Intercourse between English and Low Dutch on the Sea
English and Low Dutch intercourse on the sea has been continuous since the beginning of the Middle English period, and so important and influential has it been that many nautical terms have been borrowed from Low Dutch into the English vocabulary.
This intercourse can be best considered under three heads: (1) The meeting of the two races through trade; this embraces the visits of English ships to Low Dutch ports, the visits of Low Dutch ships to English ports, the meeting of the sailors of both nationalities in other ports to which they both traded, and the freighting trade or the carrying of English merchandise in Low Dutch vessels. The evidence for this is given fully in Chapter III and only a little needs to be added concerning Dutch shipping in the 17th and 18th centuries. (2) The intercourse on the various fishing grounds and in the whale fisheries; the evidence for this will be found in Chapters V and VI. (3) The naval intercourse in the numerous wars and naval fights between the two peoples.
In Chapter III it has been shown how close and continuous was the mercantile contact at sea between English and Low Dutch up to the end of the 16th century, and this contact was maintained during the 17th and 18th centuries. The cause of Dutch prosperity in the 17th century was their great carrying trade. In 1609 they possessed 12,000 ships, more than three times as many as England had at that time; at the time of the First Dutch War England was still dependent upon Dutch commerce, which had made itself master of nearly all the carrying trade of northern and western Europe, so that even the trade between England and France went on largely in Dutch bottoms. The Navigation Act was aimed at this Dutch supremacy in the carrying trade, but though it hindered in certain ways, it by no means ruined the trade, and after the Second Dutch War the Act had to be modified by the stipulation that goods from Germany and the southern Netherlands might henceforth be imported in Dutch vessels. Nevertheless, by the
end of the 17th century the working of the Act had put practically all the native English import and export trade into English hands, while England had gained a monopoly of trade with its American colonies; spices alone, being a Dutch monopoly, were imported through connivance in Dutch ships. The English maintained their cloth and wool staple at Dordrecht, and also exported to Amsterdam much lead, tin, and corn, beside English colonial goods; the Scots retained their staple at Veere and brought there coal, wool, and hides. The Dutch could not change this, for their situation compelled them to keep on friendly terms with the English who dominated the Channel. Their exports to England in those years were three times less than their imports from England, but considerable smuggling must be taken into account. The Dutch shared the Spanish and Levant trades with England alone.
From the beginning of the 18th century there was a general rise in England's economic and commercial life which could only redound to the disadvantage of the Dutch. Everywhere the Dutch merchant encountered the English merchant, and slowly but surely saw him obtain the upper hand. A powerful navy, greater than that of any other nation, protected English interests all over the world. Nevertheless, about 1740, after the Treaty of Utrecht, Holland still ranked with England as a commercial power, and for at least half a century longer Amsterdam was a world warehouse. Dutch commerce, however, had passed its highest point, and soon we actually find English architects and engineers called in to help in the building of a Dutch warship.
Though there were few naval battles between English and Low Dutch in the Middle Ages, conflicts at sea were numerous enough, but consisted almost entirely of isolated but persistent acts of piracy and privateering. Two naval battles with Flemings in the Hundred Years War, however, deserve some mention. The English, under Sir Guy Brian, met the Flemings under John Peterson at the Island of Bar off the coast of Brittany, and gained a complete victory. Then in 1386 the Flemish captain, Pieter van den Bossche, who had entered the English service, intercepted the Flemish fleet from La Rochelle to Sluys, drove it into Cadzand and captured many ships. The English
remained at Sluys and burned Terneuzen and other places on the coast.
The next period of naval contact was during the Dutch struggle for independence against Spain. The insurgents had a naval force, the Beggars of the Sea, and under Alva's administration they made the North Sea insecure for the Spaniards, and occasionally raided the sea-side villages, churches, and cloisters, selling their booty in England, East Friesland, Bremen, and Hamburg. Spanish protests to England were unavailing, for the English ports reaped too much profit out of the Beggars to drive them away. When the Beggars were defeated by Admiral Boshuizen, their thinned ranks were soon reinforced from England, and the raids and piracies began anew. A fleet of fifty sail took Briel in 1572, and when Flushing opened its gates to the Beggars in the same year, English companies helped to garrison it. Holland was greatly alarmed at the Armada and collected craft to help England. Twenty ships were to be placed under Cornelis Loncq as an adjunct to the English fleet at Dover, and after the engagement at Gravelines the Dutch under Van der Does sank a few galleons which had drifted on to the Flemish coast and compelled a few more to surrender. Later the English and Dutch navies combined to attack Spain. There was a Dutch contingent of 18 ships under Van Duivenvoorde in the Cadiz Expedition of 1595, and one of 10 ships under the same admiral in the Islands' Voyage of 1598.
The second half of the 17th century was the period of the great trial of strength at sea between the English and the Dutch, and three naval wars were fought out, all characterized by the most desperate fighting and sharp fluctuations of fortune.
In the Civil War the Royalist fleet took shelter from the Parliamentarian fleet in the harbours of the Maas and from there preyed on English commerce in the Channel; in retaliation English warships began about 1650 to annoy Dutch merchantmen with search of their cargo on the pretext of acting against Royalist piracy. A greater cause of hostility, however, was the harbouring of Royalist refugees in Holland. It was obvious that the English wanted war. Their fleet had been greatly improved under excellent commanders such as Blake and Penn, while the English ships were larger and better manned than the Dutch.
Hostilities commenced with an irregular fight off Dover between Blake and Van Tromp. In 1652 open war was declared, and the year was marked by a number of severe actions. Ayscue destroyed a fleet of Dutch merchantmen off Calais; Blake fell upon the fishing fleet off the Orkneys and captured the Dutch warships protecting it; Van Tromp blockaded Ayscue in the Downs, but had his fleet shattered by a storm; De Ruyter repulsed Ayscue's attack on a convoy near Plymouth; De Witt was beaten by Blake in the Downs, who in turn was severely defeated by Van Tromp off Dungeness.
In 1653 Blake attacked Van Tromp whilst he was convoying merchantmen up the Channel, and after a three days' running fight the Dutch were worsted, but Van Tromp's magnificent tactics saved the fleet. Another battle was fought off Nieuwpoort, when Van Tromp, De Ruyter, and De Witt were driven to take cover behind the shoals with heavy losses. The English now blockaded the whole Dutch coast, and Van Tromp was killed in a fight off Ter Herde; but the Dutch so damaged the English fleet that the blockade had to be given up. Peace was made in 1654.
Immediately after Cromwell's death the fleet had been much neglected, but it was notably improved after the Restoration under the direction of the Duke of York and the administration of such men as Pepys. There was still much hostility to the Dutch, and a certain amount of desultory fighting, directed mostly against enemy commerce, had taken place before the actual declaration of war in March 1665. The first notable engagement of the war was the bloody battle off Lowestoft, in which the Dutch were beaten. In the next year a great Dutch fleet under De Ruyter and Cornelis attacked Monk off the North Foreland, and in the murderous four days' fight which followed Monk's fleet was reduced to 28 vessels, but he executed a masterly retreat. Prince Rupert reinforced Monk up to 60 ships and a fresh attack was made; the English fleet would have been annihilated but that a dense fog came down, stopping the pursuit, so that only 6 ships were captured. Two months later, however, De Ruyter was beaten, and the English gained command of the sea. Holmes pushed into the Vlie and burned 2 convoy ships and 140 merchantmen; next day he landed at Terschelling and a large part of the island was pillaged and laid waste.
