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M&D Chapter 6

[6.1] Leaving things dirtier than they were before, 47-48

The chapter opens with Cherrycoke and Brae discussing the Royal Society’s instructions to Mason and Dixon. They are interrupted when speech introduces another family member, Uncle Lomax. The first half of this brief section, then, deals with a contract that cannot be broken (‘the Royal S. … threatening legal action …’ etc, 47); while the second half of the section deals with a contract broken, soap ‘of low Quality’ that ‘often leaves things dirtier than they were before its application’. There have already been significant references to contracts – chapter 5 opens with Cherrycoke’s ‘spiritual Contract with the World as given’ (30), perhaps a reminder of Mason’s ‘Contract between the City and oneself’ (14); one might note here the absence of capitalisation in a reference that is more prosaic.

It is also interesting that Cherrycoke refers to ‘more Earthly Certainties’ (47) when he means, contra science, ‘a warning … from Beyond’. Cf Captain Smith’s juxtaposition of ‘Scientifick’ to ‘ancient Beliefs’ (37). If science is defined by, and depends on, empirical evidence that can be scrutinised objectively, this ‘warning’ is more of a gut feeling to do with fear. The Royal Society, meanwhile invokes a system based on legality and the need to compensate those who judged to be injured parties; while those consumers buying soap from Uncle Lomax have no such safeguards. On the Seahorse, hierarchical relations are informed by an imagined community that is rendered ineffective, or untrustworthy, when relations must be regulated by the law and the market.[1]

[6.2.1] Rebellion and immoderate desires, 48-50

If Captain Smith desires the right kind of company and conversation (32-35), Cherrycoke here demonstrates the downside of being ‘quarter’d with … a rattle‑head’ (48). Aboard the Seahorse characters are confined in a closed world that emphasises status and the importance of knowing, so to speak, your place. One might think back to the passage describing the ship’s motto and the ‘Code as strict as that of any ancient Knight’ (36). Cf Grant’s ‘feckless Youth, a Source of pre‑civiliz’d Sentiment’ (51).

Previously, Unchleigh was singled out as one of the ‘boil-brain’d subordinates’ Captain Smith would like to distance himself from (36). Unchleigh’s reappearance on 48, then, sharply contrasts the closed society of the Seahorse and the open society governed by contract law. Subsequently, impromptu signalling between ships (49) is followed by ‘a mysterious seal’d Dispatch’ (50): the former as transient as speech, the latter a record that has legal status.

Unchleigh’s antipathy to ‘Print’ (48) is to modernity, of course, as well as a reminder of Cherrycoke’s introduction in chapter 1, and his role here as a narrator, in association with oral traditions of preliteracy – cf the legal system that confines Mason and Dixon (47) precisely because agreements have been recorded. In chapter 1 Cherrycoke is interrupted by the first adult to join his audience, Uncle Ives ‘lately return’d from a Coffee-House Meeting’ (9) – his interruption is to ask what Cherrycoke was found guilty of, ‘strictly professional interest, of course’ and Unchleigh, here, fears ‘Civil Unrest’ as the consequence of discussion, the promotion of thinking, and quite unacceptable in a closed society. The ‘mysterious seal’d Dispatch, handed to the Captain at Plymouth just before they cast off’ (50; or ‘seal’d Sheaf of Papers’, 51) requires, of course, no thinking or discussion.

The interaction between Cherrycoke and Unchleigh is followed that between the two ships (and their respective captains), again raising the question of personal space, or ‘Standard Interval’ (49). This brief passage provides a bridge to Mason/Dixon, whose bickering seems ongoing. Not least, the reference to beer and wine returns the narrative to their first meeting (17-18).

[6.2.2] Your first damn’d fool’s errand, 50-54

The introduction to Grant’s thoughts (‘well, almost any Ship’, 50) might recall the similar introduction to Smith, ‘oblig’d at last to accept the remote scruffy Sixth Rate …’ etc (35). Each man expects more. However, reference here to ‘the Immortality of Ships’ (50) through constant transformation would appear to include crew and, specifically, its captain, given the replacement of Smith by Grant: another way of thinking about the imagined community as an abstract notion. Nonetheless, given his orders in writing (‘a seal’d Sheaf of Papers’, 51), Grant must confirm delivery by signing ‘an instrument of Receipt’ – making him personally responsible, of course.

