By B. Burg
Boys at Sea is a learn of homoerotic lifestyles within the Royal army throughout the age of sail. The booklet lines each function of sexual existence at sea, together with seduction, rape, prostitution, courts martial, and the punishments meted out to these convicted of violating the strict ethical code set down within the Articles of warfare .
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Additional resources for Boys at Sea: Sodomy, Indecency, and Courts Martial in Nelson’s Navy
49 The idea that sodomites, those once stigmatized only for engaging in a proscribed act, had acquired an identity and evolved into a brotherhood of like-minded men was present early-on even in the literature of the street. In The Woman-Hater’s Lamentation, a 1707 broadside written to be sung to the tune of “Ye Pretty Sailors All,” stereotyping is readily apparent, and the cognizance of a homoerotic fellowship emerges clearly. ”50 Edward “Ned” Ward, one of the most popular and prolific humorists of the age, also emphasized the effeminate nature of mollies in The Modern World Disrobed, published in 1708.
Still, naval officers undoubtedly read many of the same works read by men of equivalent class, status, and occupation on shore, and they, too, ingested the attitudes toward sodomy and the concurrent fears it generated. 77 Most important in all of this, however, is neither the quantity nor the variety of officers’ encounters with homoeroticism in the written Law, Literature, Sodomy, and Navy Officers 25 word. The central feature of their literary experiences for a study of naval courts martial is what they retained from their reading and what they later brought to the trials of men accused of violating the Articles of War.
The Laws of War and Ordinances of the Sea, enacted in 1652, contained thirty-nine articles governing all aspects of shipboard conduct deemed important by members of parliament. As might be expected in a time when Englishmen were firmly committed to expanding seaborne trade and deeply concerned over the threats posed by commercial rivals, particularly the Dutch, the Laws of War complemented earlier Navigation Acts and other maritime regulations adopted to enhance the nation’s economic strength. Pressing mercantile concerns were manifest in provisions of the Laws of War that governed passports, bills of lading, prize money, piracy, privateering, pillage, and convoying of merchant ships.
Boys at Sea: Sodomy, Indecency, and Courts Martial in Nelson’s Navy by B. Burg