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1 UGPS Working Paper Series (UGPS WP ) How to transform peasants into seamen. The creation of the Swedish navy and a double faced maritime culture Annasara Hammar Umeå Group for Premodern Studies Umeå University/ Umeå universitet

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3 This text may be downloaded for personal research purposes only. Any additional reproduction for other purposes, whether in hard copy or electronically, requires the consent of the author(s). If cited or quoted, citation should be made to the full name of the author(s), the title, the working paper reference, and the year. 3

4 How to transform peasants into seamen The creation of the Swedish navy and a double faced maritime culture AnnaSara Hammar, PhD, Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Umeå University, Sweden In this paper I will present some conclusions from my four year PhD-project dealing with social order and discipline in the Swedish navy between the years The focus will be on seamen recruited through the Swedish allotment system that made up the crews onboard the naval vessels during the period. They came from villages and towns in the coastal areas and normally they had very little experience of sailing since most of them were from peasant families. Once conscripted in the navy they basically lived two lives. During the sailing season in the summer they were naval seamen while during the winter they were farmhands ashore. Thus they did not solely belong to a maritime culture but were, as their Danish contemporaries are supposed to have put it: farmhands dipped in salt water. 2 By using minutes from the admiralty court , muster rolls and letters I have in my dissertation been able to show that those Swedish seamen constructed a maritime culture of their own, with shared ideals and values that sometimes were closely linked to a broader maritime culture in Europe and sometimes had more in common with a Swedish rural community culture. Their understanding of themselves as both seamen and farmers constantly collided with disciplining ambitions of officers and the admiralty. The manning problem The Swedish navy goes back to 1522, when Gustav Vasa bought several warships from Lübeck to be able to defend the Swedish coastline from Danish attacks during the violent breaking of the Swedish-Danish union. In the 16 th century the navy gradually grew when Swedish military strategy altered from defensive to aggressive the navy played a crucial part in the attempts to realize the idea of a Swedish Baltic empire. Mare Nostrum became the guiding principle for Swedish foreign policy, from John III to Charles XII. For most of the 17 th century Denmark was the main enemy and the main naval base was moved from Stockholm to Karlskrona to better defend southern Sweden from Danish threats. In the middle of the 17 th century the Swedish navy had around 40 ships, 260 officers and approximatley 5000 seamen, a number that rose dramatically during wartime. The lack of necessary compentence within Swedish borders made the navy recruite experienced and skilled shipbuilders, craftsmen and officers people from abroad. 3 The constant lack of skilled seamen was a more difficult problem to solve. The Swedish merchant fleet was too small to support the navy with experienced seamen and to hire professional crews from abroad would have been too expensive. The solution was the allotment system (Swedish: indelningsverket ) which was used both for the army and the navy. Indelningsverket was in use from 1634 to 1901 before it was fully replaced by modern conscription. The system was reformed several times and especially in its early days it coexisted with other forms of recruitment. 4 But basically it meant that a group of farmers or burgers, normally 5 10, together paid for a seaman or a soldier and were responsible for his housing, clothing and feeding while he was not in service. In return the farmers and burghers got a 1 AnnaSara Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll: social ordning i svenska flottan (Lund, 2014). 2 The saying is well-known in Swedish naval historiography, but its origin is a bit unclear. Perhaps it was the Danish 17 th century Admiral Nils Juel who first said it. Perhaps it was never said at all, but added by the maritime historians themselves because it seemed a fitting description. Jan Glete questions this description in: Jan Glete, Swedish naval administration (Leiden, 2010) pp Axel Zettersten, Svenska flottans historia: åren (Norrtälje, 1903) pp and Einar Wendt, Amiralitetskollegiets historia 1: (Stockholm, 1950) pp and pp Olle Törnbom, Båtsmanshållets uppkomst, Forum Navale, 9 (1948)

