Tag Archives: Political history

Early Modern peace treaties: a postscript

Even within the span of a very long post on the Peace of Utrecht it has not been possible to give due attention to all aspects and elements that need to be discussed, mentioned or just hinted at. In fact the sheer length of my post has overshadowed some of the points I would like to stress. Even the most obvious impression and conclusion, the fact that each of the treaties consists of a set of both multilateral and bilateral treaties, could have been stated more clearly.

The website Europäische Friedensverträge der Vormoderne (Early Modern European Peace Treaties) at the University of Mainz does not only bring a comprehensive survey of sources concerning early modern treaties, but it includes other facilities as well. There are a lexicon for the terms used in historical documents, digital maps and a number of portals. European History Online is a bilingual portal for this subject which features also a section with essays on legal history and a selection of images . IEG-Maps offers access to digitized historical maps. You might think I would know immediately where to find Rastatt, the town where in 1714 treaties following the Peace of Utrecht were signed, but like anyone else I have to look for it in a historical atlas. The project for the edition of Early Modern peace treaties is work in progress, and thus the information on some treaties will be less full than for others. The time span for the treaties to be included at Mainz is very generous: not 1500, but 1450 is the year post quem.

Writing post quem reminds me of the fact which jumps into your face when reading my long post, the need to use a number of languages. Apart from German, French, Spanish, perhaps even Dutch or other modern languages, you will have to deal with Latin. Georg Friedrich von Martens praised the work by Friedrich August Wilhelm Wenck. His late eighteenth century work was written in Latin. You have for example to digest the footnote at the start of his edition of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) in his Codex iuris gentium recentissimi… II, 337, to establish the editions he used. In this note the references to among others earlier editions by Adelung, Moser, Rousset and an edition in the Mercure historique are very succinct. I will not try to perform here a complete search to figure out to which works he refers. Rousset refers clearly to the Recueil historique d’actes, but it is a bibliographical challenge to determine to which works by Johann Jacob Moser and Johann Christoph Adelung Wenck was referring. In fact you have got first of all to find out which Adelung and Moser! Adelung’s is very probably his Pragmatische Staatsgeschichte Europens (…) (9 vol., Gotha 1762-1769), digitized at the Digitale Sammlungen in Munich. For Moser I would at first guess his Teutsches Staats-Recht (..) (50 vol. and 2 index vol., Neurenberg 1737-1756; reprint Osnabrück 1968) or his Teutsches Staats-Archiv (…) (13 vol., Frankfurt am Main, 1751-1757), but your search only starts with getting these volumes. Looking in Moser’s publications on the law of nations is surely a safer course. I suppose careful looking in Wenck will give you the right works by Moser and Adelung, both very active authors.

One of the points worth repeating is the clever use of enriched library catalogues such as the library catalogue of the university library at Ghent to find digitized versions of old books. Especially for multi volume works this can help you very much.

I would like to add two titles by contemporary scholars. Simon Groenveld and two co-authors have edited a Dutch text of the Treaty of Münster in the volume Vrede van Munster 1648-1998 : tractaat van ‘een aengename, goede, en oprechte Vrede’ (The Hague 1998). Their book contains a facsimile and a transcription of a seventeenth century edition. Linda and Marsha Frey have published The treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession : an historical and critical dictionary (Westport, Conn., 1995).

Let’s hope all these warnings and remarks do not keep you from venturing into the history of Early Modern Europe. Hopefully my post and this postscript help you a bit to find some stretches of your way safely.

A symposium on the Peace of Utrecht

As a gesture of farewell at the retirement of Kees Roelofsen, a well-known scholar in the field of the history of international law and diplomacy, the Centre for Humanities of Utrecht University and more specifically its Treaty of Utrecht Chair will devote a one-day symposium to the peace treaty of 1713 on November 17, 2011, “The Peace of Utrecht 1713: International Law and the Balance of Power”. The website of this chair points among other activities to the Perpetual Peace Project which takes its name from Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay on peace. You will find on this website not only an English translation of the text by Kant, but also texts on peace by Erasmus, Rousseau, Bentham and Emerson.

I would like to add a link to the digital version of a master thesis defended by Tim De Backer in 2007 at the Catholic University of Louvain, Het uitvoeren van verdragen. De Vrede van Utrecht, Rastatt en Baden en de Oostenrijkse Nederlanden (1713-1731) [Implementing treaties. The Peace of Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden and the Austrian Low Countries (1713-1731)] (PDF, 3 MB).