Odd behaviour, as observed, links Grant and Mason (51-52). However, ‘Madness at Sea’ (52) is hardly worrisome (cf Unchleigh’s concerns earlier on 48);[2] and the crew now comes to the fore. Half way down 52 the paragraph beginning ‘This ship’s history …’ etc introduces ‘[t]he Frigate life’. The loss of musicians here follows the earlier description of ‘the Immortality of Ships’ (50). If the rebuilding of ships suggests one kind of tradition, musicianship suggests another, ‘Slowcombe … having learn’d the Art of his Instrument from the fam’d Hanoverian Fifer Johann Ulrich …’ etc (53). The ship is ‘a Village’ (52; repeated, 53) marked by the ability of its inhabitants to coexist peacefully: Soames’ solitude, followed by Veevle’s sleepfulness (54), undisturbed by noise that would awaken others. This passage provides another take on the ship as a closed society, following earlier descriptions of rank. Officers – and the claustrophobia indicated by their interactions – are absent; and authority is represented by the intrusion of the reward offered to anyone who can wake Veevle. Cf the way in which Grant and Mason/Dixon have earlier been disciplined from afar by written orders and a contract enforceable by law, respectively.[3]

[6.3] A Royal Museum of Work, 54-56

The new section begins with Grant’s introduction (kind of) into ‘the shipboard routine’ (54), speaking, then identified by a response. Similarly, on the next page, it appears to be Grant asking after Bodine (55), although he is not identified by name here either. In this section, then, with the emphasis on work, Grant is marginal to the action. Down the page on 54, Higgs is ‘an ideal Subject to practise being insane upon’; but this opening statement comes to nothing, succeeded here by a detailed account of Higgs’ ‘Obsessedness’ (55). A further connection between ship and society is identified with ‘the Project of tidying up the work of the Riggers at Plymouth …’ etc. Hence: ‘a Thousand details, each nearly invisible, all working together …’ etc, a succinct description of the division of labour, one that quickly morphs into national pride expressed as a job done well.[4] Again, as with the description of the sea battle in 4.4 (37-38), work is war-related: regarding, that is, the ship that will most impress the enemy (55). Cf the earlier passage on ‘the Immortality of Ships’ (50), where the work in question is that which Higgs is here so critical of.

Nonetheless, work is here fetishised, promoted as an empty ritual. Higgs’ fastidiousness is a distraction, one of the ‘alternatives to Ennui’ (55) that include Bodine’s ‘Penis in the Jewel Block’. The section deals with boredom as the obvious alternative to battle, and ‘the Prospect of crossing the Equatorial Line’ is also obsessed over, ‘grow[ing] unnaturally magnified’. Cf the earlier ‘ancient Beliefs’ (37).

[6.4] But imagine, 56-57

The previous section ends with an allusion to ‘the Ceremony of Initiation plann’d for those new to this Crossing’ (55), that is Mason, Dixon and Cherrycoke, the first time they have appeared here – and the new section begins with the twins’ response to the version of events Cherrycoke has offered them (56). At a distance they are unable to appreciate the role played by distraction, perhaps ironic, given that, in chapter 1, Cherrycoke’s story began as just that. In this section he alludes to another aspect of storytelling, ‘the part that no one ever tells you about’. One might wonder what kind of account the twins have just heard of, for example, Bodine ‘quite enjoying the Friction’ (55), or ‘Posterior Assault’. Uncle Ives has tried to stifle any curiosity the twins might have – ‘ignoring ʼem’s best’ (56) – to avoid embarrassment, one imagines. This attempt at censorship recalls the earlier scene opening chapter 4 (30-31). Here, the detail revealing unspeakable horrors has become Spotted Dick up the nose (56); and the twins are silenced in contemplation of horrors they think they can appreciate (57).

[6.5] A game, 57

The previous section begins, then, with the twins’ curiosity, their desire for knowledge; and ends with their silence. Job done. Above the break, ‘the Lull’; below it, ‘the Seahorse gallops’, phrasing that, following the graphic description of Spotted Dick effects, draws attention to Cherrycoke as a creator of the stories he tells. He has escaped the interrogation the twins intended and, this goal achieved, the second paragraph returns him to being a character: from I to ‘the Rev’d’. Here, Mason and Dixon become the narrative focus: if their ‘game’, as a ritual dependent on the power of repetition, recalls ‘the Ceremony of Initiation’ (55), the reference to children here (‘consol[ing] themselves when something is denied them’, 57) recalls the twins but, more generally, the need for distraction. The ‘spoken Map of the Island they have been kept from and will never see’ is a forceful imagining of that which is absent, all of which serves the purpose of making Mason/Dixon absent from the ship that, currently, confines them (as well as invoking the storyteller telling the story).