5 tax reduction. The advantage of the system was that the navy could quickly muster a large mass of men. The disadvantage was that those were rarely professional seamen. Searching for a lost world of peasant sailors - the sources Most of the seamen recruited in this way were poor men, with no prospects of taking over a farm or a household. The language they spoke would have been Swedish, Finnish, Danish and (sometimes) German. However we do not know much more about them. The remaining muster rolls from the 17 th century lack any information concerning for example age, family, length of service and alternative livelihoods. Thus minutes from the admiralty court is a valuable source for information regarding those seamen. Four volumes from the period has survived into present day, the first from 1673 and the other three from 1685, 1692 and Together they consist of handwritten pages and defendants of which 70 per cent are ordinary men, mostly seamen. 5 This material gives us a rare insight in life conditions of seamen in the Swedish navy, but has several obstacles. One is that we mainly meet criminal seamen who in fact were exceptions from the rest of the group. Another is that we meet seamen s words, thoughts and explanations through the eyes and ears (and pens) of officers and professional scribers. But even so the material is useful. The testimonies provided by seamen in court contain descriptions of everyday life representative for most, if not all, seamen and not only for criminals. They also give glimpses of how seamen in general pictured their lives, their officers and their fellow mates. Seamen s ideals and values are visible even when the officers dismissed those as less significant. Living under scant circumstances One important component in the life conditions of seamen that are shining through in the court minutes are that those seamen often lived under very scant circumstances. The court minutes are full of expressions of poverty, hunger, starvation, sickness and hard conditions. Several of the committed crimes such as stealing, selling one s naval uniform or running away were a direct consequence of lack of food, clothes, shoes or money. This was a fact well-known both by the naval authorities and by people outside the navy. You should know those people owns very little or rarely anything, except their naval uniform 6 as the naval judge once put it in scolding two women that had bought some naval equipment from a seaman in One burgher s wife wondered: Why does not the navy give them their allowances so they did not have to steal for their living? 7 when she was interrogated for buying stolen powder from two gunners in Neither had many seamen a home of their own. Instead they were always lodging in the houses of others. They lived in a from hand to mouth - existence, seldom able to plan, save, or control their lives. Their families shared this insecure, unsettled way of living. Seamen s wives and children were filling the streets of Stockholm, working, begging and starving while the men were at sea. 8 Other times they followed him onboard, a custom that does not seem to have been so unusual that one first might think. 9 Those practical circumstances shaped the seamen s ways of thinking and they clearly shared a number of common norms and ideals that justify speaking about them as a cohesive collective. This is for example present in cases involving theft. Theft was one of the most common charges against seamen in court. The typical theft was committed by one, single seaman who had stolen a small item a rope, a tool or some cloth from the naval stores to sell on the street and thereby get some money to buy food or beer. What is notable from those cases is that seamen very rarely stole from each other. Only in three of the 86 cases a seaman had stolen from another seaman and 5 Krigsarkivet Stockholm (Swedish national war achive) [herafter KrA], Flottans arkiv, Amiralitetsrätten A Protokoll KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1703, 13 May. [ ] emedan de väl kunna tänka att sådant folk mycket litet eller alls intet äga förutan vad deras livré tillhör. 7 KrA, Amiralitetsratten 1673, 12 February. 8 Gustaf Utterström, Fattig och föräldralös i Stockholm på 1600-och 1700-talen, (Umeå, 1978) pp During peacetime there were no regulations against seamen who wanted to bring their wives onboard. The Articles of Sea 1685, Siö-articlar som aff den Stormechtigste konung och herre herr Carl den XI.... åhr 1685, förnyade och stadgade äre. Jemte dher til hörige acter, som på andra sidan vpräknas (Stockholm, 1685), Article no

6 in two of the cases the seamen had been a volunteer, not recruited through the allotment system. 10 This corresponds with Marcus Rediker s observations of British merchant seamen s behavior in 18 th century. Rediker argues that there was a code of honor among seamen that prevented them from stealing from each other. 11 One could object that there might not have been much to steal and that it was practically rather than solidarity that kept a sailor from stealing from his mates. But there is another significant feature of the Swedish seamen s behavior that really points in the direction of solidarity or an honor codex. Seamen also tried to help each other in numerous ways. One way was the custom that the person who had money always paid for his mates at the tavern. This even had a name and was called to buy lagöl. The custom was restricted to seamen s community and they did not involve people from other groups. No lower officers seem to have been included and no craftsmen or yard workers even if seamen and people from those groups often were at the tavern together. 