Naval Captains at the Outbreak of the English Civil War
In July 1742 Parliament appointed the Earl of Warwick to command the fleet instead of Sir John Pennington, the King’s choice, and excluded two other captains. Despite these precautions, another nine captains variously declined to serve under Warwick. A detailed analysis of the naval histories of these twelve officers, and several others who had previously opted out, shows that these were the longer-serving ‘gentlemen-officers’ whereas the captains who remained came mainly from the merchant navy and often from Thames-side parishes. Thus the outbreak of the Civil War marked a change in the general character of the naval officer class.