The Indelible Hulk
Prison hulks were a flawed system, but that was not what finished them off.
In three couplets, American revolutionary Philip Freneau lambasted a new type of prison:
The various horrors of these hulks to tell
These Prison Ships where pain and horror dwell
Where death in ten fold vengeance holds his reign,
And injur’d ghosts, yet unaveng’d complain;
This be my tale-ungenerous Britons, you
Conspire to murder those you can’t subdue—
A prison hulk – a ship not seaworthy enough for full-service – was Freneau’s accommodation for six weeks.