QUEEN ANNE INSTRUCTS THE DUKE OF ARGYLE
UPON HIS APPOINTMENT AS HER NEW AMBASSADOR TO THE SPANISH COURT ~~ A REMARKABLE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNICATION
ANNE, QUEEN. (1665-1714). Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Superb and Important Manuscript Document Signed, “Anne R”, and also “A. R.”, as Queen. Nine very full pages, folio. The “Court at St. James’s, February 20, 1710”. To “John, Duke of Argyle, Our Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the King of Spain”. This remarkable document contains Anne’s instructions to her cousin, the Duke of Argyle, upon his appointment as Ambassador, and it provides fascinating insight into the politics of the time. Anne directs him to:
“…As soon as You have received Our Letters of Credence and these Our Instructions, You shall with all Expedition pass to Catalonia or whatever other Place You are informed the King of Spain is at, and being arrived at his Court You shall notify the same to His Majesty and desire Him to grant You an Audience, at which you shall deliver to Him Your Credentials, accompanying them with assurances of Our Friendship, and resolution to assist him, as far as in Us lies in the prosecution of the present War, for the recovery of his just Rights and Dominions. You shall in the next place desire an audience of the Queen at which You shall deliver to Her Our Letter, and assure Her in Our Name of Our reall Friendship and Esteem. You shall be very carefull that nothing be done prejudicial to the interest of Trade of any of the Kingdoms Countrys or People under Our Obedience and if any thing of that kind happen. You shall presently endeavour to have it remedyed and upon deniall of Justice and due Satisfaction, You shall represent the same to Us and shall protect and countenance on all occasions Our Subjects trading to any of the Dominions of that Crown in Europe or America, or who may have any suits or just pretentious depending there procuring for them speedy Justice, and all the favour and Priviledges You are able. Yet for Our Honour and your own You must be cautious to engage yourself in such cases only as deserve the interposition of Our Name, and where the Complaint is justify ed by sufficient Proofs. Whereas We have thought fit to employ You in a Military as well as Civill Capacity, We hereby grant You full liberty to remove from the Court to the Camp, and to return again from the Camp to the Court, as You shall judge most conducive to the service of Us and of Our Allys. Whereas We have appointed You to commander in chief all and singular Our Troops and Forces, which We have or shall have in Spain, for the better government of them You are to prepare and publish such Rules “and Ordinances as are fitt to be observed by all Officers and Soldiers under your command, as also to punish all offenders and Transgressors against the same by Death or otherwise according to the nature of their Offences, as they shall appear upon Tryall before a Court Martial which You are to assemble as often as you shall see occasion, pursuant to the directions of a late Act of Parliament for punishing mutiny and desertion, and according to their judgment You are to cause sentence to be pronounced against the Person or Persons so offending either of Pains of Death or such other Pains and Penaltys as shall be though fitt to be inflicted by the said Court Martial, which sentence or sentences You are to cause to be put in execution or to suspend the same as in your discretion You shall see cause; and You may pardon or repreive any Person under any sentence till our Pleasure be known. And for execution of Justice in Our said Army, You may appoint a Provost Martial, to use and exercise that Office as it is usually practiced in the Law Martiall. And whereas We have appointed a Judge Advocate to attend the said Court Martial, for the more orderly proceedings of the same. You may in case of Death, Sickness, or necessary absence of the said Judge Advocate, depute another Person, such as in Your discretion You shall think fit to execute the said Office; and You are to cause the exact numbers of the effective Men in every Regiment, Troop, and Company which Her Majesty pays whether Brittish or other, to be taken at the beginning and close of every Campaign, whereof You shall only transmit to Us faithfull and attested Rolls, and to Our Treasury, Pay, and War Office. Since, We and Our People, have been at so vast an expence in maintaining a long and distant War, for the reduction of Spain and its dependancys to the Obedience of King Charles-the third, it seems highly reasonable and just that some Places should remain in Our Possession till We are reimbursed the same or otherwise considered, and in regard the Castle, Town, and Port of Mahon have been seized by Our Forces, We hereby command you to give strict charge to Our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or other Commander in cheif for the time being, not to admit under any pretence whatsoever into the said Castle, Mahon or any Fortification thereunto belonging, any other Troops or Forces than what are directly in Our Service, and not in the Service or Pay of any other Prince, Potentate, or State whatsoever, and You shall transmit to Us an exact account of the present condition of the Fortifications and Stores and what may be further necessary for the security of that Place. You shall diligently observe the motions and inclinations of the Court and the Ministers, and such of the Spanish Nation, as are about the King or intrusted by Him, and particularly to all that relates to carrying on the War, an the Views they may have in bringing the Kingdom to a settlement, and what measures they are taking with other Princes and their Ministers for that end, and endeavour to penetrate into their Councils and designs, whether they relate to the publick affairs now on foot in Europe, or the separate interest of particular Nations. As there is great reason to believe that a General Pardon would have a very good effect upon the Spirits of the People and be the most probable means of bringing them back to the Allegiance of their lawfull Sovereign, You will endeavour to prevail with his Catholick Majesty to grant an amnesty in more full and comprehensive Terms than he has hitherto done. We having already given directions for declaring Gibraltar a free Port and being informed that it has been done, but that it has not yet had the desired effect by reason that some Dutys and impositions have been since laid on Goods, and Merchandizes to the discouragement of those that have traded there. It is Our express command that You acquaint the Governor of Commander in Chief of that Garrison, that it is Our pleasure he take effectuall care that no Dutys or Impositions be laid or exacted for the future, and that he certify one of Our Principal Secretarys of State of all that he shall do relating to this matter. You shall take particular care that the Immunitys and Priviledges of Our Consuls who are or shall be established in the respective Ports of the King of Spain’s Dominions be preserved entire, and if at any time they happen to be violated. You shall interpose in Our name and employ all your credit at that Court to get them restored. If any matter of dispute happen to arise upon the Treaty concluded by the mediation of Our late Royall Uncle King Charles the second between Spain and Portugal, or any doubt upon the interpretation of any article thereof. You shall in Our Name interpose all good Offices for Preventing any differences or Jealousys that may arise between the two Crowns in pursuance of the obligation which lyes upon us, by Our said Royal Unckle’s Ratification and Guaranty of the said Treaty. You shall correspond with Our Ambassadors and Ministers employed abroad in other Courts for your better direction and Information, and also entertain a good Correspondence and intercourse with all the Ambassadors, Residents and Agents of Princes and States in Amity with Us, and particularly with the Ambassadors and Minister of the States General of the United Provinces, with whom You are freely to communicate in all things relating to the Publick affairs of Christendom. At Your return from thence We shall expect from You a perfect and ample Narrative of what shall have happened in the Court during your Ministry there with a particular account of the abilitys and affections of the Ministers, their Interests, mutuall Correspondence and Differences one with another, their dispositions to War or Peace, their inclination to Forreign Princes or States, together with all such observations, as You shall have been able to make which may contribute to inform Us of the State of that Government. And You are to use your utmost diligence to obtaiii the best advices You can of the Naval preparations the French shall make from time to time in their Port in the Mediterranean, and give the speediest account You can thereof to one of Our Principal Secretarys of State. You shall from time to time observe and follow such further directions and Instructions as You shall receive from One of Our Principal Secretarys of State with whom You shall constantly correspond. A. R.”
A remarkable diplomatic communication between Anne and her ambassador, the quality and importance of which is seldom seen on the autographic market. Excellent condition.