chapter  5
17 Pages

What shall we do with the drunken sailor? Accounting and controls for alcohol in the Royal Navy in the time of a Nelson

WithKaren McBride, Tony Hines

This study seeks to understand how accounting was used in the Royal Navy in the 18th century to control the use of alcohol on board ships. Regulations for provisioning of beer (and other alcohol) are used to investigate the role of accounting as ‘government’ in the Navy. Accounting regulations were introduced to provide a means of cost control and governance of provisions for the well-being of the seafarers. Beer was initially believed to protect against scurvy, with the allowance of beer continued as a means of controlling the sailors and keeping them happy. The evaluation is informed by the later work of Foucault.