England’s Grievance Discovered Part Two

Another image from Ralph Gardiner’s publication of 1655.

This picture relates to the illegal discharging of ballast in the Tyne. Seems like it was a well known con to get someone from the Town to swear they had seen a ship dropping stuff in the river and then bring in the master on a charge. I’m still not 100% sure about what then happened, but I think what you had to do was pick a purse hanging on the wall and by cutting it open, the fine was decided upon as the amount held inside that particular purse. The upshot of the description however is that is identifies the picture to have been drawn especially for this publication, as here we can see the master of the ship in question cutting a purse (letter A) and the clerks counting the subsequent fine (B). If the master was unable to pay, then he was put in prison, a state of affairs that no one wanted to see, least of all the Town Mayor!

On the left, the master is swearing his innocence in a cloak to a chap in doublet and breeches. On the right, the witness is swearing the opposite to the Mayor, with his hat reverentially doffed. Notice the Mayor has retained his hat.


Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 10.48.15

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