either a benevolentpatronor some money of one's own to pay for the appointment. The detailed descnptionby EdwardBarlow3 of his struggle for advancement fromthe station of mate to that of masterduling the later half of the seventeenthcentury,showshow difficultit was for a man starting without patron or money to obtain the commandof a merchantship or to rise in the King's service. However, this moneybarrier wascertainly not insuperable. In fact, ql}ite a numberof people who came from the poorersections of the commercial classes,fromthe " lowerclasses" as we mightcall them,roseto the command of a man-of-war. Amongthem the best knownis probably Sir Cloudesley Shovel4 who was
1 Pepys, Tangier Papers, p. 288. The top layer of the commercialclasses was at that period represented by the governors and directors of the great trading companies, especially of the East-India Company. In Queen Elisabeth's charter of I600 neither the governor nor any of the 24 directors of this Company was designated as " gentleman"; in that of James I the governor was a knight, but the 24 directors ^^rere still plain citizens. In Charles II's charter of I66I the governor and II of the 24 directors were called " knights ", one director was a peer, another was styled as " esquire " and the rest as " gentlemen " (India Ofiice Library, Quarto of Chartersquoted in W. W. Hunter, History of India, I900, vol. II, p. I88). This is one example of the transformationin the course of ^rhichthe cleavage between the upper and upper middle classes became less, that between the latter and the lower classes more pronounced. 3 Journal of Edw. Barlor, transcr. and ed. by B. Lubbock, London, I934. 4 C. I650-I707. The famous story how he swam as a boy with irtlportantdispatches in hi8 mouth through the line of the enemy fire is in all probability apocryphal. Neither the tracts written in praise of Shovel shortly after his death, nor Campbell,in his Life of theBritish Admirals, from the middle of the eighteenth century, mentioned it. Charnock,in his BiographiaNavalis,
2

NORBERT

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304

THE

GENESIS

OF

THE

NAVAL

PROFESSION

beforehe went to the sea as a cabin-boy apprentice a shoemaker's apparently tuTo Myngs1 and later under Sir John Narborough,2 under Sir Christopher who in courseof time becameadmirals. He is other tarpaulincommanders as the exceptionalcase of a man becomingadmiral sometimesremembered who had " crept in at the howse-hole",who in other wordshad started as a simple seamanbeforethe mast. However,althoughexceptionalqualities his career as captaLn up to his appointment him to becomean admiral, enabled was the normal career of a tarpaulincommander. Among his colleagues, on a Leithtradingsmack,and 3 madehisstart as apprentice Sir David WIitchell was later a mate in the Baltic trade; during the second Dutch war, he waa pressed into the navy, distinguishedhimself, was made second to the lieutenantin I677, lieutenantin I680, and captainin I684. According Biograp}iaNavalis4 he was " probablynot employeddunng King James, faith as fromhavingbeen one as well fromhis knownaversiollto the Catholic of those who first repairedto the Prince of Orange". High in William's of the blue and groomof the bedfavour,he becamein I693 rear-admiral to some writersas John Benbowstarted accordirlg chamber. Vice-Admiral to others as a butcher'sapprentice.6 He ran boy,6 according a waterman's seaman. of the professional awayto the sea andwent throughthe usualtraining
from *equently career. squadron the many further Bay the In near maxTied always was His pher and little detailed and above as that time of the after knighted with
|

the

end

of

the to and in in the his

eighteenth probably the as

century, a part

treated explanation

it of

as what

authentic. one against was the made policy At the regarded a lieutenant the of himself command he John was

Later as in captain James in battle of in-Chief Sir Tripoli

it his

was John corsairs

accepted Narborough's by rate. made of with British and His he

and "

repeated According in other progtess

" extraordinary burning Like little Bantry was Admiral fleets. droed daughter being

Biographia tSavalis he
himself In before after enemy In unsuccessful his old chief by the he same disagreed He was he attempt and in the year

was fight he with

I674
tarpaulin

distinguished harbour. commanders career shortly the Delaval. the of

dey's

ships

of the of the of

a II La

fifth and Battle

I688.
\Villiam line,

distinguished of put was Orange. in on protector, wrrote in his joint Toulon Sir Commander

and first

was to on wife Lord and and his

knighted break Sir through Ralph return islands. was the Under at to if not this

Hogue,

fleet the

Killigrew

I705,

I707,
the His

from widow

shipecked

Scilly

STarborough. " His " this in the (AIyngs's) daughter statement the North BIvnnes, daughter

Romney.

