Letters (1694 - 1700) of FranÇois De CalliÈres to the Marquis D’huxelles

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This is the first publication of seventy-five letters from Francois de Callieres (1645-1717) to Marie de Bailleul, Marquise d'Huxelles (1626-1712) from a manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, ms fr. 24983. Most were sent from Holland, where Callieres has been sent by Louis XIV to negotiate what became the Treaty of Ryswick (1697). Callieres is the author of a seminal work on diplomacy, never out of print since its publication in 1716, "On Negotiating with Princes", and after the signing of the Ryswick peace in 1697, he became the principal secretary to Louis XIV. Intended to divert as well as to inform, the product of an intimate friendship which was also a political alliance, the letters reveal Callieres to have been a moderate and thoughtful man, an admirer of the Dutch Republic and William III, as well as a loyal servant of the Sun King. He sends Huxelles literary and philosophical observations as well as political and diplomatic news, couched in a lively and spontaneous style. This edition breaks new scholarly ground in a number of areas, and suggests that the political influence of Huxelles and her Paris circle was greater than has previously been thought. It contains a preface by Professor William S. Brooks of the University of Bath situating the letters in historical context, as well as an introduction, extensive footnotes, a bibliography and an index in English, with the letters in the original French.


"Francois de Callieres' letters to the marquise d'Huxelles are here published for the first time, accompanied by a substantial introduction and explanatory notes by Laurence Pope. Ambassador Pope has established the text, deciphering and transcribing Callieres' handwriting ... with accuracy and aplomb; and his knowledge of contemporary international issues as well as authors, statesmen, soldiers, and personalities has equipped him to identify virtually the entire corpus of events, people, places, and published works to which the letters allude. Writing with all the understanding of a fellow exponent of the art of diplomacy, Pope discusses the challenges Callieres faced, and the successes and half-successes he enjoyed. His remarkable discovery and judicious use of material both by and relating to Callieres in the Fonds Renaudot, and his profitable work in the French diplomatic archives and in the collection of letters by Mme d'Huxelles held in the John Rylands Library in Machester, England futher illuminate this important edition ... These letters bring Francois de Callieres to life, and his importance will be sealed in the minds of the readers of this groundbreaking edition by the thorough and perceptive account of him, the careful, informative notes, and determined yet fair advocacy of Laurence Pope." - (from the Commendatory Preface) Professor William S. Brooks, University of Bath

"This is an edition of exceptional interest and value. The study of seventeenth-century correspondences is the focus of an increasing amount of scholarly attention, but it is rare to find a largely unpublished sequence which is as rewarding, and enjoyable, to read as this. François de Callières was a figure of considerable importance in French diplomacy; he was also a member of the Académie Française and the author of a number of literary works which, although consciously written in minor genres, are witty, skilful and entertaining. In his letters to Mme d’Huxelles, Callières provides an intimate personal view, from one of those most centrally involved, of the background to the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Ryswick. But in addition to this, the letters are full of the most diverse and fascinating incidental information, and written by a man of considerable literary as well as diplomatic talents. All sustained correspondences develop a personality of their own, and in this case it is a particularly sympathetic and engaging one. The reader’s growing sense of familiarity with both the writer and, by implication, the recipient contributes a great deal to the pleasure of this book. One should add that Mme d’Huxelles is herself, as the editors rightly comment, a most interesting person, and not the least merit of this edition is the attention that it will draw to this influential and still imperfectly-understood woman. One could scarcely imagine a better combination of editorial distinction for these letters than the diplomatic experience of Laurence Pope and the specialised scholarship of William Brooks. The editing is thorough and meticulous, and the work is particularly enriched by the insight, sympathy, and understanding that Laurence Pope brings to his introduction and annotations as a result of his own distinguished career as diplomat and ambassador. His collaborator,William Brooks, has contributed a valuable preface to complement Pope’s substantial introduction, and his own scholarly expertise has also clearly made a substantial contribution throughout to the success of the book. It is extraordinary that such a remarkable sequence of letters has never been published in full before; but all the more welcome that it has now received such an excellent edition." - Dr.Richard Maber, University of Durham

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
To Friendship!
Callieres as negotiator
Callieres and the King
Callieres and the fin de regne
Two Widows: Huxelles and Sevigne
On the letters
Letters of Francois de Callieres to the Marquise d'Huxelles

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