One could enjoy the thought of a press-gang, roaming a port in search of fit young men for the navy, making the mistake of rounding up a boyish young woman in a new batch of unwilling recruits. Her protests would be ignored, and once at sea, self-preservation would be the order of the day amidst so many sailors far from home comforts.
Condemned, though, to a caning for failing to strip at wash time, the truth would then be discovered. To maintain discipline on board, the captain would decree that her whipping should continue “as if she were one of the men”, before taking her to the supposed safety of his private cabin.
An alternative naval scenario presented itself in a report of a Parliamentary Petition from 1659 describing the conditions facing “white slaves” transported to the colonies:
Elizabeth Dudgeon, had dared to talk back to a guard. She was trussed up to a ship’s grating and mercilessly whipped.
One of the ship’s officers relished watching her whipped: “The corporal did not play with her, but laid it home, which I was very glad to see…she has long been fishing for it, which she has at last got to her heart’s content.”
Time for a trip to the seaside. I wonder if any friendly captains would take us to sea for a day, and look the other way politely whilst Haron was stripped and tied to a mast?