"The Glorious First of June 1794" describes the first great naval engagement of the Great War with France (1793-1815). Participants on both sides considered it the hardest-fought battle between them in the eighteenth century, and both sides felt they attained their objectives: the British captured or sank seven French battleships, and the French saved their big grain convoy from America.In this book, experts explore the naval campaign from both British and French perspectives, setting it in its wider context of the war strategy of the rival powers. The intensity of the encounter is demonstrated through the accounts of eyewitnesses, three of which are here published for the first time, and the impact of the battle on public imagination is traced through plays, prints and paintings, and through the artefacts and memorials by which it was commemorated.
This book is the result of a conference devoted to one naval battle, and it is a model of its kind. The editors are of course old hands at this sort of thing. Michael Duffy, who as editor of the Mariners Mirror became friend and confidant to so many naval and maritime historians, was the editor of the proceedings from another ground breaking conference. Roger Morriss, one of those productive naval and military historians - a veritable North Atlantic triangle of scholarship - from Ian R. Christie's graduate seminar in the 1960s at King's College, London, is one of the foremost authorities on the Royal Navy during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Both these fine historians teach at that relatively new and highly successful centre of naval history, Exeter University, in Devon, England ... This is a thoroughly good read. Those who... value a contextual placing of naval history within British and French culture will be stimulated by the authorial range and newly transcribed primary sources in this book. The quality of scholarship and design justify its relatively high price.