Monday, 18 May 2009
SILLY HISTORY LEGENDS
Do you know why they used to drink out of glass bottomed tankards in the olden days?
Come on, of course you do, why did they used to do that?
Because of the shilling right, the shilling in the bottom of the glass, that the naval recruiters used to drop in the tankards to trick people into joining the navy/army, right? Because, once you take a shilling you are in, right? So glass tankards, so you dont accidentally get a pint with a slipped in shilling, right?
NO, THAT IS WRONG, WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT, THAT IS SILLY, YOU ARE SILLY TO THINK THAT!
There is some weirdly prevailent myth that this used to happen. The old shilling in the pint trick, you were forced to join the army. This is such a myth that they now make REPLICAS of GENUINE GLASS BOTTOMED TANKARDS that stop this PRACTICE that never actually HAPPENED.
Seriously, check it out (complete with fake historic story.)
No, they didnt press gang people into joining the navy. As a matter of fact, in the time period this story originates (Around napoleonic wars era usually) it was much like now. Even in ye olde days you had a 4 day cooling off period after recruiting (for the very reason of making sure people didnt sign up drunk and regret it, or to impress the ladies and whatever other reasons you join up that arent good and sound like hating the French) and recruiters were actually subject to very strict rules and fines if they were found to mislead or just kidnap people from bars.
Thats not to say coercing wasnt taking place (as it does now) but like now, false pretenses was more the strategy than some obtuse slight of hand trick and like now it was punished if found out by the higher ups.
The origin of this myth is harder to pinpoint. Certainly there was points in British history when people were forced into the navy/military, but it wasnt by trickery but law and it might have root in the press ganging of American colonists, who were forced into the Navy when captured (since any colonist caught was still considered British before treaties were signed between America/UK) but wherever its from... it is stupid.
Stupid like your mother.