12 Another way was the performance of small sudden affairs on the streets. In the case from 1703 mentioned above, the seaman Per Juhl were brought to court for have sold almost all of his naval equipment, including his shirt and coat. Finally he had sold his blanket to a woman on the street. The woman was Helena Persdotter, wife of a kofferdibåtsman a sailor in the merchant fleet. She told the court that she had seen Per on the street, cold and starving, asking her if she could give him money for the blanket 13. She lent the required money from her hostess, also a sailor wife, and gave them to Per. Both women had a reprimand from the admiralty court, but it is unlikely Helena Persdotter did not know that she was buying naval equipment even if her husband were not a naval seaman. She lived in Karlskrona, belonged to a maritime community, and should have been able to recognize a naval blanket when she saw one. She bought it anyway, not because she needed the blanket, but because Per obviously needed the money. Before we fall into the image of the poor but honest seaman, it is worth to point out that solidarity could be used in rather violent ways to exclude someone from the group or to exercise power. This is particularly visible in relations between older, married seamen and younger, unmarried ones. Sometimes older seamen forced a younger one to repeatedly pay for the beer at the tavern and thus deprived him from his enrolment money a quite large sum that he had got when he was first enlisted or his savings. 14 The solidarity between seamen and seamen s families was thus both a uniting ideal and a tool for controlling individual members of the group, especially the younger ones. The marrying kind Scant circumstances and the experience of being subordinates in a large military organization mostly contributed to unite the seamen. Other things divided them such as age, experience and, most important, marriage. There is no way of telling how many of the seamen that actually married. But since marrying was the normal thing to do for any adult man in the early modern society, and because of the regularly appearance of seamen s wives in the admiralty court, one can assume that many of the seamen were married. The line between married and unmarried men was the most visible division within the seamen s community since age and civil status determined a man s position within the group. Married, older men automatically had higher status through their ability to provide for a household. The wives took direct part in their men s affairs and their 10 KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1673, 1685, 1692 and Marcus Rediker, Between the devil and the deep blue sea: merchant seamen, pirates and the Anglo-American maritime world, (Cambridge, 1987) p Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, p KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1703, 14 September: [ ]hon råkat honom Per ut på gatan varest han stått och varit frusen och mycket uthungrat begärandes för Guds skull att hon ville ge honom penningar för täcket som han med många eder bedyrade ej vara kommisstäcke [amiralitetets täcke] utan dess eget och som hon intet hade penningar begärde hon av sin värdinna Annika Andersdotter att få några penningar som hon ock fått. 14 See for example the case of Jacob Mattson Kring who stated that he had to pay two thirds of his enrolment money to buy beer for his mates. KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 2 November. 6

7 presence stressed the difference further in status between individuals in the seaman s collective. 15 A married seaman was an adult man, with access to an adult man s honor, reputation and a broad repertoire of ways to prove his manliness. He was less vulnerable for provocations and could avoid conflict without loss of honor. Younger, unmarried seamen in turn were forced to constantly prove their honesty and their manliness, which sometimes ended in violent conflicts. 16 However, while married seamen gained status and respectability among other seamen, their role as masters of households sometimes collided with their role as subordinates in the navy. Nothing scared the naval authorities more than insubordinations from married men and collective protests involving husbands were punished harder than collective protests involving only unmarried men. 17 One reason for this was that the married men actually had some right to execute violence, which otherwise an exclusive right to officers and high authorities only. This, and the fact that he often was supported by his wife which could mean the conflict spread to the whole seamen s community made him dangerous as a displeased subordinate. If he was content though, he was considered more reliable than the unmarried sailor, probably because he was less likely to get involved in violent brawls and fights. Violent conflicts Where the married seaman could avoid a conflict, the unmarried had to stand and fight it. The 15- year old volunteer Wilhelm Mertz entered the guards house at the naval yard one late evening in He was drunk at his arrival and sat down to play with his knives in front of the others inside. Among them were several older men, one that he had had an argument with before and another that now ordered him to put the knives away. Wilhelm did not obey and gradually the disagreement slipped into provocations. After the older seaman had thrown Wilhelm over a bench and hit Wilhelm s neck with his fist, the young seaman was left with no other choice than to defend himself or to risk being bullied by the older men for a very long time. Therefore he took one of his knives and stabbed the older seaman in his breast. 