[1] Again one thinks of Thompson’s writing of resistance and a moral economy based on a consensus regarding some notion of ‘fairness’ that, in a pre- or early-modern context, has widespread currency. Against that, there is the way in which legality is seen to supplement and confirm state power. For example, Weber’s view that the state is defined in relation to the legitimate use of violence might be set against Foucault’s description of governmentality and docile bodies. If Mason and Dixon might be sued by the Royal Society, for example, they would come up against state power in the form of a legal system allowed to punish them. This is the first reference in the novel to this kind of coercion – earlier references to ‘a Contract between the City and oneself’ (14) or a ‘spiritual Contract’ (30) invoke learned behaviour and docile bodies; but Cherrycoke’s employment, so to speak, rests on kinship.

[2] Another indication, perhaps, that the ship’s community is a throwback. Cf the way in which definitions of madness (that is,medicalisation) have signalled modernity. See, for example, Michel Foucault, History of Madness, Routledge, 2006 (first French publication 1961); and Roy Porter, Mind-Forg’d Manacles, Penguin, 1990 (first published 1987). See also Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness, First Syracuse University Press, 1997 (first published 1960); and then Szasz, The myth of mental illness: 50 years later, The Psychiatrist, 2011.

[3] Veevle is policed informally by his peers rather than threatened with punishment. See Foucault on governmentality and docile bodies. Moreover, in a village where people can easily ignore each other … If the urban community that requires a Contract etc is marked by organic solidarity, the village is marked by mechanical solidarity.

[4] The writing here of ‘a Thousand details, each nearly invisible’ recalls Adam Smith’s invisible hand, the almost magical co-ordination of independent factors. See: Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations. Currently, of course, the Adam Smith Institute exists to persuade us that Smith was an advocate of neoliberalism, which view might be contested. See Emma Rothschild, 1994, Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand, The American Economic Review, 84, 2, 319-322; and Gavin Kennedy, Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: From Metaphor to Myth, Econ Journal Watch, 6, 2, 2009, 239‑263. Of more interest is the way in which Smith’s invisible hand relates to Durkheim’s division of labour within the writing of modernity.

M&D Chapter 5

In the aftermath of battle Mason and Dixon are reborn, so to speak, as a couple, the ampersand perhaps coming into focus here. If one can speak of rebirth, however, it is inseparable from knowledge – there is no tabula rasa. As with Ethelmer in the previous chapter the knowledge in question cannot be spoken of.

[5.1.1] Being tossed out for anything, 42-45

The action is continuous from the previous chapter, Mason and Dixon ‘know[ing] they must stand as one …’ etc, sharing authorship of the letter written to the Royal Society (42). They are back in England, ‘drinking up their liquor allowance’ (43), even falling into ‘a companionable Silence’ (44). For the most part, however, there is a return to the bickering that marked the early stages of their relationship in chapter 3, not least the sarcasm and falling out featured on 43. With Mason’s stereotyping of ‘your People’ (42) meaning slips from the intended reference to Quakers to Dixon’s own reference to ‘Coal-Mining, I guess’; and there is also a reference to social status as explored in chapter 4, as well as the regional differences hidden by national identity. The letter that must be redrafted, an eventual final version hiding from the reader’s gaze its production (42-43, again on 44), goes back to the questioning of historical traces in chapter 2. Similarly, as given here, a family history of resistance (‘being tossed out for anything’, 43) would go unacknowledged if Dixon’s identity as a Quaker were left as Mason appears to define it: ‘you’re not suppos’d to believe in War’. Perhaps, in the aftermath of battle, and the unforgettable (‘Vapors rising from the Wounds of dying Sailors’, 42) there is an attempt to undo the action of the previous chapter. What they cannot repress is the thought that they should be dead but ‘inconveniently surviv’d’ (44), even if ‘what they cannot speak … resumes breathless Sovereignty’ (45).

