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dutch crossing, Vol. 33 No. 1, April, 2009, 44–63

Heliogabalus in The Hague: Franco-Dutch Relations during the Embassy of D’Espesses (1624–1628)1 Maarten Hell Independant scholar, Amsterdam, NL

Few foreign diplomats have a more tainted reputation than the French ambassador Charles Faye, Lord of Espesses. His mission in The Hague (1624– 1628) had a promising start but soon developed conflicts, misunderstandings and even violent confrontations. Many have blamed D’Espesses for damaging the alliance between France and the United Provinces. However, most of his actions can be explained in the light of international relations and the shifting politics of Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII. Obstacles in Franco-Dutch relations, like the French war with England, drove the two countries temporarily apart. Yet, the ambassador continued to defend the French crown and obtained the desired maritime goods. Although he was a zealous Catholic, D’Espesses learned to restrain himself in religious matters. Only when he and his entourage were in personal danger, did the ambassador exceed diplomatic conventions. Before these events occurred, he merely acted upon instructions from Paris. His successor, De Baugy, arrived under better circumstances and concluded a new alliance. keywords Dutch Republic, Diplomacy, relations, Ambassador, D’Espesses

Political

history,

Franco-Dutch

I The French ambassador D’Espesses arrived in The Hague at a crucial point in Dutch history (Figure 1). Since the resumption of the war against Spain after the Twelve Years’ Truce (1609–1621), things were not going well for the young republic. Headed by stadholder Maurits and a strictly Protestant faction, the Dutch government faced a number of problems: economical decline, increasing state expenditures, Spanish trade regulations, social unrest fuelled by new taxes, and diplomatic isolation after a disappointing collaboration with England. All this burdened the new rulers. Most worrying was the lack of money needed for a serious war effort, while Spanish troops threatened the borders. In August 1624, military commander Spínola laid siege to Breda, a strategically important city in Brabant, while a second Spanish army invaded the eastern border. The United Provinces were in despair and needed help. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2009

DOI 10.1179/155909009X422491


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figure 1 The French ambassador D’Espesses (?–1638) in his carriage near Rijswijk. Miniature by Adriaen van der Venne (1589–1662), dated around 1626.

A small ray of hope in these dark days came from a new pact with France. Thanks to this treaty of Compiègne (10 June 1624), the Dutch war chest was to be filled with one million guilders a year.2 No wonder that the new French ambassador was received like a hero in the United Provinces. On 26 August 1624, Prince Maurits awaited him at the Hoornbrug, where, traditionally, foreign dignitaries were met. The ageing Dutch statesman escorted D’Espesses to The Hague, where he was welcomed by representatives of the States General and treated ‘in great splendour’.3 A whole week long, the envoy was fêted at the expense of the needy state. Four years later, things had changed significantly: D’Espesses was disgraced and presumed responsible for the discord between France and the United Provinces. Chief minister Richelieu even wanted to imprison the envoy in La Bastille. Undoubtedly, during D’Espesses’s mission Franco-Dutch relations had deteriorated. In his biography of Frederik Hendrik, who succeeded Maurits as stadholder, J. J. Poelhekke links this alienation to the actions and behaviour of D’Espesses. He presents him as a ‘disagreeable cad’ and ‘a most querulous diplomat’, whose mission to The Hague was a ‘hopeless mistake’ of the French government.4 Contemporaries like Hugo Grotius had also blamed D’Espesses for the diplomatic disaster. The Dutch jurist had even given him the uncomplimentary nickname ‘Heliogabalus’, after the juvenile Syrian emperor of Rome, notorious for his eccentric hedonism and sexual perversions.5 However, even outspoken critics like Poelhekke and Grotius knew that D’Espesses was not the only obstacle to Franco-Dutch relations between 1624 and 1628. A huge stumbling block was Anglo-French antagonism, which caused a political dilemma. For the United Provinces, the outbreak of war between France and England in 1627 was disastrous: to take sides in this battle, mainly fought around the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle, would have meant losing one of their scarce allies. Historians have not paid much attention to this small-scale war and Franco-Dutch relations


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between 1624–1630 in general have also been largely neglected,6 although this period was of momentous significance. The Dutch faced a struggle for their existence against a Catholic enemy and were very aware of their own Protestant image, whereas France switched back and forth between an anti-Habsburg policy and flirtations with co-religionist Spain. Both countries needed one another, but both had to contend with powerful confessional factions within government and court.

II The main aim of this article is to establish to what extent ambassador D’Espesses can be held responsible for the temporary decline in the relations with France. Personal approaches to diplomatic history and anthropological takes on this field have become increasingly popular among scholars recently.7 D’Espesses’s predecessor as ambassador, Du Maurier, has been the subject of a study on the secularization of diplomacy, while his English rival Dudley Carleton (Figure 2) is honoured with a monograph by A. H. Marshall on his mission to The Hague (1616–1628).8 Marshall raises the question of the amount of personal power an ‘ordinary’ (permanent) ambassador enjoyed: could he make policy himself or was he merely executing orders? For the embassy of Carleton, the extent of the ambassador’s personal power is difficult to assess, because the influence of England on the United Provinces soon deteriorated after the glorious years during the Truce. Yet, Marshall suggests, Carleton’s ‘sympathetic presence’ probably slowed this process.9 In general, a permanent representative had little say, both in his country of residence and in his homeland. His main task was to inform and obey his principal, and usually there was not much room to show initiative. When he did act on his own, an ambassador risked punishment for bad judgement, which could lead to the loss of his job and reputation. Besides that, staying away too long from home diminished the envoy’s influence at home. Because of these negative side effects, positions as resident ambassador were not very popular among Europe’s ruling elite.10 Key aspects of the organisation and purpose of French diplomacy changed during the foreign policy of Cardinal Richelieu under King Louis XIII (1624–1642). The responsible department, the secrétariat d’État des Affaires étrangères, was drastically reorganized: since March 1626 all foreign affairs were coordinated by one person, the secrétaire d’État. Thanks to this reorganization, there was more clarity and unity to conduct a coherent foreign policy. Also, Richelieu was able to build up a circle of confidants, which stimulated the collaboration between the envoys and the secretaries at home. Furthermore, the cardinal had outspoken ideas on the function of diplomacy to benefit a state and the role of the ambassador in this process. Therefore he was meticulous in his choice of envoys. In their actions, they needed to maintain the reputation of the king and the welfare of the state. ‘Un ambassadeur mal choisi pour faire un grand traité peut, par son ignorance, porter un notable préjudice’, Richelieu warned.11 According to the cardinal, a good diplomat had to be aware of the nature of the state he was sent to. In a republic, for example, it took a lot longer to reach decisions than in a monarchy. Therefore ambassadors sent to such states should be satisfied with small victories in order to achieve larger goals. Suitable envoys avoided quibbling and being presumptuous; they were eloquent in writing and speaking, always acted par raison and, last but not least, according to Richelieu’s ideas. Most of these requirements can also be found in the popular books about the ‘perfect


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figure 2 Sir Dudley Carleton (1573–1632), English ambassador in The Hague between 1616 and 1628, was the counterpart of D’Espesses. Engraving by W. J. Delff (1580–1638) after Michiel van Mierevelt, 1620.

ambassador’ but of course, le parfait ambassadeur did not exist. Richelieu had to choose his envoys from a limited, close-knit group of courtiers. The most famous French envoys belonged to the noblesse d’épée, who served their king alternately on the battlefield and on diplomatic missions. Charles Faye, chevalier d’Espesses, clearly was an exception to this rule. He avoided military action and was descended from noblesse de robe. His family originated in the environment of Lyon and possessed a fortified house at nearby Vourles. Charles’s father Jacques (1543–1590) was président à mortier in the Parlement de Paris. He was also a diplomat, well known for his


