There have been a number of posts on specific issues of PoWs during ourt period, notably regarding Cabrera. I am seeking a more general view - specifically;
on the treatment PoWs might have expected
on the issues of parole and freedom of movement
on the issues surrounding feeding and housing prisoners
what were the 'norms' and standards that applied?
how did those norms differ from the authorities' treatment of their own troops?
What I am trying to achieve is an objective measure of whether English treatment (for example) of their prisoners was any different from any other nations' - leaving aside the issue of atrocities in Spain, Russia and elsewhere.
Reading a work on the corsairs of Nantes during the early days of the revolutionary wars, I have come across the following statement (my rough translation).
On the subject of pontoons, Jal has this to say: “During the war of 1792 to 1814, old ships of the line were used by the English as prisons in which they held captive those of our sailors and soldiers the fortunes of war had delivered up to them. The cruel treatment handed out on these vessels to men whose sole crime was to have bravely defended their flag will be the cause of legitimate reproach against that philanthropic English nation, repeated from age to age among the sailors of civilised nations, as long as the word pontoon remains in their language. One would wish to be able to erase this shameful page from the history of a nation that has often justified the claim, recognised everywhere, of being generous and noble but which, as regards the treatment of prisoners of war, whom the rights of man, humanity and their own courage and misfortune should render respectable, behaves like no other race, even taking the most barbarous episodes of the Middle Ages into account, treating them as no better than criminals.”
This is not the first time I have come across French accusations that 'la perfide Albion' treated its prisoners with appalling callousness and, on the grounds there is no smoke without fire, I would be interested in the informed views of other Forum members. The cynic in me believes that depriving a Frenchman of food might be seen as 'cruel and unusual punishment,' but I would like to be much more objective before coming to a conclusion.
I believe Robert Ouvrard is doing some work on the prisoners held at Cabrera and I have read a couple of books on that subject. However, I am particularly interested in whether the English meted out particularly harsh treatment to their prioners. They certainly didn't treat their own troops with any great gentility, and civil prisoners of the time were hanged for crimes as inoffensive as stealing a loaf of bread; was their treatment of prisoners out of sync with the standards of the time?
With keen interest