[5.1.2] Some Gang of initial’d Scoundrels, 45-46

Juxtaposed in the phase above is what Mason and Dixon suspect the truth to be, even if they cannot speak of it openly, and the way they want to present themselves in writing; the composition of the letter they write to the Royal Society is marked by self-censorship. When (on 45) they receive, in reply, ‘a Letter of Reproach and Threat’ it is to the point and one wonders if its authors (‘some faceless committee’) had to carefully consider each word in the same way. As a pair, then, Mason and Dixon are exposed to the exercise of power; and Mason, as he sees it, has suffered (‘Not even the courtesy, – Damme! of a personal Reply’) a loss of status, abandoned by Bradley. As the chapter ends, they are isolated: ‘Plymouth reels merrily all ʼround them’ (46).

M&D Chapter 4

This chapter begins with Cherrycoke’s storytelling in a family setting, but the narrative insists, as in chapter 1, on relocating characters outside the home in the context of a wider society. Juxtaposed to this process is the way in which relationships, firstly, on the Seahorse and, then, between that ship and the l’Grand are organised to construct alternative social units. Earlier references to Durkheim’s notion of social solidarity are revisited.

[4.1] Blood racing quietly, 30-31

The chapter opens with Cherrycoke’s ‘spiritual Contract with the World as given’ (30), perhaps a reminder of Mason’s ‘Contract between the City and oneself’ (14). The function of this short first section resembles that of the equally brief second chapter, a bridge that offers a reflective commentary of sorts. If chapter 2 undermines the truth claims of historical traces (letters that cannot be left to speak for themselves), this section focuses on family dynamics and what ‘[e]v’ryone “knows”’ (31) – even when reluctant, as Ethelmer is here, to openly address ‘past crimes’ that are ‘difficult to reconcile with the living Uncle …’ etc. If the ‘Contract between the City and oneself’ refers to the way in which strangers – by definition, they lack any kind of shared (personal) history but have been thrown together nonetheless – must negotiate their passage through an urban setting, here family members with that shared history must also negotiate and renew ongoing relationships. Later in this chapter, the Seahorse and the l’Grand will demonstrate another kind of interaction, to do with the warlike posturing that is necessarily based on an agreed recognition of foreignness.

At the outset (30), Cherrycoke returns to the end of chapter 1 and the ‘engine of Destruction’ (11). The two chapters intervening have introduced Mason and Dixon, making them aware, eventually, of the same dangers; and now Cherrycoke’s audience has increased with the appearance of Ethelmer, whose reference (bottom of 30) to ‘anything that sets the Blood a-racing’ perhaps recalls the Dog’s ‘pure Edge of blood‑love’ (24) – effects of a certain kind of entertainment. The allusion here to a sea battle sees Ethelmer ‘amiably pollicat[ing] the adults’ (30) – as though their presence, rather than that of children, might require him to moderate his speech – in contrast to more fearful references preceding it. Firstly, one might wonder at the discrepancy between the narrative as it appears on the page and whatever version is offered to Cherrycoke’s audience – it is plausible, for example, to accept that earlier descriptions of The Pearl of Sumatra and Hepsie would have been edited/bowdlerised. However, in the writing, Ethelmer’s gesture here has usefully distinguished between Cherrycoke (‘amiably’) and LeSpark (‘less certainly’). The latter’s business selling arms to all comers is described on 31, just after Brae’s response to her cousin: that ‘Blood may “race” as quietly as it must’ acknowledges what cannot be put into words, and the line is then followed by Mr LeSpark’s ‘Fortune’. Cf LeSpark’s introduction (in his absence) in chapter 1: ‘a respected Merchant active in Town Affairs’ (6). Brae’s ‘quietly’ might also remind the reader of the association of violence‑as‑entertainment and The Pearl of Sumatra’s noisy soundtrack. The section ends with Ethelmer, introspective, struggling to match ‘the living Uncle’ to ‘a Saga’ that would explain the accumulation of wealth.

Ethelmer‑as‑storyteller, then, is set against Cherrycoke to highlight what can be said. What they have in common is an outsider status based on roles played outside the family. Cherrycoke is introduced as a ‘far-travel’d Uncle’ (6) who can trade in stories accumulated on those travels, while a key moment for the introspective Ethelmer is meeting his uncle outside the family (31).

