Quizzes & Puzzles1 min ago
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A cosh is the british name for a blackjack which was a small, easily-concealed weapon consisting of a leather-wrapped lead weight attached to the end of a leather-wrapped coil-spring or rigid shaft, with a lanyard or strap on the end opposite the weight. Materials other than lead and leather are sometimes used to construct these weapons. Traditionally used by police officers, they have been replaced by telescopic and side-handle batons.
It's cosh, as in "weighted stick" and it means "under threat or coercion", which I imagine you would be if you were conscripted under impressment.
Click here for the Wikipedia web-page about the press gangs, Big Mac. They more or less ceased operating after the Napoleonic wars in 1815, as the Royal Navy did not fight any further major engagements until World War I in 1914.
Had the word 'cosh' been in common currency amongst impressment officers or impressed men, it would probably have appeared in print long before 1869, given that the gangs had operated for centuries. Cheers