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eloquence. In 1576 he married Françoise de Chalvet, who gave birth to Charles and his brothers and sisters. Like his father, Charles was a typical noble of the robe. He acquired the most prestigious — and equally expensive — functions: conseiller au Parlement de Paris (in 1611), maître des requêtes de l’hôtel du Roy (1618) and conseiller d’État ordinaire (1619). In the early years of his public career, Charles must have benefited from his marriage with Marguerite de Fourcy, daughter of Jean de Fourcy, a councillor of the king. A more evident patron was Antoine Coiffier de Ruzé (1581–1632), marquis d’Effiat. Since his marriage with Maria de Fourcy in 1610 he was Charles’s brotherin-law. D’Effiat was a close friend to Richelieu, who arranged his appointment in the highest functions.12

III Charles D’Espesses followed in the footsteps of his father and chose the uncertain path of diplomacy. In 1620 he became introducteur des ambassadeurs, when this function was divided in two. He shared this job until 1630 with another brother-inlaw, who replaced Charles during his Dutch years. The introducteur was the source of information regarding protocol for all visiting envoys. Because of his nearness to the king this was an important position: he was even allowed to negotiate with foreign ambassadors in the king’s name.13 In the spring of 1624, introducteur D’Espesses received four Dutch representatives at the royal court. Already it was clear that his role in Franco-Dutch relations would not be limited to diplomatic protocol. At a dinner with Grotius in February, D’Espesses announced he was to become the new ambassador at The Hague. The then envoy, the Huguenot Du Maurier, did not get along well with the new Dutch rulers from 1618, and after the last regime change in France he had also lost support at home. Du Maurier’s recall was inevitable and it was not by accident that the French replaced this Protestant with a zealous Catholic. Richelieu, who needed the support of the dévots on his road to power, added a secret article, which permitted the practice of the Catholic religion by Frenchmen in the house of the new ambassador, was added to the treaty of Compiègne. The consequences of the new ambassador’s religious denomination were clearly felt in The Hague. The public services in the French embassy chapel were controversial and opposed by the Counter-Remonstrants.14 Before his departure, D’Espesses had asked Grotius what could be done to obtain more religious freedom for Dutch Catholics. He was not satisfied with the usual connivance of private worship and wanted to negotiate with Amsterdam and other cities about allowing Catholic services in churches and chapels. During the first months of his mission, D’Espesses explicitly pleaded for the Catholic cause. His personal efforts for a group of nuns who were held hostage by the Dutch army were partially successful, but many claims for Jesuits in the same situation were fruitless. Two years later, the envoy had learned that, in religious matters, aloofness was a more sensible attitude to adopt: despite pressure from Paris, he deliberately did not protest against a renewal of anti-Catholic laws.15

IV The main instructions of ambassador D’Espesses were not of a religious, but of a political and economic nature. He had to carry the treaty of Compiègne into effect.


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This was not just a subsidiary contract, but an extensive defensive alliance, which included military logistics, trade regulations, and a joint effort against North African corsairs. Unsatisfactory for the French was the Dutch refusal of joint voyages to the East and West Indies. Since no definitive agreement could be reached, the treaty merely stipulated that these enterprises should be the subject of later negotiations by the new ambassador. D’Espesses indeed recommended the pretensions of the French in East India, but their desire to share Dutch trade was not fulfilled.16 Compiègne was a detente after a period of alienation following the overthrow of Oldenbarnevelt. Glad to be rid of the ill-tempered Du Maurier, and desperate for the promised financial aid, the Dutch regents longed for the new French envoy. Their man in Paris, the inane Lord of Langerak, informed them about D’Espesses, ‘[who] descended from good parents and great servants of the crown. He himself is a very qualified person with the best intentions.’17 By the end of August 1624, D’Espesses had had his first audience with the States General. During his initial visit, D’Espesses had to counteract rumours about the possible consequences of the overthrow of Marquis La Vieuville. Until his arrest on 12 August 1624, La Vieuville was de facto first minister of France. He was responsible for the anti-Habsburg foreign policy, including the missions of D’Espesses and D’Effiat to Protestant states. To gain power, La Vieuville needed support of the Queen Mother, who in return asked for the admission of Richelieu to the King’s Council. Soon, the cardinal took over and got rid of the marquis. Diplomats speculated about the consequences: Richelieu would call back D’Espesses, as he had already recalled his brother-in-law from England. In reality, both ambassadors benefited from the palace coup: as a favourite of the new leader, D’Effiat’s position at court was strengthened and D’Espesses could reap the fruits of this.18 Neither did La Vieuville’s downfall change the French approach towards their Protestant allies. They were even drawing closer together, because France needed naval support. Richelieu had to proceed with care, lest he provoke dévots like the Queen Mother and finance minister Marillac. His military-strategic attention first concerned the Valtelline passes, which the Spanish government used for transporting troops from Milan up north. Richelieu promised support to the Duke of Savoy, who was planning to attack Genoa. In 1625, a joint Franco-Savoyard army would lay siege to the city, thus hampering the transport of Spanish reinforcements from Barcelona via Genoa to the passes. Therefore the French navy, which barely existed, depended on support from England and the United Provinces. By the end of 1624, the cardinal sent an agent to the States General, who agreed a loan of twenty ships. These would be delivered to Genoa the following March.19 During the first six months of 1625, the new Franco-Dutch collaboration was prosperous for both parties. The French received naval support and were allowed to export munitions and the Dutch got their money. The first payment had already been handed out to the Dutch envoys in Compiègne. In November 1624, D’Espesses announced the arrival of the second instalment. His king deducted a portion of this amount which he had spent on other military objectives. Nevertheless, the Dutch were relieved and wanted to show their gratitude by offering a gift to the ambassador. The Gecommitteerde Raden, the daily governing body of the Province of Holland, were unsure what to give. To Protestant envoys, like Du Maurier or Carleton, they gave an annuity to celebrate the baptism of their offspring. Because this would be an


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inappropriate gift for a Catholic, Holland decided to offer D’Espesses 4,000 guilders. Visibly indignant and embarrassed, he refused the donation claiming he only served his king and his actions would be seen as suspect if he received money for doing his job. A month later, with royal consent, the prudent envoy accepted the gift after all.20 Content with the subsidy, the States General also allowed D’Espesses to buy eight ships in Holland for a fair price, all according to treaty stipulations. The revolt of Soubise, leader of the Huguenots, and of his elder brother, the Duke of Rohan, in the first two months of 1625 changed this good relationship drastically. To counterattack the maritime actions of these rebels, D’Espesses asked permission to use sixteen of the twenty ships intended for Genoa. The States could not get away with their usual excuse that the ships were not available, because everybody knew they were ready to sail. Besides that, the ambassador depicted the French Protestants and Soubise as if they were no more than a corsair and a bunch of fugitives; religion was not at stake here. Prince Maurits and the States agreed to send twenty ships under the command of Vice-Admiral Haultain and manned with a joint French and Dutch crew. A first sea battle was lost, but with English support the French and Dutch defeated the rebel fleet by mid-September. Soubise escaped and the rebel stronghold of La Rochelle was surrounded. Louis XIII wished the Dutch and English ships to continue their blockade because their presence enforced his demands during the peace negotiations with the Protestant leaders. The Dutch government differed in opinion with Louis. By the end of October, they recalled the fleet and Haultain.21 There are strong indications that this decision was made under pressure of public opinion. Sermons were published by radical clergymen who detested the maritime support given to enemies of the Protestants. They suspected government members of being Libertines and Arminians, contemptuous terms in those days. When, during the siege of La Rochelle, a deputation from the city visited The Hague to ask for the withdrawal of the Dutch fleet, D’Espesses requested for them to be arrested and sent to his king. This was one step too far, but the States did not grant the representatives an audience and asked them to return to La Rochelle. The States also refused to allow a collection for the besieged city. However, elders and deacons in The Hague ignored this refusal and raised 10,000 guilders for their co-religionists. When D’Espesses found out about this illegal collection, he complained to the States, who let the Court of Holland reprimand the clergymen involved. With this gesture, the alliance was saved — for the time being.22

