Original Napoleonic Era British Royal Navy Whalebone & Lead Small Press Gang Cosh with Fully Intact Wrapping - circa 1800
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very powerful object, not only referring to its capabilities but to its obvious age and place in Maritime history.
The British Naval pay scale was established in 1658 and basically remained unchanged for almost 140 years. There was zero inflation up until the 7 years war (1756-1763) known as the French and Indian War in the United States. However by the end of the 1700s with increasing British Government debt Naval pay was well behind causing great unpopularity. This led to two mutinies, that at Spithead near Portsmouth and at The Nore in the Thames Basin in London, both occurring in 1797.
It had become so bad that NO ONE volunteered any more to serve in his Majesty's Men of War. As a result potential recruits were found in Pubs, brothels and on the streets of any coastal city that might be persuaded to enlist. This "Cosh" was one of those "persuaders"! Made with a flexible core with weighted ends, the exterior was wrapped with a woven cover, making it an ideal small weapon.
Many a Sailor awoke out "At Sea" never knowing what hit him to find himself now in the Royal Navy.
This impressive example measures only 11" but when you feel it in your hand it can certainly be seen to be "A Persuader". It is made with a flexible core made from twisted whalebone (baleen) fibers, with heavy lead ends. We usually see these with the internal core exposed, but this still has the complete woven wrapping! It looks to be made from plant fibers, like very thin wicker, like others we have seen. There is a bit of staining on one end, but otherwise this is one of the best that we have ever had!
A wonderful self defense weapon!
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