vrijdag, november 28, 2014

"Catalonia, the European State System and International Limits to Self-Determination" (BelConLawBlog)

The Belgian Constitutional Law Blog (an initiative of the Public Law-department at Ghent University) published some historical reflections by your most humble servant on the relationship between Catalonia and Spain. Click here.

maandag, november 24, 2014

Geografie en demografie

Twee interessante podcasts rond voor Fransen intrinsiek met geschiedenis of internationale betrekkingen verbonden sociale wetenschappen: demografie en geografie:
- Concordance des temps van afgelopen zaterdag met Hervé Le Bras (co-auteur met Emmanuel Todd van een uitstekende socio-geografie van Frankrijk, die wijst op de positieve elementen van de Franse bevolkingssamenstelling): de uitzending behandelt de territoriale opknipping van Frankrijk van Ancien Régime tot vandaag, naar aanleiding van de herindeling van de Franse regio's door Hollande (link hier)
- Les enjeux internationaux: over de demografie van de EU, waarmee het slecht gesteld is. Uitgenomen Frankrijk en Groot-Brittannië is er een tekort aan immigratie. Sinds de crisis is de migratie naar Europa gehalveerd. Vooral de Oost-Europese lidstaten hebben een zeer lage vervangingsratio. De spreker (Pierre Verluise) koppelt demografie snel aan militaire en andere grootmachts-veerkracht, maar er zijn ook links met economische dynamiek (link hier).

maandag, november 17, 2014

Just War (Concordance des temps)

(Urbanus II roept op tot de eerste kruistocht; afbeelding: herodote.net)
 
Concordance des temps wijdde afgelopen zaterdag een uitzending aan een klassieker van het volkenrecht: de doctrine van de rechtvaardige oorlog. Of beter, correctie, de theologische wortels. Hoe kan het gerechtvaardigd zijn om geweld te gebruiken, terwijl het christendom zich daar principieel tegen afzet ? 

De Kerk ontwikkelde in de middeleeuwen een leer die de bedoeling had om de inzet van geweld te beperken. Uiteraard kon de Paus oproepen tot een kruistocht tegen ongelovigen. Uiteraard konden vorsten oorlog voeren tegen een agressor... Maar wie was voldoende soeverein om oorlog te mogen voeren (= in te schatten hoe moreel fout de tegenpartij zat en hoe gerechtvaardigd het was om actie te ondernemen) ? Enkel de Keizer ? De Koning van Frankrijk ? Die van Spanje ? Wat met de grote vazallen ? Naarmate de politiek-confessionele eenheid van de christelijke wereld verbrokkelde, had ook het morele kader minder en minder zin. In de Nieuwe Tijd evolueerde het recht om oorlog te voeren de facto tot een arbitraire bevoegdheid van elke vorst en een normaal middel om ruzies te beslechten.

Toch zijn veel argumenten van de hedendaagse jus ad bellum-(recht om oorlog te voeren)-doctrine terug te voeren tot de theologie:
- proportionaliteit (niet meer geweld gebruiken dan de agressor tegen jou)
- auctoritas of bevoegdheid (in het hedendaagse oorlogsrecht is het gebruik van geweld in principe verboden, behoudens toestemming van de VN-Veiligheidsraad, of behoudens gewettigde zelfverdediging), 
- recta intentio of intentie (enkel vergelding, geen haat), 
- justa causa of gerechtvaardxigde oorzaak (geen loutere veroveringsoorlog)

Naast de morele functie die de paus vervult aan het hoofd van een wereldgodsdienst (cf. inleiding van de uitzending: situatie van de christenen in Irak), is dus ook het juridische kader waarin de Kerk het gebruik van geweld als gerechtvaardigd ziet, niet zonder betekenis. De hersengymnastiek die ermee gepaard gaat, is ook voor de jurist als redeneermachine relevant. Jean-Noël Jeanneney overloopt met André Vauchez (Institut de France) een aantal interessante themata uit dit bijzonder uitgebreide leerstuk.

woensdag, oktober 22, 2014

"Actualité de Socrate" (Concordance des Temps, 18 oktober)

Een zeer aangename uitzending van Concordance des Temps (France Culture) over Socrates. Voor iedereen die wat Griekse filosofie heeft gekregen, op welk niveau dan ook, een herontdekking (Wie was Socrates ? Wat weten we over hem ? Welke invloeden hadden zijn leerlingen op ons beeld ? Zijn er nog andere bronnen dan die van zijn navolgers ? Hoe zat het met zijn proces ? Welke band tussen het Humanisme en Socrates, de Verlichting en Socrates ?). Podcast en meer informatie hier.

vrijdag, oktober 03, 2014

New paper on SSRN: "Delenda Est Haec Carthago ! The Ostend Company as a Problem of European Great Power Politics (1722-1727)" (Forthcoming in: Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire/Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis, CXIII (2015), No. 2)



