Anttila, Emilia (ISHA Turku – Finland)
Journal of the XVth Annual ISHA Conference: Trade and Communications, Pula (2004)
Diplomatic correspondence formed one of the most significant ways to communicate in the Early Modern Europe. The princes informed each other about the current political affairs by sending letters directly and indirectly. The direct correspondence was carried out by special messengers, who brought sealed letters to the courts of receiving princes, read them aloud there and travelled back home with responses to the original letters. As can be imagined, this kind of an arrangement was painstakingly slow and demanding. This might be the reason for the fact that the princes gradually started to prefer the indirect correspondence carried out by the representatives of the princes temporarily located to the courts of the other states. These representatives can be seen as the early diplomats or agents of their time.
In my presentation, I will illustrate the diplomatic correspondence that was carried over the English Channel between England and the Dutch Republic in the years 1585-1587. This correspondence is connected to a situation when England formed an alliance with the Low Countries. In 1585, Queen Elizabeth I had appointed her favourite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, as a commander of an expedition to the Low Countries to assist the Dutch Revolt against Spain. However, soon, in 1587, Leicester’s government ended in failure