19 It is typically for conflicts in the admiralty court to be brutal. While in civil courts the slightest insult became the object for a thorough investigation, the admiralty court only dealt with seamen conflicts if they involved the use of weapons or severe violence. This left the younger men without protection. When the young seaman Jacob Matsson Kring was attacked by another seaman on the street in 1685, he went to his captain to complain. But the captain sent Jacob away and thereby forced him to the same violent self-defense as Wilhelm, which ended in his attacker being stabbed to death. The captain was question in court and asked why he did not have dealt with the conflict but simply answered that he could not believe such thing would happen since seamen often argued and reconciled when they were drunk. 20 In this reply the captain revealed two things. First that seamen often argued and second that this rarely involved severe violence, at least according to the captain. Compared to conflicts between officers it also reveals another thing. Officers did not have to use severe violence for their conflicts to be taken seriously. Every word and insult was then examined carefully as significant element in important dramas of honor and manliness. But the uses of violence were seen as a part of exclusive expressions of being an officer. The officers refused to acknowledge seaman s conflicts and violent fights as something that concerned honor or manliness at all and regularly degraded them to drunken brawls. 21 Hence officers were completely blind to honor conflicts within the seamen s community. And hence young seamen were forced to protect themselves from older seaman s provocations the best they could, sometimes with a tragedy as a result. Both Jacob Mattson Kring and Wilhelm Mertz were sentenced to death. Mertz 15 Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, pp Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, pp Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, p KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 19 May. 19 KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 19 May. The older seaman survived the attack. 20 KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 11 November. Han kunde inte tänka sig att: sådant skulle ske efter ofta händer på [att]båtsmän i fyllan träta och förlikas. 21 Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, pp. 76, 129 and

8 might have been pardoned but Jacob Matson was executed in June Experience and ability Another way to prove manliness that was not less dangerous than fighting but at least more encouraged by officers was to prove oneself a skilled and able seaman. The physically demanding and dangerous work onboard meant that seamen s experience and courage rendered status among the crew. 23 This is visible in a case from 1692 when the young ships boy Magnus Roos demanded the master onboard to let him furl the mizzen sail in a rough weather. Although the master already had commanded other people to do the work, the boy insisted and climbed up the rigging. But on the yard the boy lost his grip and fell down on the deck where he died of his injuries. 24 Why would he insist to voluntarily do a difficult job if he did not to gain social status by performing a dangerous task? For a ships boy this might have been the only possible way to earn respect onboard. But even if ability, experience and skills were highly valued among seamen; their attitude towards work itself could fluctuate. The most common charge of all in the admiralty court was against seamen that had abandoned their work, their watch post or had fallen asleep during duty. There are also cases where seamen simply refused to do the work because it was considered to be the commanding officer s private business or because they had not received the payment they had been promised. The most definitive way of refusing a duty was of course not to turn up to work at all, or to desert the navy. In my dissertation I identify those actions as a part of resistance strategies, to bend and manipulate the regulations of the navy. But I also suggest another explanation: that the actions were a result of a conflicting working culture. After all the seamen had their roots in a peasant community where work normally was organized in a different way than it was in the navy. I will hereby give a few examples to highlight my point. Let us start with the often debated issue of desertion. Running away Runaways constituted nearly one third of all cases brought to the Swedish admiralty court in the late seventeenth century. 25 From a modern perspective the reasons for desertion might be obvious. Harsh conditions, a dangerous work, epidemic diseases, violent commanders, lack of food and bad clothes surely inspired many seamen to escape naval service if they could. 26 Even the contemporary court seem to have seen deserters as commonplace, ordinary and self-explanatory, since the testimonies recorded in the minutes are short, incomplete and rarely reveal any motivations. In research the act of desertion often is seen as an expression of dissatisfaction and sometimes as an alternative to violent conflicts or mutiny. 