Dutch diplomatic correspondence and documents
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The 18th century is generally considered a time of decline for the Netherlands. Trade and industry declined; "the Dutch economy failed because it fell victim to both competition from expanding manufacturing activity in Britain, France, and the Austrian Netherlands and to widespread protectionism implemented on theories of mercantilism in vogue in northern Europe after the mid 18th century" (State, page 104).
In 1702, William III, the last stadholder in the direct line of the House of Orange-Nassau, died, and the regents ruled the Netherlands, choosing not to honor his wishes to allow Johan William Friso (1687-1711) to succeed him. The regents ruled until 1747. Then "William Friso was proclaimed William IV, Stadholder of Holland, Utrecht, and Overijssel, by popular request in a spontaneous burst of mass appeal against a demoralized regent class that amounted to a virtual revolution, the only one to occur in Europe in the mid-18th century" (State, page 111). The country's clamor for new government resulted from the invasion of the Netherlands by France in 1747 during the War of the Austrian Succession, which involved most of Europe from 1740 to 1748. Even after the treaty at Aix-La-Chapelle, "unrest persisted, the war having laid bare underlying social tensions," (State, page 111) which resulted in the States-General making the positions of stadholder and captain- and admiral-general hereditary. In 1751, William V (1748-1806) gained power and served all the provinces.
During the American Revolution, British and Dutch relations were strained, and following discovery of draft treaties between the new United States and the Netherlands, the British declared war on the Dutch in 1780. The Dutch navy was much reduced and this resulted in defeats both embarrassing and devastating. By 1781, "popular dislike for a regime that had exerted so lukewarm an effort in waging so disastrous a war turned into active revolt," (State, page 115) and Patriot militias, called Free Corps, actively promoted democratic change. The situation turned violent and the Patriot Revolution vanished with many political radicals emigrating to France.
In 1789, the French Revolution broke out and rebellion against the House of Orange grew. In early 1795, the French invaded the Netherlands and William V left the Netherlands for Britain. The following Batavian Republic existed from 1795 to 1806, bringing with it "groundbreaking democratic innovations--universal male suffrage, an end to hereditary titles, [and] civil rights for Catholics and Jews" (State, page 119). Although the Netherlands was technically a sovereign state, it was in many ways a protectorate of France. Political modernization occurred: a bill of rights was introduced on January 31, 1795, and a unitary constitution was introduced in 1798. Napoleon Bonaparte came to power on November 9, 1799 and demanded significant resources from the Batavian Republic. A coup, engineered by Bonaparte to ensure a dependable ally, resulted in Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck (1761-1825) serving as Grand Pensionary in 1805.
This collection consists of twelve boxes of diplomatic correspondence and official documents of the Dutch and Batavian governments from 1718 to 1801. The collection is arranged in five series: "Diplomatic correspondence sent to the States-General," "Documents relating to the Batavian Republic," "Documents relating to Gelderland," "Documents relating to Holland and West Friesland," and "Miscellaneous documents."
"Diplomatic correspondence sent to the States-General" dates from 1747 to 1748, during the end of the War of Austrian Succession, and makes up the bulk of the collection. These letters are sent from ambassadors, consuls, secretaries, "residents" and generals from across the globe, and many are marked "Secreet." The letters appear to cover a broad range of issues, although the military seems to be a prominent topic. Some of the more prominent correspondents include: Abraham van Hoey, Ambassador in Paris; O. Bosch, Secretary in Frankfurt; Charles van Rumpf, "Envoyé" in Stockholm; H. Hop, "Envoyé" in London; and Carl Furst van Waldeck, General. Correspondence was most frequently written from Aachen, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Lisbon, London, Maastricht, Munich, Paris, Regensburg, Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Vienna. This series is divided by year, 1747 and 1748, and is then arranged chronologically by date of receipt within each year. Items received on the same day are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name.
"Documents relating to the Batavian Republic," consists of eleven documents dating from 1799 to 1801. Many of these documents appear to relate to the Batavian army and possibly the demands placed upon the Batavian Republic by the French to help support their war efforts. These documents are arranged chronologically.
"Documents relating to Gelderland" consists of three documents dating from 1775 to 1787. These documents are arranged chronologically.
Thirty-one documents make up the "Documents relating to Holland and West Friesland" series. These documents, dating from 1718 to 1783, are arranged chronologically.
The last series, "Miscellaneous documents," includes materials dating from 1725 to 1785. They are arranged in chronological order.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Holly Mengel, Katherine Taylor and Ellen Williams
- Finding Aid Date
- 2012 May 23
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.