V D’Espesses’s attitude towards the representatives from La Rochelle was rigid and ruthless. It is worth noting that his Protestant predecessor did not treat them any better. Du Maurier also regarded his rebellious co-religionists as troublemakers, who had no right to take up arms against their king and defend a dangerous state-withina-state. For an envoy of King Louis it was impossible to hold any other view. D’Espesses was much less flexible than his predecessor in his social interaction with diplomats and noblemen from other countries. During Du Maurier’s embassy there had been conflicts about precedence, but these were far exceeded by D’Espesses. His obstinate tenacity in matters of etiquette, ceremony and precedence was one of the reasons for J. J. Poelhekke to paint him in a negative light. Here, however, the


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historian paid too little attention to the importance of diplomatic ceremony and protocol, which elsewhere he discerns so well. It has to be remembered that in this period, the European state system was not yet fully developed. For states, letting their diplomats fight symbolic conflicts was a way to enforce their position and sovereignty. Envoys in persona represented the power of their principals. Any affront could be seen as a outright assault on kings or republics. Hence, diplomats argued vigorously about seemingly minor issues like seating order at tables, priority in traffic, or appropriate manners of address.23 Thanks to D’Espesses’s background as maître des requêtes and introducteur, he knew all about protocol and precedence. As a representative of the French king, moreover, the envoy stood first in the corps diplomatique of The Hague. He held higher rank than his English and Venetian colleagues and would not grant an inch to them. D’Espesses wrote to his principals that he would try to avoid disputes about precedence, while never failing in his duty to stand up in defence of his master. In practice, however, clashes were common, especially with the English envoy Carleton. The problems began after Charles I succeeded King James (27 March 1625). While James had ordered his envoys to make way for the French ambassadors, Charles did not give such instructions. A first risky event was the funeral of Prince Maurits, who passed away on 23 April. Carleton solved the problem diplomatically: he excused himself, so that in the funeral procession only the ambassadors of France and Venice appeared. D’Espesses behaved quite recklessly towards the king and queen of Bohemia, Frederik and Elizabeth. After their escape from Germany they resided in The Hague with a colourful entourage. Although the ambassador felt an inclination towards the English king’s daughter Elizabeth, he was ‘a stickler for etiquette’.24 Thus, D’Espesses refused to address the exiles by their royal titles; nor did he give right of way to their carriage. This stubborn attitude was not purely his own initiative: D’Espesses discussed titles and other ceremonious matters with the king and his ministers. Incidents based on disputes about precedence could get out of hand. This was the case for the wedding ceremonial of Charlotte de la Tremouille and the Count of Derby on 5 July 1626. Both the English and the French ambassadors needed to be present, because they had to sign the marriage certificate. After the ceremony, organized by Elizabeth of Bohemia, a knightly game of ring-tilting ended in pandemonium. The driver of D’Espesses manoeuvred his carriage in front of the carriage of some English ladies. Their servants got enraged and a fight broke out, in which several people were wounded. One lady exclaimed she wished she had been killed, so that the coachman would be hanged. A less violent coach incident took place during the entry of the Venetian ambassador Soranzo in 1627. The carriage of the king of Bohemia took first priority, following the carriage of Soranzo. D’Espesses complained to the States General on behalf of Louis, claiming that he was entitled to this position, before the ‘reputed’ Bohemian king. The States replied that in the future they would pay attention to D’Espesses’s first rank. The next diplomatic event was indeed planned more carefully to avoid misunderstandings. When Frederik Hendrik was to receive the Order of the Garter, the stadholder arranged the protocol himself. He avoided a struggle for precedence between Carleton and D’Espesses by seating them both at the head of the table. The conclusive meal was skipped ‘pour quelques competences entre les Ambassadeurs’.25


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VI D’Espesses’s compulsive attention to etiquette must have irritated the Dutch government, especially because his wrath was mainly directed at Protestant representatives and nobility. However, his behaviour can be explained if one takes his background and the status of the French king represented by him into account. D’Espesses’s attitude towards the English ambassador also had underlying political causes. While Charles I declared war on Spain, France was drawing closer to the Spanish king. In Southampton, the English and Dutch formed an offensive and defensive league (September 1625): they would attack the Spanish king wherever possible, as long as he and his allies occupied the Palatinate and made war upon the United Provinces. Denmark, Sweden, France, and Venice had been invited to join this anti-Habsburg coalition, but only Denmark was serious about joining. Louis XIII had personal and political objections against this alliance. His country was engaged in an internal struggle against the Huguenots and open warfare in Germany was of the lowest priority. Cardinal Richelieu was not yet powerful enough to push his plans against Habsburg through. Again, he needed support of the dévots, who demanded that more weight be attached to religious rather than secular interests. This meant a temporary halt in closer relations with Protestant states. The change in balance of power was instantly noticeable in the French embassy at The Hague. Two diplomats of the States visited D’Espesses and read the Treaty of Southampton to him. First, the exordium annoyed the envoy: he mocked the ambitious titles of the king. Moreover, he considered numerous articles in the treaty to be not executable, too high-flown, detrimental to other nations (i.e. France), or pure tyranny. However, the Dutch diplomat François van Aerssen travelled to Paris to convince the French government that it should join the alliance. At The Hague, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628), arrived with his fellowambassador Holland to conclude the treaty with Denmark and the Dutch. The flamboyant duke and the strict D’Espesses suffered from incompatibilité d’humeur. Their first meeting immediately resulted in an altercation about the payment of the German military entrepreneur Ernst van Mansfeld. There was no way the French would join the Treaty of The Hague, signed in December 1625 between England, Denmark and the Dutch. Louis wrote to D’Espesses that this league had nothing to do with freedom in Germany or with attacking Spain: it was simply a plot against all Catholic powers. D’Espesses was instructed to complain that the treaty had been signed without the knowledge of the king and delivered to him as an accomplished fact.26 After his stay in The Hague, Buckingham wanted to visit France to convince the government to participate in the German wars. King Louis was not looking forward to this, especially since the duke had earlier seduced his wife in Amiens. Moreover, the Anglo-French marriage had turned out to be a failure. It did not improve the treatment of English Catholics, as had been stipulated in the marriage contract. The laws on recusancy were even more vigorously executed than before, and a large part of the Catholic household of the French princess was sent home. Under these hostile circumstances, Richelieu ordered D’Espesses to politely but firmly discourage Buckingham from coming to France. With ‘a most undiplomatic lack of tact’ the envoy told the duke it would be better to send someone of greater stature than himself. Buckingham took this as a personal affront and sailed back to England.27