In 1667 an expedition against the Thames was prepared in deep secrecy, and a fleet of 80 ships under De Ruyter pushed into the Medway and landed troops under the English mercenary, Colonel Dolman, who captured Sheerness and destroyed the fort and naval stores. The chain guarding the Medway was broken, the English batteries silenced, and the Royal Charles and other ships captured and destroyed, but Chatham was too strongly fortified to be taken. Progress up the Thames was barred and the vigorous English defence forced the Dutch back after four days of fighting. These last hostilities really took place after peace had been concluded.
The Third Dutch War was declared in 1670, and it arose out of the secret treaty by which Charles II supported France against the States. The first battle was the indecisive action of Solebay, in which both sides suffered severely, but the main honours went to the Dutch. In 1673 an Anglo-French fleet of 150 sail were beaten by De Ruyter at Schooneveld, and in the same year the Anglo-French were again beaten off Kijkduin, largely through the treachery of the French. Disgust with the French brought about peace in 1674.
The Dutch navy acted in co-operation with the English in William III's struggle against France, and always under the command of an English admiral. When Tourville defeated the Anglo-Dutch fleet under Torrington off Beachy Head, the Dutch were especially damaged and complained that the English had left them in the lurch, and subsequent investigation proved that Torrington was guilty and he was disgraced. In 1692 a powerful Anglo-Dutch fleet under Russel defeated Tourville off La Hogue, and half the French fleet was destroyed. Tourville had his revenge when he inflicted very heavy losses on an Anglo-Dutch convoy off Lagos.
In the War of the Spanish Succession the Dutch and English fleets again co-operated. A Dutch fleet of 40 sail under Van Almonde and an English fleet of like strength under Rooke and Ormonde unsuccessfully attacked Cadiz, but had a splendid victory in Vigo Bay over the French and Spanish fleets, and part of the West Indian silver fleet fell into their hands. In 1704 the combined English and Dutch under Rooke and Callenburgh captured Gibraltar, but an English garrison only was left in the fortress.
In the Fourth Dutch War there was an indecisive action at
the Dogger Bank between Parker, convoying 200 merchantmen with 7 ships, and Zoutman with a like number, convoying 70 ships. Dutch commerce suffered most severely in this war from English privateers; in the first month of the war alone 200 Dutch merchantmen were captured.
A certain amount of intercourse can be proved in shipbuilding, and a few nautical terms perhaps entered the English vocabulary through this channel. It does not seem that the large ships of the time of Henry V were all English built, for it is stated as a grievance in 1442 that Englishmen were prevented from buying or building ships in Prussia and the Hanse towns. During the 15th century endeavours to improve ship-building were being made in many countries, and it is at this time that the large herring-busses were built by the Dutch and that they first appeared in English waters. They were an example for English builders, and we soon find large ships capable of holding 200 passengers being built here.
In one subsidiary branch of ship-building help was obtained from Holland in the 17th century. Among the reforms which the Duke of Buckingham instituted while Lord High Admiral was the encouragement of the Dutch to settle here and establish the manufacture of great cables and other sorts of cordage for the navy; for this purpose he provided hemp and other materials, and put up houses and yards at Chatham and elsewhere.
A number of names of various kinds of ships and boats entered Middle English from Low Dutch. Shout (13.., Coer de Lion), a flat-bottomed boat; ME. schoute, shute is probably from M.Du. schûte, with the initial sk- sound assimilated to sh-. A later form of the same word but preserving the original initial sound of M.Du. is Scout (1419), a flat-bottomed boat, ‘a Dutch vessel’, galliot rigged, used in the river trade of Holland (Smyth, Sailor's Wordbook); ad. M.Du. schûte; a ‘boat called skoute’, apparently Flemish, is mentioned in the Close Rolls, 20 Edw. II.
Keel (1421, keeler, however, as early as 1322), a flat-bottomed vessel, especially of the kind used on the Tyne and Wear for the loading of colliers, a lighter; the name is or has been in local use on the east coast of England from the Tyne to the Norfolk Broads; apparently ad. M.Du. kiel (MLG. kêl), ship, boat. Pram, Praam (1390-1 in the L. context of E. Derby's Exped., in an
Eng. context not till 1634), a flat-bottomed boat, a lighter used especially in the Baltic and Netherlands for shipping cargo; ad. M.Du. praem, prame (Du. praam), or MLG. and LG. prâm, prame.
Pink (1471), a sailing-vessel, originally one of small size used for coasting and fishing; apparently ad. M.Du. pincke, pinke, the name of a small sea-going ship, also a fishing-boat (in Kilian pinck, Du. pink, MLG. and LG. pinke). A compound is Sword-pink (1616), a pink provided with lee-boards; from Du. zwaard (Kilian, sweerd), a lee-board.
Lighter (1487), a boat, usually a flat-bottomed barge used in unloading ships; ad. Du. lichter, of equivalent formation to the possible Eng. origin from vb. light and -er. Hoy (1495, Paston Letters), a small vessel, usually rigged as a sloop and employed in carrying passengers and goods, especially short distances on the sea-coast; apparently ad. M.Du. hoei, plural hoeyen, variant of hoede, heude (Du. heu, older Du. heude).
Many names of ships and boats are borrowed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Yacht (1557), a light fast-sailing ship; ad. e.mod.Du. jaght(e) (now jacht), used for jaght-schip, lit. ship for chasing, light sailing-vessel, fast, piratical ship, from jag(h)t, hunting, chase; owing to the presence in the Du. word of the unfamiliar spirant denoted by g(h), the English spellings have been various and erratic, and how far they represent differences of pronunciation it is difficult to say. Fly-boat (1577), a fast-sailing vessel used chiefly in the 16th and 17th centuries; 16th-century fliebote, fleeboate, flibote, ad. Du. vlieboot, originally denoting one of the small boats used on the Vlie or channel leading out of the Zuyder Zee, afterwards applied in ridicule to the small vessels used against the Spaniards by the Beggars of the Sea; in English the word was very early associated with the vb. to fly.
Crumster, Cromster (1596), a kind of galley or hoy; from Du. krom, crooked (cf. Du. kromsteve, ‘genus navis’, Kilian, from krom and steve, prow). Drumbler, Drumler (1598), a name in the 17th century for a small, fast ship used as a transport, also a piratical ship of war; ad. e.mod.Du. drommeler, a kind of ship (Kilian), perhaps a perversion of the foreign term dromon, dromond, after a native word.
