Spithead mutiny: Introduction

Ann Veronica Coats*, Philip MacDougall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In the Month of February the following Petition was Drawn out on board H.M. Ship Queen Charlotte and forwarded to the rest of the Fleet at Spithead and about a Dozen Coppys was sent to Admiral Earl Howe Just at the time the fleet was Ordered to sea and after being out one month and Laying a forthnight at Spithead. These chapters represent the most recent research into the conditions of naval seamen in 1797 and the causes and consequences of the Spithead mutiny. The Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797 have been comprehensively investigated by historians, from a variety of ideological perspectives, but textual and contextual dimensions have not been examined exhaustively. The mutinies had such a deep psychological effect on the Royal Navy during the nineteenth century, reinforced in the twentieth century by the 1931 Invergordon mutiny, that they have received wide, although sometimes shame-faced historical coverage in the biographies of officers concerned. However, the sheer scale and subtlety of the events has not yet been portrayed fully. Some conclusions of the following writers at the start of the twenty-first century vary markedly from those of earlier historians, informed by detailed research. The four most comprehensive works on the mutinies to date are: W. J. Neale, History of the Mutiny at Spithead and the Nore (Tegg, London, 1842); Conrad Gill, The Naval Mutinies of 1797 (University of Manchester Press, 1913); G. E. Manwaring and B. Dobrée, The Floating Republic (Geoffrey Bles, London, 1935); James Dugan, The Great Mutiny (London, 1966).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Naval Mutinies of 1797
Subtitle of host publicationUnity and Perseverance
EditorsAnn Veronica Coats, Philip MacDougall
PublisherBoydell and Brewer Ltd
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781782040057
ISBN (Print)9781843836698
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011


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