1902 Encyclopedia > Spain > Spanish History - The Spanish Succession Question. The Early Bourbons.

(Part 28)


The Spanish Succession Question. The Early Bourbons.

The Spanish succession question. In spite of its loss of power and prestige, the crown of Spain was still regarded as a prize well worth winning. Ever since Charles II.'s accession the Spanish succession had been a prominent question for European diplomacy, and from 1697 it became the pivot on which international relations turned. Charles II.'s first wife, Maria Louisa of Orleans, had died childless in 1689, and his second marriage to Maria Anna of Neuburg was equally unfruit-ful. The male line of the Spanish Hapsburgs was evidently on the verge of extinction, and by law and tradition the crown would pass to the nearest female or her heir. But the question was complicated in many ways. Of Charles II.'s two sisters, the elder, Maria Theresa, had married Louis XIV., and had renounced her claims, but her husband had always protested against the renunciation, and the non-payment of the stipulated dowry gave him an argument for its nullity. The younger, Margaret Theresa, had married the emperor Leopold I., and had made no renunciation; but she had since died, leaving an only daughter, Maria, who married the elector of Bavaria. Going a generation back, the two sisters of Philip IV. had also married into the houses of Bourbon and Hapsburg. Anne of Austria, whose renunciation of the Spanish crown was undisputed, was the mother of Louis XIV., while Maria Anna was the mother of Leopold I. Ever since the division of the house of Hapsburg into two branches it had been agreed by a family compact that if either became extinct the other should succeed to its territories. Leopold I. was extremely anxious to restore the unity of the family by securing the observance of this compact, and he had a great advantage in the fact that Charles II.'s mother was his own sister, and Charles's second wife was his sister-in-law. The will of Philip IV. had arranged that, after Charles II. and his descendants, the crown should pass, first to Margaret Theresa and her children, and secondly to Leopold and his children. It was a great disappointment to Leopold that his first wife left him only a daughter, but he tried to secure the claims of his family by extorting from her on her marriage a renunciation of her rights to the crown of Spain. This renunciation the Spanish Government had never recognized, and the queen-mother, whose adherence to the Hapsburg interests was overcome by her feelings for her own family, induced Charles II. to make a will in 1696 in which he named Joseph Ferdinand, the infant electoral prince of Bavaria, as his heir. But the queen-mother's death withdrew the dominant influence at the court of Madrid and enabled the Austrian envoy, Count Harrach, with the help of the queen, to procure the revocation of this will. The succession now became the subject of party quarrels and intrigues, in which the rival envoys of Austria and France took a prominent part. The aim of Leopold I. was to obtain the succession of his second son, the archduke Charles, while Louis XLV. hoped to procure the Spanish crown, if not for his son, at least for one of his grandsons. The office of first minister in Spain had not been filled up since the fall of Oropesa, and the most influential man in the kingdom was Cardinal Portocarrero, archbishop of Toledo. He was a bitter opponent of the queen, who was extremely unpopular, and all his efforts were directed to thwart the schemes of Austria. To depress the cardinal, Maria Anna induced Charles II. to recall Oropesa, but the latter declined to return to the Austrian alliance which he had previously championed, and espoused the cause of the electoral prince. There was no semblance at this time of a French party in Madrid, but Louis XIV. availed himself of the cessation of hostilities to send thither an able diplomatist, Count Harcourt, who speedily contrived to exercise considerable influence over the course of events.

Too many European interests were involved in the succession to allow it to be settled as a mere question of domestic politics. The idea of the balance of power dominated European diplomacy at this time, and William III. of England was its avowed and recognized champion. England and Holland, the two countries with which William was connected, were vitally interested in the Spanish trade. The accession of a French prince in Spain would almost inevitably transfer to France all the advantages which they at present enjoyed. It was obvious that William III. must have a voice in the settlement of this succession, and Louis XIV., who had no desire for a new European war, was willing to recognize this. The negotiations between England and France resulted in the first treaty of partition (October 11, 1698). The electoral prince was to receive the bulk of the Spanish empire, viz., Spain itself, the Netherlands, Sardinia, and the colonies; the dauphin was to have Naples, Sicily, Finale, and Guipúzcoa ; while Lombardy was to go to the archduke Charles. This treaty had one fatal defect—that it was based solely on the interests of the contracting powers and took no account of the wishes of the Spaniards, who resented any proposal for the division of the empire. The first hint of the treaty irritated Charles II. into making a second will in November in favour of the electoral prince, and all parties in Spain agreed in its approval. But within three months both treaty and will were rendered null by the sudden death of the infant prince (February 1699), and the question, thus reopened, became more thorny than ever, as the choice now lay definitely between Austria and France. It seemed almost impossible to prevent the outbreak of a general war, but William III. patiently reunited the broken threads of his diplomacy, and arranged with France a second treaty of partition. The Spanish monarchy was to be divided into two parts. The larger, consisting of Spain, the Netherlands, Sardinia, and the colonies, was to go to the archduke Charles. The dauphin was to receive the share stipulated in the former treaty, with the material addition of Lorraine. The duke of Lorraine was to be compensated with the Milanese. This treaty, unlike the first, was communicated to Austria; but the emperor, who was now confident of securing the whole inheritance, refused to accept it.

