The British Navy and the State in the Eighteenth Century

May 2004
256 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843830429
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC HBJD1, 1DB, 2AB, 3JF, 4P

The British Navy and the State in the Eighteenth Century

Clive Wilkinson

The Navy in the eighteenth century, though successful, was costly. Its funding and maintenance made those responsible for it politically vulnerable.
The Royal Navy, prominent in building Britain's maritime empire in the eighteenth century, also had a significant impact on politics, public finance and the administrative and bureaucratic development of the British state throughout the century. The Navy was the most expensive branch of the state and its effective funding and maintenance was a problem that taxed the ingenuity of a succession of politicians, naval officers and bureaucrats. By the middle of the century the difficulties its growth created had become critical, and the challenge this presented was taken up by Admiralty Boards led by Anson, Egmont, Hawke and Sandwich. Resolving these problems introduced reform in the navy's administration and in public finance (often pre-figuring later bureaucratic development), but there was a political price to pay when the management of the Navy and its apparent unpreparedness for the War of American Independence made the Earl of Sandwich and the Navy a focus for political opposition to an unpopular government and a disappointing war.
Published in association with the National Maritime Museum.
CLIVE WILKINSON is a research officer with the Climatological Database of the World's Oceans 1750-1850, University of Sunderland.

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An enjoyable, readable, and often entertaining overview of Britain's involvement in the Baltic Sea. WARSHIP

An indispensable survey of British naval administration. MARINER'S MIRROR
An impressive account of naval administration and strength that casts valuable light on the state of the British navy in the crisis of the American Revolution.... A fine study, better grounded in its assessment of political nuances than many on the navy, and one that deserves attention in any consideration of Britain's relative capability. H-ALBION
[This] rich book will certainly stimulate thought and open up new avenues of research in naval, administrative and constitutional history. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
A very important book. [...] For anyone interested in how the Navy functioned, indeed how the British State functioned, this book will be required reading. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY