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Syphilis and Nelson

DigiTrad:
LORD NELSON
NELSON'S FAREWELL


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GUEST,Puck 15 Aug 08 - 10:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Aug 08 - 11:53 AM
George Papavgeris 15 Aug 08 - 11:58 AM
Les from Hull 15 Aug 08 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Guest 15 Aug 08 - 01:02 PM
PoppaGator 15 Aug 08 - 01:19 PM
Acorn4 15 Aug 08 - 02:36 PM
Greg B 15 Aug 08 - 04:04 PM
Anglo 15 Aug 08 - 06:55 PM
Ref 15 Aug 08 - 07:09 PM
Joe_F 15 Aug 08 - 09:06 PM
Nigel Parsons 16 Aug 08 - 03:32 PM
Joe_F 16 Aug 08 - 08:17 PM
Charley Noble 16 Aug 08 - 10:13 PM
bubblyrat 17 Aug 08 - 02:54 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Aug 08 - 03:47 PM
Greg B 17 Aug 08 - 09:08 PM
Joe_F 17 Aug 08 - 11:16 PM
JohnB 18 Aug 08 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,Puck 18 Aug 08 - 08:51 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Aug 08 - 12:19 PM
bubblyrat 18 Aug 08 - 12:50 PM
Anglo 19 Aug 08 - 02:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Aug 08 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 19 Aug 08 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Puck 22 Aug 08 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Anna 15 Mar 10 - 09:41 AM
bubblyrat 15 Mar 10 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 15 Mar 10 - 12:59 PM
Les from Hull 15 Mar 10 - 02:08 PM
Leadfingers 15 Mar 10 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,PeterC 15 Mar 10 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 15 Mar 10 - 05:32 PM
EBarnacle 15 Mar 10 - 06:05 PM
Joe_F 15 Mar 10 - 06:25 PM
JohnInKansas 16 Mar 10 - 12:58 AM
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Subject: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 10:19 AM

I don't know if Nelson had syphilis or not - nor if it was rife amongst the crews he commanded. I don't particularly care either but having got your attention I wonder if any 'catter' could tell me the name of a folk song which I heard a lady sing at MISKIN [Hurrah!!]folk festival. I have few clues to go on
It was a fairly lengthy song which listed the ships in Nelson's fleet at Trafalgar. It was an excellent song, but I failed to hear the title or speak to the singer to find out more. Can anyone offer any help other than penicillin??

P.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 11:53 AM

I thought jaysus, that sounds a great double act......


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 11:58 AM

More like a romantic arcadian play...


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Les from Hull
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 12:20 PM

If he did contract a STD he would have had to pay the ship's surgeon to cure him, and the surgeon got to keep the money in addition to his pay. That was the rule then.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 01:02 PM

Supposing he'd gotten it from The Ship's Surgeon ? then what ?..Keelhauling ?


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 01:19 PM

I suppose a ship's surgeon could assure himself of job security and regular bonuses, if so inclined...


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 02:36 PM

When I saw the title of the thread I thought it was a firm of solicitors.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Greg B
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 04:04 PM

I don't know, but that would certainly put pay to the assertion
that 'A drop of Nelson's blood wouldn't do us any harm...' now
wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Anglo
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 06:55 PM

Unless somebody else wrote a similar song, the one you are looking for is called "England Expects" and was recorded by the group Dogwatch (from around Middlesbrough, I think). John & Joy Rennie, with their daughter Livi on this recording. Joy wrote the song, and as you say, the chorus lists the names of a bunch of the ships in the British fleet.

There's a sound sample at their website, HERE.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Ref
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 07:09 PM

They left out my favorite, the "Pickle!"


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 Aug 08 - 09:06 PM

PoppaGator: Well, you can resort to Dewey, Cheatham, & Howe.