Meanwhile the death of the electoral prince had destroyed the temporary unanimity at Madrid. Portocarrero and his partisans were gained over to the side of France by Harcourt. Oropesa fell back upon a scheme of his own for uniting the whole Peninsula under the king of Portugal. The queen returned to her old allegiance to her brother-in-law, and formed a close alliance with Harrach for the advancement of the interests of the archduke Charles. A popular rising overthrew Oropesa and enabled Portocarrero to regain his ascendency. At this juncture came the news of the second partition treaty, which again irritated the tender susceptibility of the Spaniards. The Austrian party hoped to utilize the popular feeling against Louis XIV. as a party to the hated treaty. But Harcourt adroitly contrived to suggest that the best way of annulling the partition project was to enlist Louis's own interests against it. The view steadily gained ground that the house of Bourbon was the only power strong enough to secure the unity of the Spanish empire. Portocarrero succeeded in inducing Pope Innocent XII. to support the French claim. Charles II., feeble to the last, succumbed to this combination of influences, and signed a testament bequeathing the succession to Philip of Anjou, the second grandson of Louis XIV., on condition that he would renounce all claims to the crown of France (October 3, 1700). Thus his last act was to disinherit his own family in favour of the enemy with whom he had been at war almost all his reign. He died on the 1st of November 1700.

Everything now depended upon the decision of Louis XIV. The treaty of partition offered substantial advantages to France; Charles II.'s will would exalt the house of Bourbon above every other family in Europe. His hesitation, whether real or feigned, did not last long. On November 16 he introduced his grandson to the French court as Philip V. of Spain.

Philip V. The dynastic ambition of the king was also based upon sound policy. In the face of Spanish opinion and of the emperor's refusal it was impossible to carry out the partition treaty. And for the moment it appeared that the accession of a Bourbon prince would be secured without difficulty. Philip V, was proclaimed in all parts of the Spanish monarchy amid popular acclamations. Leopold I. protested and prepared to attack Lombardy, but he could not hope to obtain the whole succession for his son without the assistance of the maritime powers. William III., who saw the aims of his life threatened with ruin, was eager for war, but his subjects, both in England and Holland, were resolute to maintain peace. In these circumstances Louis XIV. played into the hands of his enemies. He expelled the Dutch garrisons from the fortresses of the Netherlands which they had occupied since the treaty of Byswick, and replaced them by French troops. He showed a cynical intention to regard Spain as a province of France, and he took measures to secure for the French the commercial advantages hitherto enjoyed by England and Holland. William III. was thus enabled to conclude the Grand Alliance (September 7, 1701), by which the contracting powers undertook to obtain the Netherlands and the Italian provinces of Spain for the archduke Charles and to preserve the mercantile monopoly of the English and Dutch. A few days afterwards James II. died at St Germains, and Louis XIV. was injudicious enough to acknowledge his son as king of England. This insult exasperated public opinion in that country; the Tory parliament was dissolved; and the last obstacle to William's warlike policy was swept away. William himself died in March 1702, but he left the continuance of his policy to the able hands of Marlborough and Heinsius. The war which the emperor had commenced single-handed in 1701 became general in the next year.

