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

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

32.
Treaty between the United Netherlands and France, concluded at Compiègne, June 10, 1624. Ratification by the King of France, September 4, 1624. [Ratification by the States General, July, 12, 1624.]

INTRODUCTION.

At the beginning of the year 1621, when the twelve years' truce between the United Provinces and Spain1 was drawing to a close, the States General attempted to renew their alliances with France and England that terminated with the truce.2 The French court, however, deeply offended by the treatment accorded to Oldenbarnevelt, remained unfriendly, until, early in 1624, a change of ministers in France brought in a new foreign policy, expressive of Richelieu's aims.3 Profiting by this turn of affairs, the States General sent an embassy to negotiate a league. The ambassadors were instructed to ask for aid, preferably financial, for the war against Spain, and to propose the formation of a French West India Company, which should co-operate with the Dutch West India Company in winning booty and conquests from Spain in the seas west of the Cape of Good Hope and on the American coasts.4 The Dutch desired this co-operation as a protection against the "powerful force . . . put to sea . . . by Spain . . . for the purpose of crushing [their] company in its infancy ", and also as a means of forestalling the international difficulties likely to follow from the erection of rival West India companies in France and England.5 Conferences began at Compiègne on April 22.6 The French commissioners wished to reduce the articles to writing quickly; the Dutch desired further instructions from the Hague. At the fourth meeting, the French produced written articles stipulating, among other things, that the Dutch should join the French in voyages to the East as well as to the West Indies. This proposal was unacceptable to the States General, the more so, as the alliance of the Dutch and English East India companies7 had led to continual dissensions, culminating in the "massacre" of Amboyna in February, 1623. Since no definitive agreement respecting the East and West India commerce could be reached, the treaty merely stipulated that these

____________________
1
Doc. 28.
2
Cf. Doc. 29, introduction.
3
Cal. St. Pap., Venice, 1623- 1625, XVIII., pp. 139 (no. 179), 248 (no. 307).
4
Arendet al., op. cit., III. ( 4), 25.
5
Brodhead, Documents, I. 29.
6
Arendet al., loc. cit., p. 26.
7
The text of this treaty is given in English in A General Collection of Treatys ( 1732), II. 188-196.

-285-

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