N. Howard


One of the lesser but puzzling questions in British policy following the Seven Years’ War has always been why Lord Bute’s ministry gave up the strategic citadel of Havana in return for what the opponents of the treaty in England called the barren swamp of Florida. There are a number of reasonably logical explanations for the action, but thus far no certainty has emerged from the study of the maze of diplomatic correspondence which preceded the Treaty of Paris; and there still remains unproven the very important explanation that the action was more the result of internal politics in Britain than of consideration of British foreign policy. In terms of control of the Caribbean, Jamaica may have been a possible counterpoise to Cuba ; Florida undoubtedly could have been made into a base for the control of the straits through which the Spanish fleets passed on their way home-these are possible lines of reasoning.