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

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

28.
Truce between Spain and the United Netherlands, concluded at Antwerp, April 9, 1609, Ratification by Spain, July 7, 1609. [Ratification by the States General, April 11, 1609.]

INTRODUCTION.

By separately concluding the treaty of Vervins with Spain,1 Henry IV. of France had seemingly abandoned both his allies, England and the United Provinces, although, contrary to the treaty, he actually continued a limited aid to the Dutch;2 by signing the treaty of London3 the King of England had weakened the Dutch still further in their struggle with Spain. This defection of their allies, Spinola's military successes, and especially the proposals of Henry IV. to assume sovereignty over the Provinces, alarmed the great Advocate of Holland, Oldenbarnevelt, who with his followers dominated the States General, and inclined them to listen to the overtures for peace which in 1606 and early in 1607 came from the archdukes, the rulers of the southern provinces. On the other hand, a party led by Prince Maurice and Count William Lewis of Nassau, and including among its most ardent adherents those who had an interest in the East India and American trade, desired the continuance of the war. The merchants knew that Spain would demand the renunciation of the distant traffic as the price of peace, and even were the trade permitted it would be less profitable under conditions of peace than when conducted in armed vessels.

The hope of expelling the Dutch from the forbidden regions was believed by many to be the principal motive that induced Spain to treat.4 Within a few years Dutch trade beyond the oceans had attained great proportions. When peace negotiations began, the powerful East India Company, chartered in 1602, had seriously undermined the power of the Portuguese in the East; with Guinea, Brazil, Guiana, Punta del Rey, Cuba, and Hispaniola,

____________________
1
Doc. 23, last paragraph of introduction.
2
An excellent account of Franco-Dutch relations at this period is in Nouaillac, Villeroy, pp. 373 ff., and ch. 5.
3
Doc. 27.
4
Jeannin asserted that it was the principal motive, Négociations (ed. Petitot), III. 291, and cf. II. 95, 96, 199; Prince Maurice said the same, Bentivoglio, Relazione ( 1644), p. 111, Relations ( 1652), p. 106; Grotius says that the Spaniards declared that it was the main reason, Annales, lib. XVII.

-258-

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