The Research Group CORE (Contextual Research in Law) at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), which I recently joined as a lecturer, has just published a working paper on the commercial aspects of European diplomacy after the War of the Spanish Succession. An earlier version of this text was presented in January at the "Balance of Power/Balance of Trade"-conference at St Andrews University.
The Peace of Utrecht (11 April 1713) ended a century of bloodshed on the continent. Inter alia by setting new rules for trade with the Spanish Indies and redesigning the balance of Italy. Yet, five years later, a new conflict broke out. France and Britain united with the Emperor against Spain. No particular convention was reached regarding commercial matters for the duration of the conflict. The present paper analyses the complex interplay between trade policy, privateering, warfare, neutrality, corruption, consular and local jurisdiction and diplomatic intercession, based on individual cases contained in the French Maritime records (Archives Nationales, Marine, series B1), as well as Franco-British diplomatic correspondence (Archives Diplomatiques, National Archives). Its main purpose is to help understanding the disconnect between, on the one hand, cordial Franco-British relations regarding “high policy” and, on the other hand, unfettered commercial rivalry.Fulltext here.