War of Spanish succession. It is needless to follow the military operations of the War of the Spanish Succession, which have been rendered famous by the exploits of Eugene and Marlborough. The chief scenes of hostilities were the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, in each of which the French suffered fatal and humiliating reverses. At first the peninsula of Spain was not directly concerned in the war. The Grand Alliance did not aim at excluding Philip from the Spanish monarchy as a whole, but only from those parts which the maritime powers wished to preserve from French influence. But in 1703 Pedro II. of Portugal deserted the cause of France and concluded the Methuen treaty with England. This opened the Peninsula to the allied forces and necessitated a revision of the terms of the alliance. Pedro's support could only be purchased by the expulsion of the French from Spain, and the allies now determined to claim the whole Spanish inheritance for the archduke Charles. In 1704 the archduke appeared in Portugal, and the English fleet, under Sir George Kooke, captured Gibraltar. As the assistance of the Portuguese was only half-hearted, it was decided in 1705 to seek a new opening in the east. Catalonia, always inclined to revolt against its rulers, and recently irritated by the conduct of Philip V., offered a convenient base of operations. The brilliant but eccentric earl of Peterborough succeeded in capturing Barcelona, and by the end of the year the archduke was acknowledged as Charles III. in Catalonia, Valencia, and Aragon. A great effort on the part of Philip to recover the lost provinces was repulsed, and a simultaneous advance of the allies from the east and from Portugal compelled him to evacuate Madrid, where Charles III. was formally proclaimed. But the provincial disunion, which had so often hampered the Hapsburg kings, proved the salvation of their Bourbon successor. The Castilians refused to obey a king who was forced upon them from Aragon, and their religious instincts were offended by the alliance of Charles with the heretics of England and Holland. Disunion among the allies aided the revolt of Castile, and by the end of 1706 Charles III. found himself compelled to evacuate his recent conquests and to return to Barcelona. In 1707 the allies attempted another invasion of Castile, but they were routed by the duke of Berwick at Almanza, and Aragon and Valencia were forced to return to their allegiance to Philip V. For the next two years the war in the Peninsula languished. Charles III. received reinforcements from Austria under Stahremberg, but he was unable to do more than retain his hold upon Barcelona. In 1710 the cause of the allies received a new impulse from the arrival of Stanhope with supplies of men and money from England. Under the joint command of Stanhope and Stahremberg the army advanced westwards from Barcelona, defeated Philip V. at Almenara and Saragossa, and for the second time occupied Madrid. The disasters which the French had experienced in other parts of Europe had broken the pride of Louis XIV, and he was prepared to purchase peace by sacrificing his grandson. A treaty would have been concluded to this effect at Gertruydenburg, if the allies had not insisted that the French troops should be employed in forcing Philip V. to accept it. Louis XIV. refused to take arms against his own family, and a sudden change in the current of fortune saved him from the humiliation which his enemies wished to force upon him. Charles III. found it impossible to maintain Madrid in face of the enthusiasm of the Castilians for his rival. The capital of Spain was of no importance from a military point of view, and the allies determined on its evacuation. On their retreat they were followed by Vendome, whom Louis XIV. had sent to his grandson's assistance. Stanhope, attacked at Brihuega, was compelled to capitulate with all his forces before Stahremberg could arrive to his assistance. The latter was defeated after an obstinate struggle at Villa Viciosa. Aragon and Valencia again submitted to Philip, and the archduke was once more confined to Catalonia.

At this juncture two events occurred which completely altered the balance of the contending powers. The fall of the Whig ministry through a court intrigue gave the control of English policy to the Tories, who had always been hostile to the war. The death of Joseph I. in April 1711 left the Austrian territories to his brother, the archduke Charles, who was soon afterwards elected emperor as Charles VI. To allow him to obtain the Spanish succession would be to revive the empire of Charles V., and would be even more dangerous to the balance of power than the recognition of Philip V. with adequate securities against the union of France and Spain. The object for which the allies had been making such immense exertions was now a result to be averted at any cost.

Treaty of Utrecht. In these altered circumstances, Bolingbroke, the English minister, hurried on the negotiations with France which resulted in the treaty of Utrecht between England, France, Spain, and Holland. Philip V. was acknowledged as king of Spain, on condition that he should formally renounce all eventual claims to the crown of France. But the partition of the Spanish monarchy was insisted upon by the allies. The Netherlands were to be handed over to Austria, on condition that the Dutch should garrison the barrier fortresses. Austria was also to receive the Italian provinces of Spain, with the exception of Sicily, which was given to the duke of Savoy with the title of king. England naturally obtained considerable advantages from a war in which she had borne so prominent a part. The acquisition of Gibraltar and Minorca gave her the control of the Mediterranean. The asiento conferred upon her the privilege of importing slaves into the Spanish colonies, and she also obtained the right of sending a single vessel into the South Seas. France had to recognize the Protestant succession, and to cede Newfoundland, Acadia (Nova Scotia), and Hudson's Bay. Charles VI. refused to accept the terms offered to him at Utrecht, but he found it impossible to carry on the war by himself, and in 1714 he made peace with France by the treaty of Bastatt. But he still retained the title of king of Spain, and showed no willingness to acknowledge Philip V.

