Charles II's Foreign Policy 1660-67

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  • The Foreign Policy of Charles II, 1660-67
    • Background
      • Charles was heavily involved in foreign policy
        • He spoke a number of foreign languages and so could speak to other ambassadors directly
          • Often his advisors didn't know what actions he was taking
      • At the time it was hard for monarchs to have a long term foreign policy in Europe
        • Charles' intentions for foreign policy were unclear as he was very secretive
          • He appeared disinterested in commerce
      • In public, Charles agreed to demands for hostility to France, but in private he formed an alliance with them
        • Charles made a number of secret treaties including the Treaty of Dover in 1670
      • The major problem facing foreign policy was power in Europe
        • It was unclear what the right policy should be
          • The Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 between France and Spain signified the decline of Spain when they couldn't pay the dowry for their marriage alliance
            • The Habsburgs were under threat from the Ottoman Empire, 1683
            • There was the War of Spanish Succession
          • A successful foreign policy would require high taxation, a standing army and a navy
    • The Marriage Question, 1660-2
      • The major aims were to gain as much political influence in England and to have an heir to the throne
        • Negotiations with France were unsuccessful, however Charles' sister, Henrietta Anne, married Louis' brother Philippe
        • There was also the option of a Spanish match, however Spain were reluctant to allow England access to the Spanish Empire
        • The final option was a Dutch marriage, but his plans were ruined by demands for money and the renewal of the Navigation Act, 1651
      • There was a marriage treaty with Portugal in June 1661 to marry Catherine of Braganza
        • Portugal had helped with aims and protecting royalists abroad during the civil war
        • England got two territories: Tangier and Bombay
          • They were also given entry to Portuguese colonies for trade
          • Parliament were reluctant to maintain Tangier
        • England received a dowry of £500,000
        • The marriage took place in 1662
      • In return of the Portuguese marriage, England would have to help Portugal in its independence struggle against Spain
        • Independence was achieved in 1668
      • At the time, there was unanimous support for the marriage, especially amongst merchants
    • The Second Dutch War, 1665-7
      • By 1660 the Dutch were seen as England's greatest commercial rivals and this was partly down to a belief called mercantilism
        • Many in Britain were jealous of the United Provinces, especially as they were a smaller nation
        • Charles disliked the Dutch republican government because of the system and because they denied his nephew, William of Orange, the throne
        • Charles was also concerned that the Dutch were  encouraging religious radicals in England
      • The French would be an attractive ally
        • They didn't appear to be a threat to England
        • Charles liked the French court and their system of government
        • Charles was Louis' senior (he felt he could dominate)
        • Support for France could result in gaining territory if the Spanish Empire broke up
        • What clinched the alliance was the emergence of a Franco-Dutch alliance
          • The First Dutch War (under the Rump) failed to resolve disputes between the English and Dutch
            • The East India Company clashed with the Dutch
              • The English had some successes such as the claiming of New Amsterdam in 1664
              • The other Navigation Act (1660) required goods to Britain to be brought in English ships
      • Fellows argues that the English economy was able to compete without resorting to war
        • He argues that war disrupted trade when England seemed to be getting the better of the Dutch
          • He thinks the war was fought for personal and political prestige as well as commercial reasons
      • The Royal African Company's members, including James, pressed for war with the Dutch to disrupt trade with Guinea
      • Many in the English Parliament supported war, including those with commercial interests and ex-cromwellian soldiers
        • Parliament voted £2.5million for the war
      • The war started at sea and most battles were naval
        • There were a few English successes
          • One was led by the Duke of York (James) in which he won a battle off Lowestoft, Suffolk in June 1655
          • They won a battles on St James' Day in June 1666 off the Thames
        • Overall there were more failures
          • France and Denmark entered the war against the English in 1666
          • Four Day's Battle (June 1666) which resulted in 4,000 English deaths and 20 sinking ships
          • The Dutch attacked the English fleet sitting on the Medway in June 1667
            • They took 3 ships and towed two others away, one being the main flagship - the Royal Charles
      • The English hopes to seek peace
        • Factors include the defeat in the Medway, the outbreak of the plague in the summer and autumn in 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 which lasted for about 5 days
          • 70,000 to 100,000 died in London alone because of the plague
            • Charles and his parliament moved to Oxford
          • 16 people died from the fire and 3/5 of the city was destroyed
      • The Declaration of Breda ended the war in 1667
        • It was agreed in the Netherlands after Clarendon ordered English diplomats to sign after the hostility in England to end the war
        • The main terms were..
          • Both sides largely kept their territorial possessions from before and during the war
          • The Dutch consolidated their hold over the East Indies and the English gained New Amsterdam, New Jersey and Delaware
            • In the long run it was beneficial to England, forming part of the British Empire
      • The military defeats affected relations between crown and parliament
        • Clarendon was made a scapegoat
          • He was replaced by a group of men known as the Cabal
            • Their influence ended the strong Anglican domestic policy and the start of amore aggressive foreign policy

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