Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4

Contents

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pp. v-5

Illustrations

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pp. vi-6

Acknowledgments

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pp. vi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

On July 1, 1666, the great English diarist and naval administrator Samuel Pepys went to bed with a lot on his mind. He had spent that day, like so many during his tenure in the navy as Clerk of the Acts (1660–73) and Admiralty Secretary (1673–79, 1684–89), tending to the problems of impressed sailors. Pepys went to the Tower of London...

I. Empire

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1. Imperial Design

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pp. 19-50

In November 1794, the sailors of the northeastern English seaport of North Shields received a temporary respite from naval impressment. The port’s three press gangs announced that during performances in the local theater of John O’Keefe’s comedy The World in a Village, seamen would not be at risk of capture. Officers in the press gangs advertised the terms of their off er in the theater’s playbill: “Lieutenant Kelly, Lieutenant King, and...

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2. Ruling the Waves

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pp. 51-90

Naval impressment has never received the credit it deserves for the success of the early British Empire. The practice came under attack during the eighteenth century not simply by philosophes, political commentators, and early humanitarians but by British statesmen, including Admiralty officials. Rather than complain that impressment was...

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3. Cultures of Impressment

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pp. 91-136

On a summer evening in July 1742, Admiral Edward Vernon had one of the more unpleasant dining experiences of his storied career in the Royal Navy. Vernon joined his fellow admiral Chaloner Ogle for dinner at the home of the Jamaican governor, Edward Trelawny, in Port Royal. Ever since Vernon’s successful bombardment of Porto...

II. Sailors

chapter 4 | Men of War

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pp. 139-170

chapter 5 | Everyday Escapes

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pp. 171-209

chapter6 | Atlantic Impressment Riots

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pp. 210-240

Epilogue

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pp. 241-252

Notes

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pp. 253-306

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 307-350

Index

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pp. 351-364