Smack (1611), a single-masted sailing-vessel, fore and aft rigged like a sloop or cutter and usually of light burden, used chiefly for coasting or fishing, and formerly as a tender to a ship
of war; probably ad. Du. smak, e.mod.Du. smacke (Kilian) (LG. smakke, smak). Boyer (a. 1618), a sloop of Flemish construction with a raised work at each end; from Du. boeijer (LG. bojer). Sloop (1629), a small one-masted fore and aft rigged vessel, differing from a cutter in having a jibstay and standing bowsprit; ad. Du. sloep (Fris. and LG. slûp, e.mod.Du. sloepe, LG. slupe); the history of the Du. and LG. word is obscure, but it appears more probable that it is an adoption of F. chaloupe or Sp. chalupa, than that it is the source of these.
Pont (1631), a large, flat boat or transport, pontoon; ad. Du. pont(e). Bilander (1656), a two-masted merchant vessel, used in the Low Countries for coast, river, and canal traffic; the name is probably a corruption of binlander, from binnenlander, short for binnenlandsvaarder, a vessel used for inland navigation; in west Flanders billander was sometimes considered to stand for blander, hence the notion that it should mean bijlander, a vessel which sails near the land; the form belander also occurs in the Netherlands (Bense). Bezan (1662, once in Pepys's Diary), a small yacht, apparently one fitted with a mizen-sail; ad. Du. bezaan, mizen-sail.
Bumboat (1671), a scavenger's boat used to remove filth from ships lying in the Thames; a boat employed to carry provisions, vegetables, and small merchandise for sale to ships in port; O.E.D. gives an Eng. origin from bum, the posteriors, these dirt boats being also used to bring vegetables for sale; Bense, however, finds a Low Dutch origin, from LG. bumboot, ‘ein breites Schifferboot, womit im Hafen Lebensmittel an die Schiffe gerudert werden’ (Bergh.) (LG. boomschip, ‘ein Trog oder Schifflein, so aus dem Stamme eines Baums gehauen ist’, Kilian has boomschip, Du. bomschuit); according to this derivation provision boat would be the original and proper sense, and dirt boat a name given in mistake and contempt.
Yawl (1670), a ship's boat resembling a pinnace; (1684), a small sailing-boat of the cutter class; apparently ad. MLG. jolle (LG. jolle, jölle, jelle) or Du. jol (17th century), explained by Sewel (1708) as a ‘Jutland boat’, whence diminutive jolleken (Hexham, 1660). Snow (1676), a small sailing-vessel resembling a brig, carrying a main and fore mast and a supplementary trysail mast, formerly employed as a warship; in the 17th century snaw, ad. Du. snauw, snaauw, or LG. snau (whence Da. and Sw. snau).
Schooner (1716), the word seems to have originated in Massachusetts about 1713,
and despite the spelling, which may have been due to association with Dutch words having initial
sch-, the word is English, and passed from English into most European
languages, as Du. schooner, schoener, F. schooner, &c.
Yanky (1760-1, Smollett; 1904, P. Fountain, Gt. Nth. West, ‘a Yanki is a small kind of galiot, and the Dutch fur-traders used craft of this kind to ascend the rivers in search of their Indian customers’), a word of doubtful status, origin, and meaning; perhaps Du. Janke applied originally to a particular ship and so possibly identical with Yankee.
Kof (1794), a clumsy sailing-vessel with two masts used by the Dutch, Germans, and Danes; ad. Du. kof. Billy-boy (1855, Smyth, Sailor's Wordbook), explained by Smyth as ‘a Humber or sea-coast boat of river-barge build and a trysail, a bluff-bowed North Country trader or large one-masted vessel of burden’; he derives boy from Du. boeier, a sloop of Flemish construction (see Boyer). Tjalk (1889), a kind of Dutch ship or sailing-boat; from Du. and LG. tjalk, a kind of ship, ad. West Fris. tsjalk.
There is a large group of terms for the rigging, spars, and tackle of a ship. In Middle English the following appeared: Tackle (c. 1250), apparatus, equipment in general; (a. 1300), the rigging of a ship, also gear; apparently of Low Dutch origin, and probably ad. MLG. takel, equipment generally, esp. of a horseman, specially of a ship, hoisting apparatus (LG. takel, e.mod.Du. takel, strong rope, hawser, pulley). The vb. Tackle (c. 1400), to furnish a ship with tackle, and Tackling (c. 1422), the furnishing, rigging, gear, are both from the sb.
Mike (13.., E.E. Allit. P.), probably a ‘crutch’ or forked support on which a boom rests when lowered; perhaps ad. M.Du. micke (Du. mik).
Bowline (c. 13..), a rope passing from about the middle of the perpendicular edge of the weather side of the square sails to the larboard or starboard bow for the purpose of keeping the edge of the sail steady when sailing on a wind; it is improbable that this is a comb. of Eng. bow and line, for bow is of much later appearance in Eng. (see Bow); Bense suggests MLG. bôchlîne as its origin. Bowsprit (c. 1330), a large boom or spar which projects over the stem of a ship to carry sail forward; the numerous forms bowsprit takes in Eng. and the late
appearance of bow in Eng. make a comb. of bow and sprit (OE. sprēōt), very unlikely, if not impossible, and ‘the origin seems to lie between LG., Du., and English’ (O.E.D.); it is perhaps from MLG. bôchsprêt (LG. boogspreet, -spriit, e.mod. Du. boechspriet, Du. boegspriet).
Trice (1357-8), a pulley or windlass; ad. M.Du. trîse, trijs (Du. trijs), windlass, pulley, hoisting-block (MLG. trîsse, trîtse, tackle, hoisting-rope). The vb. appears some thirty years later, Trice (c. 1386), to pull, pluck, snatch, and specially, to pull or haul with a rope; ad. M.Du. trîsen (Du. trijsen), to hoist (MLG. trîssen, trîtsen). Wind (1399), an apparatus for winding, a winch or windlass; this is partly ad. M.Du. and MLG. winde, windlass, partly a direct formation on the vb. to wind.
Marline (1485, Naval Acc. Hen. VII), a small line of two strands used for seizings; perhaps two synonymous words have been confused, marline, ad. Du. marlijn (from marren, to bind, and lijn, line) and marling, perhaps ad. Du. marling, vbl. sb. from marlen, to marl; the two words seem to have been confused already in Du.; compare MLG. merlink, marlink, which have given Sw. and Da. merling.
Mers (1494, from Sc.), a round-top surrounding the lower masthead; also attrib. in mers clothes, streamers and hangings suspended from the mers; ad. M.Du. merse, ‘top’ of a mast, literally, a basket. Ra (1494, from Sc.), a sailyard; ON. rá, Du. ra (Kilian, rae, rah, rha), MLG. râ; in Sc. the word can be from any one of these three, but a Low Dutch origin is the more probable, as the late appearance of the word counts against an ON. origin. Smite (1494), a rope attached to one of the lower corners of a sail; ad. M.Du. smiete or MLG. smîte (Du. smijt, LG. smîte).
The following words appear in the modern period. Nock (1513, from Sc.), the tip or extremity of a yard-arm; (1794), in sails, the foremost upper corner; ad. the synonymous Du. and Flem. and Fris. nok or LG. nokk (whence also G. and Sw. nock, Da. nok); these words also occur in other special senses denoting a projecting tip or point of some kind.
