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Anson's last spell in command at sea brought another innovation, as he became concerned with the incidence of scurvy in the fleet blockading French ports. Back at the Admiralty, he set up a system to supply fresh meat and vegetables to the ships on station and the resulting close blockade played a significant role in the victory of Quiberon Bay.

While Anson continued to play a significant role in politics and public life, he preferred to work unobtrusively, bringing about gradual reform through unexciting administrative processes, with his influence easier to sense than to prove thanks to his ability to effectively cover his tracks from historical scrutiny by not keeping papers, and by not creating them either. He hated correspondence, left an inescapable minimum to Admiralty secretary, Philip Stephens, and on one occasion surprised his wife by writing her a letter.

Simultaneously reserved and austere, equable and self-possessed, Anson cared little for society and felt no need to make concessions to it, thanks to wealth, status and political consequence that stemmed from his naval successes rather than inheritance or good fortune. Widely admired among his peers, his followers spread his message of uncompromising devotion to duty, high standards of training and conduct, aggressive attack, and taking his subordinates into his confidence. The result was a distinctive ethos, built on the assumption that a man’s first duty was to the Navy. 

As First Lord of the Admiralty, Anson's reforms turned the navy into an efficient fighting instrument which maintained supremacy in home waters and prevented French relief expeditions from sailing to the West Indies and Canada. That transformation delivered the triumphs of the Seven Years’ War He died at home in Hertfordshire, on 6 June 1762.

© Ian Hughes 2017