The great blot on the conduct of the allies in arranging the treaty of Utrecht was the desertion of the Catalans, who had rendered such loyal services during the war. They were left to the tender mercies of Philip V., who sent Berwick to reduce the rebellious province. Barcelona resisted for many months with the heroism of despair, and was well-nigh reduced to ashes before it could be taken (September 1714). With its fall all resistance came to an end. The three Aragonese provinces were deprived of the last remnants of their ancient privileges, and were henceforth ruled from Madrid under Castilian laws.

With the final accession of a Bourbon king Spain entered upon a new period of history, in which it once more played a considerable part in European politics. The death of Louis XIV. (1715), and the acquisition of the regency in France by the duke of Orleans, destroyed the close connexion that had hitherto existed between France and Spain. Philip V. was hypochondriacal and bigoted, the slave of his wife and his confessor, but he had certain definite schemes to which he clung with the obstinacy of a weak character. In spite of his solemn renunciations and the guarantee of the European powers, he never relinquished the idea of ultimately succeeding to the French throne. In what was regarded as the probable event of Louis XV.'s death, he was determined to enforce his hereditary claim, even if he had to resign the crown of Spain. His interests were diametrically opposed to those of the duke of Orleans, who was, after Philip's family, the natural heir to Louis XV. Philip V. had one other guiding passion, enmity to Charles VI., who had robbed the Spanish monarchy of its fairest provinces in Italy. These provinces he set his heart upon regaining, and in this project he was encouraged by the two people who had most influence over him,—his wife and his minister.

Philip V.'s first wife, Maria Louisa of Savoy, had died in 1714, leaving him two sons, Louis and Ferdinand. A suecessor was speedily found for her in the person of Elizabeth Farnese, niece of the duke of Parma, who was suggested by Alberoni, at that time agent for Parma at Madrid. The new queen speedily obtained unlimited ascendency over her husband's mind, and she displayed an unbridled ambition and a capacity for intrigue astounding in one who had been brought up in complete retirement. As Philip's sons by his first wife would exclude her own children from the Spanish throne, she was anxious to obtain for the latter the reversion of the duchies of Parma and Tuscany, to which she had an eventual claim. With this end in view she encouraged her husband's designs in Italy, while personal ambition made her eager to see him on the French throne.

Administration of Alberoni. Her favour gave the conduct of Spanish affairs for a short period to her countryman Alberoni, one of the strangest personages of the 18th century. The son of a gardener at Piacenza, he had sought a career in the church, and had come to Spain in the suite of Vendome, whose favour he had won by combining the functions of a cook and a buffoon. After the death of his patron he remained in Spain, and conceived an ardent affection for the country of his adoption. Raised to power by the part he had played in effecting the king's marriage, he determined to exalt Spain from its long depression to the position it had once occupied in Europe. His domestic reforms showed that he had a real capacity for government. Commerce and industry revived under his patronage; the army was reorganized, and the revenue increased. But his chief attention was given to the navy, the real foundation of the former greatness of Spain. Foreigners who had known the country under Charles II. or during the Succession War were astounded at the strides which it had made under the new administration. Alberoni himself is said to have assured Philip that with five years of peace he would make him the most powerful sovereign of Europe. But these years of peace he was not destined to have. Alberoni cordially approved the Italian designs of Philip, and hoped to employ the restored might of Spain in freeing his native country from the hated rule of Austria. He had less sympathy with the king's hankering after the French crown and his enmity to the regent Orleans. But he held office only by the royal favour, and could not venture to set up his own will against that of his master. He was convinced, and not without reason, that everything would go well if he could secure the English alliance.

But the attitude of Spain had already awakened suspicion in France, and the ready mind of Dubois had conceived a plan for thwarting Alberoni. He determined to desert the policy of Louis XIV. and to conclude a close alliance between France and England. This was to be based upon the common danger from rival pretenders, which urged the houses of Orleans and Hanover to maintain the provisions of the treaty of Utrecht. An agreement was arranged between the two states in 1716, and, being joined by Holland in January 1717, was known as the Triple Alliance. This was a great blow to Alberoni, and made him anxious to postpone all hostilities until his preparations were complete. But his hand was forced by the indignation excited in Philip V.'s mind by an insult offered to him by the emperor. The grand inquisitor of Spain was arrested in Lombardy as a rebel against Charles III., his lawful king. Philip V. decided for an immediate rupture, and Alberoni against his will had to send an expedition to Sardinia, which overran the island in 1717. The enthusiasm excited in Spain by the unwonted news of a military success was increased in 1718 when another Spanish force occupied Sicily. But meanwhile Charles VI. had appealed to France and England for assistance against this rupture of the treaty of Utrecht. The Triple Alliance, reinforced by the junction of Austria, became the Quadruple Alliance (August 1718). The resolution of the allies was convincingly displayed in a naval encounter in which Admiral Byng destroyed the Spanish fleet off Cape Passaro.

