Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c., 1849.

[Page 224]

On making show-ships of vessels of war.

When vessels are made show-ships, it takes much from the comfort of every one on board, more particularly the ship's company; that is, if it is done as some ships do it, by sending all the men off the lower-deck, and crowding them together on the main-deck, on the opposite side to the show-side, every time a party comes on board, to whom the commanding officer may wish to shew the internal arrangements of the ship. In other ships, the men are allowed to remain in their messes, but obliged to stand up with their hats off, while these parties are going round the lower-deck. It would be worth a consideration whether a noble fabric like a ship-of-war, would not be seen to a much greater advantage, with all its numerous exercises, artificers, general and daily occupations all in full force. Instead of what is usually the case, the decks cleared up, and everything, crew and all, put out of sight as much as possible. The more you can avoid disturbing the men in their messes on such occasions, the better it will be, as many of them are only below during their turn off duty. It will be desirable to instil into the minds of the ship's crew, that the ship should be always fit to be seen, except some unavoidable duty prevents it. If the men ever get into the habit of seeing everything give way to show-days, they become more careless at all other times. Stowing away everything out of sight when any one comes to see the ship in a hurry, gives the ship's company dirty habits, which it will be difficult afterwards to eradicate. When a vessel of war is in good order (which she never can be without extreme cleanliness), and all her exercises and occupations going on, she is then fit for any party to see, in fact, much better than she can ever be after all the hurry and annoyance of moving the men about the decks. These observations have nothing to do with the officers' visits, or inspections.
Francis Liardet: Professional Recollections on Points of Seamanship, Discipline, &c.
William Woodward, Portsea, 1849. 8vo, frontisp., (6), x, 319 pp, 1 col. plate of signals.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1998 Lars Bruzelius.