1 I62566.
frequently father of Parr, seventeenth that towards all our statement of such . . the

I3 January
day a The false. hase been family. to of

1666

Pepys and

Diary: a hoyman's that of

father of is of of which

shoemaker His

his were kinsman mother,

mother of if

he

boast." entirely old Norfolk type,

Dict. of Nat. Biographyadds


parents a near His well-to-do not Katherine to the in unless property, and family about of actually as
|

certainly Norfolk. repreChristosixteenth be a said, more owner For if it sas In known the

exaggerated, sentative

families Parr, seamen naval of they of family otas a of the was

. seems owner of this centuries, stock elucidating of the by was

a son

>'icholas

a good

property." particularly be like the social and size status be can found " good status character to accorded with frequently family of a of " regard or this commanders biogrraphies. property are the by " good Sir In few " help accompanied occupation his family" Christopher the naxT he who of tarpaulins no person of only contemporaries. of the It may by its can enough family

Controversies therefore,

phrases the may its there always

" ourner

comparatisely

social

a man

his

whatever regarded In his as he own one was

opinion respect, he the in the tarpaulin

a seventeenth-century be little as He In doubt a man was

contemporaries. the one flag as status descent. of vice-adnniral noted, BIyngs. was remained squadron; quality s-as regarded common

commanders.

in favour present

Restoration.

I665;

but of

in Sir

his I664 he hoisted at his funeral, I666, William Coventry.

of a Channel

Pepys

exception

4 Chaock, Biographia Navalis, I794, vol. II, p. ' Biographia Britannica, I747, vol. I, p. I79.

I640-88.

I650

(?)-I7I0.

I05, 6

Dict. of Nat. Biography.

NORBERT

ELIAS

3o5

In I678, we find him as master's mate,in I679 as masterm the King'sseruce, then for many years as master, and perhapsas owner, in commandof a merchantship, then againin the navy, (I689) as third lieutenant underCapt. I)avid Mitchellat the battle of Beachy Head and againin I692 at the battle of La Hogue. In I693 he was in commandof a flotillaof bomb vessels and fireships, servedas rear-admiral in I695 and, in I70I, as Commander-in-chief in the West Indies. He successfully fought the Frenchander Du Casseoff Carthagena in I702 althoughdesertedby the otherships of his squadronand diedshortlyafterof his wounds. He has beendescribed as " a plaindownright seaman" who " spoke and acted upon all occasionswithout any respectof personsand svith the outmost freedom''.l His son was like himself " bred to the sea". He went in I70I to the East Indies as a fourthmate.2
VI

Both the family background and the careerof a gentlemancommander were quite different. Some of them, like Lord Effinghamand the other Howards,were noblemen,courtiersand militaryofficersof the highestrank. They took over the command of a naval armyin the same way as any o.ther military commandrelying for all manne problemsentirely on professional mariners. Otherswere noblemenand gentlemen impovenshed or pooraccording to ther standardswho were frst attractedto the sea by the hope of restoring their fortune,peoplelike AdmiralThomasCavendish 3 who was in the words of Campbell
a gentlemandescendedfrom a noble family of Devonshireand possessedof a very plentiful estate which he being a man of wit and great good humourhurt pretty deeply by his expencesat court. Upon this he took it into his head to repairhis shatteredfortunesat the expence of the Spaniardswith which view he built two ships from the stocks . . . and sailed from Plymouth on the twenty first of July
I586.4

