Tuesday, February 9


Submitted by Acasta crewman Cody Miller

Anyone who knows anything about punishments in the Royal Navy will have taken note of the brutality of flogging.  It is an act our modern minds cannot fathom as a humane punishment for drunkedness but was seen a necessity aboard His Majesty's ships.

Twelve year old Samuel Leech was a Boy aboard HMS Macedonia when he witnessed the punishment of flogging for the first time in 1810 and gives us a vivid account.

"The Boatswain's Mate is ready, with coat off and whip in hand.  The Captain gives the word.  Carefully spreading the cords with the fingers of his left hand, the executioner throws the cat over his right shoulder; it is brought down upon the now uncovered herculean shoulders of the MAN.  His flesh creeps-it reddens as if blushing at the indignity; the sufferer groans; lash follows lash, until the first mate, wearied with the cruel employment, gives place to a second.  Now two dozen of these dreadful lashes have been inflicted; the lacerated back looks inhuman; it resembles roasted meat burnt nearly black before a scorching fire;  yet still the lashes fall; the Captain continues merciless."  

Leech goes on to say.  "The executioners keep on.  Four dozen strokes have cut up his flesh and robbed him of all self respect; there he hangs, a pitied, self-despised, groaning, bleeding wretch; and now the Captain cries, forbear!"

Source:  Thirty Years From Home, Or A Voice From The Main Deck:  Being The Experience Of Samuel Leech.  1857

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