With the kind permission of the journal, I posted a paper on the Social Science Research Network, forthcoming as an article in the Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire/Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis. The text discusses the legal debate between the Dutch Republic and Emperor Charles VI of the Holy Roman Empire on the right of the inhabitants of the Austrian Netherlands to participate in trade on the High Seas. The Ostend Company, a joint stock corporation, had been recognised by the Emperor in 1722. Its tea imports from the East Indies drove down prices and harmed the market share of Dutch and British competitors. The Maritime Powers protested against this intrusion and obtained the suspension and then suppression of the Company, first at the Parisian Preliminaries (31 May 1727), and finally at the Treaty of Vienna (March 1731). Traditionally, historiography sees this as a question of power politics, a symbol of the sorry fate of present-day Belgium as an object of Great Power Politics. The Ostend Company was not a priority for Emperor Charles VI, a far-away monarch ruling from Vienna, who preferred international recognition of his Pragmatic Sanction. Lawyers, on the other hand, tend either to reproduce the victors' position and ignore arguments brought forward by the 'Belgians', or fail to perceive the impact of multilateral diplomacy on practical legal reasoning. My contribution challenges these idées reçues from the angle of contextual legal history. Law is not a pure autoreferential textual science. Studying big names is often a synonym for what is in fact a disguised study of political thought or legal philosophy, and not of international law. Conversely, history should not ignore the systematic thinking common to European lawyers, as an essential element of political culture and communication, as well as a way to structure life in society.

First, big names as Jean du Mont de Carels-kroon (compiler of a treaty collection of major importance, the Corps Universel Diplomatique du Droit des Gens) and Jean Barbeyrac (translator of Pufendorf and Grotius, professor of public law in Groningen) showed an impressive display of legal reasoning, using a broad array of sources of the Ancien Régime's pluralist and multi-layered normative order. If their writings are explored in detail, the debate comes across as much more nuanced than usually projected. The traditional Dutch argument stated that the High Seas were fundamentally common to mankind. No sovereign could claim a property right or a right of exclusion, since the High Seas are essential to commercial intercourse between all nations on earth. Hugo Grotius had proclaimed this principle in the early 17th century, drawn from the Digest, against Spanish, Portuguese or British claims to exclusive dominium on the High Seas. Yet, in order to counter an unwelcome commercial competitor, the lawyers of the Dutch East India Company argued a century later against the Ostend Company that every state could dispose of this right by treaty (mare liberum, pactis clausum).  In other words, what had seemed peremptory for Grotius, as an essential right for any sovereign, had now become a mere faculty in the eyes of his countrymen. The latter opposition is traditionally taken as the essence of the discussion. From the Dutch side, it was argued that Philip IV had forever abandoned a right guaranteed in peremptory natural law, creating a permanent limitation on the Southern Netherlands, irrespective of the identity of their future sovereign. The Imperial side, on the other had, argued that such an exception was contrary to the essence of the right of navigation on the High Seas: even if it had not been exercised, the right was inalienable.

However, even if we accept that a state can renounce its right to navigate on the High Seas, the 1725 Treaty of Commerce between Philip V of Spain and Charles VI utterly destroyed the Dutch argument: if a state can auto-limit its access to the High Seas by a convention, the reverse should be true as well: mare liberum, pactis apertum. The Treaty of Munster (1648) was seen by the Dutch Republic as an auto-limitation imposed by Philip IV of Spain on the inhabitants of the Southern Netherlands, transmitted to his successor at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession.  In 1725, Charles VI, as Philip IV's successor in Flanders, Brabant, Mechelen, Hainault... obtained exactly the opposite from Philip IV's successor as King of Castille: access to the Spanish colonies. Whoever has the competence to impose restrictions, can lift them again (ejus est solvere, cujus est ligare). In other words, the discussion on the modalities of the peremptory law of nature-norm 'Mare Liberum' had become irrelevant. Even if a 'renunciation' of the right to navigate on the High Seas were to be admitted, this renunciation had just been cancelled out by a new treaty ! Charles VI dropped the Ostend Company at the Parisian Peace Preliminaries of 31 May 1727 (confirmed in 1731), but had a strong case during his (albeit short-lived) alliance with the King of Spain.

Secondly, lawyers often see the multilateral diplomatic process leading to the Ostend Company's elimination as a game of tough and crude politics of interest, aloof from any normative arguments or systematic reasoning. This is in part due to the relative research gap concerning diplomatic practice in legal history. The suppression of the Ostend Company is not a product of short-term politics, but is a logical consequence of the Franco-British dominated legal order imposed at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. The treaties of Utrecht (April 1713), Rastatt (March 1714) and Baden (September 1714) constituted the core of international order and the constant point of reference in further negotiations on international problems. Subsequent treaties of guarantee (Franco-British Treaty, 1716; Triple Alliance, 1717; Quadruple Alliance, 1718) installed a normative hierarchy. Between treaty law and fundamental norms (in the case of Philip V of Spain's renunciation to the French throne, or in that of the successions in the Italian Imperial fiefs of Parma, Piacenza and Tuscany), but also within the normative order of treaty law itself. Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden became the touchstone for any territorial or political claim. The 1725 Treaty of Commerce concluded between Charles VI and Philip V was stillborn, in the sense that it accompanied a monstrous alliance. The Empire of Charles V, uniting the Habsburg possessions in Italy, Belgium, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Indies, was virtually resuscitated through a secret marriage clause in the main treaty of alliance. The spectre of Universal Monarchy haunted European diplomacy again ! As a logical annex to the political provisions of the alliance, the treaty of commerce had no realistic chance of survival. The Ostend Company was not a bilateral affair in essence. Calculations in broader European politics were not the product of 'selfishness' or 'crude calculation', but were structured according to legal thinking. Diplomats and bureaucrats had received a schooling in either classical languages, Roman law or German public law, and structured the horizontal interactions between sovereigns according to common normative understandings. If the Pragmatic Sanction had more priority than the Ostend Company, this was not a consequence of Charles VI's arbitrary personal taste, but an application of the international system of guarantee for national succession orders which had already been used by France and Great Britain, conformable to the Utrecht logic.

