||University Press of Florida
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During the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, the British navy dominated its rivals. To accomplish this, Britain needed competent and steady officers such as George Keith Elphinstone, later Viscount Keith (1746-1823). Although he earned distinctions and a fortune in prize money and even commanded fleets for longer periods than notable contemporaries such as Admiral Lord Nelson, Keiths story remains obscure. Perhaps this resulted from his failure to command a fleet in a major sea battle, but this was not unusual, because there were only six fleet engagements during the Revolutionary Era. Keith served a lifetime at sea, gaining experience as a captain during the American Revolution and then, between 1795 and 1815, holding four independent commands: the Eastern Seas, 1795-96; the Mediterranean, 1799-1802; the North Sea, 1803-7; and the Channel, 1812-14, 1815. The diversity and longevity of his naval service meant that he played a major, if underrecognized, role in the implementation and the crafting of British naval policy...