Boom, sb. (1662), a long spar run out from different places in a ship to extend
or boom out the foot of a particular sail; (c. 1645), a bar or barrier consisting of a strong
chain or line of connected spars, &c., stretched across a river or the mouth of a harbour to obstruct navigation; ad. Du. boom, tree, beam, pole.
Boom, vb. (1627), in the sense, ‘to boom out’, to extend the foot of a sail with a boom, is from the sb.; in the sense, ‘to boom off’, to push a vessel off with a pole, it is apparently directly from Du. boomen, ‘to push off with a pole’, as the sb. appears not to be used in this sense. Bomespar (1660), a spar of a larger kind; ad. Du. boomspar. Bumkin, Bumpkin (1632), a short boom projecting from each bow of a ship; probably an Eng. adaptation of the Flem. diminutive boomken; in Holland the diminutive is boompje. Bolm (1513, from Sc.), is a Sc. variant of boom, from Du. and Flem. boom.
Cringle (1627), a ring or eye of rope containing a thimble worked into the bolt-rope of a sail for the attachment of a rope; apparently of LG. origin; cf. G. (mostly LG.) and Mid.G. kringel, MLG. and LG. krengel, diminutive of kring, circle, ring. Slabline (1647), a small cord passing up behind a ship's foresail or mainsail, used for trussing the sail; probably ad. Du. slaplijn, from slap, slack.
Kink, sb. (1678), a small twist or curl in a rope at which it is bent upon
itself; probably ad. Du. kink, twist, twirl. The vb. is later, Kink (1697), and is probably ad. Du. kinken (Hexham), from
kink. Span (1769), one or other of various ropes or chains
used as fastenings or means of connexion; ad. Du. or LG. span (also M.Du. and MLG.) from spannen, to unite, fasten. Crance (1846), a kind of iron cup on the outer end of a bowsprit; perhaps from Du. krans, wreath, garland. Hamber-line (1853), a small line used for seizings, lashings, &c.; a corruption of Hamburg.
There is a group of terms for the various parts and timbers of a ship's hull and decks. Deck (1513), in the nautical sense of a platform extending from side to side of a ship; the primary notion was ‘covering’ or ‘roof’ rather than ‘floor’; the word is earlier (1466) in the general sense of a covering; apparently of Low Dutch origin; probably ad. M.Du. dec, roof, covering, cloak, but in the nautical sense it is not known in Du. before 1675-81, when dek appears as a synonym of verdek, quoted in the nautical sense in 1640, but recorded by Kilian (1599) in the general sense only; thus deck in the nautical sense appears in English over a century and a half earlier than in Du.; it may be simply a specific application of the general sense, covering, or it may come more immediately from the M.Du. sense ‘roof’. Orlop (1467), originally the single floor or deck with which the
hull of a ship was covered, and then the lowest deck of a ship; ad. Du. overloop, covering, ‘ouerloop vant schip’ (Kilian, 1599), from overloopen, to run over.
Gripe (1580), the piece of timber terminating the keel at the former extremity; originally greepe, ad. Du. greep, but afterwards assimilated to the sb. gripe. Skeg (1625), in ship-building, a knee which braces and unites the sternpost, the keel of a boat; perhaps directly from the Du. scheg, schegge, which reproduce the Scand. skegg, a beard.
Bow (1626), the rounded forepart of a ship; the cognate OE. bóg, bóh, shoulder, upper arm, and bough of a tree, has survived only in the latter sense and form, while Eng. bow (of a ship) corresponds in form and sense to LG. bûg, Du. boeg, Da. boug, bov, Sw. bog, all in the senses: shoulder of a man or beast, and bow of a ship; O.E.D. says that the word must have been adopted from LG., Du., or Da.; unless it is the Da. bov, it must have been adopted from Low Dutch at a much earlier date than the 17th century, and may be from M.Du. boech, boegh, bow of a ship, and shoulder of an animal.
Garboard (1626), the first range of planks laid upon a ship's bottom next to the keel; apparently ad. Du. gaarboord, explained by Winschooten (1681) as from garen, short for gaderen, to gather, and boord, board.
Caboose (1769), the cook-room of merchantmen on deck, a diminutive substitute for the galley of a man-of-war; identical with Du. kabuis, kombuis, e.mod.Du. combûse, cabûse, MLG. kabhûse, also F. cambuse; the original language was perhaps LG., but the history and etymology of the word are quite obscure.
Taffrail, Tafrail (1814), the aftermost portion of the poop-rail of a ship; a 19th-century alteration of tafferel due to false etymology, the termination -rel being taken as rail. Tafferel (1704), the upper part of the flat portion of a ship's stem above the transom, usually ornamented with carvings, in later times including, and now applied to, the aftermost portion of the poop-rail; ad. Du. (also M.Du.) tafereel, panel, picture, diminutive of tafel; the same word as Tafferel, a panel.
The following are the names of articles of gear or apparatus used on board ship. Shaltree (1307-8), a pole, perhaps a pole used for propelling vessels; a partial translation of MLG. schaldbôm, a pole used as an oar or rudder, from schalden, to
push, and bôm. This word was also adopted as Sheltbeam (1336, in Nicholas, Hist. Roy. Navy), again a partial translation with Eng. beam substituted for bôm.
Names for both types, primitive and mechanical, of apparatus for clearing a boat or ship of water were borrowed from Low Dutch. Scoop (c. 1330), baler; (1487, Naval Acc. Hen. VII), a kind of shovel for dipping out and carrying loose material; the word is apparently of twofold origin, from MLG. schôpe or M.Du. schôpe, schoepe, a vessel for drawing or baling out water, bucket of water-wheel, and from M.Du. schoppe (MLG. schuppe), shovel; the two words, etymologically quite distinct, have through this close resemblance in form and sense been to some extent confused in Low Dutch; F. borrowed écope in both senses, but the word is recorded a century earlier in Eng. than in French. Pump (c. 1440, Pr. Parv.), a mechanical device to raise water by suction, from early times used on board ship to remove bilge water; the 15th-century form is pumpe, pompe, and corresponds to e.mod.Du. pompe, Du. pomp, LG. pumpe, pump; the word is as yet first known in England in the sense of ship's pump, in which use it is quite common from 1450 to 1500, but in Low Dutch it is not recorded in this sense before the 16th century (in Du. c. 1556, in LG. c. 1550; Plantijn, 1573, has it only in the sense bilge; but Kilian, 1599, has it for ship's pump and pump generally); in Du. dialects pompe is found before 1463 in the sense of a pipe or tube of wood or metal, or a stone conduit for the conveyance of water underground, a sense also found in Fris. and some LG. dialects; in view of these dates and the various senses it is not easy to come to a conclusion as to the language in which the word arose; if the primary sense was that of ‘tube, pipe’, the probability is that the word is of Low Dutch origin; if, however, it is an echoic formation from the sound of the plunger striking the water, then it can have arisen equally in Eng. or Low Dutch; in either case it was probably in nautical use first.