Text on SSRN (click here, e-journal Conflicts Studies: International Relations Theory; e-journal Legal History), or in the second issue of next year's RBPH-BTFG.

Update (25 February 2016): This article had been published. Reference: "Delenda est haec Carthago: The Ostend Company As Problem Of European Great Power Politics (1722-1727)". Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire/Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis XCLIII (2015), No. 2, pp. 397-437 (ISSN 0035-0818).

donderdag, oktober 02, 2014

OUVRAGE: Olivier Ryckebusch & Rik Opsommer (dir.), Guerre, Frontière, Barrière et Paix en Flandre (Ieper: Stadsarchief Ieper, 2014) (ISBN 97890282229912)



Les archives de la Ville d'Ypres viennent de publier l'ouvrage Guerre, frontière, barrière et paix en Flandre (ISBN 978902882229912) Cet ouvrage est issu de deux journées d'études organisées en octobre et novembre 2013, à l'occasion du tricentenaire de la paix d'Utrecht (11 avril 1713). De nombreux spécialistes y ont contribué. La présentation officielle aura lieu le 28 novembre prochain à Ypres.

Table des matières:
• Préface du maire de Dunkerque (Patrice Vergriete)
 • Voorwoord door de schepen van Archief van de stad Ieper (Eva Ryde)
• drs. Olivier Ryckebusch (Lille-III) & Prof. dr. Rik Opsommer (UGent/Stadsarchief Ieper), “Préface”
• dr. Agathe Leyssens (Dunkerque), “Élites municipales et frontières en Flandre maritime”
• Prof. dr. Cédric Glineur (Le Havre), “Le régime juridique des passeports sous l’Ancien Régime : l’exemple des provinces du Nord”
• dr. Christian Pfister-Langanay (Univ. du Littoral), “La mission du sieur Boutillier à Dunkerque : entre fiscalité et espionnage (1712-1713)”
• dra. Fanny Souillart (Lille-II), “Le Parlement de Flandre, parlement de Louis XIV”
• dr. Frederik Dhondt (UGent), “’The Cursed Sluices of Dunkirk’ : Dunkerque, thermomètre des relations franco-britanniques après Utrecht ?’”
• PD dr. dr. Guido Braun (Bonn), “L’Allemagne et la France au temps de la guerre de succession d’Espagne : politique et culture”
• dr. Guy Thewes (Musée de la ville de Luxembourg), “Barrière ou talon d’Achille ? La défense militaire des Pays-Bas après les traités d’Utrecht (1713-1725)”
• drs. Michael W. Serruys (VUB), “Ypres, la Flandre rétrocédée et la politique de transit au XVIIIe siècle”
• dr. Michel Nuyttens, “La frontière franco-belge à travers les archives des États de Flandre”
• Prof. em. dr. Patrick Villiers (Université du Littoral), “Les corsaires dunkerquois et la frontière”
• Prof. dr. Lucien Bély (Université Paris-Sorbonne), “La frontière au temps de la Paix d’Utrecht : réalités et représentations”

zondag, juli 27, 2014

Crimea and the Balkans revisited


Sadly enough, Ukraine and Crimea have frequently been in the centre of international attention since the Maidan demonstrations and the ensuing (Russian-inspired) disintegration of the Ukrainian State. International Lawyers produced interesting opinions on the legality of Putin's intervention or the Ukrainian government's right not to acknowledge the validity of the referendum. Some legal accounts start the story at Catharine the Great's conquest of Crimea during the Russo-Turkish War of the 1770s. Yet, the fascinating book of Prof. Ferenc Toth (Szombathely Univ.) published in 2011 by Economica, reminds us of the long term struggle for influence between Austria, Russia and the Ottoman Empire, with at its heart control of the Balkans and Ukraine. A combination of Balkan and Ukrainian warfare, recalling both regions' complex history.

A reminder to non-specialist readers of this blog: in the 1730s, the Austrian Habsburgs controlled grosso modo the current states of Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, plus parts of Romania and Poland.  Until the end of the 17th century, however, the Ottoman Empire had been at the gates of Vienna. Most of present-day Hungary and the Balkans had been under their control. The Ottoman Empire was not only at odds with the Habsburgs, but with the Russian Empire as well. Czar Peter the Great had expanded Russians domains in the Baltic (to the detriment of Sweden) and in the direction of the Black Sea, where it would inevitably clash with the Turks. In other words, the classical "eastern game" between Austria, Russia and the Turks, traditionally associated with the 19th century and the run-up to World War I, had been in place for quite a time by 1914.

