Epilogue: Love and Death—The Royal Navy in the Atlantic World
The eighteenth-century navy ranged far and wide around the Atlantic Ocean, knitting together a British world between metropole, colonies, trading stations and shipping routes. This concluding chapter provides an overview of some of these activities, examining the navy from the perspectives of cultural history. Wilson reminds us that the popularity of this institution occurred through representation, as the navy became a symbol of virtuous self-sacrifice and an object of adoration for groups scattered around Britain’s expanding empire. But she also demonstrates that depictions or discussions of naval deeds did not always treat the navy or its officers with sheer adulation. And in all of these contexts, naval men came into close physical contact with all sorts, from enslaved and free coloured women to shopkeepers, merchants, planters and colonial governors: offering another reminder of how the navy helped to entwine the multifarious and deeply divided people who populated Britain’s Atlantic world.