This book examines how, as the nineteenth century progressed, religious piety, especially evangelical piety, was seen in the British navy less as eccentric and marginal and more as an essential ingredient of the character looked for in professional seamen. The book traces the complex interplay between formal religious observance, such as Sunday worship, and pockets of zealous piety, showing how evangelicalism gradually earned less grudging regard, until inthe 1860s and 1870s it became a dominant source of values and a force for moral reform. Religion in the British Navy explains this shift, outlining how Arctic expeditions showed the need for dependability and character, how Health Returns revealed the full extent of sexual licence and demonstrated the urgency of moral reform, and how manning difficulties in the Russian War of 1854-1856 showed that a modern fleet required a new type of sailor, technologically trained and steeped in a higher set of values. The book also discusses how the navy with its newly awakened religious sensibilities played a major role in the expansion of Protestant missions globally, in exploration, convicttransportation, the expansion of imperial frontiers, and worldwide maritime policing operations. Fervent piety had an effect in all these areas - religion had helped develop a new kind of manliness where piety as well as daring had a place. RICHARD BLAKE is the author of Evangelicals in the Royal Navy, 1775-1815 (Boydell 2008).
Subjects: History, Religion
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