Speeches and memoranda by the Spanish and French ambassadors

The character of the Fagel pamphlets changes remarkably during the time that Gaspar Fagel was Grand Pensionary of Holland, in the 1670s and 1680s. The collection resembles what we can call Fagel’s working papers: short, anonymous pamphlets containing official memoranda, speeches, resolutions, and ordinances, passing through Fagel’s hands in the offices of state.

Volume Fag.H.3.44 offers a prime example of this transformation. It contains 97 individual texts, all printed in 1684. These are largely composed of speeches and memoranda by the Spanish and French ambassadors in The Hague, during the War of the Reunions (1683-1684), which saw French forces overrun Spanish possessions in the Low Countries. During this conflict the ambassadors engaged in a new form of persuasion, which has recently been dubbed public diplomacy. This involved taking the diplomat’s task outside the closed circles of influence through a more direct attempt to sway public opinion. This was a new type of pamphlet warfare, mirroring lobbying efforts in the closed offices of state, but appealing beyond this to a broader public. The pamphlet highlighted here is an anonymous response to one of the latest memos of the French ambassador. The “getrouwe Hollander ” (loyal Hollander) urges Dutch support for Spain and accuses the French of stalling negotiations while strengthening their military position in the Southern Netherlands. It captures the essence of a new age of pamphleteering and diplomacy, so carefully laid out in the Fagel collection.

Antwoort van een getrouwe Hollander, op het memoriael, door den heere grave d’Avaux op den 15. may 1684. aen haer ho: mo: ingegeven (S.l., s.n., [1684]), Fag. H.3.44 No.38