(Europe in 1700; source: Wikimedia Commons. The Austrian Habsburgs' domains go well into the Balkans and present-day Romania and Poland; present-day Ukraine is divided between Poland, Russia, Austria and the Ottomans)

Toth's work is devoted to one specific conflict from 1737 to 1739. Well-known images of the sieges of Vienna (1526, 1683) recall the geopolitical confrontation between the Holy Roman Empire (even under Charles V, almost a synonym for universal monarchy) and the Sultan in Istanbul. Traditionally, historians focus on the battle of Mohacs (1526), where the ruling King of Hungary, Lajos II Jagellon, succumbed and enabled his brother-in-law Ferdinand to bring the latter Kingdom (as well as that of Bohemia) into the Habsburg orbit; on the relief of Vienna and the Imperial reconquest from 1683 to 1699, crowned by the Peace of Karlowitz (26 January 1699); or on Eugene of Savoy's successful campaigns in 1716 an 1717, leading to the fall of Belgrade for the Austrian army. The ensuing Peace of Passarowitz (21 July 1718) was an outright triumph for Emperor Charles VI.

 (Emperor Charles VI, Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(Czarina Anna by Caravaque, Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(Sultan Mahmud I "Gazi" (The Warrior); Source: Wikimedia Commons)

However, the situation in 1737 differed fundamentally from that twenty years earlier. Whereas Austria had been at its apex under Eugene of Savoy, the great commander had died in 1736 and the army had performed badly during the War of the Polish Succession (campaigns 1733-1735). Yet, Austria attacked the Ottoman Empire following the opening of hostilities between the latter and the Russians. The explanation is to be found in a text signed ten years before. On 6 August 1726, after the conclusion of the "Ripperda" Treaty (alliance between Spain and Emperor Charles VI), Russia had concluded an alliance with Austria. This combination could easily dominate Central and Eastern Europe. E.g. Prussia quickly abandoned its September 1725 alliance with Britain and France when the threat of an encirclement by the two Emperors became evident. According to one interpretation, the Russians even brought the War of the Polish Succession to an end by transferring troops to the Rhine.

Toth reminds us in his book that the Austro-Russian combination could well have brought the Ottoman Empire to its knees. Especially France was worried that the Ottomans would collapse. The Austro-Russian Alliance had implied not only Russian support for Austria. The opposite was true as well: Czarina Anna of Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire on 12 April 1736, and urged Austria to provide her with the necessary military assistance. Since Austria controlled Bosnia, Serbia and Temesvar on the basis of Eugene of Savoy's victories in 1717 (crowned by the Treaty of Passarowitz), launching an attack simultaneously would force the Sultan to divide his troops. 54 000 Russians under Münnich (German-born general who beat the French candidate to the Polish throne, Stanislas Leszcynczki) rushed to Crimea. The aim of the Russian expedition was purely punitive: the Tatars operating from the peninsula had to stop their raids into Russian territory. Bahçesarai, their capital, was captured and pillaged. The local Jesuit library was consumed by flames. Yet, the Russians could not remain in Crimea for logistical reasons: they lacked food and water, suffering at the same time from the heath associated with the peninsula. Tatar revenge added to their misery: the destruction of wells and ressources caused the death of 30 000 Russian soldiers. However, Münnich's colleague Lacy did manage to capture Azov (on Ukrainian mainland), bombarding the city from the Black Sea. The explosion of a gun powder arsenal, destroying five mosques, brought the inhabitants to surrender.

The Austrians promised to bring 80 000 men in the field. Both armies could advance towards the south-east of Europe, dividing Moldova and Walachia between them. Austria would aim for Moldova, Greece, Eastern Bulgaria and Macedonia. In January 1737, Austrain ambassador Talman proposed his mediation in Istanbul, but merely to gain time. Austria drew subventions from Rome for a war against infidel and counted on auxiliaries from Saxony, Wolffenbüttel or the Order of Malta. Numerous individual volunteers across Europe enrolled, including an officer from Peru, subject of the King of Spain ! On paper, Charles VI had 120 000 men in Hungary. Formally, the Austrian declaration of war was framed as am ultimatum to the Sultan. Either negotiations brought an agreement between Russia or the Ottomans, by 1 May 1737, or Austria would enter the war on the Russian side. Hostilities focused on Serbia. Yet, the Austrian generals blundered repeatedly. Their armies suffered desertion, and the local Orthodox population did not rebel against the Ottomans, mainly because of the Austrians' intolerant religious policy against non-Catholics. Battle or siege sites sadly recall names from the 1990s: Banja Luka, Belgrade, Nis...

When the Austrian army lost Nis on 16 October 1737, the court in Vienna held its commander, general Doxat, accountable for the débâcle. He was judged by an ad-hoc military tribunal and publicly executed in Belgrade in March 1738. His colleague Seckendorff, who commanded an army by the Rhine during the War of the Polish Succession, was in the centre of Jesuit-led public anger. The Protestant General, who owed his career to the deceased Eugene of Savoy, did not lose his head, but was jailed until the end of Charles VI's reign. Seckendorff had been beseiging Another fortress, Usiza, while the Turks reconquered Nis behind his back!

The Russian army under Lacy could not hold on to Crimea, and had to evacuate the peninsula by September 1737.  New attempts in 1738 were stopped by continuous Turkish and Tatar raids, forcing 85 000 Russians to withdraw to Ukraine. Nevertheless, Lacy managed to construct roads and bridges from Crimea to Azov. On the Balkans as well as on the Black Sea's North coasts, the lack of geographical knowledge, bad hygiene, the harsh climate and logistical difficulties brought operations to a standstill.

