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

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

23.

League between France, England, and the United Netherlands against Spain. Accession of the United Netherlands, concluded at the Hague, October 31, 1596.

INTRODUCTION.

In January, 1595, Henry IV., king of Navarre and France, formally declared war against Spain. He appealed to Queen Elizabeth for help, but she responded with demands for the cession of Calais. After Calais had fallen to the Spaniards, Henry sent an embassy to the queen, in April, 1596, to conclude an offensive and defensive alliance, which the United Provinces and other Protestant powers should be invited to join, against the common enemy. Elizabeth appeared reluctant to aid Henry further. She had already spent large sums in support of armies in France and Flanders, was now burdened with the rebellion fostered by Spain in Ireland and with preparations for a naval expedition against Cadiz, and on the eve of the negotiations, she learned of the death of Hawkins and Drake off the coast of America. Nevertheless she yielded to the threat that the King of France, if unaided, would conclude a separate peace with Spain; and the conferences, which had been conducted chiefly by the Duke of Bouillon and the Sieur de Sancy on the part of France and Lord Burghley on the part of England, terminated in the signing at Greenwich of two treaties, one public and the other secret.1 The public treaty, dated May 14/24, stipulated in articles 1 to 7 that earlier treaties should be confirmed; an offensive and defensive league should be formed against Spain, which all interested princes and states should be invited to join; an army should be raised as soon as possible from the combined forces of the allies to invade the Spanish dominions; neither sovereign was to treat for peace or truce with the King of Spain or his officers without

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1
For an account of the negotiations, see the "Discours de la Negotiation de Messieurs de Bouillon et de Sancy en Angleterre, 1596", in G. Du Vair, Oeuvres ( 1625); De Thou. Histoire Universelle, tom. XII., liv. 116, pp. 647-661; A. Poirson, Histoire du Règne de Henri IV. (1862-1867), tom. II., ch. 7; Motley, United Netherlands, III. 450-466; L. A. Prévost-Paradol , Élisabeth et Henri IV., 1595-1598 ( 1855); J. B. Black, Elizabeth and Henry IV. ( 1914), pp., 103 ff. Du Vair, a negotiator of the public treaty, says nothing of the private treaty, for which see P. Laffleur de Kermaingant, L Ambassade de France: Mission de Jean de Thumery ( 1886), pp. 44 ff., or Motley, loc. cit. The public treaty is printed in F. Leonard, Recueil des Traitez ( 1693), II. 652-655; Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. V., pt. I., pp. 525-527. The secret treaty is printed in part in Kermaingant , op. cit., pièces justificatives, pp. 256-258.

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