27 The minutes in the admiralty court however reveals interesting patterns that in the Swedish navy contradict such explanations. In 60 per cent of the cases the deserted seaman had returned to his home area, where he was easily discovered. One has to ask if his intention really was to desert the navy. Why escape to somewhere where you know you most certainly would be recognized as a seaman in the navy, sent back and punished for your actions? My answer is that those seamen did not try to desert the navy at all. Their explanations, when they were given, actually did contain dissatisfaction, not with the navy but with the providing farmers. Trapped between the navy s and the farmers mutual difficulties to provide the seaman with his wages, clothes, shoes and food, he had sometimes no 22 KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 11 November. 23 David Kirby & Merja-Liisa Hinkkanen, The Baltic and the North seas (London, 2000), p Rediker, Between the devil and the deep blue sea, p KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1692, 16 July and discussion in Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, p KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1673, 1685, 1692 and In other navies the rates were significantly higher. According to John D. Byrne s investigation of crime and punishment in The Royal navy at Leeward station 25 per cent of all crimes were desert or absence. See John D. Byrn Jr: Crime and punishment in the royal navy :Discipline on the Leeward Islands Station , (Aldershot, 1989), p Peter Earle, Seamen: English merchant seamen , (London, 1998), p. 67 and p Earle, Seamen, pp Niklas Frykman The mutiny on Hermione, Journal of Social history vol 44. (2010:1) 173, Nils Erik- Villstrand, Anpassning eller protest: lokalsamhället inför utskrivningarna av fotfolk till den svenska krigsmakten (Åbo, 1992) p

9 choice but to return home if he did not want to starve. The absence from work was intended to be temporary, not definitive and was thus no desertion at all. Sorting out family business, visiting relatives or a wife or receiving an inheritance also figure among the explanations given in front of the court. Some absences were even shorter a couple of days or a week, and often explained by the need of going home to fetch clothes or food. The nature of this crime of course makes it possible that there are large numbers of unrecorded cases were the seaman did not return home but escaped to other ships or foreign towns and countries. It is almost impossible to know how many those might have been but there is some sources that indicate that the number of seamen missing and the number of cases in court had a discrepancy of around one per cent. While 3.3 per cent of the seamen in Gotland company were missing in 1689, the number of deserted seamen in 1692 constituted 2.2 per cent of the whole navy. This numbers are however extremely insecure since there are very few muster rolls left for the period to make comparisons. 28 In the admiralty court there however are a few examples of real desertions. There were deserted Swedish seamen discovered and arrested by officers in ports in France or Britain. 29 Sometimes they had spent many years at sea on board merchant vessels between the time when they escaped and the time they were revealed. But they seem not to have been the majority, just as the majority of the British runaways were not true deserters either. Roger argues that shorter absences, temporally escapes or the tendency for straggling and rambling was a part of an unreliable behaviour typically for sailors. 30 I would like to add that this might have been the typically behaviour of any person that belonged to the poor unsettled stratum of the population and that it was shaped by two things: practical circumstances and particular idea about what work was. Neglecting watch The idea about works shows itself most clearly in the cases of neglected watch. One of the most important tasks the seamen had to perform when they were ashore was guarding the naval yard. Day and night seamen were commanded as watches while officers patrolled the area, making sure the seamen did their duty, which they, apparently, did not. To be found sleeping at watch or leaving the station unattended was one of the most common accusations in court. In a letter from the admiralty s fiscal prosecutor, Anders Wästfelt, he complains that seamen regularly left their watches unattended and that the provost had little time to do anything else than all day run around the town trying to find them, which he sometimes does and sometimes does not 31. The reason, according to Wästfelt, was that seamen sometimes were allowed to go home to eat and when he then gets home or to the tavern, he sits down to drink and therefore neglect his watch 32. His complaints are supported by numerous cases in court, 238 altogether. They reveal that what should be a hard controlled watch system in reality was a loosely order where the seamen simply left their watches to go drinking, lightening their pipe, having a chat with a friend or just fall asleep. The seamen also switched watches with each other without their officers knowledge. But at the same time they did this, the seamen also stated that the watch task actually had a significant meaning to them. It was seen as a responsibility and despite the complaints described above, they actually took it seriously. They did not, for example switch watches randomly. Boys were considered as inappropriate as they were too young to be a Royal servant. This implies that standing watch was seen as an important task for grown up men only. If someone insulted a seaman at watch he became highly upset and complained about it to the officers since the watches 28 KrA, Flottans arkiv, båtmanskompanier vol 25, Mönsterrulla för Gotlands båtsmanskompani 1689 and tables in Glete, Swedish naval administration, p KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 1692 and N.A.M Rodger, The wooden world: an anatomy of the Georgian navy (London, 1996), pp KrA, Flottans arkiv, Amiralitetskollegium, Inkomna handlingar från myndigheter och enskilda 1692, letter no 18. Letter from Anders Westfeldt 28 april 1692: [ ] och profossen dagen igenom intet annat får till göra, än löpa kring om Staden och dem uppsöka, var av händer att ibland få de dem igen och ibland få och dem intet. 