Königsegg, former ambassador in Madrid in the 1720s, replaced Seckendorff (cf. above, jailed), but to no avail. In August 1738, the Ottomans took the fortress of Adakalé on the Danube and advanced westwards to Belgrade. The situation became threatening, Austria risked losing Belgrade ! Russian aid was not to be expected. In spite of promises to reinforce Transylvania (part of present-day Romania), Czarina Anna saw looming threats in Poland and Sweden, preferring to anticipate a two-front war. 

Cardinal Fleury, Louis XV's Prime Minister, feared the rise of Russia. French diplomatic intervention aimed at the swift conclusion of a Treaty of Peace, in order to protect the Ottomans, its privileged commercial partner since the 16th century alliance brokered by Francis I against Charles V. Consequently, France offered to let its diplomats act as mediators between Austria and Russia and the Sultan. The Russians asked for the Maritime Powers' involvement, as they hoped Britain and the Dutch Republic would be less favourable to the Turks.

We should not see this diplomatic game as the equivalent of the web of alliances leading to the outbreak of World War I, where the assassination of Franz Ferdinand put the whole of Europe in arms. Russia would not (yet) participate in an all-out continental war until the Seven Years' War (1756-1763).  The main motive for Western involvement was trade. And, of course, prestige. Any power able to impose its mediation on the three eastern Empires would automatically enhance its standing. France had always played this game, hoping the Ottoman diversion would keep the Empire from intervening in the West. Louis XIV pushed it to the most extreme version: while Emperor Leopold I was busy fighting the Turks in Vienna -with the aid of an international coalition- France annexed Strasburg, occupied Luxemburg and bombed cities in the Spanish Netherlands.

 (Cardinal Fleury by Rigaud, 1728, source: Wikimedia Commons)

In 1739, the campaigns came to a stalemate. The battle of Grocka (22 July 1739) can count as an example: it cost the Austrian army -now under the command of the aged Irish general Wallis- more than 2 000 deaths and of almost 3 000 wounded to obtain a Pyrrhic victory along the Danube. The Ottoman armies employed techniques transferred by the French renegade Bonneval Pasha, and were now using bayonets ! Five days later, the Turks laid siege to Belgrade.

At this point, the court of Saint-Petersburg opted for a quick piece with the Sultan. Fears of Swedish revenge on Russia (to consolidate Peter the Great's conquests, e.g. the current Baltic states), assisted by the French navy, cut Czarina Anna's appetite for further difficult campaigns in Crimea, where Russian cossacks could not stop the Tatars. In spite of general Münnich's taking of Hotin, a fortress in Moldova, Russia tried to bring the conflict to an end. On 19 May 1739, Grand Vizir Yegen Mehmet Pasha, who wished to continue the war until Russia was brought on its knees, was replaced by a less bellicose successor, the Pasha of Vidin. From this moment on, the French ambassador, Marquis Villeneuve, who had been living in Istanbul for ten years, was mandated to mediate between the belligerents.

(Peace Preliminaries, 1 September 1739, Source: Bayrische Staatsbibliothek)

Charles VI sent Count Neipperg, another of Eugene of Savoy's men, to negotiate a peace deal with the Ottomans. Unfortunately, Neipperg was cut off from communications with the Austrian army. Whereas Wallis had first proposed to surrender Belgrade, he had been summoned to reinforce its garrison. Finally, Wallis even obtained some minor victories, pushing back the Turkish army ! On the ground, the Austrians regained hope. At the negotiating table, however, Neipperg conceded Belgrade to the Pasha of Vidin. Neipperg was incessantly guarded by a company of janissaries, and could not interact with the French delegation. The Turks further intimidated Neipperg by holding interminable military celebrations and interrupting the talks during the Grand Vizir's frequent illnesses. Finally, Neipperg negotiated the cession of Belgrade, with its walls destroyed. The Pasha of Bosnia, replacing the Grand Vizir, brokered the deal. On 1 September 1739, preliminaries of peace were signed between Charles VI and Sultan Mahmut I. Belgrade (art. I) the whole of the province of Serbia (art. III), and the parts of Wallachia occupied by Austria (art. IV) returned to the Ottoman Empire. The alliance between Russia and Austria, however, forbade the conclusion of a separate peace. Consequently, Villeneuve proposed that Russia would keep the city of Azov, destroy its fortifications, and respect the neutrality of the surrounding area. After some commercial discussions on free navigation of the Black Sea (potentially detrimental to French privileges !), the final Peace Treaties were concluded on 19 September 1739.

Finally, a year later (December 1740), Frederick of Prussia invaded Silesia. If the war between Habsburg and the Ottomans had continued, the House of Austria would have been in even greater peril than it actually was... Toth concludes that France came out victorious: the Ottoman Empire had been strengthened. In combination with Prussia's rise, Versailles now disposed of strong "alliances de revers" to block Austrian plans in the West. After the Peace of Belgrade, Franco-Ottoman capitulations were renewed, including potential extensions to the Black Sea.Was Neipperg "a traitor", conceding peace whereas the efforts of the Emperor's military would have allowed for further successes ? Probably not, first in view of his relative isolation but foremost in view of the Austrian's logistical difficulties.