Speke (1366), a handspike; (a. 1400), a wheel-spoke; ad. M.Du. or MLG. spēke, spoke. Scote (1394, from Devon), perhaps a kind of cable; perhaps from M.Du. schoot, ‘sheet’, rope, whence OF. escoute. Another form of the same word is Shoot (1495, Naval Acc. Hen. VII), ad. MLG. schote or M.Du. schoot (whence also West Fris. skoat, Sw. skot). Wrakling (1494, from Sc.), a large make of nail, esp. used in ship-building; ad. MLG. wrakelinge,
M.Du. wrakelinc (whence also Fris. wrakling, plank-nail, Da. dial. vraekling).
Plicht-anker (1508, from Sc.), the main anchor of a ship; ad. LG. plichtanker or Du. plechtanker; the Du. and LG. word is usually referred to MLG. plicht, M.Du. plecht, a small fore- or after-deck of an open boat, but Doornk.-Koolm. prefers derivation from plicht, responsibility (O.E.D.).
Dale (1611), a wooden tube or trough for carrying off water, as from a ship's pump; the word corresponds in this sense to Du. and LG. daal, also to F. dalle, and may be from Low Dutch.
Handspike (1615, E.S., Britain's Buss), a wooden bar used as
a lever or crow especially on board ship and in artillery service; ad. e.mod.Du. handspaecke, Du. handspaak, in the same sense, from spaak, M.Du. spake, pole, rod; in Eng. apparently
assimilated to the sb. spike. Marline-spike, Marlinspike (1626), an iron tool tapering to a point used to separate the strands of rope in splicing, as a lever in marling, &c.; originally apparently marling-spike, from the vbl. sb. marling and spike (see Marl and Marling); the first element was subsequently interpreted as marline.
Plug (1627), a piece of wood, &c., to stop up a hole; apparently ad. M.Du. and e.mod.Du. plugge, plug, bung (MLG., LG. plugge, plügge, LG. plüg, Sw. plugg, Da. plög). The vb. Plug (1630) is from the sb. or immediately ad. e.mod.Du. pluggen, from plugge (MLG. pluggen, LG. plüggen).
Wince (1688), winch; is a variant of winch, but perhaps influenced by LG. win(n)s, a small capstan, Du. wins, winch.
A few names for sailors have been borrowed. Keeler (1322, once in Tynemouth Chartulary), a keelman; from keel, which, however, is much later, and -er (see Keel). Skipper (1390, in the non-Eng. context of E. Derby's Exped., 1496 in Eng. context), the captain or master of a ship, esp. of a small trading, fishing, or merchant vessel; in the 15th and 16th centuries chiefly in Sc. use; ad. M.Du. or MLG. schipper, from schip, ship. Shipper (1496), now obsolete in the sense of skipper; represents MLG. and M.Du. schipper, with the initial sk- sound assimilated to Eng. sh-.
Swabber (1592), one of a crew whose business it was to swab the decks, a petty officer who had charge of the cleaning of the decks; ad. e.mod.Du. zwabber, from zwabben, to swab, clean (cf. LG. swabber, a mop). Skeeman (1820), the officer who has direction
of the operations conducted in the hold; ad. Du. schieman, boatswain's mate, formerly also schimman, possibly for schipman.
A very general term, perhaps best included here, is Outloper (1583, once in Hakluyt), one who makes a run out, e.g. on a voyage of adventure; apparently ad. Du. uit-looper (Kilian, uut-looper, ‘excursor’).
There are a number of terms for the handling and sailing of ships and for various operations on board ship.
An interesting group has to do with the loading and cargo of ships and probably came in in Middle English with the important Dutch freighting trade. Fraught (13.., Coer de Lion), the pa. pple. of the vb. fraught. Fraught, sb. (1375, Sc. Leg. Saints), the hire of a boat for the transportation of freight or cargo; (1330, Rob. of Brunne), the cargo of a ship; probably ad. M.Du. or MLG. vracht (also vrecht), freight, cargo, charge for transport; the irregular vocalism of the Du. word is supposed to point to adoption from Frisian; from Du. or Fris. the word has passed into all the Teutonic languages. The vb. Fraught (c. 1400) is from the sb.; but compare M.Du. vrachten. Freight (1463), the hire of a vessel for the transport of goods; (1502), the cargo or lading of a ship; probably ad. M.Du. or MLG. vrecht, variant of vracht. Loss (1482, from Sc.), to unload a vessel, to discharge goods from a vessel; ad. M.Du. lossen, from los, loose.
Reef (1390), one of the horizontal portions of a sail which may be successively rolled or folded up; ME. riff, refe, corresponds to (M.)Du. reef, rif, LG. reef, reff, and the ultimate source for both Eng. and Low Dutch is ON. rif, in the same sense; it is possible that the word has passed through Low Dutch into English. Marl (c. 1440, Pr. Parv.), to tie, noose; (1704), to fasten with marline, small line, to secure together by a succession of half-hitches; ad. Du. or LG. marlen (whence Sw. märle, Da. merle), apparently a frequentative from M.Du. merren, to tie. Marling, vbl. sb. (1485, Naval Acc. Hen. VII), the action of marl; first as ‘merlyng irenes’.
Woolding (c. 1440, Pr. Parv.), the action of binding an object tightly with cord, esp. nautical, the action of winding rope or chain round a mast or yard, to support it where it is fished or broken; (c. 1425), a wrapping, swathing, esp. nautical, the rope or chain used in woolding; late ME. wol(l)ing, probably ad. MLG. woling, M.Du. woeling (Du. woeling, whence Da. vuling), from the MLG. vb. wolen, to woold. Woolder (1548), a woold
rope, in rope-making, a stick used as a lever in woolding, also a workman operating this; from woold, vb. and -er. Woold (1616), the late appearance of this word suggests that it is a back-formation from woolding, but it was probably a late ME. adoption of MLG. wolen, wölen (LG. wölen, pa. pple. wöld) or M.Du. woelen, ‘premere, constringere, torquere’ (Kilian) (Du. woelen), to woold. Woold (1628), woolding, binding cord or rope; from the vb.
Swift (1485), to tighten or make fast by means of a rope or ropes drawn taut, e.g. the rigging or masts, the capstan bars, or a boat or ship, by passing a rope round the gunwale or round the bottom and upper works to prevent strain; owing to the scantiness and chronological discrepancy of the early evidence the immediate source of this word is difficult to ascertain; presumably it is of Low Dutch or Scand. origin; compare ON. svipta, to reef, sviptingar, reefing ropes, Du. zwichten, to take in sails, to roll up ropes, zwichtings, zwichtlijnen, cat-harpings, W.Fris. swicht, a partly or completely folded sail, Da. svigte, to take in sail.
