The Milne Papers. Papers of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne 1806-1896, Volume II, 1860-1862

Vol 162 (2015), Professor J. Beeler

Centred upon a man who never participated in combat operations during his sixty-year naval career, this volume depicts the routine peacetime operations of the mid-Victorian Royal Navy, operations that have received short shrift in naval histories, even though they have constituted the bulk of the service’s mission during the past two centuries.  Not surprisingly, the Navy operated in support of the liberal state and its agenda, as many of the documents in this collection make clear. Following the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, both Britain and the United States moved quickly to exploit new trade opportunities and for the next seventy years it was the Royal Navy that enforced the Doctrine, to the benefit of British commercial interests, but also to those of the United States and of any other country engaged in legitimate trade in the hemisphere. The service took the lead in combating piracy and the slave trade, and upheld the rule of law across global trade routes. The documents that comprise this volume therefore deal with topics of interest to scholars of international relations, Anglo-American affairs, the U.S. Civil War and the slave trade. Other aspects addressed include naval medicine, steam-era logistics and other elements of the Royal Navy’s modernization pertaining to its materiel, personnel, and administration.

This collection is drawn principally from two sources: the Milne Papers deposited in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, and the Admiralty Papers in the Public Records Office.

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About John Beeler

John Beeler earned his PhD at the University of Illinois in 1991 and has taught at the University of Alabama since 1993. He is the author of British Naval Policy in the Gladstone-Disraeli Era, 1866-1880 (1997) and Birth of the Battleship: British Capital Ship Design 1870-1881 (2001). In addition to the two volumes of the Milne Papers in print (with two more planned), he has edited Donald S. Schurman’s PhD thesis for publication as Imperial Defence, 1868-1887 (2000) and Robert E. Mullins’s as The Transformation of British and American Naval Policy in the Pre-Dreadnought Era: Ideas, Culture and Strategy (2016).