Sustaining British Naval Power Through New England Masts During the Seven Years War
This study focuses on the Royal Navy’s use of American naval stores, especially New England masts, during the Seven Years War. It highlights the significance of the eastward naval logistics of American naval stores across the Atlantic, based on records revealing the navy’s constant effort to sustain these logistics in the British Atlantic world. Drawing on hitherto neglected official manuscripts relating to the Navy Board, this article throws new light on how the Royal Navy procured them across the war-torn Atlantic Ocean during this war. This investigation into the transport of naval stores to Britain in wartime broadens our understanding of the co-operation of the naval administrations with contractors and the role of America within the empire as the source of naval commodities, in addition to better-known cases of lucrative commodities such as sugar and tobacco. Given the contribution of natural resources to forming and maintaining supremacy, the navy’s use of American naval stores is a suggestive case of exploiting an empire’s natural resources within the context of Atlantic history.