Aloof (1549), an obsolete phrase, the order to the steersman to turn the head of the ship towards the wind, or to make her sail nearer the wind, now luff; (1532), adv., away to the windward; (c. 1540), away, at some distance apart; from a, preposition, and loof, luff, weather gauge, windward direction, perhaps immediately from Du. loef, in ‘te loef’, to windward, ‘loef houden’, to keep the luff; cf. Da. luv, Sw. lof, perhaps also from Dutch. Laveer (1598), to beat to windward, to tack; ad. Du. laveeren, in the 17th century also loeveren, M.Du. laeveren, loveren, ad. F. loveer, now louvoyer, from lof, windward, of Low Dutch origin; the Du. word has been adopted into Scand. as Sw. lofvera, Da. lavere.
Sheer (1626), to turn aside, alter course; perhaps a use of the vb. shear, but the development of sense is obscure; in MLG. and LG., Du. (but not M.Du.) scheren (etymologically identical with shear) is often intransitive and reflexive, with the sense of withdraw, depart, be off; but as it seems never to have been used as a nautical term, the common view that the word is from Low Dutch lacks proof.
Trade-wind (1663), apparently originally in the phrase, ‘to blow trade’ (1591-1600), to blow in a regular or habitual course, afterwards often shortened in nautical use to trade, in
the plural ‘the trades’; the word has nothing to do with trade in the sense of commerce or passage for the purpose of trading, though the importance of these winds to navigation led 18th-century etymologists, and perhaps even navigators, so to understand the term (see Trade, p. 45).
Avast (1681), both Skeat and O.E.D. look upon this word as probably a worn-down form of Du. hou vast, houd vast, hold fast; it is the nautical order to stop or pause in any exercise, as ‘avast heaving’. Gybe (1693), of a fore and aft sail or its boom, to swing from one side of the vessel to the other; apparently ad. Du. gijben, now gijpen, but the phonetic change of the initial g sound to a d sound is unexplained; perhaps the initial sound was affected by that of jib (1661), the name of a sail, a word which is found only in English, and possibly an abbreviation of gibbet. Way in the phrase Under way (1743), of a vessel having begun to move through the water; often spelled weigh; ad. Du. onderweg (also -wegen), on the way, under way, from onder, under, and weg, way.
There are a number of terms dealing with the treatment of ropes and cordage. Splice (a. 1625), to join by untwisting and interweaving the strands so as to form one continuous length; ad. M.Du. splissen, now represented in Low Dutch by dial. Du., LG., and G. splissen, W.Fris. splisse, N.Fris. splesse, splasse. The sb. is Splice (1627). The earliest record is of the vbl. sb. Splicing (1524-5). Belay (1549), as a representative of OE. bi-, belecgan, is obsolete; Skeat and O.E.D. suggest a Dutch origin, from Du. beleggen, for the verb in the nautical sense, the only current one, ‘to coil a running rope round a cleat, belaying-pin, or keval so as to fasten or secure it’. Feaze (1568), to unravel a rope, to unravel at the end; possibly from M.Du. vese, veze, fringe, frayed end; the word is in some way related to Eng. sb. fas, fringe.
A few words deal with the damage or wrecking of a ship. Wrack (c. 1386), a wrecked ship, a vessel ruined or crippled by wreck; (1428), remnants of, or goods from, a wrecked vessel, esp. as driven or cast ashore; (1579), the total or partial disablement or destruction of a vessel by any accident of navigation or disaster; (1513), marine vegetation cast ashore by the waves or growing on the tidal foreshore; ad. M.Du. (also Du.) wrack (Kilian, wracke), or MLG. wrak, wrack, wreck, wrecked vessel. The vb. Wrack (1470-85) is from the sb. A variant is Wrake (sb. 1513, vb. 1570).
Leak (c. 1440, Palladius on husbondrie), to pass by a leak; probably much older than the first recorded date; corresponds to M.Du. leken, to let water through) drip, and ON. leka, to drip, leak, and may be from either, though the date and place (Essex) of its first appearance favour a Low Dutch rather than a Scand. origin; it is very likely that in later use the vb. was formed afresh from leak, sb. or adj. Leak, sb. (1487, Naval Acc. Hen. VII), a hole in a vessel by which a fluid enters or escapes; the proximate source is doubtful, but perhaps adopted from Low Dutch; cf. M.Du. and LG. lek (inflected lēk, whence G. leck, Da. laek), Du. lek; it is possible that the Eng. word, notwithstanding its late appearance, may represent an adoption from the ON. leke, or even an OE. cognate. Leak, adj. (a. 1530), leaky; in OE. hlec (c. 897, AElfred); after OE. the word does not appear until the 16th century, when it may have been adopted from M.Du. and LG. lek (inflected lēk), cognate with ON. lekr; the exact relation between the adj. and the sb. and the vb. is undetermined.
Split (1590), of storms, rocks, &c., to break up a ship; (1602), to suffer shipwreck; (1593), to divide longitudinally by a sharp stroke; ad. M.Du. splitten, related to spletten and splīten (Du. splijten, MLG. and LG. spîtten).
Crank-sided (1626), from crank, which appears first in this combination. Crank (1696), liable to lean over and capsize; said of a ship when she is built too deep or narrow or has not sufficient ballast; Du. and Fris. have krengd, of a ship, laid or lying over on its side, pa. pple. of krengen, originally to apply pressure to, to push over, spec. to lay or cause a ship to fall upon her side, e.g. in careening, also intrans., to lie on one side, as a ship does when her cargo shifts in the hold; possibly this foreign word was caught up and confused with the native crank.
Fother (1789), to cover a sail thickly with oakum, &c., with a view to getting some of it sucked into a hole over which the sail is to be drawn; probably ad. Du. voederen, now voeren, or LG. fodern, to line, used also nautically as above.
A word which is not a term of loss or damage, but rather of the prevention of loss, is Ballast (1530), gravel, stones, iron, &c., placed in the hold of a ship in order to sink her to such a depth as to prevent her from capsizing when under sail; the oldest form is possibly O.Da. and O.Sw. barlast (a. 1400 and regularly in the 15th century), from bar, bare, and last, load, i.e. mere lading or weight, whence ballast with -ll- for -rl- by assimilation;
the later Da. baglast, backload, and 17th-century Du. balglast, bellyload, were corrupted by popular etymology; the form ballast also occurs in MLG. before 1400, and is taken as the original by Sch. and Lü., who explain it from bal, bad, as bad lading; if this is well founded, barlast would rank with balglast and baglast as a popular perversion; the final -t is lost in the 16th- and 17th-century form ballace, first in the vb. where ballast was plausibly analysed as the pret. ballass-ed, and a new infinitive formed.
There are a few words connected with the shore, harbour, and tidal water. Creek (c. 1250), a narrow recess or inlet in the coastline of the sea; (1478), a small port or harbour; the ME. forms krike and cryke correspond to F. crique (14th century), and creke and creeke to e.mod.Du. kreek (Kilian), creek, bay; the earlier history of the word is not known, but F. crique is generally supposed to be of Germanic origin; it is possible that the word was borrowed into Eng. both from French and Low Dutch and that the Dutch form finally supplanted the French.
