Resource/art: prize money

20 December, 2007 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

Have you ever organised a birthday party for kids? Tried to cut the cake without having to run for your life because little Nuttley’s piece was bigger than the one of little Danny?

See, that’s why the Royal Navy had rules for the cutting of the cake – or rather, the splitting of the prize money:

3/8 for the captain of the ship (of which he passed 1/8 on to his fleet commander)
2/8 for the officers
1/8 for the midshipmen and petty officers
2/8 for the rest of the crew.

How generous! Needless to say, these rules for the splitting of prize money were not to the satisfaction of the ordinary seamen – as you can tell from the following caricature, dated 1805 (artist unknown), before the Battle of Trafalgar:

EQUITY or a Sailors PRAYER before BATTLE. Anecdote of the Battle of Trafalgar.

“Why Starboard! how is this at prayers when the enemy is bearing down upon us, are you afraid of them?”

“Afraid! No! I was only praying that the enemys shot may be distributed in the same proportion as the prize money, the greatest parts among the Officers.”

“Why don’t you sing Amen to that, Tom.”

prize money

A good thing the Admiralty was not involved in the organisation of birthday parties…

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Entry filed under: art, nelson, resource, royal navy. Tags: , , , .

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