I was delighted to discover (at one of the wonderful MIT chantey sings) that Lawrence Durrell's "Ballad of the Good Lord Nelson" had in fact been set to music. Now, if someone will do the same for Robert Graves's "1805", we'll have the makings of a fine revue.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 03:32 PM

Joe F:
In light of the subject matter, perhaps that last word should be review


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 08:17 PM

Nigel Parsons:
But in the light of the comic treatment of the subject matter in those two poems, perhaps, actually, --


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Aug 08 - 10:13 PM

I also like the song "Common British tars" which was recorded on BLOOD ON THE ICE which pays tribute to the hundreds of sailors who died at Trafalger and were not honored in any special way at the time other than being shoveled over the side.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: bubblyrat
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 02:54 PM

I doubt very much if Nelson had "Syph", or anything like it. He was, after all , devoted to and potty about Emma, Lady Hamilton, and prior to his relationship with her ,he had been , one assumes, faithful to his wife, Fanny ( I think that was her name ? ) .....Anyway, you tended, in those days, not to become an Admiral AND get elevated to the peerage,if your todger was dropping off. He was far too busy climbing the social and professional ladders to have risked everything on the 19th century equivalent of a " Nee Soon Virgin ". ( Explanation supplied if required !! ). Hitler, yes .......Nelson, no.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 03:47 PM

And I could well imagine him yelling, as he sailed into battle - "when I shag her lads, I shag her good and hard"!


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Greg B
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 09:08 PM

Fine optimism, but the fact is that pre- (and post-) penicillin
quite a few standouts of society managed none the less to get
"poxed."

My current home-town hero, Henry Chapman Mercer, seems to have
caught the clap during a trip to Europe in his youth, and was
thus relegated to a life of bachelorhood and a rather early
demise (with wonderful ream-jobs along the way no doubt).

Brilliant man, brought low by a youthful indiscretion during what
was to all appearances an successful effort by his parents to
broaden his outlook.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Aug 08 - 11:16 PM

In the 18th century, a fair number of men were actually proud of having syphilis. It proved they had been around.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: JohnB
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 12:00 AM

I don't know about syphilis but when he was shot in the chest he said "it looks like I'm a Gonoreah"
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 08:51 AM

I was concerned that I might be criticed for conning people into reading my thread or for lowering the tone, but now must offer
thanks to all who responded to my light hearted tho' genuine request to identify this song, and also found time to illuminate on the subject of the disease during the late 17th and early 19th century. Mudcat Cafe is always an excellent forum for for further education, and never ceases to suprise us. I was particularly suprised and somewhat worried at the depth of your knowledge however and hope you all get better soon!!!   

Thanks in particular to ANGLO for coming up with a possible solution. I have not located the lyrics in the database here but will undoubtedly find them elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 12:19 PM

Puck,
Can't find anything on Trafalgar, but this is a similar song to the one you describe on the Battle of Copenhagen. It is from C H Firth's Naval Songs and Ballads, Navy Records Society, 1907, and originally comes from The Madden Collection of broadsides.
Jim Carroll

ACTION OFF COPENHAGEN.

You undaunted sons of Britannia, lend an ear,
A story concerning a fight you shall hear.
It was on March the 12th, my boys, our fleet did sail
Out of Yarmouth with a sweet and pleasant gale.

Our Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Parker by name,
And Vice-Admiral Nelson, that man of great fame,
And Rear-Admiral Graves which drew up the rear,
While so boldly for Elsenore Castle we steer'd.

On the 13th we so boldly pass'd Elsenore by,
While so many thousand shot and shells they did fly;
Then straight for Copenhagen our fleet they did steer,
And we anchor'd abreast of the town without fear.

On the second of April it was the glorious day
When bold Nelson's division they got under weigh—
Each ship set for action, each man to his gun,
Resolv'd so boldly we was for to run.

It was into the roads where the Danish flag did fly,
Determin'd alongside of their fleet for to lie;
Said we will make them to strike, my boys, or else we'll send them
down, There for to storm and set fire to their town.

The first was the Edgar, she did lead the van,
At eleven o'clock the heavy fire began,
The Ardent and Glatton, the rest did the same,
The Defiance and Monarch behaved with great fame.

