How should the Royal Navy be manned? Was impressment the best answer to this question? Was the seizure of men off the streets by Press Gangs acceptable to a freedom-loving society? What was the alternative?
This issue provoked considerable debate, especially with reference to the Georgian and Victorian Navy, and attracted the attention, not only of naval officers to whom it was an essential matter of vital concern, but also of politicians, administrators, and influential voices in the City and the Press. Professor Bromley examines this important subject through the medium of twenty-five separate and complete pamphlets that were written and publicly circulated between 1693 and 1873. The authors of these pamphlets range from admirals, captains, commanders, lieutenants, and a naval chaplain to a City liveryman, a Middlesex JP, and celebrated philanthropist. Biographies of these authors are provided.
Born in 1913, John Selwyn Bromley was educated at Bedford School and at New College, Oxford, before serving briefly as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool before the outbreak of war. He joined the Civil Service and was Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury between 1941 and 1946. He was Fellow in Modern History at Keble College, Oxford, between 1947 and 1960, and Professor of Modern History at the University of Southampton, between 1960 and 1977. He published widely and is best known for Volume VI of the New Cambridge Modern History, published in 1970. He was a keen promoter of Anglo-Dutch historical studies, and initiated a series of conferences in this field; as a result, he was made a Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1976. He was elected an honorary Vice-President of the Society for Nautical Research in 1981, and died in Southampton on 17 April 1985, aged 71.