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  • The Reputation of Louis XV’s Vice-Admirals of France

    Simon Surreaux

    Chapter from the book: Guimerá A. & Harding R. 2017. Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World: The Age of Reform and Revolution, 1700–1850.


    Between 1715-1744 France had 18 vice-admirals who are the focus of this chapter. Neither the reputation of these men nor their merits as leaders has previously been the focus of much attention. Using two sources letters patent of provision or provisions and evidence left by contemporaries, this article explores the language used to discuss them, through promotional criteria to qualities as war leaders and through service to the King, to social origins and family merits. It notes that defeat in operations did not necessarily lead to disgrace looking particular at the case of Hubert de Conflans who may have been more severely judged than the norm after the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759. Through analysis of these letters of provision the recurring qualities of experience, valour, zeal and prudence are found to have been the most significant criteria for advancement.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Surreaux, S. 2017. The Reputation of Louis XV’s Vice-Admirals of France. In: Guimerá A. & Harding R (eds.), Naval Leadership in the Atlantic World. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book2.d

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on March 30, 2017