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VII After the recall of the Dutch fleet from La Rochelle, the changing attitude of the French vis-à-vis their Protestant allies caused a second crack in the restored relations. By the end of 1625, the controversial issues were manifold. The Dutch complained about the slow payments of subsidy, a recurring theme in the history of FrancoDutch relations.28 When the first part of the 1625 subsidy arrived half a year late, ambassador D’Espesses did not apologize for the delay: the French crown simply had too many warfare expenses of its own. The second part had not yet been paid in February 1627, despite insistence of the Dutch envoys in Paris. When the subsidy finally arrived, the States could not always spend it as they wished: the French government wanted to decide where the money should go.29 Compared with the enormous arrears of their Venetian ally, however, the French payment record was not that bad. In addition, groups of private financers would usually advance money on the subsidies. When, in July 1627, these syndicates stopped the loans, the States urged the French king to send more money quickly, because the army was in the field and required payment.30 The situation grew more complicated when the French introduced extra conditions for subsidy payment. These could be relatively innocent, like the presents for the wives of French ministers that were requested in 1632. During the embassy of D’Espesses, the stipulations were sometimes futile, private wishes; but at other times they included important political demands. At the end of 1625, Richelieu declared that the money would only be transferred if the recall of Admiral Haultain was cancelled. The cardinal started to believe that the States had openly joined the rebellious Huguenots. One of the Dutch captains of the fleet had thrown off the banderole of France and had forced a group of French soldiers to go ashore. In The Hague, D’Espesses tried to get satisfaction for these affronts to his king. To make things worse, the States General blocked his attempt to buy six new warships. A milder demand by King Louis was also rejected in November 1626, because it would harm the Huguenots. The States did not want to jeopardize their alliance nor the payment of the subsidies, so they allowed the king to buy six ships without crew, albeit on the condition that the subsidies were paid and that the remaining ships from Haultain’s fleet were to be returned immediately.31 The withdrawal of Haultain strained Franco-Dutch relations. The vice-admiral himself had left France on 3 February 1626, two days after peace was reached with the Huguenots. However, Richelieu hampered all negotiations over a larger anti-Habsburg coalition. Again he threatened to stop payments, while at the same time D’Espesses told the States that the French government was not unhappy with the withdrawal anymore. The key to this shift in policy was revealed in Mónzon. In this Aragonese village, the French ambassador in Spain, Du Fargis, concluded a top secret peace for the Valteline with the Count of Olivares, the de facto leader of Spain. Although a later version of this treaty was ratified, the French government tried to blame the servant Du Fargis, who was instructed by the dévots.32 The news of Mónzon outraged the anti-Habsburg allies of France, like Venice, Savoy, and of course the United Provinces. In March, D’Espesses received two angry representatives from the States General who demanded an explanation. The treaty could only be advantageous to the Spanish Habsburg crown, who could use its disengaged troops against the Dutch. The ambassador exculpated his government, blaming Du Fargis,


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who, so he claimed, had acted against his instructions and handled the situation on his own. The French government, he assured the Dutch, would never ratify this treaty. Although the ratification did in fact happen two months later, D’Espesses used this explanation to sooth feelings in The Hague.33

VIII After Mónzon, another crack in Franco-Dutch relations appeared in July 1626, when a number of scandals involving the French military complicated larger political issues. First, there was the discharge of Villetard. This captain had put false names on the list during the muster. He was suspended and subpoenaed for this fraud by the Council of State. On behalf of his king, D’Espesses petitioned for mercy, but the States General decided to suspend Villetard. Half a year later, they thought the case was closed when the king was allowed to assign a new captain in his place. D’Espesses, however, was not satisfied. He continued to request the rehabilitation of Villetard, without success. A more severe incident coincided with the Villetard affair. In the summer of 1626, Lieutenant-Colonel D’Estiaux had stabbed the son of the marquis of Courtomer, the Huguenot lieutenant-general of the French regiments, in a duel. Because the father sought revenge, the States General intervened to prevent further escalation. Since they could not allow the ‘godless act’ of duelling, Courtomer was forbidden to avenge his son’s death by sword. D’Estiaux was deprived of his military functions and awaited trial in prison, possibly facing the death penalty. All this was in accordance with existing legislation against duelling, established by Maurits. In France, Richelieu took a firm line against duelling as well, for personal and religious reasons. Under his regime, in 1626 a stern edict outlawed appeals for pardon. Ironically, however, it was the cardinal who intervened in favour of D’Estiaux, one of his favourites. On 15 October, Ambassador D’Espesses entered the meeting of the States General, with royal intercession for the imprisoned French lieutenant. Stadholder Frederik Hendrik directed this delicate case to the supreme court-martial. He refused Richelieu’s petition for mercy and requests of both parties in this case were procrastinated.34 A year after the duel, the French king insisted on stopping the suit against D’Estiaux. D’Espesses was negotiating renewal of the treaty of Compiègne and refused to proceed if the States would not end the prosecution. Two representatives replied that the case was in the hands of the stadholder. They thought it was odd that the ambassador would abort important talks because of a minor, private affair. If he continued to do this, they resolved, the States would complain to his king. After this conflict was eased, D’Estiaux escaped punishment. He even received his pay during his imprisonment and in 1629 D’Estiaux was allowed to leave for France. Just in case, Frederik Hendrik had to check if the marquis was not planning to challenge Courtomer’s other son there.35 The stadholder also tried to prevent more fights between French officers in the Dutch army. Since the introduction of legislation against duelling in France, an increasing number of noblemen fought out their private battles in Holland. In July 1627, Frederik Hendrik reduced the punishment from death to life banishment, so French offenders could flee to their homeland without diplomatic hassle.36 A third scandal involved D’Espesses himself. In the summer of 1626, his coachman insulted the French captain Verneuil. When Verneuil complained about this to the ambassador, the latter replied haughtily, ‘que le cocher de l’ambassadeur du Roy


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valoit bien un capitaine de Hollande’. Verneuil and some other captains were infuriated. A few days later, they attacked the coachman with a stick. D’Espesses witnessed the incident and threatened the attackers. A mediatory effort failed and the ambassador informed his king, who sent a special envoy to resolve the case. This ‘seigneur La Follaine’ argued that the captains had to be punished, because the king regarded their violent act against the coachman as an offence against himself. He ordered Verneuil and his accomplices, including Captain Foullioux, to be sent to Paris, where they would be punished. The States refused, because the captains were on the battlefield. This infuriated the French government: without satisfaction, there would be no more subsidy and D’Espesses could be the last French ambassador at The Hague. The States stood firm. They wanted to prosecute the suspects in Holland and sending them abroad would infringe on Dutch sovereignty. To meet the French demands, the captains were suspended until they stood trial in The Hague. In March 1627, Richelieu declared that the subsidy would stay in Paris as long as the coachman case was not satisfactorily solved. The threat did not change the opinion of the States: they even rewarded some of the suspected captains with donations or advancements. This enraged D’Espesses, whose letters to Paris adopted an increasingly bitter tone. The ambassador complained that the ‘unreliable regents’ of the Dutch Republic lacked more respect for his king each day. By the end of 1626 he wrote to Richelieu that the most powerful Dutchmen spoke of the royal subsidies as ‘d’un tribut de Province subjuguée’.37

IX The French image of the Dutch was already grim, so D’Espesses’s dispatches were taken at face value. The mutual distrust between the two nations increased continuously. D’Espesses regularly reported on Dutch negotiations with the enemy that would lead to truce or peace. Indeed, there were superficial talks with Spain, but there was no need to doubt the fighting spirit of the Dutch: led by Frederik Hendrik their army took the initiative and started a counter-offensive. Despite Frederik’s capture of Oldenzaal (1626) and the strategically more important Groenlo (1627), both around the eastern borders, Franco-Dutch relations deteriorated and were severely damaged by an anti-English alliance which Richelieu signed with Spain on 20 March 1627.38 All this, however, did not prevent Franco-Dutch negotiations on the renewal of the treaty of Compiègne. Ambassador Langerak had sent draft articles from Paris, which a committee of the States discussed with D’Espesses. To avoid internal turmoil, the States preferred a simple continuation of the old alliance, but the French insisted on adding or adjusting stipulations. D’Espesses claimed to be fully authorized to negotiate these, yet, for several reasons, he seriously delayed the conferences. Besides the extra conditions regarding D’Estiaux, discussed above, the ambassador sometimes did not show up, pretending illness or personal business. Within the Dutch government, only Van Aerssen was favourably disposed towards D’Espesses. He described him as a judicious envoy, ‘utterly entitled to the dignity of his function’.39 Despite this laudation, after months D’Espesses’s negotiations were still fruitless. His position in The Hague was challenged and the ambassador lost some support at the French court. Although his brother-in-law, D’Effiat, continued to support D’Espesses, two of his allies tumultuously left the political stage. Henri de Talleyrand-Périgord, Comte de Chalais, was beheaded in August 1626 because of his famous plot against


