Astonishing set of online resources from Huygens ING for Early Modern History

The thing with this digitizing business, you check in early, there’s nothing there. You forget about it for a year or two and then something prompts you to go back and woah.

INGhist, one of the major Dutch research institution/partnerships, have been busy, and they’ve been smart. They’re putting whole archives up, Old Bailey style, for page-by-page browsing, machine searching, because the whole thing is OCR’d, and pdf dowload (!) of massive scan files.

Of chief interest to me is Stapel’s 1932 edition of Pieter Van Dam’s 1700 magnum opus, Description of the Dutch East India Company (4 vols, but really 7: a state-of-the-company statement for the use of the directors when it was at the height of its power) and the General Missives from the governors-general in the Indies to the Ruling council of the VOC or 17 Gentlemen. But there’s loads more: 17th century Italian sources on the Netherlands, the collected papers of individual East India factories, Pieter Van Os’s “History of The Hague from Adam to 1523“, letters and diaries by folks like Hugo Grotius and this little titbit: the collected papers of two English ambassadors to the Hague at the time Charles II suddenly cozied up to France. Here, I’ll let the original editor explain –

On March 28, 1681, Charles II dissolved, at Oxford, his fifth and last Parliament. This event marked the end of his policy of opposition to France and of his attempts to secure supplies from Parliament. He now turned to the easier, if less honourable, method of securing from Louis XIV the money which was needed to meet the expenses of his government and concluded verbally with Barillon the secret treaty of 1 April 1681 n. s.

This secret change in England’s foreign policy made necessary certain substitutions in the diplomatic service and an alteration in the course of diplomatic negotiations 2). Great care was taken, however, that the secret should not be let out by too sudden a break with the old policy. One by one, during the following year, the English envoys, who in certain Courts of Europe had worked zealously to checkmate the designs of
Louis XIV, ware recalled. Their places were either held vacant or filled by men who, though not cognizant of the strict alliance between their master and the French king, would nevertheless work zealously for the personal interests of Charles II and the Duke of York and would, without question, do their bidding.


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