This is the first detailed and comprehensive study of British foreign policy before and during the war which led to the loss of the American colonies, a period from 1756 to 1783 in which Britain's position in Europe was transformed. H. M. Scott examines the nature and the role of British diplomacy in the age of the American Revolution in the context of Britain's other eighteenth-century conflicts. Two themes receive particular attention:
Britain's continuing rivalry with the Bourbons, exemplified by the great crisis over the Falkland Islands in 1770-1, and the unsuccessful efforts to strengthen Britain diplomatically by concluding alliances with major Continental powers. Dr Scott has provided a major scholarly reassessment of British
diplomacy in this period, analysing both the impact of the personalities involved, and the successes and failures of their policies.
'based on impressive archival research in both British and foreign repositories and on an extensive grasp of printed primary material ... This book will be required reading for all those interested in 18th-century British foreign policy for many years.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`This excellent book fills a major gap in the historiography of eighteenth-century Britain.'
'With this splendid book, H.M. Scott joins one of the great traditions in historical scholarship, the study of eighteenth-century British diplomacy. Scott's topic is huge ... His range of sources is correspondingly wide ... It is impressive that he is able to compress his results into fewer than 350 pages of text. Scott's thesis is convincingly argued, and his judgment about both eighteenth-century diplomats and twentieth-century historians usually is
superb. American colonial, military, and political historians will find much to ponder and all lovers of good historical writing much to enjoy.'
Jonathan R. Dull, William and Mary Quarterly
'solid and worthy study ... This book will be required reading for all those interested in eighteenth-century British foreign policy for many years.'
Jeremy Black, University of Durham, History, June 1992
'This volume will long be used as a key reference to the complexities and subtleties of British diplomacy in the critical middle years of George III's reign.'
Charles R. Middleton, University of Colorado, American Historical Review, June 1992
'Dr Scott has produced a well-written, and refreshing objective account of British policy-making, which casts much interesting new light on the thought processes of its leaders, and pays due attention to the influence of domestic policy and the pressure of public opinion.'
Isabel de Madariaga, British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies, Spring 1993
'a sober, scholarly and fair-minded account of British foreign policy in this period'
John Cannon, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Albion
Abbreviations; A note on dates; The study of British foreign policy in the age of the American revolution; The making of British foreign policy; The legacies of the Seven Years War; The failure of the old system 1763-1765; The decline of British diplomacy 1765-1768; The beginnings of recovery 1768-1771; The ascendancy of the Eastern powers 1771-1773; Splendid isolation 1773-1775; Peace with the Bourbons 1777-1779; War in Europe 1778-1780; The coming of peace
1781-1783; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index