32 KrA, Letter from Anders Wästfelt 28 april 1692: [ ] finner fauten där uti bestå, att en del lossa sig av själva och gå hem de timmar, som det intet skola stå på sin post. Dessutan haver ock varit vanligt att båtsmannen är tillåtit att gå ifrån Corps de guardet hem till få sig mat och ibland gå bort att köpa sig dricka eller tobak, och när han således kommit hem eller på krogen, så haver han satt sig till dricka, och således försummat sin vakt. 9

10 according to him - should be protected from attacks and insults. How could something be seen as important and obliging at the same time as it was regularly left unattended? I believe that the military order collided with another working culture. To work in early modern society would normally have included breaks, the right to go and have a drink during the day, or a chat with friend. The watch system where one was forced to be at exactly the same spot for three hours did not fit in the seamen perceptions of work. This did not mean seamen saw it as an unimportant or unnecessary task, only that they tried to shape it so it better fitted their perceptions of what work meant. This theory is supported by the fact that naval seamen seems to have taken on other employments while he was working for the navy. There is for example the seaman performing as a musician at weddings, the seaman that works for his officer in his house or at his farm, the seaman that works as a craftsman or those seamen working in harbour, as stevedores. This behaviour is very much like the behaviour of the unsettled, working poor in the early modern society were work was seen as a temporally thing and could shift from day to day. This attitude collided directly with the naval ideals presented in the Articles of Sea. If someone run away or abscond from the work, where he is commanded, he will the first time pay with five and second time with seven gauntlets through three hundred men, but if someone does the same a third time he will pay with his life. 33 The punishments the seamen did receive for being absent from work however varied greatly from the stated gauntlet to a simple reprimand which indicate that the admiralty did not see the seamen actions as pure obstruction or runaways, but often as a consequence of practicalities. 34 Attitudes towards command The military order thus may have been perceived as an unfamiliar and obscure order by crew who were generally recruited from the poor stratum of the peasantry. But there also existed a resistance towards command in its own right. The most common kind of openly provocative resistance was conflicts between individual members of the crew and individual officers, often warrant officers or lieutenants. The maritime hierarchy stands out in court records as a field of conflict where the superiors right to hold certain positions and enjoy certain privileges was called into question by the subordinates. The conflicts supposedly attracted a deal of attention since they almost always took place before an audience. This also made them extremely tense and the court therefore paid great attention to how the individual officer behaved during those conflicts. The conflicts often begun as conflicts about disciplining where the subordinate either refused to carry out a direct order or recognize the officer s right to issue such an order. The use of violent disciplining seems on one hand to have been rather common. Officers regularly beat their seamen, often with a cane or a stick. On the other hand such use of violence clearly had it limits. Used by the wrong officer or in the wrong situation it could arouse violent resistance. 35 Some crew members simply fought back, some protested by refusing to obey orders and in a few cases the officer was reported to the court for abuse of command. 36 There are also examples of crew members giving their officers discrediting nicknames. The navigation officer Jöran Bromholt for example got a reputation that he used his cane (käpp in Swedish) to enthusiastically and therefore was called Käpp-Jöran by a subordinate seaman. 37 The seaman Josef Jacobsson was question in court for calling his commander Anders Jacobsson, nollgubbe (worthless old man) which he first denied, but then admitted with the following reply: I did not know he had another name than Nollgubbe 38 The most significant expression of dissatisfaction comes in a rare letter from a disappointed crew on board the ship Lilla Solen (Little Sun) in The letter from the Little sun God knows bad times are everywhere, and especially we in Little Sun have to suffer distress and hunger. 33 Articles of Sea 1685, Article 63: Rymmer eller viker någon ifrån Kronans arbete, dit han kommenderad är, plikta första gången med fem, andra resan med sju gånger gatlopp genom trehundra man, men gör någon det tredje gången, miste livet. 34 Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, p See also Rodger, The wooden world, Magnus Perlestam, Lydnad i karolinernas tid (Lund, 2008) pp.94-6 and Hammar, Mellan kaos och kontroll, pp KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 6 May. 38 Amiralitetsrätten 1685, 19 February: medan han intet visste att kommendören annat namn hade en nollgubbe. 10

