The navy under Charles I, 1625-40
This study is primarily concerned with how the Caroline Navy was run, both in theory and in practice. Previous assessments of early Stuart naval administration have generally been superficial and unsympathetic in tone, but this new work, in shedding fresh light on a variety of themes, attempts to offer a more detailed and balanced view of the quality of administration in the 1620s and 1630s. Starting with an examination of the Navy's senior executive, the thesis broadens out into a discussion of the role of the Navy Board and the manner in which the yards were administered. Here it is argued that the yards were a good deal better regulated than has sometimes been appreciated. It is also suggested that the Navy's ability to reform its own administration has been understated. In the second part of the thesis, two chapters are devoted to the question of finance, in which both financial procedures and management are discussed. In the final section, the Navy's ability to man, victual and prepare its ships for sea is scrutinised. Detailed consideration is also given to the Ordnance Office, which was responsible for gunning and munitioning the Navy's ships. In these later chapters considerable space is devoted to administrative deficiencies which persistently dogged the Navy, but the author argues that institutional factors, such as underfunding, were often to blame rather than mismanagement, a theme which is echoed in the final conclusion.