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Richelieu. A closer friend of D’Espesses, the Marquis de Rouillac, was confined in La Bastille.40 In court circles, rumour had it that D’Espesses’ recall as ambassador was only prevented by the support of D’Effiat, now minister of finance. Shortly after the Chalais conspiracy, Grotius was told that the king was considering sending Lieutenant-General Léonor d’Orleans as the new ambassador to The Hague, an unattractive offer that the lieutenant-general subsequently declined. The picture of D’Espesses begging Paris for permission to hold on to his office needs some nuance. First, Grotius also believed that D’Espesses himself wanted to leave, in order ‘to take advantage of the temporary favour of monsieur D’Effiat’. His embassy secretary had already enquired whether there was a suitable office in the ministry of his brother-in-law.41 More important evidence than this Grotian rumour, is a letter of D’Espesses to Richelieu dated 1 July 1627. The ambassador offered his resignation because, he claimed, the French government did not give him the support necessary to fulfil the king’s service. Richelieu refused. In reality, there was little reason for the cardinal to recall his ambassador: the negotiations on a new alliance were continuing in Paris, where he could control the weak Dutch envoy Langerak. On 28 August 1627, without instructions, Langerak signed a new Franco-Dutch treaty for nine years. On 6 October, this treaty arrived in The Hague together with 500,000 guilders. However, some of the stipulations were unacceptable to the States. One article forbade the Dutch to deliver soldiers, gunpowder and victuals to England, while they were obliged to do so, according to the Southampton Treaty. Neither were the States allowed to attack the fleets that assisted the English navy. Because of the Franco-Spanish alliance this could imply that Dutch vessels were not allowed to capture Spanish ships. Most painful was that the Dutch could only reach a peace with Spain with approval of the French king. For the Dutch, this condition was incompatible with the sovereignty of the United Provinces. The issue remained a bone of contention for years. Unsatisfied with these far-reaching conditions, the States General sent envoys to France to negotiate a new treaty.42 With Langerak in his pocket, then, Richelieu did not worry too much about his ambassador in Holland. Another reason why he still wanted D’Espesses in The Hague may have been the ambassador’s ability to arrange passports for ships and munitions to France. During his embassy, this export increased significantly: from five ships in 1625 and the same the following year, D’Espesses had exported at least twelve ships for his king in 1627. The ambassador spent a great deal of his time on this, sometimes in collaboration with special agents from Richelieu. In 1627, he personally inspected the production of an order in the gun-foundry of the States in The Hague. The ambassador signed a contract for the delivery of guns with the famous arms dealer Elias Trip. Usually, the States did not object to the export of wartime material to France. The outbreak of the Franco-English war in 1627 altered this attitude drastically, however. When on 22 July the English had conquered Saint-Martin-de-Ré, an island near to La Rochelle, Louis XIII declared open war on Charles I. A month later D’Espesses asked for the assistance of twenty Dutch ships. In order to preserve their neutrality, the States General refused this request, just like the export of four ships for the king, which D’Espesses had planned. Richelieu continued to order more maritime and military equipment, but besides one shipment of lead, fuse and copper the envoy was not allowed to send anything to France.43


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X With the Franco-English disagreement turning into a maritime war, the Dutch tried to remain neutral. This was not an easy task, because their commerce and merchant navy suffered severe losses. For instance, numerous ships from Holland were sunk to form the gigantic ‘dyke’ to block off La Rochelle. Worse, both kingdoms distrusted the Dutch. When English mariners captured the ship of the later French marshal Toiras near the Dutch island of Texel, Richelieu saw this as ‘clear proof of the unreliability of the Dutch’. D’Espesses also responded in rage. The ships of the king and the king’s mother present at Texel had a narrow escape, but Toiras’s ship was taken away under the surveillance of Dutch vessels. This incident was solved tactically by Frederik Hendrik. He advised Carleton, antipode of D’Espesses in The Hague, to let the remaining English ships sail out, ostentatiously firing some guns in the air as they departed. Later, he also dealt with the diplomatic consequences.44 The English danger soon disappeared from Dutch waters. However, D’Espesses kept asking the States for more security measures against alleged English plots to destroy French ships in their harbours. He also began combining serious complaints with minor issues, such was the case with a shipment of wine in Amsterdam. A group of Amsterdam merchants had bought this shipment from Englishmen during their presence on the isle of Ré. The confiscation should be lifted immediately, D’Espesses reasoned, since the profit of the sale was meant for his king. His protest was useless, because the owner and confiscator was an Amsterdam merchant who enjoyed the protection of his powerful magistracy. This outweighed the monetary problems of Louis.45 By 1628, D’Espesses’s addresses to the States General had turned into long lamentations in which small complaints were mixed with matters of state into one huge annoying amalgam. France’s general opinion was clear: as long as the United Provinces did not compensate the captured ships and the Treaty of Langerak was not ratified, their ambassadors were not welcome. On 18 January D’Espesses presented the States with letters in which the king unfolded this point of view. At the same meeting he protested against the calumny which had plagued him since the start of his mission. The States were not impressed and sent their envoys, Van Aerssen and Vosbergen, to France. They stayed there for a year, without any result.46 During this impasse with the States, D’Espesses’s attitude became harsh. His house at Noordeinde was already controversial, because of the public Catholic services held in the embassy chapel. But it was also used as an asylum for fellow-Frenchmen under suspicion. Here, for example his friend De Rouillac escaped a debt claim, after his return to Holland. D’Espesses reported a major incident to the States on 17 February. There had been a fight between his servants and a group of German soldiers in the inn ‘The Helmet’. One of the Germans was killed. After this, the embassy entourage could not walk the streets without being harassed, so D’Espesses requested the States to forbid any further aggression between German and French inhabitants. He offered to send guilty servants to his king, who could punish them. The States remitted the case to the Court of Holland, which initiated an investigation. This did not resolve the question of how the young German was killed. D’Espesses suggested he had fallen on his own sword.47 The situation got worse. D’Espesses had to repeat his request, because the embassy personnel continued to be attacked. A large group of Germans even wanted


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to destroy the embassy building. When the court finally issued a law against FrancoGerman animosity, the States informed D’Espesses that there were more complaints about his own servants, who misbehaved in the streets at night. The fiscal declared that the ambassador had frustrated his investigation regarding the dead German. When officers tried to arrest two French soldiers who could testify on the murder, D’Espesses gave them refuge in his house. He got away with it, for it was impossible to invade an embassy, but each night German ssoldiers patrolled around the embassy building. After these soldiers harassed a footman, D’Espesses begged the States to guarantee the safety of himself and his entourage. Nothing happened, so he wrote indignantly to his king that his Dutch hosts would not offer him protection.48

XI Under these hostile personal circumstances, D’Espesses tried to ship a large amount of munitions and equipment to France. He answered the famous argument of the States, that they needed the goods for themselves, with sarcasm: ‘Was not the Dutch Republic le magasin de l’univers, where everybody was provided with everything without any apprehension of the general interest?’ On 13 March, the States read a long memorandum containing all the grievances of the ambassador. The tone of this writing was considered inappropriate. In the document, D’Espesses objected to the revision of the lawsuit against one of his servants by the court martial, claiming it was biased. One of the judges appeared to be his former enemy Foullioux, the captain who had attacked his coachman. D’Espesses mentioned the law of nations, which ought to protect envoys but was violated every day in The Hague.49 For the States General, this memorandum was the last straw. They sent it to their ambassadors in France to discuss its absurdity with Louis. The French envoy should pay the Dutch the respect they deserved as allies and the States would not tolerate any more insults. D’Espesses defended himself, claiming it was a slip of the pen. He was getting impatient, because his principals criticised him for his failure to achieve solid results. Two days after the ambassador’s appearance, Captain Foullioux visited the States General to defend himself against the memorandum. The States urged him to maintain proper respect for the ambassador and Foullioux promised to do so. On his way out, however, he added that he had often spotted D’Espesses in a ‘house of ill-repute’, where the ambassador read the letters of his king. When Foullioux asked whether he ought to respect him there as well, the regents ‘just laughed’.50 Besides his troubles with Foullioux, D’Espesses got into serious competition with Alphonse López,51 favourite and agent of Richelieu. This Jewish Morisco received the same order as the ambassador: to obtain ships and munitions in Holland. There was no doubt these would be used for the capture of La Rochelle, which again would upset public opinion. The States General could not consent to this and pretended to D’Espesses that the ships were not available. Frederik Hendrik ordered a large fleet to remain in place for fighting the Dunkirkers and an expected Spanish armada. Just before, the export of ships had been officially forbidden, and the ambassador and López were only allowed to send a small amount of munitions and shipping material to France. D’Espesses was afraid the mission of López would succeed, because in that case he would lose all credibility in his homeland. Indeed, his credit eroded quickly. In his letters, Richelieu did little to hide his displeasure with the ambassador. The delay in the export of war and maritime material almost brought the cardinal to a