Otherscame from the landed gentry, youngersons usually, or sons of younger sons, with a courtieras patron,people like Vice-Admiral Aylmer, secondson of Sir Christopher Aylmerof Balrathin the countyof Meath,who was page to the Duke of Buckingham when a boy, got on the Duke'srecommendation a place as volunteeron one of the King'sships,becamelieutenant in I678, commander of a sloopin I679, captainof a secondratein I690, andnceadmiraland commissioner of the nalryin I6g4.5 EdwardRussell,the father of AdmiralRussell,later Earl of Orford,6 was a youngerbrotherof the first
1 Campbell,Lives of the Admirals, I750, vol. IV, p. 233: " . . . in King CharlesII's reign he uas owner and commanderof a ship called the Benbow Frigate.... He was always considered by the merchants as a bold, brave and active commander . . . no man was better . . . respected by the merchants upon the Exchange than captain Benbow.... The diligence and activity of Captain Benbow could not fail of recommendinghim to the favour of . . . King William to whose personalkindness founded on a just sense of Benbow's ment he owed his being so early promoted to a flag." 2 Ibid.. p. 2343 I560*2. 4 Life of the British Admirals vol. I. 5 J. Charnock, Biographia Cavalis, vol. II. p. 35. ' I653-I;27

306

THE GENESIS

OF THE NAVAL

PROFESSION

son of Sir WinstonCharchill,2 Duke of Bedford. AdmiralGeorgeChurchill,l was a youngerbrotherto John, firstDukeof Marlborough.Sir Ralf Delaval, belongedto the Sir GeorgeRooke and many other gentlemencommanders same category. Othersagainwerethe sons and relativesof peoplewho held courtoffices. The father of Sir GeorgeAyscue was gentlemanof the privy chamberto was Legge,laterLordDartmouth, I. EdwardLegge,fatherof George Charles was a sister of the Srst I's bed-chamber;his grandmother groomof Charles Lord Buckingham. were sons of what we A small numberof the gentlemencommanders men". But in most cases their fatherswere wouldnow call " professional men in the King'sserviceor at any rate in close contactwith the professional court. EdwardHerbert,the father of AdniiralHerbert,was a gentleman I, attachedhimself to Charles of the long robe. He acted as attorney-general in exile to the Duke of York and was later appointedLord Keeperof the great seal. AdmiralKilligrewwas the son of a clergyman. But his farnily for morethan two generations. His great-grandfather had court connections courtier his grandfather of QueenElizabeth, was a groomof the pnvy chamber and M.P. His father'ssister, Lady Shannon,was one of the mistressesof of the cilril was at the outbreak II. His father,Dr. HenryKilligrew, Charles to the Dukeof York. Killigrew to the King'sarmy,laterchaplain warchaplain a courtierand a gentleman. He receivedhis first himselfwas by upbringing comssion after a short serviceas volunteer. Admiral moreclearlyoneneedonlycompare In orderto see the difference Sir John commander, with that of a tarpauSin family background Willigrew's underLord Dartmouthin I683, whose father was also BelTy,vice-admiral turned Berry'sfatherwas a countryvicar,apparently a clergyrnan. However, duringthe civil war, who died and impovenshed out of his living, plundered, childrenand little to live on. John Berry, his leaving a nadowwith e I7 years old when his father died, went to Plymouth,bound second of severalships,went to sea and part-owner to a merchant, himselfapprentice May. He obtained seamanin the ordinary learnedthe tradeof a professional on a ketchof the Royal with the help of somefnendsthe placeof a boatsssrain his wayup fromthis place,stepby step,to that of lieutenant, Navy, andworked of the navy. Pepys knewhim well; and commissioner captain,vice-adrniral he left us in his notes from the Tangierexpeditionin I683 recordsof the he had dunng that journeywith Sir John Berry and another conversations Booth,whowascaptainof the SirNVilliam commander, distinpshed tarpaulin expedition'sflagship. Like everybodyelse, Pepys regardedBerry not as a and Slr seaman. Thus, AdmiralKilligresY gentleman,but as a professional came in fact from very John Berry, althoughthey were sons of clergymen,
son,3

named after his materIlalgrandfatber,Sir HexlryWiIlstonof Standiston. Winston of the Court of Claimsin Ireland and Churchill,knighted in I663, was afterwardsCossioner one of the Clerk Comptrollersof the Green-Cloth. ' Campbell, Life of the Admirals, I750, vol. III, p. 279 f.

