Kenneth Margerison, Texas State University
"Britain’s decisive victory in the Seven Years War destroyed much of the French empire in North America and seriously weakened the French position in India, resulting in the demise of the authority of the Compagnie des Indes in 1769. Despite the devastating results of defeat, the French royal government began laying plans to challenge Britain’s global power. The French position in India, however, was quite weak. Pondichéry, the principal French establishment, had been destroyed during the war, and France had only a small armed force on the subcontinent after 1763. However, the colonial officials in India assured the ministry that many important Indian princes chafed under the tyrannical authority of the British East India Company and would eagerly join—and, some argued, even pay for—a French invasion force in order to weaken or destroy that power. The prospect of a colonial uprising in North America added to the French hopes of success. The governor, Jean Law de Lauriston, insisted that France increase its military force and rebuild the fortifications at Pondichéry to demonstrate French power to the Indian rulers. The ministry, however, did not bolster its military presence in India, preferring to believe that the princes would bear the brunt of the expenses and fighting in India while France devoted its resources to the North American conflict. In the end this vision of a restored French presence in India failed to materialise because the Indian rulers saw little evidence that France would undertake a meaningful attack against British authority in India."