[4.2] You’d think there’d be a Team from somewhere, 31-34

On the Seahorse Captain Smith, introduced here in his absence, is denounced as ‘a Privateer’ (32), guilty perhaps of ‘petty Extortion’ and ‘adopting the ways of Street Bullies’ – cf his reputation here with that of Wade LeSpark in 4.1. Not least, Smith’s ‘Approach to … guests’ (32) might recall the way in which Cherrycoke must necessarily earn – that is, pay for – his own guest status in the wealthy LeSpark’s home. Eventually introduced in person, Smith offers an alternative reading, one (‘the fancy of a Heart unschool’d in Guile’, 33) that prioritises his own need for the right kind of company and ‘plenty of Philosophickal Conversation’. If 4.1 closes with Ethelmer’s ‘Innocence … long, even enjoyably, departed’ (31), here Smith hopes to presents himself as genuinely innocent. However, the section ends with a hint (‘as gently as possible’) of superior knowledge (34).

The previous section alludes to family history and 4.2 focuses on another kind of family, the group brought together by circumstances aboard ship. Conflict based on social status – the formulation of a ship’s hierarchy, Mason and Dixon ‘tak[ing] their turns with the other principal Officers in dining with the Captain, whose dreams …’ etc (33) – is succeeded by a reference to conflict with France. The construction of some kind of national identity is here inseparable from international relations and the likelihood of warfare. Moreover, these constructions and an unavoidable bellicosity are ways of dealing with the status anxiety engendered by squabbles over the seating order at dinner. One might think back to chapter 3, Mason and Dixon anticipating the voyage: ‘It may be our last chance for civilis’d Drink’ (18).

[4.3] A nearly unsensed ghost, 34-37

The captain is now ‘this Lad’ (34), even if ‘young Smith’s been around forever’. Earlier, it was suspected that he might try to take advantage of his position; now, if there is any likelihood of battle, an apparent youthfulness and lack of seagoing experience are brought to the fore, along with evident disrespect from ‘a Youth of loutish and ungather’d appearance’ (35). Blinky and his advice arrives in a flashback (‘He’d been greeted …’ etc) as Smith recalls his first impressions of the Seahorse, disappointed by a ‘remote scruffy Sixth Rate throwing itself like a tether’d beast against its anchor-cables’, the descriptions of sailor and ship of a kind – one wonders if, elsewhere, ship and crew have been deemed expendable if he proves incapable of taking Blinky’s advice. If Smith does lack the gravitas that, supposedly, goes with age, his youthfulness is not on a par with that of ‘the young salt’. Practical experience is the issue and there is, perhaps, an echo of the earlier exchange between Mason and Dixon regarding the latter’s credentials (16-17). And then, looking ahead a little, Cherrycoke’s introduction to Mason/Dixon (36) will emphasise his youth. The significance of this recollection, here, might well be that it follows the earlier reference to Smith’s yearning for the right kind of company (33); in his eyes, therefore, any shortcomings of his command are exaggerated.

What follows (‘The vessel herself …’ etc, 35) is to do with experience, but also personifies the ship, its ‘Reputation for Nerve’ more properly belonging to its crew. Such anthropomorphism recalls the Learnèd Dog but also emphasises a unity vital for survival. Moreover, Dixon’s proficiency (17) and that of Smith here on 35 indicate the kind of specialised labour that characterises modern society. Interestingly, then, the ship’s motto invokes a past age, one where honour has meaning in a closed society, one where social rank is fixed (36) and corresponding to a ‘spiritual Contract with the World as given’ (30) rather than a ‘Contract between the City and oneself’ (14).

And so to the top of 37, where the captain differentiates between ‘how very Scientifick we are here’ (when referring to the officers) and how ‘ancient Beliefs will persist’ (when referring to ‘a group of Sailors holystoning the deck’. Bongo might be patronised here, but he has nonetheless learned to refer, a few lines down, to ‘Frenchies’, as though he can thereby earn membership of the national group, here defined by its opposition to those living the other side of the Channel.

