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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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CHAPTER 2 Queen Anne, the Swiss, and the Mending of Bridges to Europe The active concern of England and the Dutch Republic over the Protestant interest in Switzerland began to be mobilized in 1702, early in the War of the Spanish Succession. Hostilities had begun in earnest in early Spring 1701 in the broad expanse of the theaters of war, in the Southern Netherlands, northern Italy, and Spain. 1 Switzerland contained vital transalpine routes of communication and transport between the two Protestant Maritime Powers and the forces of their ally Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, asserting the claims of the ancestral branch of the house of Austria and his second son Archduke Charles to the Duchy of Milan, a strategic asset of the Spanish royal patrimony. 2 These routes were precarious as long as the ruler of neighboring Piedmont, Victor Amadeus II, remained in the thrall of Louis XIV; he would be prised from his French alliance of 1696 in part to secure those links. 3 Across neutral Switzerland also lay crucial east-west routes between England and the Dutch Republic and Leopold's court at Vienna. These circumvented the lands, northeast of Lake Constance and the Swiss Confederation, of the French king's potent ally Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector-Duke of Bavaria. The Swiss routes were also more reliable in the eyes of London and The Hague than the northerly alternates via the Archbishopric of Mainz and the Upper Palatinate.4 These were vulnerable to interdiction by the Franco-Bavarian armies of marshals Marsin and...

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