1714

Peace of Rastatt King George I

Peace treaties of Rastatt and Baden

After Villars' successes on the Rhine a conference was held at Rastatt between Eugen and Villars. As happened more often with Louis the signed preliminaries were rejected as unsatisfactory at Versailles. Eugen then left Rastatt 7 February, and Villars implored Louis to step down on his additional demands.

The peace of Rastatt of 7 March 1714 gave Charles VI the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan, Sardinia and Mantua. The elector of Bavaria and the bishop of Cologne were reinstated. France got Landau. A similar treaty was signed with the empire in Baden on 7 September 1714.

Politics and epilogue

The United Kingdom

In December 1713 Queen Anne had become seriously ill. With all commands in the army and fleet in Tory or even Jacobite hands England dreaded a civil war in case the pretender would be invited by someone. The Whigs now took countermeasures against such an event, and Marlborough already was already appointed by Hannover as supreme commander in case the queen died. The Dutch outfitted a squadron of warships and held their troops ready to intervene in England on behalf of the elector of Hannover.

The queen did not die immediately and opened parliament on 15 February 1714. Harley officially declared that there would be no change in the succession, but secretly invited the pretender on condition that he would change his religion. The Whigs, who were full of suspicions against the government, now moved a motion to invite the prince-elector of Hannover to take up his seat in the House of Lords. This split the Tory party: Hanmer now became leader of the Tory faction that supported Hannover. Argyll created a row about the Jacobite threat, and the motion was carried by the opposition.

The pretender refused to change his religion. Though Harley now attached himself to the Hannoverian succession Bolingbroke took measures to pursue the succession of the pretender: Argyll was fired and a lot of Whig-officers were told to sell their posts. The Hannoverians now made a treaty for support by the Dutch. Anti-pretender officers started organizing a secret army, and Marlborough prepared to return to England.

Now Harley wanted to evict St John because his malversations and theft from the treasury had gone too far, but Abigail, bribed by Bolingbroke, convinced the queen to close parliament on 9 July. In a cabinet meeting on July 27th the queen then fired Harley. Bolingbroke thus came into power and on 28 July he held a meeting to reconstruct a government with the Whigs, but these would only agree if Bolingbroke was willing to reinstate the officers removed from the army. On one of the last days of her life Queen Anne made Shrewsbury Lord Chancellor. She died 1 August 1714.

All kinds of military measures were now taken swiftly. The Hannoverian ambassador named 25 regents. Bolingbroke was sacked 16 August and his documents seized. George I landed 18 September. George I soon sacked all the Tories except Nottingham who was appointed, sacked Ormonde and fully reinstated Marlborough. A new Whig parliament was now chosen and an era of 40 years of Whig domination started. Harley, St. John and Ormonde were impeached. Bolingbroke fled to become secretary of state of the pretender. Harley was locked up in the Tower. Ormonde would soon also be a refugee in France.

The United Kingdom had not only won in Utrecht but also in another field. At the end of the war it had a debt of 54 mln on which each year 3,351,358 of interest had to be paid. A burden it could easily bear. France on the other hand was financially ruined.

The United Provinces

On the one hand one can say that the United Provinces survived the consequences of Charles II's last will, and that had they done otherwise would have been destroyed sooner or later. On the other hand they can be said to have gained nothing by the peace.

When they then had to bring back their army to 40,000 men in order to stabilize their finances, the UP lost their great power status. Whereas in 1700 their 50,000 men counted as one of the largest armies, the 40,000 of 1715 were only an army of mediocre size.(see Israel). The United Provinces now became the second rank power it naturally was on account of its resources.

Austria

Austria was potentially one of the winners: It had brought down the Hungarians, dominated Italy and gained the Southern Netherlands. An effective administration of these vast territories would easily make it a great power.

France

France was totally exhausted by the war and soon the achieved family relation with Spain would prove to count for nothing. Whereas at the start of the war it was the most formidable power in Europe one could now doubt if France or England was more powerful. Thus Louis was a winner at Utrecht, but 12 years of war had also incurred an enormous debt standing at 4,500 million livres in 1716.

According to a brochure printed in 1712 in London the French had a debt of 200 million (pounds?) and revenues of 77 million, while the English had a debt of 35 million and revenues of 43 million. The same brochure estimated the Dutch to have 50 million in debts and 18 million revenue. It was clear that France was crippled.

Abovementioned amounts are certainly not accurate. Also one should bear in mind that the English and the Dutch generally lend at a much lower interest rate than the French, which of course determines how much of the revenues has to be spent on interest.

Prussia

Prussia had gained recognition as a kingdom, some small territories, and above all a military tradition that would one day turn it into a great power.

Conclusion on decisiveness