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rage: he had sent six letters, Richelieu wrote to D’Espesses, without receiving any answer. After he had exported some guns, the envoy should return to France, ‘in order to explain the numerous affaires that were unsuitable to write about’.52 At the French court, everyone agreed that D’Espesses had to be recalled. Around March 1628, even D’Effiat was convinced. He arranged an honourable dismissal for his brother-in-law: D’Espesses was added to the commissaires who negotiated with the Dutch envoys in France. On 10 April, he announced his departure to the States General. Slightly hypocritically, the chairman declared that the States would like him to stay. During his last month in The Hague, D’Espesses wanted to discuss letters from the Dutch envoys, but Frederik Hendrik preferred the discussion to be held in France. The ambassador was not even informed. ‘The Dutch government’, D’Espesses wrote sourly, ‘is not only enjoying liberty, but also irresponsible independency.’ As a parting gift, D’Espesses was offered a golden chain, naturally of the same value as the one his English counterpart Carleton had received. D’Espesses refused to accept the gift, because he might return to The Hague. If he did not come back, he declared, then the States General could offer the chain to his wife. She stayed behind after D’Espesses’s departure on 15 May, along with his secretary Morisset, who was chargé d’affaires. Two months later, when the ambassadress left with a large entourage, she took the farewell gift with her. Again three months later, Morisset headed for France: the turbulent embassy of D’Espesses was finally over.53 On his way home, D’Espesses fulminated against the republic and its inhabitants. He slandered all Dutch women, including the queen of Bohemia and the consort of the stadholder. Back in Paris, the former ambassador did not receive a warm welcome; Richelieu even considered imprisoning D’Espesses in La Bastille, because he had acted against his instructions. An observer like Grotius suspected D’Espesses was made a scapegoat. In Paris, the ambassador bragged that he had deliberately prevented the export of more ships, because he wanted to obstruct the maritime participation in a Spanish fleet.54 If this observation by Grotius was correct, D’Espesses had made his own policy. This view is not supported by the historical evidence: the ambassador simply was not allowed to export the ships.

XII D’Espesses did not receive any punishment for his actions in Holland. He continued to function as introducteur and — from 1631 — lived comfortably and honourably as conseil d’État. On 5 May 1638, D’Espesses died in Paris.55 His recall from The Hague did not solve the problems between France and the Dutch who continued to distrust each other vigorously: by the end of 1628, the French government suspected the Dutch of sending maritime support to relieve La Rochelle. Around the same time, the Dutch agent in Calais was suspected of a plot to surrender this city and the citadel to the English.56 When the new ambassador, Nicolas de Bar, sieur de Baugy et Berry, arrived in The Hague on 17 October 1628, La Rochelle had almost been brought to its knees. The choice of this former resident of Brussels as successor to D’Espesses was not a sign of good will. Although De Baugy was related to the Huguenot Duke of Sully, he himself was a fierce Catholic, and a close friend of the nuncio in Paris and the Spanish commander Spínola. According to Grotius, the mission of this envoy was a deliberate plan of Richelieu ‘to raise a Tower of Babel’ in The Hague. Venetian diplomats even suspected De Baugy of being a secret agent for Spain.57


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During his first days in Holland, De Baugy lived up to his reputation. He did not make himself very popular when he wanted to celebrate the capture of La Rochelle in front of his home. The States General swiftly sent Frederik Hendrik to prevent these celebrations. Yet, in 1630 it was De Baugy who, under serious diplomatic pressure from Venice, signed a new Franco-Dutch alliance: a seven-year renewal of Compiègne. This treaty, similar to that of 1634, was only a preliminary to the famous coalition of 1635, which was of great significance politically but militarily a fiasco. The tribulations during the mission of D’Espesses seemed to be forgiven and forgotten.58 Still, the memory of D’Espesses was kept alive in historiography and anecdotes. Alexander van der Capellen, a nobleman from Guelders, described his orations to the States General as ‘insulting and foolish propositions’. Later, the historian and diplomat Aitzema ascribed the recall of D’Espesses to his displeasing and vindictive behaviour, which ruined his reputation whereas D’Espesses successor was more ‘cold-headed’. Around 1680, Abraham de Wicquefort condemned the ‘hurtful’ and ‘scandalous’ remarks the French ambassador had made against the Dutch government. More recently, Dutch historians, like J. J. Poelhekke, could only disapprove of D’Espesses’s actions. Clearly, he had exceeded all bounds of diplomatic convention.59 Indeed, the Frenchman was far from being le parfait ambassadeur. In his diplomatic actions, D’Espesses failed to show a dignified and modest attitude and made little attempts at assimilation into Dutch society. Qualities like liberality, flexibility and prudence were hard to find in his character. Moreover, he could not distinguish important state affairs from relatively minor issues and larded his speeches with insinuations, personal problems and gossip. His arrogance, chauvinism, clumsiness, and hot-headedness were not the characteristics an ambassador should have. However, D’Espesses was not responsible for the Franco-Dutch problems between 1624 and 1628. He only lost his self-control when he and his entourage were in personal danger. Before these events, he merely acted upon the orders of Louis XIII, Richelieu and the secretaries of state. What ruined his reputation was that there were too many obstacles in Franco-Dutch relations: increasing discord between France and England; a prevailing fierce Catholic faction at the French court; and numerous minor quarrels that drove the two countries apart during these four years.

figure 3 Signature of D’Espesses in 1626. Quai d’Orsay Paris, Archives des Affaires étrangères, Correspondance de Hollande.


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Despite D’Espesses’s tender of resignation and the objections against him, the ambassador kept his post, even when his behaviour clashed with Richelieu’s own diplomatic code of conduct. He remained in office not only because he was protected by his brother-in-law in Paris but also because the cardinal wanted D’Espesses in The Hague. It was in his interest to freeze relations with Holland as long as there was no final settlement with the Huguenots and the English. When this settlement was reached, in 1629, the road was clear for closer ties with the old Northern friends.

Notes 1

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I am much obliged to Sebas Faber, Associate Professor at Oberlin College, Ohio, for his comment on an earlier version of this article. Jonathan Israel, The Dutch Republic: its Rise, Greatness, and Fall, 1477–1806 (Oxford, 1995), pp. 478–485. David Beck, Spiegel van mijn leven; een Haags dagboek uit 1624, ed. by Sv. E. Veldhuijzen (Hilversum, 1993), p. 157. J. J. Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik: een biografisch drieluik (Zutphen, 1978), pp. 218–220; Briefwisseling van Hugo Grotius (hereafter: BG), III (’s-Gravenhage, 1961), pp. 325, 345. Martijn Icks has recently explored the facts and fiction about the real Heliogabalus (Elagabalus) in: Images of Elagabalus (Nijmegen, 2008). Only Poelhekke (Frederik Hendrik) and J. G. S. J. van Maarseveen (‘De Republiek en Frankrijk in het begin van de 17e eeuw’, Spiegel der historie 4 (1970), 413–468) have paid serious attention to this subject. For instance by applying the discourse of alterity to diplomatic history, see: Michael Rohrscheider and Arno Strohmeyer (eds), Wahrnehmungen des Fremden: Differenzerfahrungen von Diplomaten im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Münster, 2007). Claire Martin, ‘Protestantisme et diplomatie à l’aube du Grand siècle: Benjamin Aubery du Maurier (1566–1636), ambassadeur de Louis XIII à La Haye’, Bulletin Société de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Français 151, no. 2 (2005), 265–298; Albert Henry Marshall, Sir Dudley Carleton and English Diplomacy in the United Provinces, 1616–1628 (Ann Arbor, 1978; thesis Rutgers-University, New Jersey). Marshall, Sir Dudley Carleton, pp. 2–6, 327. Charles H. Carter, ‘The Ambassadors of Early Modern Europe’, in From the Renaissance to the Counter-Reformation: Essays in Honour of Garrett Mattingly, ed. by Charles H. Carter (London, 1966), pp. 269–295; J. Heringa, De eer en hoogheid van de staat: over de plaats der Verenigde Nederlanden in het diplomatieke leven van de zeventiende eeuw (Groningen, 1961), pp. 18–19, 67–84.

