Foreign observers were amazed at what seemed to them the incredible size of the English national debt. They echoed British criticisms, poked fun at processes they did not understand or, more often, saw this as a signal weakness, an unthinking and facile policy which would take the country to disaster… . And yet all these rational observers were wrong. The national debt was the major reason for the British victory.
— Fernand Braudel, on the English national debt.