[4.4] Death making itself sensible in new ways, 37-38

Another brief section returning the narrative to Cherrycoke and his audience, the battle (lasting ‘an hour and a half’) summarised, initially, in a couple of lines (37), most likely because, as he admits, Cherrycoke ‘was well below, and preoccupied with sea‑surgery …’ etc, 37-38). The lengthy account that follows on 38 is heavily dependent on what can be heard, for example, ‘close enough to hear the creak and jingling …’ etc, or ‘the cries of the injur’d and dying’, or ‘until we’d hear the Gun‑Tackle being shifted …’ etc. Here and elsewhere, this passage draws the reader’s attention to human activity, either suffering or the doing of battle-related work that will produce suffering … and the power of smell is also featured (‘so as not to be the first to foul his breeches in front of the others’, 38). Eventually, ‘the Ship’s hoarse Shrieking, a great Sea‑animal in pain …’ etc takes the narrative back to the earlier anthropomorphism (35). And one might also have in mind here the passage describing events at The Pearl of Sumatra (24-25).

In this section Cherrycoke’s audience is identified as Brae (as on 8 her role is to admonish his excesses) and the twins. Elsewhere, other family members have been identified if/when they speak – no one’s presence is recorded otherwise, for example, listening quietly: Uncle Ives in chapter 1 (9), and then Ethelmer and Wade LeSpark as this chapter opens (30‑31). Hence, it has been established that the reader can have no way of knowing who, at any given time, might also be in the room. Moreover, each character, when introduced, is immediately tied to a life outside the family and the room that hosts Cherrycoke’s storytelling.[1]

[4.5] It has occurred to me, 38-41

As the section opens, Mason and Dixon must find a role: ‘It takes an effort to act philosophickal, or even to find ways to be useful’ (39). Cf Captain Smith earlier, as 4.3 concluded: ‘Gentlemen, ʼtwould oblige me if you’d find ways to be useful below’ (37). Or earlier still, news of the fate of Bencoolen impacting on plans made – and taken for granted – by Mason and Dixon (33-34). The battle ended, Smith goes on to speculate as to their importance (39). The question here is, perhaps, rhetorical: cf Smith’s ‘[p]erhaps there is’ (top of 34).

At the bottom of 39 ‘the perfect ellipse of the l’Grand’s stern dwindle[s] into the dark; and then, a page later, there is an abrupt transition (‘A Year before …’ etc, 40) to a French perspective, one that introduces speculation in the form of ‘Invisible Gamesters’. One might think of the ‘gaming’ described on 24-25. One might also recall the reference to ‘riots of sailors’ (15): on that occasion they would have been anxious to prevent the exploitation, as they saw it, of dead comrades.[2] In chapter 3 sailors are found ashore; in the current chapter they have been seen as necessary (if expendable) elements in battle. Here, ‘a crew so melancholick’ (40) can be set against earlier anthropomorphism: ‘The Vessel herself … enjoys a Reputation for Nerve …’ etc (35).

The chapter ends with Mason and Dixon now ‘reluctant to part company’ (41); they have finally found a role as a pair, drinking and speculating, for example: ‘what else did they know?’ The unity expressed here is inseparable, then, from shared suspicions, a moment that returns them, and the reader, to Smith’s comment at the end of 4.2 (top of 34).

[1] In my commentary on chapter 3 I introduced the distinction Durkheim made between mechanical and organic solidarity. The way adult characters are, quite arbitrarily, inserted into the family setting established in the novel’s opening pages – Cherrycoke entertaining niece and nephews – seems another way of addressing the writing of social solidarity. As well as Thijssen’s article I also have in mind here an older article comparing Durkheim and Tönnies – see Joan Aldous, Emile Durkheim, and Ferdinand Tönnies, An exchange between Durkheim and Tönnies on the nature of social relations, with an introduction by Joan Aldous, American Journal of Sociology, 1972, 77 (6). Not least, one can argue that, for Durkheim, organic solidarity meant a productive (beneficial) confrontation with difference, necessary for a functional social change. It is this feature that sees common ground of sorts emerge between Durkheim and Foucault. See for example comparable discussions of crime and punishment in The Division of Labour in Society and Discipline and Punish.

[2] The use of ‘riots’ as a collective noun here should recall Thompson’s essay on the morality of riot. See EP Thompson, The Moral Economy in the Eighteenth Century, in Customs in Common, Penguin, 1993, 185-258 (essay first published 1971). In Customs in Common, see also the following chapter, The Moral Economy Reviewed (259-351). Thompson shared with Foucault an interest in resistance. In the earlier scene, the sailors lack the legitimacy afforded their actions when aboard ship. In this chapter, scenes on the Seahorse have allowed the construction of an ‘imagined community’ – see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Verso, 2006 (first published 1983).