Hitherto the only fault to be found with Alberoni's schemes is that they were attempted prematurely, and this was the fault of the king rather than of the minister. But the Quadruple Alliance drove him in despair to form those far-reaching projects which are generally associated with his name, and which have given rise to the unjust impression that his whole policy was chimerical and unsound. To meet the hostility of England and France he must make use of internal divisions. He invited the Pretender to Spain, prepared an expedition in his behalf, and concerted with Count Gorz, the minister of Charles XII., a grand scheme by which Sweden and Russia were to combine in supporting the Jacobites against George I. At the same time, through the Spanish envoy Cellamare, he organized a conspiracy among the numerous opponents of the regent. All these schemes broke down simultaneously. Charles XII. was killed at the siege of an obscure town in Norway; Gorz was executed by his successor; the Spanish fleet which was to carry the Pretender to England was wrecked; the conspiracy of Cellamare was discovered and suppressed. France declared war, and sent an army under Berwick across the Pyrenees. An English fleet gratified the national love of a maritime monopoly by burning along the Spanish coast the vessels and docks which Alberoni had created. The emperor, who had just ended a war with Turkey by the treaty of Passarowitz, was able to send a force which succeeded in recovering Sicily. Alberoni was sacrificed to appease the enemies of Spain, and was exiled .from the kingdom he had served so loyally in December 1719. A month later Philip V. accepted the terms imposed upon him by the Quadruple Alliance. He had to confirm his renunciation of the French crown, and also to abandon all claims on the provinces of Spain which had been ceded to Austria by the treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt. He also allowed the emperor to retain Sicily, the duke of Savoy being compensated with Sardinia. On the other hand Charles VI.'s pretensions to the Spanish crown were definitely abandoned, and the allies recognized the eventual claims to Parma and Tuscany of Philip's children by his second marriage, on condition that those duchies should never be united with Spain.

In spite of the conclusion of peace, Philip continued to cherish his animosity against Charles VI., especially as the latter showed an inclination to evade the condition about Parma and Tuscany by encouraging other claimants to come forward. To gratify this passion, Philip went so far as to lay aside his old enmity against the duke of Orleans, and to authorize the negotiation of a close alliance with France. His eldest son, Don Luis, was married to a daughter of the regent, and Louis XV. was betrothed to the infanta Maria Anna. But the death of Orleans in 1723 gave a new direction to the king's policy. In 1724 Europe was astounded by the news that Philip had abdicated in favour of Don Luis, and had gone into retirement at San Ildefonso. This act was generally attributed to the indolence and superstition which formed the basis of his character, but the real motive was undoubtedly a desire to remove the chief obstacle to his accession in France. Louis XV., however, disappointed his expectations by continuing to live, and the queen soon wearied of her unwonted seclusion. Luis only survived his accession eight months, and to the surprise of the world Philip V. emerged from his retreat to resume the crown which he had laid down of his own accord.

The queen returned to power more determined than ever to carry out her favourite scheme of obtaining an Italian principality for her eldest son Don Carlos. As France and England had shown themselves lukewarm in the matter, she resolved to turn to her husband's enemy, Charles VI.

Ripperda. This scheme was suggested by a Dutch adventurer, Ripperda, who inspired Elizabeth with a belief that the Austrian alliance would enable her not only to effect her object in Italy, but also to regain Gibraltar and Minorca for Spain. This was rendered the more probable by the fact that Charles VI. had quarrelled with England about the foundation of the Ostend Company. The conduct of the affair was entrusted to Ripperda himself, and while he was at Vienna a great impulse was given to the negotiation by a complete rupture between Spain and France. The duke of Bourbon, who had become chief minister in France after the death of Orleans, had set himself to reverse the policy of his predecessor. To complete this, he sent the infanta back to Spain and married Louis XV. to Maria Leczinska, daughter of the ex-king of Poland. This insult removed the last scruples of Philip V. about the Austrian alliance, and in April 1725 Ripperda concluded the treaty of Vienna. The mutual renunciations arranged by the Quadruple Alliance were confirmed : Spain recognized the settlement of the Austrian succession by the Pragmatic Sanction and promised great commercial privileges to the Ostend Company, while Charles VI. pledged himself to secure the succession of Don Carlos in Parma and Tuscany and to use his influence with England to obtain the restitution of Gibraltar and Minorca. By a secret treaty Charles further undertook, in the case of England's refusal, to assist Spain with arms and also to send aid to the Jacobites. These terms were soon divulged by the indiscreet vanity of Eipperda himself, and England and France formed the counter-league of Hanover (September 1725), which was also joined by Frederick William I. of Prussia, though only for a short time.

