In 1711, the newly formed Great Britain launched its first attempt to conquer French North America. The largest military force ever assembled to fight on the continent was dispatched and combined with colonial American units in Boston before proceeding up the St Lawrence River for Quebec. An additional colonial force set out from Albany to march on Montreal - but neither Briton r colonist reached their respective targets. Adam Lyons looks at the expedition as a product of the turbulent political environment at the end of Queen Anne's reign and as a symbol of a shift in politics and strategy. Its failure proved to be detrimental to the reputation of the expedition's naval commander, Rear-Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker, but Lyons shows how true blame should lie with his political master, Secretary of State Henry St John, who ensured the expedition's failure by maintaining absolute control and secrecy. The 1711 Expedition to Quebec demonstrates how the expedition helped to alter British policy by renewing an interest in 'blue water', or maritime, operations that would gain dominance for Britain in commerce and at sea. This strategy would later see huge success, ultimately resulting in the fall of Quebec to Wolfe and the eventual conquest of French North America in the Seven Years War.
Adam Lyons is a Strategic Analyst with the Ministry of Defence. He is also Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK. His research interests lie in the military, naval and colonial history of the Atlantic world of the eighteenth century.