By Seth Cayley, Gale Vice President, Gale Primary Sources. Seth collaborates with our US product teams to direct Gale’s international archive programme.
In January, I had the pleasure of attending the annual British Society for 18th Century Studies (BSECS) Conference. This is one of the liveliest academic conferences that I attend, and always features a diverse array of sessions. Amongst my personal highlights from this year’s conference were a thought-provoking panel on Black Georgians, and a plenary lecture on the culture of letter-writing between women.
When reading through some documents contained within the State Papers’ SP94 (Spain) series recently, I was struck by some parallels between early-eighteenth century diplomatic relations and those of our current post-‘Brexit’ times. There is palpable tension in Anglo-Spanish relations from the letters exchanged between British Ambassador to Spain Paul Methuen and James Stanhope, Secretary of State for the Southern Department.
More broadly, this was a time of flux for European relations, with 1713 marking the end of what has been termed the first ‘global’ war: the War of Spanish Succession. Lasting for thirteen years, the war placed greater strain on European ties. Developing from a dispute over the succession of the Spanish throne when King Carlos II died childless in 1700 (leaving the Bourbon, Philippe Duc d’Anjou as his heir), England, Austria, and the Dutch Republic could not countenance a Franco-Spanish alliance dominating Europe. They therefore rejected the proposed succession by declaring war. After a thirteen-year campaign, the 1713 treaty concluding the war confirmed the succession of Philippe as Felipe V of Spain. As those letters show though, this succession prompted a re-evaluation of Anglo-Spanish trade arrangement. Continue reading →
Never miss another post
Be first in receiving the stories behind our collections and archives!