An Admiral for America: Sir Peter Warren,Vice Admiral of the Red, 1703-1752 / Edition 1

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Overview

Sir Peter Warren, one of the most imaginative officers of the British Navy, played a key role in the defense and expansion of British naval power in colonial America. In this biography, Julian Gwyn, the preeminent authority on Warren and an award-winning author, describes Warren's strategic military vision and sympathetic view of colonial life as well as his frustrated political aspirations and entrepreneurial real estate ventures in both New York and England.

     Born into an Irish Catholic family, Warren signed on as a seaman at age 13 and rapidly advanced in rank in the Royal Navy, a new profession in the early 1700s. Through the turmoil and warfare of the mid-18th century, Warren cruised up and down the North American coast, from one theater of conflict to the next, becoming particularly associated with colonial New York, New England, South Carolina, and the West Indies. He participated in the failed siege of St. Augustine in 1740, commanded the North American Squadron when it was first created in 1745, and cooperated with American forces at the successful siege of Fort Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. He also helped to plan the conquest of Canada, which in 1746 proved to be abortive, and served in the Western Squadron until 1748, contributing to the humiliation of the French navy at the conclusion of the French and Indian War.

With his marriage to New Yorker Susannah DeLancey, Warren became part of the social and commercial life of New York. Rich with prize money from his naval career, he also became a prominent landowner with property in Manhattan that later became Greenwich Village. Though he hoped his in-laws’ connections and his English patrons would help his bid to become governor of New York, he forfeited a promising career in politics in 1749 by opposing his patrons on a proposed naval reform bill.

Warren died suddenly in Dublin during an interlude of peace, while he was negotiating extensive land purchases. His widow enjoyed his wealth and reflected naval glory--he had achieved the rank of Vice Admiral of the Red and was a member of Parliament--and his American-born children married into English aristocracy.

    

 

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Meet the Author

Julian Gwyn, emeritus professor of history at the University of Ottawa, Canada, is the author of The Enterprising Admiral: The Personal Fortune of Admiral Sir Peter Warren. His most recent book, Excessive Expectations: Maritime Commerce and the Economic Development of Nova Scotia, 1740-1870, received the Canadian Historical Association’s 1999 Clio Award.

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