Composition de la ration des gens de mer

French Admiralty

Could sailors’ diets help save French colonies in the New World? Certain French naval ministers seemed to think so. Beginning in 1670, but especially in the wake of France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War (1763), naval ministers attempted to strengthen the French Navy to compete with European imperial rivals and to defend France’s overseas colonies. These efforts only increased in the wake of France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War (1763). This 1785 series of sixteen regulations concerning the naval diet of French sailors represents an important addition to the ongoing debates over their appropriate diet. Several articles reveal contemporary ideas about naval health and medicine: the importance of fresh meat and soup tablets to wounded men, for example, or the role of sauerkraut and stewed sorrel in combating scurvy. The publication of this set of regulations as a separate unit is unusual, as most naval regulations were issued as part of broader naval ordinances, making this recent (what year? Saying recent will become old quickly...year?) JCB acquisition – part of an ever-growing collection of materials relating to food and diet at the Library – very rare.

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