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

Madeleine Haehl, Les Affaires étrangères au temps de Richelieu. Le secrétariat d’État, les agents diplomatiques (1624–1642) (Brussels, 2006), pp. 195–197; Richelieu, Testament Politique (Amsterdam, 1689), p. 281. In 1626 D’Effiat became finance minister and thereafter marshal of France. Dictionnaire de biographie française XIII, ed. by Roman D’Amat (Paris, 1975), pp. 900–901; Richard Bonney, The King’s Debts: Finance and Politics in France, 1589–1661 (Oxford, 1981), p. 121. A. J. Loomie, ‘The Conducteur des Ambassadeurs of Seventeenth Century France and Spain’, Revue Belge de Philologie et d’Histoire 53 (1975), 342–343; Haehl, Les Affaires, p. 242. Maarten Hell, ‘“Ten gunste van de eer van de koning en het zielenheil”: Haagse ambassadekapellen en Franse religieuze diplomatie (1608–1651)’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 120, (2007), 40–59. BG, II, pp. 340, 348, 353, 367; Resolutiën StatenGeneraal (hereafter: RSG) 12 Sept., 14 Oct., 3 and 6 Dec. 1624; Quai d’Orsay Paris, Archives des Affaires étrangères, Correspondance de Hollande (hereafter: AAECH), inv. no. 10, D’Espesses to D’Herbault, 22 Nov. 1626, fol. 247–248. Richelieu ostentatiously claimed that the Dutch did agree to cooperate and gave full assistance to ‘nos marchands trafiquans aux Indes orientales et occidentales’. Frances G. Davenport, European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies (Washington, 1917), pp. 285–286. National Archive The Hague (hereafter: NA), Bijlagen resoluties van de Staten-Generaal (no. 1.01.08), Lias Frankrijk, inv. no. 6758, Langerak to the States General, 1 March 1624. Bonney, King’s Debts, pp. 110–112; Allen B. Hinds (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, vol. 18 (London, 1912), p. 429; Roger Lockyer, Buckingham: the Life and Political Career of George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, 1592–1628 (London, 1981), p. 202. A. D. Lublinskaya, French Absolutism: the Crucial Phase, 1620–1629 (Cambridge, 1968), pp. 283–285; Geoffrey Parker, Europe in Crisis, 1598–1648 (Oxford, 2001), pp. 145–146.


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NA, Archieven van Gecommitteerde Raden der Staten van Holland en West-Friesland (no. 3.01.05), resoluties 1624–1629, inv. no. 3000A, res. 23 May 1625, fol. 51v–52; BG, XVII, 273; RSG 9 December 1624, 23, 28 May and 30 June 1625, pp. 190, 385, 390, 439. In 1626 D’Espesses received a salary of 15,000 livres, Haehl, Les Affaires, p. 331. After the problems with Dutch and English naval support, Richelieu wanted France to have an efficient exercise of maritime sovereignty. Therefore he consulted Grotius, see: Erik Thomson, ‘France’s Grotian moment? Hugo Grotius and Cardinal Richelieu’s commercial statecraft’, French History 21 (2007), 377–394; RSG 12 April 1625; J. K. Oudendijk, ‘Een Nederlandsche vloot voor La Rochelle’, Historia 6, no. 8 (1940), 219–222. J. Roelink, Kerk en staat in conflict (Amsterdam, 1960); RSG 12, 13, 14, 15 Sept., 6, 11, 20 Oct., 11 Nov. 1625; G. W. Vreede, Inleiding tot eene geschiedenis der Nederlandsche diplomatie, II (Utrecht, 1861), pp. 2, 74. Martin, ‘Protestantisme’, p. 279, note 34; Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, pp. 128, 226; Peter van Kemseke (ed.), Diplomatieke cultuur (Leuven, 2000), pp. 20–21. Mary Anne Everett Green, Elizabeth, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia (London, 1909), p. 247. Heringa, Eer en hoogheid, pp. 12–13. Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, pp. 226–229. Heringa, Eer en hoogheid, p. 404; RSG 12 January 1627; Green, Elizabeth, p. 257, note 1. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague (hereafter: KB), D’Espesses to Louis XIII, 28 Sept. 1624 (47v–48), and to D’Ocquerre, 10 Oct. 1624 (71v–72v). Vreede, Inleiding, II, p. 2, 80–88; RSG 5 Dec. 1625, p. 649; W. C. L. Bronsveld, Het buitengewone gezantschap van den heer van Sommelsdijck bij den koning van Frankrijk in de jaren 1625 en 1626 (Haarlem, 1896), p. 78. Lockyer, Buckingham, p. 281; Thomas Cogswell, ‘Foreign Policy and Parliament: The Case of La Rochelle, 1625–1626’, The English Historical Review, vol. 99, no. 391, (1984), 241–267, 254. Cf. the efforts of Van Aerssen to obtain the promised subsidy from Henry IV: S. Barendrecht, François van Aerssen, diplomaat aan het Franse hof (1598–1613) (Leiden, 1965), pp. 150–160. For instance, Richelieu urged D’Espesses to pay Ernst van Mansfeld the subsidy. Vreede, Inleiding, II, 2, p. 66, note 1; Bronsveld, Gezantschap, pp. 80–81, 123; RSG 26 and 29 Jan. 1626. RSG 2, 3, 4 June, 20, 26 July 1626, 25 Feb. and 6 Oct. 1627; Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, 215; Vreede, Inleiding, II, pp. 2, 75. About the syndicates: Michiel de Jong, ‘Staat van oorlog’: wapenbedrijf en militaire hervorming in de Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden, 1585–1621 (Amsterdam, 2005), pp. 323–336.

