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The Huguenots, the Protestant Interest, and the War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1714


Laurence H. Boles

By 1700, the Protestants of Europe, above all the Calvinists (Reformed), felt threatened anew by Roman Catholicism. Activists, especially Huguenot émigrés, pleaded to friendly rulers to restore Protestantism in France and to protect it in the Holy Roman Empire as aims in their wars against Louis XIV. This activism peaked during the War of the Spanish Succession, 1702-1714, but to no avail. The peace of 1713-1715 brought only token gains for the continental Protestant interest; both the Allied and the Bourbon powers were absorbed in such secular concerns as state sovereignty, dynasticism, collective security, and trade. The activists were victims of the maturing European states system and of their own archaic world-view.


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A Note on Dates At the start of the eighteenth century, the Old Style dates of the Julian calendar were ten to eleven days behind those of the New Style or Gregorian calendar. By 1650, most European countries, nearly all Roman Catholic except the Dutch Republic, had converted to the New Style. Sweden converted in 1700, but the British realms retained the Old Style until 1752, and regarded the new year as beginning on March 25, the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, or Lady Day. In England, most foreign ambassadors and other residents, especially French and Italian diplomats, used the New Style in their dispatches and correspondence. British diplomats serving on the Continent used both sets of dates simultaneously or conformed to the New Style usage of their host courts. As cited in this work, British diplomatic sources are presumed to be dated Old Style, and Dutch, French, imperial, and other continental sources to be New Style, except as noted. The dates appearing in The State Papers of Queen Anne, 1701-1714, for example, are Old Style unless stipulated otherwise. Dates cited in the Archives of the Huguenot Community in London, 1560-1889, however, are presumed to be New Style. There appears to be no evidence that the emigres of contemporary England renounced the modernized calendar of their ancestral land in documenting their own collective religious and social life both in France and in asylum. The intensity of contacts between Huguenot exiles in the British Isles and their brethren on the Continent,...

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