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Publications [#355729] of Seth S LeJacq

Journal Articles

  1. LeJacq, SS. "Escaping court martial for sodomy: Prosecution and its alternatives in the Royal Navy, 1690-1840." International Journal of Maritime History 33.1 (March, 2021): 16-36. [doi]
    (last updated on 2022/05/17)

    This article reassesses the sailing Royal Navy’s treatment of homoerotic crimes. Historians have argued that same-gender sexual contact was rare and loathed on naval vessels, and that trials were consequently uncommon but produced exceedingly harsh outcomes. Drawing on new archival research, this paper reveals that naval actors had more varied and complex attitudes towards the homoerotic and that courts treated these crimes more moderately on average than has long been assumed. Court martial trials also represented only one – extreme – outcome of an elaborate system that naval actors used to ‘resolve’ detected sex crimes. Summary punishment, flight, dismissal and a range of other routes served as common non-judicial alternatives. Detailed exploration of a protracted late-Georgian dismissal case, that of Lt. Arthur Walter Adair, shows that it is essential to attend to the full range of naval reactions to the homoerotic if we are to fully understand its place in naval history.

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