Then in came Lord Nelson, in the Elephant',
Next Bellona and Ganges, so boldly they went;
The bold Polyphemus run in the same way,
And the brave little Isis her part she did play.

The Amazon, the Hermione, the Desirée and Blanch,
They anchor'd in the line and behav'd so staunch ;
The Otter and the Dart they anchored also,
Until by a signal was forc'd for to go.

Now these four frigates that we have mentioned here,
And two little sloops that run in without fear,
They all run and anchor'd alongside the fleet,
Their forts the same time they began to defeat.

But so great was their mistake, at about four o'clock
They found they could no longer stand our shot;
For their batteries we clear'd, my boys, which was our own desire
And the town in three places our bombs set on fire.

Seven of their two-deckers to us they did strike,
And six floating batteries likewise did the like.
'Well done, my brave boys !' said Lord Nelson; ' that's right,
For your courage and mine you have displayed in this fight.'

So now, my brave boys, let it never be said
That ever Lord Nelson or Graves was afraid.
Success to our officers throughout the whole fleet,
That encouraged the Britons the Danes to defeat.

So now [to conclude and to finish my log],
Call up the steward to serve out the grog.
Here's a health to our wives and sweethearts at home,
For they'll give us a glass when to England we come.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: bubblyrat
Date: 18 Aug 08 - 12:50 PM

Well, there you are !! If you "draw up the rear " with a bunch of admirals, I guess you are bound to " catch the boat up " , as they say in naval circles. "One night with Venus, a lifetime with Mercury ", as I believe they were wont to say.Never happened to me, of course .


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Anglo
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 02:43 AM

Guest Puck - The lyrics are certainly not in this database, and may be hard to impossible to find online, but I did show you where a soundclip was to see if you could identify the song as the one you had heard. (From your description I am almost certain of it).

Then, I'm afraid, your best solution might be to shell out for the CD.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 08:37 AM

And so to conclude and finish my log....

I wonder if he wrote that line sitting on the toilet.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 08:58 AM

Given Emma's background & history, it's highly unlikely she didn't have the pox to give him!
Doc.tom


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,Puck
Date: 22 Aug 08 - 03:01 PM

Thank you J Carroll for taking the time to post those lyrics.....not the same song tho'. However I will chase up Action off Copenhagen as that also sounds like an excellent song. thank you. Think I'll buy the disc mentioned by Anglo. Thanks to all
P


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,Anna
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 09:41 AM

Hi!

As a Nelson fan, I was interested in the query re: Nelson and the pox.

In two biographies, one by Ernle Bradford and one by John Sugden, there is a record of Nelson being treated for a growth on his jaw which the medic thought was a symptom of venereal infection. It wasn't actually, but since Nelson didn't query the diagnosis, it is safe to assume that he had been indulging in a bit of 'hanky-panky' - but got away with it!

He certainly had a mistress, Adelina Correglia, after his marriage, when he was in Leghorn - a letter to her in terrible French still exists, and numerous officers mention 'Nelson and his dolly' in their letters. Nelson also famously remarked, 'After Gibraltar, every man is a bachelor'. After he met Emma, though, he was resolutely faithful. She was notoriously jealous and would have had his guts for garters had he strayed!


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 12:36 PM

Yes,but "the Pox" and Syphilis are hardly in the same league,are they ? One is uncomfortable and inconvenient ( or so I understand),whilst the other,at least in its tertiary stages,can lead to total physical & mental ( a la Adolph) disintegration. Horatio might have been a bit vain (or brave) to have drawn such attention ,sartorially,to himself,on his own quarterdeck,on that fateful day,but it is unlikely that syphilitic madness had anything to do with it !! Anyway, who is next in the "Let's Denigrate Our National Heros " frame ?? Wellington ? Churchill ? Scott ? Drake ? Gibson ??


