The Naval Mutinies of 1797

The Naval Mutinies of 1797

Unity and Perseverance

Edited by Ann Veronica Coats, Philip MacDougall


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Boydell Press



A reassessment of the naval mutinies of 1797, arguing that the mutinies were more industrial dispute than expression of French revolution inspired political radicalism.
The naval mutinies of 1797 were unprecedented in scale and impressive in their level of organisation. Under threat of French invasion, crews in the Royal Navy's home fleet, after making clear demands, refused to sail until their demands were met. Subsequent mutinies affected the crews of more than one hundred ships in at least five home anchorages, replicated in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
Channel Fleet seamen pursued their grievances of pay and conditions by traditional petitions to their commanding officer, Admiral Richard Howe, but his flawed comprehension and communications were further exacerbated by the Admiralty. The Spithead mutiny became the seamen's last resort. Ironically Howe acknowledged the justice of their position and was instrumental in resolving the Spithead mutiny, but this did not prevent occurrences at the Nore and elsewhere.
The most extensive approach since Conrad Gill's seminal and eponymous volume of 1913, The Naval Mutinies of 1797 focuses on new research, re-evaluating the causes, events, interpretations, discipline, relationships between officers and men, political inputs and affiliations and crucially, the rôle of the Irish and quota men. It poses new answers to old questions and suggests a new synthesis - self-determination - the seamen on their own terms.

ANN VERONICA COATS is senior lecturer in the the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying at the University of Portsmouth and is Secretary of the Naval Dockyards Society. PHILIP MACDOUGALL is a writer and historian, author of seven books, with a doctorate on naval history from the University of Kent at Canterbury.


November 2011
15 black and white, 16 line illustrations
336 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843836698
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS027150, HIS015000, HIS037050
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Table of Contents

Introduction, Analysis and Interpretation
Spithead Mutiny: Introduction - Ann Coats and Philip MacDougall
The Delegates: A Radical Tradition - Ann Coats
What really happened aboard HMS London? - David W. London
The Spirit of Kempenfeldt - David W. London
Voices from the Lower Deck: Petitions on the Conduct of Naval Officers during the Great Mutinies - Kathrin Orth
Crew Management and Mutiny: The Case of Minerve, 1796-1802 - Roger Morriss
The 1797 Mutinies in the Channel Fleet: A Foreign-Inspired Revolutionary Movement? - Ann Coats
The Nore Mutiny: Introduction - Philip MacDougall
The East Coast Mutinies: May-June 1797 - Philip MacDougall
Reporting the Mutinies in the Provincial Press - Philip MacDougall
A Floating Republic? Conspiracy Theory and the Nore Mutiny of 1797 - Christopher Doorne
Lower Deck Life in the Revolutionary Wars - Brian Lavery
'Launched into eternity': Admiralty Retribution or the Restoration of Discipline? - Ann Coats
Discipline, Desertion and Death: HMS Trent 1796-1803 - Nick Slope, Commissioning Editor
'We went out with Admiral Duncan, we came back without him': Mutiny and the North Sea Squadron - Philip MacDougall
The Influence of 1797 upon the Nereide Mutiny of 1809 - Jonathan Neale


In addition to its insightful and innovative research, this is a beautifully designed and illustrated volume. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY

This volume delves into all aspects of the mutinies, from a variety of perspectives, and answers a host of questions while proposing new avenues for research or where further study is needed. The Naval Mutinies of 1797 is recommended for any student of the Royal Navy and for libraries with a particular interest in naval history. PIRATES & PRIVATEERS

A handsome volume which advances our knowledge of the subject further and faster than it has moved in the whole of the past century. (...) In short, this important collection establishes the central importance of the 1797 naval mutinies and establishes the basic facts about them. N. A. M. Rodger, ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

No-one interested in the navy in this 'classical' period should overlook this fascinating and well-produced book. NAVY NEWS

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