Ripperda returned to Spain, to be rewarded with the office of chief minister. But his success seems to have turned his head; his boasts about the grand results to be expected from the Austrian alliance proved to be ill-founded, and his fall was as sudden as his rise had been. After a brief period of exile in England, he sought a new home in Morocco, where he became a convert to Islam and died in 1737. But his policy was continued by his successor, Don Joseph Patiiio, who sent a fleet to lay siege to Gibraltar. Europe was now divided into two hostile leagues, but the outbreak of a general war was averted, partly by the pacific inclinations of Walpole in England and Fleury in France, and partly by the growing coolness between Austria and Spain. Charles VI. had been led into the treaty of Vienna by a momentary pique against England, but he soon realized that he had more to lose than to gain by favouring the Spanish designs upon Italy. Accordingly, in May 1727, while the siege of Gibraltar was proceeding, he threw over his obligations to Spain and signed the preliminaries of a peace with England and France. The Ostend Company was suspended, and the questions about Parma, Tuscany, and Gibraltar were referred to a European congress at Soissons. The Spanish Government found it impossible to hold out in isolation, and accepted these terms by the convention of the Pardo (March 1728).

The congress of Soissons was a complete failure, and the irrepressible energy of the Spanish queen discovered a new method of obtaining her ends. The birth of a son to Louis XV. removed into the background all idea of the succession in France, and ths attitude of Charles VI. proved that he would do nothing for Don Carlos. Under these circumstances there was no alternative but to sacrifice the prospect of recovering Gibraltar and Minorca and to seek the alliance of England and France. By the treaty of Seville (November 1729) these powers, with Holland, concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with Spain. The privileges which the latter country had conferred upon the Ostend Company were revoked. Don Carlos was recognized as the heir to Parma and Tuscany, and to enforce his claims these provinces were to be occupied by 6000 Spanish troops. Charles VI., astounded at this sudden change in the aspect of affairs, took active steps to oppose this occupation of the duchies. He collected 30,000 troops in Italy, and when the old duke of Parma died in January 1731 he seized his territories as an imperial fief. Elizabeth called upon her allies to carry out the treaty of Seville, but Walpole and Fleury were unwilling to resort to hostilities. Luckily Charles VI. thought more of securing his daughter's succession in Austria than of anything else. By promising that England would guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction, Walpole induced the emperor to conclude the second treaty of Vienna (March 1731), which dissolved the Ostend Company and confirmed the provisions of the treaty of Seville. In 1732 English ships conveyed Don Carlos and the Spanish troops to Italy. Parma and Piacenza were immediately occupied, and the grand-duke of Tuscany acknowledged Don Carlos as his heir.

In the long and intricate series of negotiations of which we have given a brief summary the guiding thread is the grasping ambition of the queen of Spain. That ambition was by no means satisfied by the results obtained in the treaty of Vienna. Austria still held the Italian provinces of Spain and was looking out for an opportunity to expel Don Carlos from central Italy. England retained her hold upon Gibraltar and Minorca, and claimed a maritime and colonial supremacy which threatened to thwart all schemes for the revival of Spanish commerce. Elizabeth never relinquished for a moment the hope of humiliating England and expelling the Hapsburgs from Italy. Circumstances at this time were more favourable than they had ever been before. The able administration of Patiiio, " the Colbert of Spain," had restored order in the Spanish finances, and had already made considerable strides towards the creation of a formidable fleet. But the great advantage lay in the fact that the death of Orleans and the birth of children to Louis XV. had removed all obstacles in the way of an alliance between Spain and France. The close union between the two branches of the house of Bourbon, which the Grand Alliance had endeavoured to avert, and which circumstances had postponed for twenty years, was now to become an accomplished fact. In 1733 "an eternal and irrevocable family compact" was signed by the Count Eottembourg and Don Joseph Patiiio. France and Spain pledged themselves to pursue a common policy in regard both to Austria and England, the object of which was to destroy the Italian ascendency of the one and the commercial monopoly of the other. This treaty, which constituted a danger to Europe hardly less than the aggressions of Louis XIV., was kept a profound secret, and, though its existence was more than suspected at the time, its full importance has not been apprehended until recent times.