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 12:59 PM

Many a soldier and sailor died from the tertiary stage of syphilis, or general paresis. By the time they began to lose emotional control, judgement and motor skills, those suffering from the disease may not have connected the results to the original problem. The notorious ganster, Al Capone, was one such victim of his early sexual peccadilloes.

Was the great Nelson such a victim? Possibly; but only a test of his remains would tell the tale.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Les from Hull
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 02:08 PM

There were many rumours that Winston Churchill's father. Lord Randolph Churchill, died of tertiary syphilis, and that Winston had hereditary syphilis. Of course, you can start a rumour about anything.

Drake was basically a self-seeking pirate and slaver. I have no information about his diseases.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 02:32 PM

Ref - With regard to HMS Pickle , and No Mention in the song - She was one of the smallest ships in the fleet , only twenty two men , and skippered by a Lieutenant De La Pontiere ( ? ? ) and had very little to do in the action , other than hauling Survivors of other ships (English AND Others) out of the sea , and became famous as the ship that brought the news of Trafalgar back to England after the battle .


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 03:29 PM

[quote]
Yes,but "the Pox" and Syphilis are hardly in the same league,are they ?
[/quote]
Very much so, in Nelson's time Pox was the usual term for syphilis.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 05:32 PM

Couple the lonliness of rough men at sea for months on end with all the literary and musical tributes to the cabin boy of sailing days, we can be thankful that AIDS was not yet an issue - or was it?


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:05 PM

The French Disease was, remember, one of the gifts Columbus brought back from the New World.


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:25 PM

EB: That is disputed:
Origins


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Subject: RE: Syphilis and Nelson
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Mar 10 - 12:58 AM

The "Origins" link by Joe F agrees with the commonly accepted understanding that syphillis existed throughout much of the world, so that it isn't something that can be "blamed" on the natives of the Western Hemisphere.

It is also fairly well established that it did exist among those natives.

As this is nearly the only disease commonly held to be "treatable" by extreme fever, an unanswered question is whether the "sweat lodges" common to numerous Native American cultures might have evolved, at least partially, as a treatment.

The unfortunate "clinker" in the thermal treatment of syphilis is that the basal body temperature that must be achieved for a "cure" is within approximately 0.002 degrees F1 of the temperature that "cooks" the brain with fatal effects for the host person. It's unlikely that a sweat lodge would cure; but if it sufficiently attenuated the disease it might be expected that frequent participants would survive in better health - for somewhat longer - before advanced stages of the disease came into play. This would be sufficient for the "social evolution" of the practice, even without particularly widespread presence of the disease over long periods of time.

Since BBT in the near vicinity of what is required to reduce the population of the bacteria infecting a person will also produce "spirit visions" (hallucinations?) the spiritual associations likey would be sufficient to preserve the practice (among those who survived a few sessions), so the alternative explanations for the nearly ubiquitous practice of "sweats" wouldn't necessarily require a recognized effect on a particular disease for the practice to evolve and persist; but the likelihood of an associated effect may well have been an influence. The traditional belief that "it's good for the body as well as for the spirit" is somewhat suggestive though, and lodges were (and are) used as directly beneficial for a number of illnesses.

The known European treatments, consisting mostly of dosing with heavy metals (usually arsenic and mercury) may have obscured the identification of effects of advanced syphilis in infected Europeans; but so far as I've been able to find have not been claimed to be "cures" for the disease. And the Western World Natives had no such treatments. I've found little opinion on whether the "advanced effects" reported in European victims were actually the result of the disease or were largely from the treatments, since the treatments likely would produce nervous/psychiatric symptoms almost as rapidly as any advance of the disease.

1 An exaggerated estimate to show the danger of even slight errors in the treatment, and not based on credible citations. Body temperatures used in "sweats" are dangerously close to the limits, and this is a very dangerous activity for anyone without an experienced guide.

Note that the sweat lodge connection is more a question than a hypothesis. I've seen no significant comment on such a possible relationship - especially among my current associates who are sweat lodge participants.

John


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