The official contemporary British take on 1714

A summary of the statement made to the Commons in April 1714 (History and Proceedings of the House of Commons : volume 5: 1713-1714):

Catalonia swore loyalty to Philip V and its ancient privileges were guaranteed. Unfortunately it then changed its mind, rebelled, and appealed to Britain for help, claiming that Catalonia and Spain were ready to rise in favour of Charles III. On the understanding that Anne’s only commitment would be to request the granting of said ancient privileges from Charles III, a British fleet was sent to support a rebellion or exact retribution along the coast should no rebellion be forthcoming. Charles was uninterested in the project, so when Peterborough took Barcelona in 1705 it was as an accessory to the Catalans, and as a result no guarantee with respect to Catalonia can be said to have existed on the part of the British. In 1712 there was a prospect of peace and the British part of the proposed war budget had run out without the other allies having made any contribution. Charles was however not prepared to settle and Philip seized on this folly to demand a basic treaty including only the forgiveness of estates and honours and a forgetting of acts committed. The final Utrecht treaty in 1713 incorporated this amnesty and in addition granted to Catalans privileges hitherto granted solo to Castilians, including commercially vital access to colonial markets. The treaty made no reference to ancient privileges, and the hopeless resistance apparently contemplated by the rulers of Barcelona made their maintenance more improbable than it already was. On their heads be it.

The impeachment of Harley, Earl of Oxford constitutes an emotional alternative reading. He was, however, acquitted.

Similar posts


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *