From the mid 18th century up till after memories of the Napoleonic wars and the glories of 'Nelson's navy' had faded, the Royal Navy was the bulwark of Britain's defence and the safeguard of trade and imperial expansion. While there have been political and military histories of the Navy in this period, looking at battles and personalities, and studies of its administration and the life below decks, this book is the first study of the Navy in a cultural context, exploring contemporary attitudes to war and peace and to ideologies of race and gender. As well as literary sources, Dr Lincoln draws on the vast collections of the National Maritime Museum, in paintings, cartoons, and ceramics, amongst others, to focus attention on material that has hitherto been little used - even research into the general culture of the late-Georgian age has, curiously, neglected perceptions of the Navy, which was one of its major institutions. Individual chapters discuss the attitudes of particular groups towards the Navy - merchants, politicians, churchmen, women, scientists, and the seamen themselves - and how these attitudes changed over the course of the period.
Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Navy's self -image; The Navy and politics; The Navy and trade; The Navy and religious opinion; Waiting on the shore; The Navy and its doctors; Post-war blues; Bibliography; Index.