This is the first scholarly study of the Royal Navy during the reigns of Charles II and James II. Historians have long viewed the Restoration Navy through the eyes of Samuel Pepys, the greatest diarist and naval administrator of the age. Perceptive and intelligent as Pepys was, he presented only a one-sided view of the Navy, that of a bureaucrat attempting to reorganize it. J. D. Davies assesses this traditional picture of the Restoration
Navy in the light of recent scholarship, using the evidence not only of Pepys but of his contemporaries. He examines the reactions of naval personnel to the demands imposed by Pepys, and analyses the
structure of the service. He also explores the lives and attitudes of the men (the `tarpaulins') and their officers - the quests for promotion, enrichment, and glory; the very different problems posed by peace and war; the nature of life at sea; and the role of the Navy in national life. Gentlemen and Tarpaulins provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Royal Navy.
`Davies's book is a richly documented study of the sea-service personnel. ... a major contribution not only to the history of the naval profession but also to the history of Restoration England generally. No historian of the period should fail to read it.'
American Historical Review Oct 1993
`...a convincing thesis that relies on a much wider rang of documentation than that which Samuel Pepys thought was important.'
R. E. Schreiber, Choice Jul/Aug'92
`This is history as it should be written, full of colour, replete with verified evidence, and bringing to vivid life the world of which it treats. The text is one of the best naval history "reads" to have appeared for some time and one which corrects a few hallowed, but mistaken, assumptions.'
`J. D. Davies's excellent study for the first time lays bare the real complexity of the situation ... Dr Davies is the first safe and knowledgeable guide to these sources we have had, and Gentlemen and Tarpaulins is a work of real scope and originality, illuminating naval, social and political history. It should be absorbed by anyone who takes an interest in seventeenth-century England.'
N. A. M. Rodger, Times Literary Supplement
'This is history as it should be written, full of colour, replete with verified evidence, and bringing to vivid life the world of which it treats. The text is one of the best naval history "reads" to have appeared for some time and one which corrects a few hallowed, but mistaken, assumptions.'
`this is a sound guide to the problems and politics of the naval officers serving Charles II and his younger brother'
Ian K. Steele, The Northern Mariner
'provides a clear, convincing evaluation of the politics of naval factions such as might be provided by anthropology-influenced historians of patronage such as Linda Levy Peck ... a help guide for naval specialists and for students interested in new, integrative, approaches to the Restoration'
Newton E. Key, Eastern Illinois University, The Historian
`Beautifully conceived and written, this book is a treasure for naval and general historian alike...a fascinating account of the inner workings of the Restoration navy. The book is rich in detail, yet faithful to the broad out;ines which characterised naval activity of this period.'
International Journal of Maritime History.