Studies in Eighteenth-Century Diplomacy, 1740-1748

By Richard F. Lodge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
D'ARGENSON AND THE DUTCH

Anomalies of the war --Holland not a belligerent --Anglo-Dutch relations--Dutch parties --First French overtures and Dutch response--Dutch alarm in 1745 --Robert Trevor and Van der Heim sketch a plan of peace--D'Argenson's overtures to The Hague--French threats --English dread of Dutch defection --Larrey sent to d'Argenson --Failure of his mission -- Wassenaer sent by the States-General to France --Fall of Brussels--D'Argenson's Idées sur la Paix --Rejection by England--Gilles sent to join Wassenaer --Dutch proposals --D'Argenson's counter-project --Its terms --Divisions in English Ministry--Newcastle's opposition to acceptance of French terms--His success --Communication of d'Argenson's project to allies--Mission of Puyzieulx to The Hague -- Death of Van der Heim --Decision to send an English plenipotentiary to join the Dutch--Consequent transference of negotiation to Breda--Simultaneous negotiation at Lisbon with Spain--Choice of Sandwich for Breda --Retirement of Trevor.

To the superficial student of the eighteenth century the war of the Austrian Succession appears to be a struggle between two rival coalitions. On the one side were the Bourbon Powers, France and Spain, with their allies, Prussia and Bavaria. Opposed to them were Austria, the Maritime Powers, and Sardinia. The student is taught to contrast this with the adjustment of the Great Powers in the subsequent Seven Years' War, when Sardinia and Spain dropped out, Austria and Prussia seemed to change sides, and Russia came in as the ally of Austria and France. What, as a rule, escapes his notice is the imperfection of the coalitions in both wars, and the anomalies in the relations between the various members of one group of Powers with the various members of the other group. Confining our attention to the earlier of the two wars, we may note some of these anomalies. Spain was at war with England before the death of Charles VI opened the question of the Austrian Succession, and Spain remained at war with England until 1748. Spain entered into a second

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