11 Our high Admiralty has provide us with all necessary supplies when we went to sea, but even so we have got nothing done and our commander is no more capable of commanding than fitting out the ship. We will soon all starve and die and if our honorable Admiralty not put an end to this, most of it must perish because of the poor maintenance. All this is the fault of the captain who is most capable [damaged paper, it should be: capable of visiting] women, which is his daily business, and he enjoys himself day and night while he leaves us in despair. If we not slave for him and the people he is visiting there is beatings and punishments awaiting. There might be a severe damage if he not has to answer for his abuse and godless behavior. [ ]The powder is stolen away and he doesn t care. He lives in luxury and is very little on board the ship. We poor ill people get no good food or drink, sometimes a little, sometimes nothing. Such a householder will call punishment upon country and kingdom. Written on Little Sun in Västervik, August The letter is not signed so there is no way of knowing who has written it. It could be a warrant officer, or maybe a lieutenant because the person could obviously write, but he wrote poorly. The handwriting and the grammar are odd and indicate a writer that is not very well educated. Maybe the writer wrote the letter on behalf of the whole crew, as he states in the letter, or maybe he just represents himself. There can of course be hundreds of reasons behind it, and by what the captain in question Johan Bogman writes in his own letters to the admiralty that summer, it is likely not a fair description of him. But even if every word should be lies, the complaints in themselves can tell us something about how a good officer was expected to behave by their subordinates. The captain, according to the writer, is not only a bad commander; he is also a bad provider. He doesn t care for the sick and he doesn t care for the ship or the ship s equipment. What is really striking is that these arguments are very close to the ideology of the household system. The writer even uses the word householder or hushållare in Swedish. The household was seen as a perfect little world of its own, a unite hold together by people that all knew their right place in it. The master of the house was the ruler of this world with an obligation to educate, command and if necessary punish the other members. It was important that the master was not a ruthless man. There circulated numerous stories in the Swedish society at the time about violent masters who ultimately got punished for their abusive behavior. The idea that a bad master had lost his right to be treated with respect comes back in all conflicts, disobedience and even mutinies in the court material. The seamen had a clear idea of how a good commander should behave in order to be obeyed. Good, modest, mild, honest and, calm where words used by seamen to describe commanders they did like. 40 This expectation must have shaped the officers behavior to some extent. To be a too hard, brutal and unjust officer was to play a dangerous game that could end in a violent conflict. Conclusion The average Swedish seaman came from a peasant community, but was adjusting himself to a military and a maritime world that many times was a new one to him. He was both a part of a maritime culture were seamanship, courage and experience counted as highly valued things and a part of a broader, early modern community where civil status and age singled out his position within the group. He was accustomed to violence but only tolerated it within certain boundaries. A sense of solidarity and honesty kept him from stealing from his fellow seamen, but it did not kept him from threatening, arguing or fighting them. He was an unsettled person who saw work only as a temporary thing and yet a peasant were strict working hours had a very little meaning to him. He was a stranger both in the peasant community and in the maritime world. But he was not unique. He is an example of a large group of part-time seamen in Europe with one foot ashore and one on the deck. Furthermore all seamen of course belonged to a larger society than the one onboard a ship and all seamen where shaped by its ideals, values and beliefs. This makes for a consideration that one needs to be precise and accurate when describing and analyzing the 39 KrA, Flottans arkiv, Amiralitetskollegium, Inkomna handlingar från myndigheter och enskilda 1676 vol. 2 Letter no KrA, Amiralitetsrätten 1673, 1685, 1692 and

12 maritime world. But in being so historians will reveal new patterns, connections, and phenomena which hopefully will help us better to understand the maritime life- and working conditions in the past. 12