European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies to 1648

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

40.

Treaty between Spain and the United Netherlands, concluded at Münster on January 30, 1648. Ratification by Spain, March 1, 1648. [Ratification by the States General, April 18, 1648.]

INTRODUCTION.

During the twenty years following the expiration of the truce of Antwerp1 in 1621, the most important of the many negotiations that took place for a peace or truce between the United Provinces and Spain, were those of the years 1632 and 1633.2 These negotiations failed, chiefly because of the impossibility of coming to an agreement on colonial matters, particularly those in which the Dutch West India Company was involved. In 1632 this company possessed the Recife of Pernambuco in Brazil, which it had captured from the Portuguese, then under the rule of Spain. It looked forward to a rapid extension of its authority and trade in this region, and to profits from raids undertaken thence against the Spanish treasure-fleets, the West Indian Islands, and Central America, and from supplying Brazilian sugar plantations with Guinea and Angola slaves.3 The company therefore opposed the plan that the States General should exchange Pernambuco for Breda and a large sum of money. Having acquired a great fleet, equipped for war, it was opposed to any peace or truce4 with Spain that should extend beyond the Line; unless, indeed, Spain should permit the Dutch to trade in both Indies. The Dutch commissioners supported the contentions of the company.5 Since the King of Spain persisted in requiring the restitution of Pernambuco, and in refusing the company's demands, the negotiations ended fruitlessly.

Besides the Dutch West India Company, another advocate of the continuance of the Spanish-Dutch war was Richelieu, cautiously moving towards the open breach with Spain which he effected in 1635. In that year, after

____________________
1
Doc. 28.
2
For the history of these negotiations the most important source is Actes des États Généraux de 1632 ( 1853, 1866), edited by L. P. Gachard, in the Collection de Documents sur les Anciennes,Assemblées Nationales de la Belgique. Among modern works, M. G. de Boer's Die Friedensunterhandlungen zwischen Spanien und den Niederlanden in den Jahren 1632, und 1633 ( 1898), and A. Waddington La République des Provinces-Unies, La France, et les Pays-Bas Espagnols de 1630 à 1650 ( 1895- 1897), I. 181 ff., are of especial value.
3
P. M. Netscher, Les Hollandais au Brésil, pp. 52 ff.
4
The remonstrance of the company against a peace with Spain is in J. R. Brodhead, Documents relative to the Colonial History of New York, I. 62-68.
5
Aitzema, Saken van Staet, II. 22.

-353-

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