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

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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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4. THE DUKE OF SAVOY AND THE GRAND ALLIANCE: GAINING THE WAR AT THE COST OF THE PROTESTANT INTEREST 69

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CHAPTER 4 The Duke of Savoy and the Grand Alliance: Gaining the War at the Cost of the Protestant Interest The Duke of Savoy Victor Amadeus II formally joined the second Grand Alliance by treaty with Queen Anne signed at Turin on August 4, 1704. Under the pact, she was guarantor of his treaty of November 8, 1703, with Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and committed herself to subsidize the duke in his labors for the Allied cause. 1 According to the secret fourth article of the accord with the queen, Victor Amadeus pledged to confirm the personal and religious security of his Protestant subjects of Savoy, the Vaudois,2 based on his decrees of toleration of the early 1690s. Queen Anne and England had assumed considerable responsibility for the conduct and the postwar fortunes of her ambitious and unpredictable ally, but with the prospect of little control over the duke other than the fiscal. 3 When the time should come to make the general peace, she had pledged to help Victor Amadeus gain an extravagant addition to his patrimony: Louis XIV' s provinces of Dauphine and Provence, bordering the Duchy of Savoy, and his crown dependency of the Valley of Pragelas, a nest of Reformed Protestants adjoining the duke's County of Nice. Furthermore, these lands had been committed in advance to the House of Savoy irrespective of whether they were actually to be taken by conquest in the course of the war, putting Victor Amadeus from the start at...

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