Tide (c. 1436), in the secondary sense, tide of the sea; this sense corresponds exactly to MLG. getîde (n.), tîde, tie (n. and f.), LG. tide, M.Du. ghetîde (n.), e.mod.Du. tijde, Du. tij (n.), ‘tide of the sea’, a particular application of MLG. getîde, a fixed time, proper time, space of time; OE. had no form corresponding to getîde (using for tide of the sea flōd and ebba), and tīd or tide in this sense is unknown before 1340; it may then have been introduced from or used after the MLG. word, but as in ME. tide had neither the difference of form or of gender seen in de tît and dat tîde, actual formal evidence of borrowing is wanting; of course, there is always the possibility of a transference of sense in ME., as in MLG.; two examples, both earlier than c. 1435, seem to mean the time of high water rather than the flood tide itself or the phenomenon of the tides (1340, Hampole, c. 1386, Chaucer).
A term of harbour equipment is Buoy (1466), a floating object moored over a shoal, rock, or sunken object to mark its position; it is not clear whether the Eng. word was originally from OF. boie, buie or from M.Du. boje, boye, boei.
Slip (1467), an artificial slope of stone built or made beside a navigable water to serve as a landing place; probably from slip, vb. (see p. 202). Dock (1513), the bed in which a ship lies at low water, the hollow made by a vessel lying in the sand;
(1538), a creek or haven in which vessels may lie on the ooze or ride at anchor; (1634-5), a trench, canal, or artificial inlet to admit a boat; (1552), an artificial basin excavated; first recorded in the 16th century in Du. and Eng. and perhaps in Eng. from Du. docke, now dok; from Du. and Eng. it has passed into other languages, Da. docke, Sw. docka, G. dock, docke, F. dock.
Brack (1513), as adj., salt, briny, brackish; (1591), as sb., salt water, brine, the sea; ad. Du. brak, brackish. Derivatives are Brackish (1637), Brackishness (1571), and Bracky (1593).
Reef (1584), a narrow ridge or chain of rocks, shingle, or sand, lying at or near the surface of the water; the ultimate source is ON. rif, in the same sense, but the immediate source of the word was probably Low Dutch, from Du. rif (Kilian also riffe), MLG. rif, ref. Beer (1629), a mole or pier; ad. Du. beer.
A few words are of more specifically naval application. Keelhaul (1626), to haul a person under the keel of a ship; ad. Du. kielhalen (with the elements Anglicized as keel and haul); Du. kielhalen occurs in an ordinance of 1629, the punishment itself is mentioned in an ordinance of 1590 as ‘onder den kiele deurstricken’; the quotation of 1626 (Capt. Smith, Accid. Yng. Seamen), is an explanation of the procedure, the first real occurrence being in 1666 (Lond. Gaz.).
Cruise (1651), to sail to and fro over some part of the sea without making for any particular port; the word corresponds alike to Du. kruisen, to cross, also, since the 17th century, to cruise, sail crossing to and fro, ‘kruyssen op de Zee’, to traverse and cross the sea (1678, Hexham), from kruis, cross, and to Sp. and Pg. cruzar, to cross, cruise, F. croiser, to cross, cruise up and down; the current spelling with ui seems to be after Du., but the vowel-sound is as in Sp. and Pg. Cruiser (1679), a person or a ship that cruises; in the 18th century commonly applied to privateers; from the vb. cruise and -er, or immediately ad. Du. kruiser (cf. also F. croiseur, ship and captain).
Commodore (1695), naval, an officer in command ranking above captain and below rear-admiral; (1697), an officer of like rank in the navies of other countries; apparently originally applied to Dutch commanders; in the 17th century, under William III, commandore, possibly ad. Du. kommandeur; some have conjectured a corruption of Sp. commendador, but no contact with Spain appears in the early instances.
In the Middle Ages there was no sharp division between the pirate and the lawful trader. When opportunity offered, the trader often turned pirate, and even the small fishing-boats, when in sufficient numbers, were likely to attack a merchant ship which they found in difficulties. In addition to this sporadic piracy there was organized piracy, sometimes on the largest scale, and with the countenance and even the support of the pirates' rulers.
In the 13th and 14th centuries constant piracy was carried on by the Zeelanders, with reprisals by the English; this was so bad from 1272 to 1281 that something like a sea war was going on between England and Zeeland. The same cause made relations between the two countries difficult in the reign of Edward II. Retaliation for piracy often took the form of legitimized piracy; thus when a Sandwich ship was seized and taken into Flushing in the reign of Edward II, two Dordrecht ships were in revenge seized at London. Different nationalities sometimes combined to retaliate; when in the reign of Edward I Flemish sailors attacked men from Bayonne, the Gascons retaliated with the help of the men of Yarmouth and the Cinque Ports; in 1292, in retaliation for the hanging of an English sailor in Brittany, English seamen made an organized attack on French and Flemish shipping at Sluys, the Flemings having generally sided with the French, and as a result the seaboard from Holland to the Bay of Biscay was plunged into confusion and alarm. It was the merest piracy on both sides. In 1293 there was a regular action in which English, Dutch, Flemings, Gascons, and Genoese are said to have taken part. A flagrant outrage by men from Blankney upon Dutch ships at Sniterleye provoked at last royal intervention, and thirteen men were hanged for the murder of Dutchmen.
During the 14th and 15th centuries a sort of licensed private warfare was waged between English merchants and men of Norway, Prussia, Flanders, Scotland, Spain, and Genoa. In addition there were the regular pirates and freebooters. No unguarded place on the coast was safe, and petitions to the Parliament of 1382 show that the policing of the seas was so utterly wanting that on the north coasts alone 60 ships and ‘crayers’, beside minor craft, had been destroyed by hostile
cruisers. Lincolnshire and Norfolk must have been especially open to attack. A pitiful complaint in 1383 from the men of Scarborough shows us the nature of the perils to which they were exposed; as their town lay open to the sea, it was day after day assailed by Scots, Flemings, and French, and though they had provided a barge and a ballinger for their own defence, they were unable to put up an effective resistance without aid in manning their ships.
The Channel was infested with pirates, and the mouth of the Rhine, Calais, and St. Malo are mentioned at different times as being their chief haunts. A very powerful association of pirates was allowed to ravage the North Sea and the Baltic. The Hanseatic League had availed themselves of the dangerous aid of these freebooters during their struggle with the king of Denmark, which was closed by the Treaty of Stralsund in 1370. They were not immediately able to put down the evil which they had allowed to spread, though the great organization of pirates known as the ‘Victual Brothers’ was broken up after their defeat off Heligoland in 1402. These pirates had burnt Bergen in 1392, and under their leaders Stortebeker and Michelson had devoted themselves especially to preying on merchants who frequented English ports. When the Victual Brothers had been crushed the evil scarcely abated, for several small nests of pirates were formed out of the survivors of the great association, and their ravages by sea and land were so bold that at length the men of Amsterdam were moved to take the matter in hand, and in 1408 entered into a league with Hamburg, Lübeck, and other towns for the extirpation of the evil. They were successful in destroying nine of the haunts of the pirates at the mouth of the Ems, but little permanent good was done. A celebrated pirate named Voet, who was acting in the interest and possibly with the connivance of the Hanseatic League, sacked Bergen in 1428, and this was a serious blow to English trade in the North Sea.