I would warmly recommend reading Ferenc Toth's excellent study on an often forgotten conflict. There is ample material on Eugene of Savoy's glorious taking of  Belgrade in 1717, but the less glorious episode twenty years later is all too quickly forgotten. Moreover, for those wishing to see some detail of the pity state Charles VI's army was in at the Emperor's decease and the invasion of Silesia, Toth's book shows many familiar characteristics: quarrelling generals, bad coordination, poor logistical organisation, bad geographical references...

dinsdag, april 15, 2014

Compte rendu "Op zoek naar Glorie in Vlaanderen" in Revue du Nord CXV (2013), No. 400-401, 785-786


Un compte rendu de mon ouvrage Op Zoek naar Glorie in Vlaanderen. De Zonnekoning en de Spaanse Successie, 1707-1708 (Standen en Landen/Anciens Pays et Assemblées d'États; vol. CVIII), de la main de Marie Van Eeckenrode (UCL), a paru dans le dernier numéro de la Revue du Nord.

vrijdag, april 11, 2014

Workshop "Recent Research in the History of Public International Law" (Ghent Legal History Institute, 23 May 2014)

 
On Friday 23 May 2014, the Ghent Legal History Institute organizes a workshop on recent research in the history of public international law, an active sub-field within the discipline of legal history. The meeting has been set-up at the crossroads between legal history, public international law and diplomatic history. Researchers from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany will present their activities to qualified peers. Starting in the Early Modern Period and running up to the First World War, a representative array of subfields within public international law will be considered: the law of treaties, maritime law, legal theory, the laws of war or neutrality. Prof. Randall Lesaffer, an international authority in the field, will comment and conclude the day. Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory. Please contact Mrs. Karin Pensaert (Karin.Pensaert@UGent.be)

More details can be found on the faculty website (link to the program).

ARTICLE: représentation du droit dans la communauté des diplomates européens des "trente heureuses" (1713-1740)", Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis-Revue d'Histoire du Droit-The Legal History Review LXXXI (2013), Nr. 3-4, pp. 595-620

 (image: Brill)

La Revue d'Histoire du Droit (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff) vient de publier son déuxième numéro de 2013 (3-4). Parmi les contributions, un article de votre humble serviteur intitulé ""La représentation du droit dans la communauté des diplomates européens des "trente heureuses" (1713-1740)".

Résumé (en anglais):
The study of Ancien Régime public international law compels researchers to broaden the traditional scope of legal history (treaties and doctrine). A broader understanding of normativity in international relations, inspired by sociology, cultural or international relations history leads to an analysis of diplomatic behaviour. Practice is of paramount importance to grasp the working of implicit principles, expressed in correspondence and legal memoranda. The three decades following the Peace of Utrecht (1713) illustrate how state consent-based international organisation operated in the 18th century, separate from doctrinal concepts. French and British archival material and existing prosopographic literature sketch a map of the European arena. Treaty interpretation and legal reasoning were the backbone of international relations. Consequently, jurists were more than apologists, and fulfilled an indispensable role in an interactional system.

La revue peut être consultée en cliquant ici (Brill Books and Journals Online).
DOI: 10.1163/15718190-08134P11

vrijdag, februari 21, 2014

Samenvattingen doctoraat (NjW/Handelingen Geschiedkundige Kring Oudenaarde)

http://search.ugent.be/meercat/x/view/ser01/000010506

http://www.kluwer.be/njw

Twee Nederlandstalige signaleringen van mijn doctoraatsverhandeling verschenen onlangs:
- Bijdrage "Machtsevenwicht en internationaal recht", Nieuw juridisch Weekblad nr. 296 (12 februari 2014), p. 142
- Samenvatting (10 p.) in Handelingen van de Geschied- en Oudheidkundige Kring van Oudenaarde, van zijn Kastelnij en van den Lande tusschen Maercke en Ronne vol. LI (2013), pp. 301-310

donderdag, januari 30, 2014

ARTICLE: "Jülich and Berg between Imperial and Public International Law" (Beiträge zur Rechtsgeschichte Österreichs: recht [durch] setzen: Making Things Legal. Gesetzgebung und prozessuale Wirklichkeit in den europäischen Rechtstraditionen, Hrsg. von K. STAUDIGL-CHIECHOWICZ, Ph. KLAUSBERGER, R. PILS, P. SCHEIBELREITER & C. SCHMETTERER. III (2013), Nr. 2 [Acta of the 2012 European Forum of Young Legal Historians], pp. 355-362. (ISSN 2221-8890)



The Austrian Academy of Sciences just published the Acta of the 2012 European Forum of Young Legal Historians (Vienna) as the second issue of the Beiträge zur Rechtsgeschichte Österreichs third volume (2013/2). Among many 34 papers, one of mine (pp. 355-362), containing some reflections on the legal interpretative framework concerning the famous Jülich/Berg question, a dispute opposing the Electors of Brandenburg, Saxony and the Palatinate. In this text, a shorter version of my intervention in 2012, I argue that an outsider-approach on issues within the Holy Roman Empire has not only political consequences, but also impacts the legal terms in which the dispute is framed.

