Queen of England.
Letter Signed, Good cousin and friend / and good sister, cousin,/ and friend / AnnaR, two and two-thirds pages, tall quarto, Given at Our Palace at Windsor, July 3, 1709. Countersigned by H. Boyle. To Franz Ludwig, Count Palatine, Bishop of Worms, and Johann Wilhelm, Count Palatine on the Rhine, Elector of Bavaria. With a note on the top of page one, “received Erfurt, July 28, 1709.”
Queen Anne writes that since news of peace negotiations with the French will have already reached them, there would be no need to point out how unworthy the preliminary articles concluded in The Hague are. Queen Anne also states that the French King showed his contempt of the entire confederation; exhorts unity against common foe; and asks for assistance, soldiers and funds, holding up the example of the Belgians, who are sending men and money to flight the “unworthy enemy.”
“Anne, by the grace of God Queen of Great Britain, France, and Spain, Defender of the Faith &ca. to the most illustrious and excellent Prince Francis Louis, Count Palatine &ca., Grand Master of the Teutonic League, Bishop of Worms, Our dearest cousin and friend, as well as the most serene Prince, John William, Count Palatine on Rhine, Arch-Steward of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince Elector, Duke of Bavaria &ca., Our brother, cousin, and friend, [who are] also governors of the region of the Upper Rhine, Greetings.
“Most illustrious and excellent Prince, dearest cousin and friend, as well as most serene Prince, dearest brother, cousin, and friend, the new peace negotiation by the French, which is too little sincere, has no doubt already been made known, [and] it would be superfluous to explain to Your Excellency and Your Electoral Excellency with how much unworthiness the most Christian King not only refused to have several preliminary articles concluded in The Hague confirmed, & after their having been approved by his plenipotentiaries, but also in contempt of all his allies, he has abused [them] through insinuations he has thought up to enrage the spirits of his subjects. We hope indeed that the long since renowned skills will remove the anger from all hearts and that the allies will all be of the same mind as We that there will in no way at all be a just, honest, stable, comprehensive peace until the arrogant common enemy, who has out of weakness so violently brought on war from all sides, withdraws, that he must by necessity or unwillingly desist. These things may already speak for themselves. We nonetheless, from Our concern for the public weal, deemed it to be not unseemly to appeal with Our exhortation to Your Excellency and Your Electoral Excellency to urge and cause everyone of authority in the region of the upper Rhine by most grave admonishments to support it, as well as to provide a share of fighting forces, of soldiers and funds, and also at this moment, by which the moments of the greatest causes turn to Our example and that of the order of the general domains of the Belgian Federation, to send men and funds & thus expand the German combat army on the Upper Rhine and fortify it by means of the things needed for war, so that not only the boundaries of the Empire are protected, but also the provinces broken off at the time can be reintegrated. This sole hope of a war to be completed with glory and a peace to be maintained with security. To this be added the hope for divine grace, which will not be rejected as unseemly, health, liberty, and event he indignation at such an enemy. We thus humbly appeal to Your Excellency and Your Electoral Excellency to take active part in the cause, for haste is necessary so that this best occasion not slip from our hands. We commend Your Excellency and Your Electoral Excellency from Our heart to the Greatest Protection of God.…”
Queen Anne’s letter concerns the War of the Spanish Succession, a conflict that arose out of the disputed succession to the throne of Spain following the death of the childless Charles II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs. In 1700 Charles allowed himself to be persuaded that only the House of Bourbon had the power to keep the Spanish possessions intact; he thus made a will bequeathing them to Philip, duc d’Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France. On November 1 Charles II died, and on November 24 Louis XIV proclaimed his grandson king of Spain, as Philip V (the first Bourbon king of Spain), and then invaded the Spanish Netherlands. An anti-French alliance was formed by England, the Dutch Republic, and the emperor Leopold. They were later joined by Prussia, Hanover, other German states, and Portugal. William III of England, a strong opponent of Louis XIV, then died in 1702, but the government of his successor, Queen Anne, upheld the vigorous conduct of the war. John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, played the leading role in Queen Anne’s government and on the battlefield until his fall in 1711. The markedly superior generalship of Marlborough and his imperial general Prince Eugene of Savoy brought them a series of victories over France from 1704 to 1709. The French were driven out of the Low Countries by the battles of Ramillies in 1706 and Oudenaarde in 1708. The French were also expelled from Italy after their attempted siege of Turin was broken by Eugene’s brilliant campaign on September 7, 1706. The only theater of the land war in which the alliance had no real success was Spain, where Philip V successfully maintained his position.
Louis XIV sought to end the war from 1708 and was willing to give up the Spanish inheritance to the House of Habsburg. The British, however, insisted on the unrealistic demand that Louis use his army to remove his own grandson from Spain. Louis refused, broke off negotiations, and resumed the war. Two developments in 1711 altered the situation in favor of France. On April 17, 1711, Archduke Charles became heir to all the Austrian Habsburg possessions. Britain and the Dutch had no intention of continuing the war in order to give him the Spanish inheritance as well and thereby resurrect the old empire of Charles V. In Britain the enemies of Marlborough won the influence with Queen Anne and had him removed from command on December 31, 1711. With the collapse of the alliance, peace negotiations began in 1712. Because of conflicts of interest between the former allies, each dealt separately with France. The first group of treaties was signed at Utrecht in April 1713. These and the later treaties of Rastatt and Baden ignored the will of Charles II and divided his inheritance among the powers. Louis XIV’s grandson remained king of Spain, but the treaties of Utrecht marked the rise of the power of Britain and the British colonial empire at the expense of both France and Spain.