The first opportunity for carrying out this common policy was offered by the dispute about the Polish succession which broke out in 1733 between Stanislaus Leczinski and Augustus III. of Saxony. Austria and Russia supported the latter prince, while Louis XV. espoused the cause of his father-in-law. But the war in Poland itself was of very secondary importance compared with the hostilities to which it gave rise in southern Europe. France, Spain, and Sardinia concluded the league of Turin (October 1733) for the partition of Charles VI.'s Italian provinces. The chief events of the war, from the Spanish point of view, were the occupation of Naples and Sicily by Don Carlos. It was intended that he should keep these kingdoms, and that Parma and Tuscany should be transferred to his younger brother Don Philip. But Fleury, seeing an opportunity of securing his own ends, refused to continue the war for the aggrandizement of Spain. In 1735 he concluded the preliminaries of a peace with Austria by which Don Carlos was to be recognized as king of the Two Sicilies, Charles VI. was to be compensated with Parma, and his son-in-law was to receive Tuscany in exchange for Lorraine, which was eventually to pass to France. The Spanish queen was bitterly indignant at the desertion of her ally, at the cession of her native Parma to Austria, and at the failure to provide anything for her second son. She struggled hard to prolong the war, but the only result of her manœuvres was to postpone the conclusion of the definitive treaty until 1739, when the preliminaries were confirmed.

War of Jenkin's ear. Meanwhile Spain had become involved in a maritime quarrel with England. The restrictions imposed by the treaty of Utrecht upon English trade with the Spanish colonies had been systematically evaded by the development of a system of organized smuggling on the part of the British traders. The Spaniards, encouraged by the secret compact with France, refused to tolerate an abuse which their weakness had compelled them to connive at in the previous century. To put a stop to it they rigidly enforced their right of search, often seizing British vessels on the high seas and treating the crews with gross brutality. This gave rise to great ill-feeling between the two nations, which was increased by other colonial disputes about the right of gathering logwood in Campeachy Bay and on the frontiers of Florida. The popular indignation in England, which Walpole's opponents fanned for their own purposes, was raised to fever-heat by the story of Jenkins, an English captain, who maintained that he had been tortured and his ears cut off by a Spanish guarda costa. Walpole, who had refused to believe in the Family Compact, and had steadily adhered to a policy of peace, was compelled by the popular clamour to declare war in October 1739. The maritime operations which followed were insignificant. Admiral Vernon took Porto Bello, and Anson plundered Payta ; but England was distracted by party jealousies and her naval organization had fallen into disorder during the long peace. Luckily for her, Patino had died in 1736, and the impulse which he had given to the Spanish navy ended with him. But before long the quarrel was absorbed in the great European war which arose about the Austrian succession.

