Great Britain and Sea Power, 1815-1853

Great Britain and Sea Power, 1815-1853

Great Britain and Sea Power, 1815-1853

Great Britain and Sea Power, 1815-1853

Excerpt

This book is not a history of the Royal Navy between the Napoleonic and Crimean wars. The reader will find here neither a full account of the many changes which the Navy underwent during these years, nor a narrative of the many services and deeds performed by its seamen and ships. Although no single volume adequately supplies the above, such details may be gleaned with a little patience from the works of Professors M. A. Lewis and Christopher Lloyd, and from Sir Laird Clowes, The Royal Navy. A History from the Earliest Times to the Present, volume vi. A few monographs and articles have appeared to provide more detailed treatment of particular topics, and of these the most notable is easily J. P. Baxter The Introduction of the Ironclad Warship. Much additional information may also be collected from the memoirs and biographies of contemporary admirals and naval administrators. Aspects of the naval history of this period have been touched upon in works primarily devoted to foreign, colonial, or domestic policy. This much exists, yet there is reason to argue that this is one of the more neglected periods of British naval history. In particular there seems no media via between the naval monographs, and either the general histories of the Navy or those detailed works with a peripheral interest in naval matters. The present work attempts a synthesis, not of all naval history for the period, but of the main forces determining British naval policy. Essentially this is a survey of the debate, in the Cabinet, the Admiralty, and to some extent in Parliament and beyond, of the size and type of navy that Britain required, and of the uses to which it should be put between 1815 and the spring of 1853.

From the naval point of view, a long period of peace has a special interest. Long periods of peace in the eighteenth century had had dire effects upon the strength and efficiency of the Navy, and the enervating influence of peace upon Britain's armed services had been intensified by the character of her government, the unmilitaristic temper of the country, and her insular position. How, then, would the Navy fare during a still longer period of peace-- nearly forty years--and when Britain's strength and triumph upon the conclusion of that peace in 1815 were greater than at . . .

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