Abstract:
Charles VI. famously promised Prussian King Frederick William I. the succession of the duchies of Jülich and Berg in 1726, but did not keep this treaty pledge. Frederick II. did not think high of public international law, but used this as a political motive for revenge on Austria in November 1740, starting the War of the Austrian Succession. Although the Emperor benefitted from an advantageous position in Imperial law, which was essentially feudal for successions, his decisions in the 1720s were always the counterpart of a bilaterally negotiated concession by the other party, triggered by European, rather than German politics. In the light of the Utrecht and Italian examples, it can be argued that the power relations at the inter-sovereign level and the resulting political compromise created an implicit hierarchy, where vertical Imperial law was bowed and bent to fit the main players’ horizontal options.

vrijdag, januari 24, 2014

Résumé de thèse (français) - Société wallonne d'étude du dix-huitième siècle (SWEDHS)

Un résumé français de ma thèse de doctorat en histoire du droit, soutenue le 13 septembre dernier à Gand, a été publié sur le site de la Société wallonne d'étude du dix-huitième siècle (SWEDHS).

cf. www.swedhs.org => actualité (http://www.swedhs.org/actualite/index.html)

donderdag, januari 09, 2014

Le Cardinal Dubois, Premier Ministre (1722)

(image: Louis XV et sa fiancée, l'infante d'Espagne Maria Anna Victoria, Wikimedia Commons)

Le 22 août 1722, Guillaume Dubois, Cardinal et Archevêque de Cambrai et Secrétaire d'État des Affaires Étrangères, est nommé Premier Ministre par Louis XV. Ce diplomate, prélat et homme politique très talentueux figure sur bien d'autres billets sur ce blog, mais en parcourant des documents d'archives, je le jugeais à propos d'y ajouter le texte d'un projet de nomination, daté du 21 août 1722, conservé aux Archives Diplomatiques (Mémoires et Documents, France, 1252, ff. 37r°-38v°).

Bien sûr, Louis XV, couronné à Reims quatre mois plus tard en attente de la majorité (fixée à treize ans pour les Rois de France), ne rédigea pas ce document. L'argumentation reprise ci-dessus sonne surtout comme une liste des réalisations conjointes du Régent et de Dubois depuis la mort de Louis XIV et l'avénement de la Régence en France. Si la France connut la paix après les Traités d'Utrecht, Rastatt et Bade, ce ne fut que grâce à leur action. Les querelles internes, ainsi que la lutte intra-cléricale suite à la Bulle Unigenitus condamnant le jansénisme, n'ont pu être terminées que par un seul homme, qui avait imposé sa supériorité naturelle. Les allusions semblent vagues et générales, mais se réfèrent à des dossiers très précis, tentant de les rattacher à des valeurs ou des sentiments susceptibles de légitimer la décision de Louis XV (en réalité, celle du Régent). 

