3 Annotations

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Before the 17th century each sailor was allowed 1 gallon of beer per day.

Since the logistics of the storage of all this beer presented a problem, admirals introduced brandy instead of beer in the mid 1600's.

In 1655, Vice-Admiral William Penn captured Jamaica and began the use of the rum ration.
Why? Well, the Jamaicans weren't big on beer and wine, but had plenty of rum for the taking.

In 1731, rum became part of the "Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea." The regulations specified that 1 half-pint of rum was equivalent to the 1 gallon of beer.

For more information, see http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1337612

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

From about 1655, a pint of rum was given to every sailor in the Navy every day. Half was served at 12 noon, and the other half at between 5 or 6 p.m. (the amount decreased in later years). Known as Pusser’s Rum (the name a corruption of Purser, the person who issued the rum), sailors had a daily tot of rum until the practice ended on 31 July 1970.

Read more at http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/behind-the-scenes...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

for more information, see:

For Royal Navy sailors and British soldiers in the West Indies during the 18th century, rum was a refuge for the discomforts of the duties of the day. The rum also may have been killing them. It wasn’t the alcohol, but the way it was distilled that proved deadly.

A group of scientists from Lakeland University, Ontario have examined 31 bodies found in the Royal Naval Hospital cemetery in English Harbor, Antigua.

As reported by the Daily Mail:
‘Excessive drinking and lead poisoning have been suggested as being serious health issues for the navy of the period, but this idea had never been tested on the remains of individuals serving in the navy at the time. Previous work in this area includes the testing of the skeletal remains of enslaved laborers from a sugar plantation in Barbados. But not with SR-XRF that we have been using,’ said Professor Varney.

The concentrations ranged from between 13 and 336 parts per million, where a ‘normal’ range of lead is 5 to 30 ppm. A person with more than 80 ppm of lead in their bones normally shows symptoms of lead poisoning.

There were many other ways sailors and soldiers could have been exposed to lead, as it was used in almost everything at the time. Nevertheless, rum was a particularity effective way to get lead poisoning.

Rum was distilled from sugar using stills with lead condensing coil tubes. ‘Rum was both formally and informally distilled using lead worms (condensation coils) on stills, and it was consumed in quantity by naval personnel who were entitled and accustomed to at least their daily allotment of rum, a well-established tradition in the Royal Navy,‘ Varney said.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.