1 I654-I7I0. | I62088,

3o7 differentsocial classes,l and belongedto differentgroupsof officersin the navy. Very occasionally, it happenedthat men of commonbirth pretended to the role and status of gentlemencommanders;but, in these cases too, court patronageand familiaritywith the outlook and mannersof courtiersseems to have been an essentialcondition. Pepys made a note that according to Sir WilliamBooth " there are four or five captainswhichhe knowsto have been footmen,companions of his own footman,who now reckonthemselves among the fine fellows and gentlemencaptainsof the fleet". And Pepys added as an afterthought: " . . . it makesme reflectupon it that by the meaningof gentlemencaptainsis understoodeverybodythat is not a bred and understanding seaman. ., .X} 2 We know of a few gentlemenwho learnedthe trade of a seamanmore orlessin the manner of theirsocialinferiors. SirWilliam Monson,3 forinstance, well linownas one of the Elizabethan privateer commanders and as authorof the Naval Tracts,ran away to sea, probablyin I585, after some years at Balliol, and learnedthe trade of a seamanfor a time in the same hard and rough manneras an ordinarysailor. In I587, he took the commandof a privateership, enteredthe naval sece and served first as volunteerand shortly after, underthe patronage of the Earl of Cumberland, apparentlyas vice-admiral. He took his M.A.at Oxford in I594, served,in I596, as captain, and lateras Essex'sflagcaptain,in the navy, was knightedafterhis expedition to Cadiz and acquiredfame and wealth when he captureda rich prize in Cezirnbra Bay. He had familyconnections with the courtof both Elizabeth and James I. His elderbrotherwas one of the Queen'schancellors and one of the King's master falconers. Monsoncombinedin fact the trainingand experience of a professional seamanwith those of a gentlemanand courtier. But hybridsof this type werenot very numerous even in Elizabeth's time whensocialmobilitywas comparatively great. They becamerarerstill ander the Stuarts. People spoke more and moreopenly of seamenand gentlemen as of two difierentclasses of naval officers. And after the civil war class consciousness was so acute that, in naval circles,and to some extent in the country at large, everybodytook the distinctionbetween gentlemencommandersand seamencommanders for granted.
1 A century later, *om the second part of the eighteenth century on, the status of a gentleman was accorded to clergymen, and to their sons, more or less as a matter of course. In the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries professionaltraining and professionalfunctions alone did not confer on people the status of a gentleman. The higher clergy, especially the bishops, ranked as gentlemen because these positions were usually reserved for people born into the gentlemen classes. The poorer clergy ranked with craftsmen, tradesmen and workmen because they mostly came rom, and lived like, the common people. And other occupations which we call professions, for instance that of lawyers, were equally divided; they did not form part of what later generations came to call the " professionalmiddle classes ". As for the naval profession, anomalousin its conditions was not so much the fact that it recruiteditself from different sections of society, but rather the fact that men from the lower sections could occupy the same positions and rise to the same ranks as those from the higher. 2 Pepys, Tangter Papers, N.R.S., I935, p. I2I. 3 Sir William Monson, Naval Tracts, ed. by M. Oppenheim, N.R.S., I902, vol. I, General Introduction.

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OF THE NAVAL

PROFESSION

One cannot say with any degreeof precisionhow many naval officers belongedat a given time to each of these two categories.l The proportion of the navy and the generalpolicy changedwith the changingrequirements of the government. But one can say that from the end of the sixteenth to in the of the eighteenthcenturyboth groupswererepresented the beginning developthe to preventoneof themfromdominating sufficient navyin numbers with it alonein accordance and fromfashioning ment of the naval profession its ovvnstandards,traditionsand interests. It was in fact the precarious betweenthese two groups,reflecting tug-of-war and the recurrent equilibnum the as it did the balanceof forcesin the countryat large, whichdominated duringthese early stages of its development. history of the naval profession
VII

