The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783

By A. T. Mahan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX.
COURSE OF EVENTS FROM THE PEACE OF PARIS TO 1778. -- MARITIME WAR CONSEQUENT UPON THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. -- SEA BATTLE OFF USHANT.

I F England had reason to complain that she had not reaped from the Treaty of Paris all the advantages that her military achievements and position entitled her to expect, France had every cause for discontent at the position in which the war left her. The gain of England was nearly measured by her losses; even the cession of Florida, made to the conqueror by Spain, had been bought by France at the price of Louisiana. Naturally the thoughts of her statesmen and of her people, as they bent under the present necessity to bear the burden of the vanquished, turned to the future with its possibilities of revenge and compensation. The Duc de Choiseul, able though imperious, remained for many years more at the head of affairs, and worked persistently to restore the power of France from the effects of the treaty. The Austrian alliance had been none of his seeking; it was already made and working when he came to office in 1758; but he had even at the first recognized that the chief enemy was England, and tried as far as could be to direct the forces of the nation against her. The defeat of Conflans having thwarted his projects of invasion, he next sought, in entire consistency with his main purpose, to stir up Spain and gain her alliance. The united efforts of the two kingdoms with their fine seaboards could, under good administration and with time for preparation, put afloat a navy that would be a fair counterpoise to that of England. It was also doubtless true that weaker maritime States, if they saw such a combi

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