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RSG 11 Dec. 1625, p. 655; RSG (secret) 9, 12 and 13 Jan. 1626. RSG 9 March and 30 April 1626; Bronsveld, Gezantschap, pp. 95–101, 107–111. About Monzón and Du Fargis: Lublinskaya, Absolutism, pp. 274– 279; J. H. Elliott, The Count-Duke of Olivares: the statesman in an age of decline (New Haven/London, 1986), pp. 256–257, cf. Bonney, King’s Debts, p. 121, note 4. Roland Mousnier dates the ratification too early (2 May instead of the second half of May): L’homme rouge ou La vie du cardinal de Richelieu (1585–1642) (Paris, 1992), p. 246. Vreede, Inleiding, II, pp. 2, 88–90; Gideon Busken Huet, Derde verslag van onderzoekingen naar archivalia te Parijs belangrijk voor de geschiedenis van Nederland (’s-Gravenhage, 1901), p. 3. RSG 11, 18, 24 Aug., 8, 21, 28 Oct., 2, 3, 17, 18, 26 Nov., 2 Dec. 1626 and 19 Feb. 1627; A. J. van Weel, ‘De wetgeving tegen het duelleren in de Republiek der Verenigde Nederlanden’, Nederlands Archievenblad 81 (1977), 282–296, 287; V. G. Kiernan, The Duel in European History: Honour and the Reign of Aristocracy (Oxford, 1988), p. 76; Busken Huet, Verslag, p. 12. Three years later, D’Estiaux died in combat before the city of Maastricht. RSG 22, 26 (secr.), 28 (secr.), 29 May, 28 Oct., 1 Dec. 1627, 27 Nov. 1629; F. J. G. ten Raa and F. de Bas, Het Staatsche leger, IV (Breda, 1918), pp. 248–249. Poelhekke (Frederik Hendrik, 230, 581, note 1) assumes this concept was never formalised, but it was. See: Groot Placaet-Boeck, II (’s-Gravenhage, 1664), pp. 457–460, and Van Weel, ‘Wetgeving’, 287. RSG 14 Sept. 1626 and 2 July 1627. RSG 31 Aug., 2, 4, 10, 12, 21 Sept., 8, 10, 19, 22, 29, 31 Oct., 3 Nov. 1626, 31 March, and 1, 30 April 1627; Lieuwe van Aitzema, Saken van staet en oorlogh, I (’s-Gravenhage, 1669), pp. 530–531; Quai d’Orsay Paris, Archives des Affaires étrangères, Correspondance de Hollande, (hereafter: AAECH) D’Espesses to Lodewijk XIII, 12 Sept. 1626, inv. no. 10, fol. 211; D’Espesses to Richelieu, 17 Dec. 1626, ibidem, fol. 274. Busken Huet, Verslag, pp. 12–13. Again, it was ambassador Du Fargis who took the blame for this. Haehl, Les Affaires, pp. 59–60. RSG 4, 5, 19 (secr.) Jan., 12, 19, 20, 28 May, 4, 14, 23 and 29 June 1627; Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, pp. 217–223; N. Stellingwerff and S. Schot, Particuliere notulen van de vergaderingen der Staten van Holland 1620–1640, vol. 3, E. C. M. Huysman (ed.) (The Hague, 1989), III, 16 June 1627, p. 300; D’Espesses to D’Herbault, 23 Jan. 1627, AAECH, inv. no. 11, fol. 15.; Van Aerssen to Richelieu, 29 Jan. and 18 June 1627, in: Archives ou correspondance inédite de la Maison d’Orange-Nassau 2nd serie, vol. III, ed. by G. Groen van Prinsterer (Utrecht, 1852), pp. 15, 20.


HELIOGABALUS IN THE HAGUE

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This cavalryman in the Dutch army secretly and in disguise visited Paris, where he claimed to be a nephew of the Prince of Orange. Thanks to the bishop of Langres, Rouillac was permitted to leave prison and later returned to Holland. Pierre Grillon (ed.), Les papiers de Richelieu: section politique intérieure, correspondance et papiers d’État, vol. II (Paris, 1977), II, pp. 90–92, 305; RSG 21 Aug. 1629. BG, III, pp. 68, 77, 114, 117–119, 120, 125–126, 144–145. Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, pp. 221–223; Busken Huet, Verslag, p. 21. Lublinskaya, French Absolutism, p. 283; P. W. Klein, De Trippen in de 17e eeuw: een studie over het ondernemersgedrag op de Hollandse stapelmarkt (Assen, 1965), pp. 294–299; RSG 12, 27, 30 Aug., 13, 20 Sept., 9 Oct. 1627; Grillon, Papiers, II, pp. 260, 315. Groenveld suggested that the States General solved the Texel incident on their own, in the absence of Frederik Hendrik, but the diplomatic solution was made long after his return from Groenlo. S. Groenveld, Verlopend getij: de Nederlandse Republiek en de Engelse burgeroorlog 1640–1646 (Dieren, 1984), pp. 81–82, 275, note 197. Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, pp. 244–246; Marshall, Carleton, pp. 298–304; BG, III, pp. 182–183; Grillon, Papiers, I, p. 507, II, 287; RSG 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 26 Oct. and 7 Nov. 1627. RSG 17 Jan., 7 March and 26 Aug. 1628; NA, archief van de Staten-Generaal, bijlagen bij de resoluties (1.01.04), inv. no. 4952, letter of the Amsterdam magistracy, 25 Jan. 1628; Municipal Archive Amsterdam, Notarieel achief, 635, fol. 157– 158 and no. 942, fol. 915. Jacob Buyck, merchant of France, was the confiscator. Van Aerssen showed little enthusiasm for this mission impossible. He went, under pressure of the States. RSG 3, 16 and 18 Jan. 1628; Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, p. 236. NA, Chronologische registers op de criminele papieren van het Hof van Holland (3.03.01.01), inv. no. 5232.16. RSG 10, 17, 18 Feb. 1628. RSG 21, 22, 23, 25, 26 Feb. 1628; NA, Archief Hof van Holland (no. 3.03.01.01), inv. no. 59, memoriaal

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11 May 1627–27 Jan. 1630, interdiction, 22 Feb. 1628; D’Espesses to Louis XIII, 1 March 1628, AAECH, inv. no. 11, fol. 398. RSG 10, 11, 13 March 1628; J. P. Arend, Algemeene geschiedenis des vaderlands, III, 4th part (Amsterdam, 1868), pp. 275–276. RSG 14, 16, 18, 23, 25 and 27 March 1628; Part. Not., III, p. 505, 537; Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, pp. 218–19. Later, Ambassador Charnacé had to face this fascinating López: Françoise Hildesheimer, ‘Une créature de Richelieu: Alphonse Lopez, le “Seigneur Hebreo”’, in Les juifs au regard de l’histoire: mélanges en l’honneur de Bernhard Blumenkran ed. by Gilbert Dahan (Paris, 1985), p. 293–99. Frederik Hendrik to Richelieu, 18 May 1628, AAECH, inv. no. 11, fol. 436; Grillon, Papiers, III, 31, 113; RSG 4, 22, 23, 29 March, 6, 10, 12, 21 April 1628; Klein, Trippen, pp. 298–299; Part. Not., III, p. 537. BG, III, 266, 271, 279, 315; Arend, Algemeene geschiedenis, III, 4th part, p. 277; RSG 10, 12, 18 April, 3, 15 May, 11, 14 July, 21 Oct. 1628; D’Espesses to Herbault, 6 May 1628, AAECH, inv. no. 11, fol. 435. BG, III, p. 340, 360–361, 363. According to Schutte’s Repertorium (II, p. 6), D’Espesses passed away in 1636 and in his later years was ambassador to Switzerland. Both are unfounded, compare: D’Amat, Dictionnaire, p. 901. Mémoires du Cardinal de Richelieu, vol. VII (Paris, 1926), p. 179; RSG 26 and 28 Sept. 1628; BG, III, 315, 363; Grillon, Papiers, III, p. 402. Poelhekke, Frederik Hendrik, p. 319; Haehl, Les Affaires, p. 243; BG, III, p. 315. RSG 14 Nov. 1628; Van Maarseveen, ‘Republiek’, 458–459. Gedenkschriften van jonkheer Alexander van der Capellen, vol. I (Utrecht, 1778), p. 460; Aitzema, Saken van staet, I, p. 531, 771; Abraham de Wicquefort, L’ambassadeur et ses fonctions, vol. I (‘s-Gravenhage, 1680), p. 421.

Notes on Contributor Maarten Hell (Amsterdam, 1970) is an independent scholar. Most of the material for this paper was selected during his work as researcher at the Institute of Netherlands History in The Hague, which resulted in an on-line publication of the resolutions of the States General between 1626 and 1630 <http://www.inghist.nl/ Onderzoek/Projecten/BesluitenStaten-generaal1626-1651>. Correspondence to: Maarten Hell, Amazonenstraat 23 hs, NL-1076 LE Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Email: maartenhell@hotmail.com

Heliogabalus in The Hague  

Verschenen in Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies 33 (2009), afl. 1, 44-63.

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