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‘These peaceable times are the devil’: Royal Navy officers in the post-war slump, 1815–1825

Wilcox, Martin



During the Napoleonic War, the Royal Navy grew to an unprecedented size, but with the return of peace it dispensed with the services of an also unprecedented 124,000 men. By 1818, around 90% of commissioned officers were unemployed and on half pay. Drawing on the papers of navy agent Robert Brine, as well as Admiralty and Parliamentary sources, this paper sets out the scale of the unemployment problem among commissioned officers and the effects it had upon them, and surveys the options available to erstwhile sea officers and the strategies the deployed to make a living amid the post-war slump.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2014
Journal International Journal of Maritime History
Print ISSN 0843-8714
Electronic ISSN 2052-7756
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Pages 471-488
Keywords Royal Navy: Officers; Unemployment; Napoleonic Wars; Navy agents
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in International Journal of Maritime History, 2014. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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