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The Floating Republic by G. E. Manwaring

The Floating Republic (1935)

by G. E. Manwaring, Bonamy Dobrée

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    The Great Mutiny by James Dugan (waltzmn)
    waltzmn: The Nore Mutiny draws much historical commentary and little real reflection; almost everyone who writes about it has something of an axe to grind. This is certainly true of James Dugan, whose sympathy for Senior Mutineer Parker is very strong -- but he still writes a readable, accessible overview of an under-appreciated event.… (more)

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Book Review from the September 1938 issue of the Socialist Standard:

  Impossibilist | Sep 7, 2017 |
This was a fascinating and thought provoking read. Drawn very heavily from the primary sources of the period it paints a picture of the events and also how the prevailing attitudes of the time shaped them. Those at the top believed (erroneously) that the mutinies were caused by foreign interference (from French Jacobins, or their English supporters). Those on board ship felt that the improvements in standards of living across the entire 18th century had left them behind, in 1797 the pay rates for seamen were the same they had been under Charles II. This was brought into stark relief by the sudden increase in the size of the navy with the war, bring on board many educated volunteers.

Life on board ship was harsh in the extreme, many officers brutal bullies who ignored the protections in the discipline regulations. Pursers sold short measures (the naval pound had 14 rather than 16 ounces) and the quality of their food was awful, not fit for human consumption - even by the laxer standards of the time. The book shows the conditions and explains why the mutinies happened, it contrasts the conduct and management of the two mutinies, both from a mutineer and an official point of view. There are lessons both on how to conduct a mutiny and on how to peacefully end one, the two adjacent mutinies clearly showing this.

I certainly felt inspired in reading the book and would strongly recommend it to both naval historians and social historians, an excellent work on a period that otherwise gets overlooked. ( )
  jmkemp | Jul 5, 2016 |
This is a superbly written history of just a few moments of British history,but in doing so it illuminates an age. The British Navy fleets at Spitshead, Nore and Yarmouth mutinied in 1797 protesting against abysmal condition, brutal treatment and the whole tottering structure of the Admiralty and the system of press gangs that it relied upon to keep the fleet manned. And all in the middle of a war, and while protesting loyalty to the King and keeping the fleets in readiness (although in the hand of the mutineers) to sail against the enemy. The authors detail the story with brilliant clarity, and lay out exactly why one fleet succeeded while the other's failed. The insight into the working conditions of British sailors in the days of sail has possibly never been bettered - at least in non-fiction. It is also an insight into that extraordinary capacity for the British system of governance to be at one and the same time despotic and extraordinarily sensible. It is left to the reader to work out whether D & M thought the mutiny to be astonishing, or whether they were referring to the eminently reasonable and accommodating response from the British Government and Admiralty. Perhaps both. ( )
  nandadevi | Jun 4, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
G. E. Manwaringprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dobrée, Bonamymain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"An attempt was made to give to the ships in mutiny the name of 'The Floating Republic'." From the Report of "The COmmittee of Secrecy", 1799.
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Preface -- The naval mutiny of 1797 is the most astonishing recorded in our, or perhaps any history; astonishing by it management rather than for its results, for other mutinies have been successful.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 184415095X, Paperback)

The naval mutiny of 1797 is the most astonishing recorded in British history; by its management rather than by its results. Though it shook the country, it was largely ordered with rigid discipline, a respect for officers and an unswerving loyalty to the King. Moreover, it was so rationally grounded that it not only achieved its immediate end, the betterment of the sailor's lot, but also began a new and lasting epoch in naval administration.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:14 -0400)

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