Joseph B asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 month ago

What Was the Soldier or Sailor's Reaction to a Flogging?

Until the eighteenth century, British soldiers and sailors often were punished by flogging, typically by means of cat-o-nine tails applied to the bare back. The victim might be ordered to receive dozens or even hundreds of lashes. What was the usual practice?

Did most offenders attempt to keep silent as long as long as possible as a show of defiance and stamina? Or did they start screaming immediately, in hopes of making the whipping go lighter, and perhaps as a way speeding up their own exhaustion and loss of consciousness?  If you have sources, please cite them.  Thanks.


Regarding the limit on the number of lashes, Under Hebrew law, the limit was 40 lashes, see Deut. 25:3, which in practice became "forty save one" or 39, lest they miscount and inadvertently exceed the limit.  The reason for limitation was that a man who received more than 40 lashes would be "degraded" in the sight of his fellow man.  At the start of the Revolutionary War, the limit was 39, but George Washington insisted that it be raised to 100, which it was.  Slow cruel death sentence?

2 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you were to take time to read "Two Years Before the Mast" or "Mutiny On The Bounty" maybe you would have your answer!

    For the record 40 lashes were the most that could be administered in a single day and often the count was "Forty lashes save one". The save one was because if the flogger gave the person more then forty- then they would be subject to being given forty lashes. The reason for the limit was forty lashes was seen as the maximum a person could receive and still live to see another day.

    Just as we are all different- I don't think there is a given response.

    By the way there are several different books about the Bounty. One was Captain Bligh's account. Another was written reportedly by Mr. Christian (Masters Mate on the Bounty). Both of those are fiction to some extent or another. There also was the book that is found in the fiction section of the library. Then there are several other books written concerning the historical facts. A copy of Christians book I haven't read yet.

  • 1 month ago

    Oh, they really liked it. It's always dangerous to generalise but, on the whole, most sailors and soldiers looked forward to a really good flogging. It broke up the monotony of military life, you see, and - for a while at least - made them forget their troubles. Hope this helped.

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