one may find it difficult,at first, to visualizea profession In retrospect, training in which people of differentsocial rank and differentprofessional with eachother and, at the samete, struggled togetheras colleagues worked as nvals. of the sixteenthand seventeenthcentunes the navalprofession However, in which two differentsocial and prowas certainlynot the only profession fessionalgroups,for a time, workedand struggledwith each other. The perairforce,for instance, was recruitedearly in the sonnel of the rudimentary twentiethcentury,partly from men with the outlookof aviatorsand partly the from militaryofiicers. In that case too it was necessaryto co-ordinate and,to someextent,of different mentality workof twosets of peopleof different as short,and the rivalry socialantecedents. But the disputebetweenthem *s restrained. Nor are situationsof this type confinedto the historyof militaryprt for instance,two groupswith differentsocial antecedents fessions. ToWday, and differentprofessionalqualificationsare sharing with each other the managementof state industries. People in charge of these industriesare class partlyfromthe middleclassesand partlyfrommen of working recruited descent. It wouldnot be difficultto find otherexamplesof this kind in past and present. In fact, a similar phase, an initial antagonismand struggle for positionbetweenrival groups,may be foundin the early historynot only of but of almost every institution. If one attemptedto workout professions, a generaltheory of the genesis of institutionsone would probablyhave to of a nascentinstitution. say that the initial conflictis one of the basicfeatures One can go still further; one can say that similar status-battlesand strugglesfor position,longeror shorter,as the case may be, can be found
1 R. Gibson has left a list of all tarpaulin commanderswho from the time of Elizabeth up to his own time became flag officers. Apparently,his list does not include tarpaulin commanders sho became flag officersunder William III. Gibson mentions 6 Admirals,g Vice-admtralsand 4 Rear-admirals (Life and Forks of Sir Henry Mainwaring, N.R.S., I922, vol. II, p. xc). It seems reasonableto assume that among captains, masters and commandersetc. the proportion of professional seamen was usually greater than among admirals.

N ORBERT

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whenever individuals, initiallyindependent, are about to mergeinto a group, or smaller groups into a larger. In that sense, the tensions and conflicts betweensoldiersand mariners, betweengentlemenand seamenin the history of the naval profession may serve as a simplemodelfor other morecomplex conflictsand strugglesin the historyof mankind. They weregrouptensions and institutioxwal conflicts, that is, inherent in the group-situation of thesemen and causedby the institationalpatternof their relationships and functions, as distinctfrompnmarilypersonal tensionsandconflicts betweenpeoplecaused for instanceby paranoicor sadistic tendenciesor, more generally,by inner conflicts of individuals. For that reason,they reproduced themselvesover many generations althoughthe individualschanged. The detailedaccountof this struggleand of the gradualemergence of a moreunifiedprofession must be left to separatestudies. However,the study of the social characteristics of these two groupsalreadygives some clues to the problemswhich had to be solved beforethis strugglecould come to an end, and to the difficulties which stood in the way of a solution. The problem madeitself felt, as far as we know,firstin the time of Elizabeth. As early as I578, duringhis voyage of circumnavigation, DrakesI?oke of the quarrelsbetweengentlemenand mannersand stressed how necessary it was for both groupsto worktogether. Morethan a centurylater, in I683, Pepys madea note on a discussion he had with Sir WilliamBooth and others on the same subject and urote 1 that they
do agreewith me that gentlemenought to be broughtinto the Navy as being men that are moresensibleof honourthan a man of meanerbirth (thoughhere may be room to examinewhetheras great actions in honourhave not been done by plain seamen,and as mean by gentlemen,as any others and this is worth enquiring) but then they ought to be broughtup by time at sea.... And then besidesthe good they woulddo for the King and Navy, by their fnends at Court,they would themselves espousethe cause of the seamenand know what they deserveand love them as part of himself; and the seamen would be broughtto love them rather more than one of themselvesbecauseof his quality,he beingothermrise their fellowseaman and labourer.

And in I694 the Marquis of Halifax again referred, in his RoughDraught of a newModelat Sea, to " the presentControversie betweenthe Gentlemen and the Tarpaulins"; he still discussedthe question" Out of what sort of Men the Officers of the Fleet are to be chosen . . ,2 and gave it as his opinion that " there must be a mixturein the Navy of Gentlemen and Tarpaulins ".3 Fromthe time of Draketo that of Halifax,a compromise betweenthe two groupsandan integration of bothappeared to manypeopleas the idealsolution. However,as in many other cases,no one quite knewhow this ideal was to be attained. NeitherDrake,nor Pepys, nor Halifaxproduced a durablescheme by meansof whichit couldbe put into practice. For as the seamenwerenot gentlemenand the gentlemennot seamen, how was it possibleto devise a unifiedscheme for the trainingand promotionof naval officerssatisfactory to both groups?
1 Pepys, Tangier Papers, N.R.S.,
I935, p. I2r. 2p. 7. 3P22.