Similar evils occurred nearer home, and there were pitiful complaints of the attacks of bands of outlaws known as the ‘Rovers of the Sea’, who pillaged the coasts in the time of Henry VI. It is only by an examination of the separate histories of different localities that we get any real idea of the frightful extent of the evil along the coasts. Agnes Paston writes in 1450, as of an everyday event, of a neighbour ‘who was taken
with enemies, walking by the sea-coast’. The marauders seem to have kidnapped old and young; and we can well believe that rural districts like the neighbourhood of Paston had cause for alarm, when towns like Sandwich and Southampton were burnt, and London and Norwich were forced to plan means of defence with booms and chains. Englishmen on their part were not innocent; the people of Westeigi and Esteigi in Friesland petitioned the English king to restrain the Captain of Calais from sending the pirates he kept in his pay against their ships.
As in the earlier period, the simplest means of granting some redress was to allow the aggrieved party to seize the goods in England or on the seas of men who hailed from the same town or district as the pirates, in the hope that the penalty would at last fall upon the right shoulders. When piracy was carried on on an extensive scale, however, this was useless. The task of getting redress then passed into the hands of the Crown; thus protracted negotiations began with the Hanse in 1403 over the matter of privateering; the Livonians put in a claim for the loss of three ships and 250 men drowned, while claims were also entered by Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, Stralsund, Greifswald, and Kampen; counter-claims against Wismar and Rostock came from London, Newcastle, Hull, York, Colchester, Norwich, Yarmouth, Clee, Wiveton, and Lynn; Lynn claimed also restitution for goods and houses lost and for ransoms extorted at the sack of Bergen by corsairs from Wismar and Rostock.
In the modern period we get the separation of the peaceful trader from the pirate and buccaneer. The pirate becomes an outlaw with the hands of all traders and governments against him. At times, however, the dividing line between the privateer or private warship and the mere pirate is very difficult to draw, and this is never more so than in West Indian waters in the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the Parliament of 1601 there was a discussion concerning the losses suffered by the burgesses of Yarmouth, Sandwich, and other ports at the hands of the half-piratical, half-hostile ports of Nieuwport and Dunkirk. Among the explanations given was that they could so readily arm their ships with cannon cast in England, and though the export was prohibited, it was an active industry; it was stated that even during the progress of the debate there was a ship in the Thames ready to sail with thirty-six pieces of ordnance aboard. The queen's annual in-
come from the export duty on ordnance was no less than £3,000, and the result was that English ordnance sold as familiarly in France and Flanders as in England, and these privateers readily bought it.
During the Dutch wars English shipping suffered severely from Dutch privateers. At the same period, too, there was frequent intercourse between English and Dutch pirates and buccaneers in the West Indies and on the Spanish Main.
The earliest term of piracy introduced was Rover (1390), a sea-robber, pirate; ad. M.Du. or MLG. rover, from roven, to rob. The corresponding verb is very much later, Rove (a. 1548), to practise piracy, to sail as pirates; ad. M.Du. or MLG. roven, to rob; but perhaps not clearly distinguished from the vb. rove, to wander. Rovery (1600), piracy; ad. M.Du. or MLG. roverie, robbery.
The measures taken against piracy in the 15th century have introduced Wafter (1484), an armed vessel employed as a convoy; (1482), the commander of a convoying vessel; apparently ad. Du. or LG. wachter, lit. guard, from wachten, to guard, but the specific use has not been found in Low Dutch. A back-formation from wafter is the vb. Waft (1513), to convoy ships; (1593), to convoy safely by water; (a. 1707), of the wind, to propel safely.
Freebooter (1570), one who goes about in search of plunder, esp. a pirate; ad. Du. vrijbuiter (Kilian, vrijbueter), from vrij, free, and buit, boot, booty, and -er. Filibuster (1587), freebooter, a piratical adventurer who pillaged the Spanish colonies in the West Indies during the 17th century; the ultimate source is certainly the Du. vrijbuiter; it is not clear whether the earliest Eng. form flibutor, of which there is only one example, was taken from Du. directly or through some foreign language; late in the 18th century the F. form filibustier was adopted into English and was the usual form until the middle of the 19th century, when filibuster, after Sp. filibustero, began to be employed as the designation of certain adventurers, who at that time were active in the West Indies and Central America, and this has now superseded filibustier even with reference to the history of the 17th century; it is possible that the corrupted form of the Du. word, with fli- for fri-, may be of Eng. origin, and may have been taken into F. from its use in the Eng. colonies in the West Indies, or that the F. form arose in the European wars of the
16th century, and is the immediate source of Eng. flibutor; in any case the insertion of the -s- probably originated in F. as a mere sign of vowel-length, though already pronounced in F. in 1704.
Caper (1657), a privateer, the captain of a privateer; ad. Du. kaper, privateer, corsair, from kapen, to take away, steal, rob, plunder (E.Fris. kapen). The vb. is later, Cape (1676), to take or seize as a privateer, to go a-privateering; ad. Du. kapen, te kaap varen, to go a-privateering.
The financial policy by which heavy or prohibitive import duties were imposed, in order to encourage the national industry or to raise revenue by the taxation of imported luxuries, led at once to the smuggling of the articles, as soon as the tax was heavy enough to make the attempt worth while. Such duties were very heavy in the 17th and 18th centuries, and smuggling in and out of the country was done on a large scale. The Dutch and Flemish, being so favourably situated opposite our coasts, were large participators in this illicit trade. The smuggling of wool to the Continent during the period when the export was absolutely forbidden attained enormous proportions; it was estimated in 1788 at 11,000 packs annually. In many articles of import, such as tea and spirits, the illicit trade was probably of larger dimensions than the legitimate; Sir Matthew Decker alleges the case of one man in Zeeland who exported to England half a million pounds of tea; he had started life as a common sailor, but prospered so that he had come to own four sloops which he employed in running tea.
Lorendriver (1649, once), a smuggler; ad. Du. lorendraaier, smuggler. Smuggler (1661), one who smuggles; ad. LG. smukkeler, Du. smokkelaar, or LG. smugg(e)ler. Smuggle (1687), to convey goods in or out of a country so as to avoid paying duty; apparently of Low Dutch origin; the earlier form smuckle corresponds to LG. smukkeln or Du. smokkelen, while the slightly later smuggle corresponds to LG. smuggeln (whence also Da. smugle, Norw. smugla, Sw. smuggla).
. 323; iv
. 190, 338, 518-20; v. 65.
. 50, 61-3, 245, 259; iv
. 157, 187, 190-208, 317-37, 378-418, 481-5; v
. 15-17, 196-200; Ch. Eliz. ii
. 54, 428; Bense, A.D.R. 82, 86.
. 413; A.I. 216.
R. 20-49, 59; Ram.D.C. 401-3; I.C. i
. 300-3, 409-10, 419; Abram, 84; Ch. Eliz. ii