War of the Austrian succession. Charles VI. had persuaded almost every European power to guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction, but the succession of Maria Theresa to his territories was not in the least facilitated by the paper promises to support her. England was almost the only power that adhered to its engagements. Frederick of Prussia advanced an obsolete claim to Silesia, and France seized the opportunity to humiliate the house of Hapsburg. Spain hastened to join the coalition against the unfortunate heiress. Philip V. claimed to represent the Spanish branch of the Hapsburgs, and pleaded the old family agreement by which they were to succeed on the extinction of the Austrian line. There was no possibility of so absurd a claim being recognized, but it opened the prospect of recovering the lost provinces in Italy. Sardinia was gained over by the promise of part of Lombardy. Naples and Sicily were already in the hands of Don Carlos. It seemed hardly possible that Maria Theresa, pressed by enemies on every side, could successfully defend her Italian territories. A Spanish army under Montemar was embarked in French vessels, and, after evading the English fleet, landed in the Gulf of Genoa in 1741. The first news was discouraging, as Charles Emmanuel of Sardinia, ready like his predecessors to sell his alliance to the highest bidder, had been bought off by Maria Theresa. It was not till 1742 that the campaign began with an advance upon Modena, where the duke had promised his support to Spain. But the Austrians and Sardinians were the first in the field. They expelled the duke of Modena from his territories, and drove Montemar to retreat towards Naples. At the same time the English fleet appeared before Naples, and the threat of an immediate bombardment compelled Don Carlos to promise a strict neutrality during the rest of the war. Count Gages, who was sent to supersede the unsuccessful Montemar, was unable to recover the lost ground, and the first campaign ended without any serious advantage to either side beyond the Austrian occupation of Modena. In 1743 Gages again attempted the invasion of Lombardy, but was defeated at Campo Santo and repulsed. Austria and Sardinia concluded a close alliance in the treaty of Worms (September 1743), which was negotiated by England. France and Spain sought to meet this coalition by renewing the Family Compact at Fontainebleau (October 1743). France undertook to aid in conquering the Milanese for Don Philip, to declare war against England, and not to make peace until Gibraltar, and if possible Minorca too, had been restored to Spain. Don Philip himself was sent with a Spanish army through southern France, but he failed to force a passage through the Alps. The campaign of 1744 was indecisive, but in the next year the great efforts made by Maria Theresa to recover Silesia gave her opponents in Italy an opportunity of which they were not slow to avail themselves. Gages effected a junction at Genoa with the combined French and Spanish troops under Maillebois and Don Philip. Advancing into Piedmont the allies took Tortona, and after occupying Parma and Piacenza they invaded Lombardy. This move effected the desired object of separating the Austrians and Sardinians. Schulenburg hurried off to the defence of his mistress's territories, and the allies at once turned upon Charles Emmanuel and defeated him at Bassignano. The French wished to complete the conquest of Piedmont, but the Spaniards insisted upon renewing the invasion of Lombardy. That province was now entirely undefended, as the Austrians had returned to the assistance of Charles Emmanuel, who detained them by the threat that if he were deserted he would make terms with the allies. One town after another surrendered or was taken, and in December Don Philip entered Milan in triumph. But meanwhile Maria Theresa had ended the Silesian War by the treaty of Dresden, and was thus enabled to send reinforcements into Italy. The tide of success turned with marvellous rapidity. The Spaniards evacuated Lombardy, and were soon driven from all their conquests in Piedmont except Tortona. At Piacenza, to which the Bourbon army had retreated, it was completely defeated by the Austrians.

Ferdinand VI. At this juncture the news arrived from Spain that Philip V. had died on July 9, and had been succeeded by Ferdinand VI., the only surviving son of his first marriage. Elizabeth Farnese, " the termagant," as Carlyle calls her, whose ambition had kept Europe embroiled for thirty years, went into retirement at San Ildefonso. This event naturally influenced the war in Italy. It was not likely that the new king, who had never been on good terms with his stepmother, would expend more of his country's blood and treasure to obtain &, principality for his half-brother. His first act was to supercede Gages by the marquis of Las Minas, who found the Spanish army at Tortona and hastened to withdraw it from Italy into Savoy, which Don Philip had occupied since 1742. The Austrians at once besieged and captured Genoa, thus cutting off the possibility of a renewed invasion of Italy, except through the well-guarded passes of the Alps. From this time the military operations ceased to have any direct importance for Spain, and all interest centred in the negotiations which were carried on at Breda in 1747 and transferred to Aix-la-Chapelle in the next year. The chief obstacle to peace was the demand of a principality for Don Philip, which Ferdinand VI. persisted in as necessary for the honour of Spain. Maria Theresa had already made sacrifices to Prussia and to Sardinia, and resented the idea of ceding any more of her territories. But the persistence of England carried the day, and in the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (October 1748) Don Philip obtained Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla as an hereditary principality, on condition that they should revert to Austria on extinction of his male descendants. This was the sole advantage gained by Spain. Austria retained Lombardy, shorn of the portion promised to Charles Emmanuel; and the commercial and naval ascendency of England remained unshaken. The recovery of Gibraltar, which at one time Philip V. had confidently expected, was now further off than ever.

Ferdinand VI. was as feeble in health and as averse to business as his father had been, but he was equally obstinate on certain points. He would have nothing to do with the aggressive policy of his stepmother or with the Bourbon schemes for the humiliation of England. His accession broke off the Family Compact, and gave to Spain the unaccustomed boon of thirteen years' peace. His aim was to hold the balance between the rival powers of western Europe, and in this he was aided by the discord between his two ministers, Ensenada and Carvalho, of whom the former favoured France and the latter England. When Kaunitz, the Austrian envoy at Versailles, was endeavouring to negotiate an alliance between the Hapsburgs and Bourbons, Ferdinand seized the opportunity to conclude the treaty of Aranjuez, which guaranteed the neutrality of the Italian provinces of the two families. On the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756 great efforts were made to draw Spain into the struggle. France offered Minorca, which had been lost by Byng at the first outbreak of hostilities, and England hastened to make the counter-proposition of a cession of Gibraltar. Ferdinand, however, refused both bribes, and maintained his policy of peace till his death in 1759.

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