British Naval Captains of the Seven Years' War

British Naval Captains of the Seven Years' War

The View from the Quarterdeck

A.B. McLeod

Hardback
$120.00

Boydell Press

Overview

Overview

Presents rich detail on captains' duties and everyday lives.
'We have always known who were the captains of the Seven Years' War, in the sense of having lists of their names. A few of them, who later became famous, we knew personally at least a little, but until now most of them have never been more than names. The genius of this book is to bring them to life as individuals; to show their hopes and fears, their faults and virtues, and to fill in the details of their working lives. Far from the grand narrative of battles and campaigns, this book illuminates the everyday world and everyday thoughts of a generation of 18th-century naval officers.' N.A.M. RODGER, All Souls College, Oxford

This book provides a detailed insight into the operations of the British Navy during the Seven Years' War by examining the experiences of the cohort of men promoted to the rank of captain in 1757. Byrne McLeod outlines their early careers, discusses how they were selected for promotion and examines the opportunities for making reputations and fortunes through action first against the French and then also the Spanish. She also demonstrates the iron control wielded by the Admiralty over its captains and shows that, although connections and interest assisted greatly with promotion, allegations of 'corruption' were misplaced. The navy in this period was highly effective: an extremely complex and efficient bureaucracy where merit was most definitely rewarded.
Based on extensive original research, this book explores the everyday minutiae of the captains' duties and responsibilities. The captains were well aware that every detail of their commands contributed to their effectiveness as fighting machines. From never-ending convoy protection to large-scale, world-wide amphibious operations, these men served in what has rightly been called the first global war. Maritime and eighteenth-century historians will find this book particularly rewarding.

A.B. McLeod obtained her doctorate in naval history from the University of Exeter following careers as a teacher and in the City.

Details

September 2012
11 black and white illustrations
282 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843837510
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC HBTM, 1DB, 3JF
BISAC HIS027150, HIS037050, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

Introduction
'Interest' and ability: the route to post captain
The tools of the trade: a captain's duties regarding his ship's fabric and equipment, and her influence on his career
'The people': manning the navy during the war
Expertise and courage: opportunities for individuals
Management: the Admiralty and its captains
Success or failure: the parameters
Conclusion
Appendix I: The cohort with essential dates and summary of correspondence
Appendix II: Summary of careers of cohort
Bibliography

Reviews

This important and closely argued study exploits rich archival resources to render these captains as individuals, the better to comprehend the myriad and variant types of Royal Navy post-captain that existed at the apogee of Georgian glory. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

Provides us with a new understanding of the relationship between the Admiralty and its officers.(It is) an enjoyable book that offers new knowledge of and insight into the eighteenth century Royal Navy. FORUM NAVALE,

A marvellous book, alive with appropriate detail, rich in evidence. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF HISTORY

This important and closely argued study exploits rich archival resources to render these captains as individuals, the better to comprehend the myriad and variant types of Royal Navy post-captain that existed at the apogee of Georgian glory. JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY

A well-written and comprehensive account of the mechanics of running and fighting a warship in the mid-eighteenth century. It would serve as an excellent primer for the subject, and every new naval history student would benefit from adding it to their reading list. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY