Lord Sandwich, Russian Masts, and American Independence

By Frank Spencer, published May 1958


Lord Sandwich’s actions while Northern Secretary of State, 10 years prior to the outbreak of the American War of Independence potentially contributed to the loss of America. The issue in question is what contributes contraband. To ensure the supply of timber for masts to Britain, masts were not identified as contraband when carried by Russian ships. This meant that French ships and ship-yards continued to be supplied with timber from Russia, a matter compounded by the re-approval of clauses in Anglo-Russian treaties by Lord Sandwich. The availability of wood for masts therefore allowed the French fleet to assist the American colonies.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Baltic | North Sea | American Revolution | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Administration | Logistics | Strategy & Diplomacy

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