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The following description is extracted from Publications of the Navy Records Society, Vol. LLVI, 1922.  It is the second of 2 volumes published by the society entitled The Life and Works of Sir. Henry Mainwaring, edited by G. E. Manwaring and W. G. Perrin.  Both volumes are available at the Internet Archives, https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Mainwaring%2C+Henry%2C+Sir%2C+1587-1653%22

 

This is a very difficult manuscript to acquire, from what I have been told, so the availability of the dictionary transcribed into this journal is a wonderful resource when seeking the usage of terms in days gone by.

 

Introduction to the section on his Seaman's Dictionary:

THE name of Sir Henry Mainwaring deserves an honoured place in our naval literature on account of the unique distinction he holds in being the earliest authority we have in English on seamanship and nautical terms. His 'Seaman's Dictionary,' which is the text-book of seventeenth- century seamanship, was compiled during Buckingham's tenure of office as Lord High Admiral of England, although it was not printed until 1644, when Parliament being in possession of the fleet it was thought ' so universally necessary for all sorts of men,' that it was conceived 'very fit to be at this time imprinted for the good of the Republic.
THE SEAMAN'S DICTIONARY OR, AN EXPOSITION AND DEMONSTRATION OF ALL THE PARTS AND THINGS BELONGING TO A SHIP TOGETHER WITH AN EXPLANATION OF ALL THE TERMS AND PHRASES USED IN THE PRACTIQUE OF NAVIGATION A PREFACE SHEWING THE SCOPE AND USE OF THIS BOOK. 
MY purpose is not to instruct those whose experi- ence and observation have made them as suffi- cient (or more) than myself: yet even they should lose nothing by remembering, for I have profited by mine own labour in doing this; but my intent and the use of this book is to instruct one whose quality, attendance, indisposition of body (or the like) cannot permit to gain the knowledge of terms, names, words, the parts, qualities, and manner of doing things with ships, by long experience: without which there hath not any one arrived as yet to the least judgment or knowledge of them. It being so, that very few gentlemen (though they be called seamen) do fully and wholly understand what belongs to their profession ; having only some scamblingterms and names belonging to some parts of a ship. But he who will teach another man must understand things plainly and distinctly himself ; that instead of resolving another man's doubts, he do not puzzle him with more confusion of terms of art, and so, to appear to know somewhat, will still expound Ignotum per Ignotius. And for professed seamen, they either want ability and dexterity to express themselves, or (as they all do generally) will to instruct any gentleman. If any will tell me why the vulgar sort of seamen hate landmen so much, either he or I may give the reason why they are so unwilling to teach them in their Art: whence it is that so many gentlemen go long voyages and return, in a manner, as ignorant and as unable to do their Country service as when they went out. These words, terms, and proper names which I set down in this book are belonging either to a ship, to show her parts, qualities, or some things necessary to the managing and sailing of her; or to the art of gunnery, for so much concerns the use of ordnance at sea. And those which are familiar words, I set them down, if they have any use or meaning about a ship other than the common sense; and in expounding them I do shew what use, necessity, commodity, discommodity, wherefore and how things are done, which they import; and there- with the proper terms, and phrases, with the different uses, in any kind appertaining to that word; which for better and easier finding out, and to avoid confusion, I have brought into an alphabet. 
Edited by trippwj
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