Some people have argued that, while Pitt was quite effective, he was not as effective at dealing with the external threats of the French Revolution as he might have been. I think the first reason this argument is valid is that Pitt didn’t take advantage of the situation on the continent, and didn’t import troops efficiently across the Channel. By the time enough troops had been transported to mount any serious offence, France had recovered from its Revolution and was strong again, thus Pitt failed to capitalise on a weakened enemy. And when Pitt did import troops, they failed in their goals. For example, the Duke of York commanded around 40,000 British troops to fight the French in Flanders in 1793. However, by 1795 the British had been forced to evacuate the mainland, and half the number of British troops that started the campaign had been killed. Another way that Pitt didn’t deal with the threats effectively was his failed attempts to encourage counter-revolutionaries in France. He planned to land troops at both Toulon in 1793 and on the Quiberon Peninsula in 1795. However, both times the British failed to lead a widespread insurgency against the revolutionary government. Pitt misjudged the level of patriotism in France, as it seemed that most French people would have preferred any French government, be it Jacobin or Bourbon, to a monarchy that had been restored by France’s great enemy. Another way Pitt could be seen as ineffective was his misjudgement over the length of the war. Pitt was sure that the war would be a short one, and based all his financial dispositions from 1793 to 1796 on this assumption. As Evans points out, “Much national wealth was wasted by inadequate early financing of a war which turned out to be very different to the one originally envisaged.” Pitt also assumed that France would not be capable opponents in war and would be easily defeated, and therefore he didn’t appreciate the need for more military and naval training for Britain.
This question makes you consider if there were any factors that dealt with the external threats not involving Pitt. This can be linked back to the preceding part of the essay where I mentioned that the failed invasions of Britain and Ireland were down to other factors. Also, something else worth mentioning is Pitt couldn’t control the actions of his allies, so the fact that they wouldn’t support him fully in his fighting of France was not really his fault.
To conclude, I think that, while Pitt was obviously effective in dealing with the external threats of the French Revolution, he wasn’t as effective as he could have been.