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The French Navy and the Seven Years' War

Jonathan R. Dull

Publication Year: 2005

The Seven Years’ War was the world’s first global conflict, spanning five continents and the critical sea lanes that connected them. This book is the fullest account ever written of the French navy’s role in the hostilities. It is also the most complete survey of both phases of the war: the French and Indian War in North America (1754–60) and the Seven Years’ War in Europe (1756–63), which are almost always treated independently. By considering both phases of the war from every angle, award-winning historian Jonathan R. Dull shows not only that the two conflicts are so interconnected that neither can be fully understood in isolation but also that traditional interpretations of the war are largely inaccurate. His work also reveals how the French navy, supposedly utterly crushed, could have figured so prominently in the War of American Independence only fifteen years later.
 
A comprehensive work integrating diplomatic, naval, military, and political history, The French Navy and the Seven Years’ War thoroughly explores the French perspective on the Seven Years’ War. It also studies British diplomacy and war strategy as well as the roles played by the American colonies, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, and Portugal. As this history unfolds, it becomes clear that French policy was more consistent, logical, and successful than has previously been acknowledged, and that King Louis XV’s conduct of the war profoundly affected the outcome of America’s subsequent Revolutionary War.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Contents

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pp. vii-ix

Maps

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pp. ix-

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiii

The Seven Years' War consisted of two great conflicts, each containing seven years of hostilities. The bloodshed in the first of these conflicts, which Americans often call the French and Indian War, began in Pennsylvania in 1754 and largely concluded in 1760. ...

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1748-1754 An Uneasy Peace

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pp. 1-19

As the eighteenth century reached its midpoint, the governments of France and Great Britain viewed each other with suspicion. For example, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle, one of the two British secretaries of state and, after 1754, prime minister, considered the two states as inveterate rivals, if not quite inevitable enemies. 1 ...

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1755 Countering the British Assault

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pp. 20-49

In retrospect, the Franco-British negotiations of 1755 seem to have had little chance of success. The French government's miscalculations over the preceding fifteen years had created a war party in Britain strong enough to impose its will on the British government in spite of Prime Minister Newcastle's desire for peace. ...

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1756 France Takes the Offensive

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pp. 50-74

When the French government chose to take the offensive, it picked a logical but extremely dangerous target. Some 220 miles southwest of Toulon lay the island of Minorca. A British possession since 1708, it was a major privateering center that menaced not only Toulon but also the nearby great commercial port of Marseilles. ...

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1757 To the Edge of Victory

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pp. 75-104

In spite of his successful direction of the French navy, by the beginning of 1757 Machault was the most unpopular member of the French government. As controller general before 1754 he had made himself the symbol of high taxes.He resurrected this association by his support in mid-1756 for imposing the second vingtième. ...

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1758 A Year of Desperation

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pp. 105-130

The terrible news from Silesia did not alter the French navy's mission. Despite shortages of sailors and money, it had to defend French trade and France's overseas possessions from the North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.Moras again planned to send as many ships as possible to defend Louisbourg and to spend whatever funds he could find to resupply Canada. ...

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1759 The Annus Horribilis

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pp. 131-163

LikeWilliam Pitt and Frederick II, Choiseul was arrogant, astute, ruthless, manipulative, sarcastic, and charismatic.1 He was single-minded in pursuing an honorable peace, but enormously flexible and creative in the means he chose. Technically he was not a chief minister, because Louis XV insisted on being his own chief minister. ...

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1760 Adversity and Revival

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pp. 164-186

French resolve was tested by the British and Prussian invitation of 25 November 1759 to send plenipotentiaries to a peace congress. Choiseul appears to have been surprised and puzzled. Suspicious of British intentions and sincerity, Choiseul responded cautiously; as he told Martin Hübner, a Danish agent being sent to England to discuss the seizure of Danish ships...

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1761 Saving the Navy’s Future

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pp. 187-217

On 26 January 1761 War Minister Belle-Isle died. The following day Louis XV, in another display of resolve, named Choiseul as his replacement.1 Choiseul kept the foreign ministry as well, and with the death of his only rival in the Council of State he became even more powerful. ...

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1762 Military Failures, Diplomatic Success

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pp. 218-244

Empress Elizabeth's illness, perhaps cancer, proved to be terminal; she died on 5 January 1762 (or, according to the Russian calendar, 25 December 1761). No one knew what to expect of her nephew, the Grand Duke, who now became Emperor Peter III. ...

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Epilogue: Toward a New War, 1763â€â€Åâ€Åâââ€Å

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pp. 245-254

At the beginning of 1763 France possessed 47 ships of the line, some of which were in need of repairs, and Spain 37, whereas the British had 111.1 If the Bourbons were to seek revenge in another war, they would need not only to match the number of British ships of the line but to surpass it, given Britain's advantage in giant 90- and 100-gun ships, her pool of experienced and confident sailors and officers, and her veteran commanders. ...

Appendix A: French Ships of the Line, 1 January 1744

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pp. 257-

Appendix B: French Ships of the Line, 1 January 1749

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pp. 258-

Appendix C: French Ships of the Line and Frigates, 1 January 1755

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pp. 259-260

Appendix D: Order of Battle, 1 June 1755

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pp. 261-262

Appendix E: Order of Battle, 1 June 1756

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pp. 263-265

Appendix F: Order of Battle, 1 June 1757

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pp. 266-268

Appendix G: Order of Battle, 1 June 1758

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pp. 269-271

Appendix H: Order of Battle, 1 June 1759

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pp. 272-274

Appendix I: Order of Battle, 1 June 1760

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pp. 275-277

Appendix J: Order of Battle, 1 June 1761

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pp. 278-280

Appendix K: Order of Battle, 1 June 1762

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pp. 281-284

Appendix L: French Ships of the Line and Frigates, 1 January 1763

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pp. 285-286

Notes

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pp. 287-382

Bibliography

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pp. 383-424

Index

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pp. 425-445


E-ISBN-13: 9780803205109
E-ISBN-10: 0803205104

Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and D