Sur le plan institutionnel, le retour à un systeme de Premier Ministre ou de favori (Richelieu, Mazarin...) correspond à la consécration de la montée en puissance de Philippe d'Orléans, qui s'est construit son influence interne par une politique étrangère astucieuse. Agir ainsi aurait été impossible à la mort de Louis XIV, quand Philippe avait encore à ménager bien des sensibilités différentes issues de la vieille cour. Le 25 septembre 1718, le régent avait supprimé le système dit de la "Polysynodie", destiné à effriter les compétences des ministres de Louis XIV en plusieurs conseils. Formellement, les compétences de Dubois, secrétaire d'État des Affaires Étrangères, furent limitées à ses bureaux. En réalité, le ministre, en s'accaparant non seulement l'archevêché de Cambrai (5 février 1720), mais également le chapeau de Cardinal (16 juillet 1721), revendiquait haut et fort la préséance au Conseil des Ministres. Ces étapes vont de pair avec la victoire franco-anglaise sur l'Espagne en Italie, la réconciliation des deux branches de la maison de Bourbon (d'où la présence de l'infante d'Espagne sur l'image en haut) et la co-direction franco-anglaise du règlement multilatéral des affaires italiennes au congrès de Cambrai.
Louis, par la grace de Dieu, Roi de France et de Navarre, a nostre tres Cher et bien amé Cousin le Cardinal Dubois: salut. Persuadés que la Divine Providence en Nous mettant sur le Trône nous a fait une Loi indispensable de procurer les soutiens de nos Peuples par un gouvernement plein déquité; nous ne sommes pas moins convaincus qu'il nous seroit impossible de remplir un devoir si juste, si, pour l'execution de nos ordres, nous n'apportions pas l'attention la plus vive a choisir ceux de nos Sujets que leurs Talens, leur Zele, et leur Probité, distinguent le plus de tous les autres. C'est par ces qualités que vous vous etes toujours signalé, sur tout depuis que Notre tres Cher et tres amé Oncle Le Duc d'Orleans, vous emploie si heureusement a Notre Service. Les Puissances qui environnent notre Roiaume, quoi que peu d'accord entr'Elles [v°] s'accordoient neanmoins a le menacer; et par les succés de vos Negociations, nos Sujets jouïssent au milieu de l'Europe, devenuë tranquille, d'une Paix qui etoit le fruit le plus precieux de la fin du Regne de Louis XIV notre Bisaieul. Les Etrangers les plus deffiants ont reconnu dans votre bonne foi cette noble sincerité qui fit toujours le caractere de la nation Françoise; votre droiture les desarme en faisant tomber leurs soupçons. Vous navés pas moins contribué, a prevenir, ou a pacifier, les troubles du dedans de notre Roiaume, par la part que vous avés eue au succés des Sages projets de notre tres Cher et tres amé oncle. Les esprits et les coeurs etoient aigris au sujet de la Religion; on l'affoiblissoit visiblement sous pretexte de la soutenir; et la Charité alloit se perdre tandis qu'on se flattoit de deffendre la vérité. Nous [r°] avons vu renaitre le calme par vos soins; et nous esperons que ce qui peut rester de divisions achevera bientôt de se dissiper par l'amendement ou la punition de ceux qui les entretiennent. Vous avés aussi demêlé les intrigues pernicieuses d'autres perturbateurs du repos de l'Etat, ennemis dangereux de l'union de la Famille Roiale; et par vos conseils cette union si necessaire est si solidement cimentée qu'elle sera desormais inalterable. Votre vigilance s'est etenduë par tous les autres objets du Gouvernement; et l'ordre que vous y introduisés de jour en jour sous la direction du Regent de notre Roiaume nous promet un Regne dont la félicité croîtra toujours. Nous ne saurions donc trop vous encourager a continuer vos travaux; ni trop vous autoriser, affin que vous les [v°] continuiés sans distraction et sans obstacle. Nous voions deja la correspondance volontaire de nos autres ministres avec vous; et nous la voions avec d'autant plus de satisfaction, qu'ils entrent naturellement par là dans notre dessein qui est que dans la suitte vous regliés par notre pleine autorité nos affaires, aprés les avoir si prudemment conduites jusqu'a present par le seul esprit de menagement et de conciliation qui vous anime. Nous n'ignorons point combien le partage sous l'administration des affaires est nuisible a leur expedition et aux interêts de nôtre Etat; l'independance de chaque Ministre n'aiant produit jusqu'ici qu'une jalouse et funeste mesintelligence, au lieu de la louable et utile emulation qu'on en attendoit. A ces causes &ca...
Évidemment, le projet de texte connut des modifications, notamment concernant la nature de la nouvelle charge de Dubois, comme dans la version suivante (f. 44v°-45v°):
"A ces causes de l'avis de n[ot]re tres cher et tres amé oncle le Duc d'Orléans Regent, nous vous avons choisi, nommé et etabli, et par ces presentes signées de notre main, choississons, nommons et etablissons pour remplir l'emploi de notre conseiller en tous nos Conseils et principal Ministre de notre Etat, sous l'autorité du [r°] duc d'Orléans notre oncle, pour en cette qualité, assister à tous nosdits conseils, et jouïr de tous les honneurs, rang, preeminence, prerogatives, gages, appointemens, droits et revenus y attachés, tels et semblables qu'en ont joüi ou dû joüir les precedens principaux ministres de nôtre Etat. Mandons a n[ot]re tres cher et feul chevalier garde des sceaux de france le s[ieu]r fleuriau d'armenonville qu'il ait a vous faire reconnoitre en ladite qualité de Conseiller en tous nos conseils et principal Ministre de notre Etat, par tous ceux et ainsy qu'il appartiendra, et aux Gardes de notre Tresor Royal, presens et à venir, chacun en l'année de son exercice, que les [v°] gages et appointements qui vous seront par nous ordonnés, ils vous payent et delivrent comptant par chacun an aux termes et en la maniere accoutumes. Car tel est notre plaisir."
 Suite à cette nomination, le Cardinal Dubois disposait d'un amas de titres bien impressionnant (f. 46r°):
"Guillaume du Bois, Cardinal Prestre de la Ste Eglise Romaine, archevesque et Duc de Cambray, Prince du St Empire, abbé d'Arvault, de Bourgueil, de Cercamp, de St Just, de Nogent-Sous-Coucy et de Berghes St Winox, Principal Ministre des affaires de France, Con[eill]er au Conseil de Regence, Secretaire d'Estat ayant le departement des affaires Etrangeres, Grand maitre et Surintendant general des postes, couriers et relais de France, cy-devant Ambassadeur extraordinaire du Roy en Angleterre et en Hollande et Principal ministre de l'Estat declaré par le Roy le 22 aoust 1722."
Comment se passait la semaine du Premier Ministre, du Régent et du petit Louis XV ? Les archives (ff. 51r°-52r°) nous fournissent la réponse:
Chaque jour de la semaine: depuis 5. heures jusqu'a 7. heures et un quart travailler
a 7. heures et trois quarts aller chés le Roy pour le lever, ensuite entretien particulier de m. le Cardinal avec S.A.R. a 10. heures et demie entretien avec le Roy jusquá onze, et tout le reste du tems de la matinée jusquá une heure apres midy expedier les Ministres en presence de S.A.R.

Dimanche a quatre heures le Conseil de Regence jusquá six.
Lundi travail sur la marine entre S.A.R., M. le Comte de Toulouse et M. le [v°] Cardinal depuis trois heures jusquá quatre
Mardi
. Conseil de finance et de santé. Les Ministres etrangers avec m. le Cardinal depuis le lever du Roy jusquá quatre heures.
Mercredy. Le Conseil de conscience depuis 11. heures et demie jusquá une heure et demie.
Jeudy. S.A.R. va à Paris à midy.
Vendredi. S.A.R. à Paris.
Samedy. Conseil de Depesches depuis 4. heures jusquá..
Savoir les jours que M. le couturier [r°] fait signer les ordonnances et les Etats de distribution, et tacher de le mettre parmi l'expedition des autres Ministres.
Au lieu de donner des audiences particulieres à chaque personne de consideration.