1729 - The Treaty of Seville - The 600 toises
The Treaty of Seville officially put an end to what was known as the Anglo-Spanish War but which was more or less confined to a five month skirmish almost entirely restricted to the area around Gibraltar and Porto Bello in Panama. In a sense it was an attempt to tie up the loose ends resulting from Spain's failed attempt to recover Gibraltar during the Thirteenth Siege in 1727 and Britain's also unsuccessful attempt to blockade Porto Bello, an event not given too much air-space in British histories. They lost upwards of 4000 men.
The 13th Siege of Gibraltar ( 1727 Unknown )
The final draft - which ran to 16 articles - confirmed that Britain would retain control of Gibraltar and Menorca. In return, Britain supported the claim of Isabella Farnese, the Queen of Spain, to the Duchy of Parma.
A copy of the text of the entire treaty is shown at the end of this article for those few who might be inclined to read it. However, if they are searching for any references to Gibraltar, they will be disappointed. The treaty does not mention Gibraltar by name, nor are there any secret protocols that do so either. The only rather indirect reference is in Article 1:
. . . there shall . . . be an oblivion of all that is past; and all the former treaties and conventions of peace, of friendship, and of commerce, concluded between the contracting Powers respectively, shall be, as they hereby are, effectually renewed and confirmed, in all those points which are not derogated from by the present treaty, in as full and ample a manner as if the said treaties were here inserted word for word . . .
It meant that the British kept Gibraltar and Mahon but no change to the Treaty of Utrecht. ( see LINK )
The 600 Toises
Two years before the signing, however, an event occurred that has often been erroneously interpreted as a concession by Spain as regards to British sovereignty over part of the so called Neutral Ground. In 1727 just after the ceasefire, the Spaniards started building fortifications on the Mediterranean side of the isthmus about 800 meters from Devil's Tower.
Roughly the area where the Spaniards began building fortifications facing the Mediterranean in 1727. The official excuse was that it was a necessary precaution against smuggling. ( Mid 19th century - Gustave Doré ) (See LINK)
Lord Portmore, the Governor of Gibraltar at the time, protested but the Spaniards insisted that under the Treaty of Utrecht they were entitled to do whatever they wanted on the isthmus. Several months later the British complained again that Spanish troops were still occupying the Devil's Tower and the Torre del Molino. The Spanish response was similar to the previous one - they had every right to be there under the Treaty of Utrecht.
However, as a gesture of goodwill the King of Spain issued a Royal Ordinance which ordered his troops to retire to a line 600 toises - about a thousand meters - from the base of the Rock. But he made it very clear that he was not surrendering his sovereignty over the isthmus. That, he said, was something that would be impossible for him to do.
In other words there was no Spanish concession as regards the isthmus. In the final analysis the continuation of the Assiento slave contracts - in which Britain would obtain some sort of monopoly in supplying Spain's American possession with slaves - were probably of far more importance to everybody concerned. From Gibraltar's point of view, the Treaty of Seville was something of a waste of time.
Modern map of Gibraltar showing a Spanish perspective as regards the meaning of the Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Peace, Union, Friendship, and mutual Defence, between the Crowns of Great Britain, France, and Spain, concluded at Seville on the 9th of November 1729.
In the Name of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three distinct Persons, and one only true God. THEIR most Serene Majesties the King of Great Britain, the most Christian King, and the Catholic King, desiring, with equal earnestness, not only to renew and bind more closely their ancient friendship, but likewise to remove whatever might hereafter disturb it, to the end that being united in sentiments and inclination, they may for the future act in everything as having but one and the same view and interest; and for this purpose, the most Serene King of Great Britain having given full power for treating in his name to M. William Stanhope, vice –chamberlain of his Britannic Majesty's houshold, one of his privy-council, member of the parliament of Great Britain, colonel of a regiment of dragoons, and his said Majesty's ambassador extraordinary to his Catholic Majesty; as also to M. Benjamin Keene, his said Britannic Majesty's minister plenipotentiary to his Catholic Majesty: the most Serene most Christian King having given full power for treating in his name to the Marquis de Brancas, lieutenant-general of his armies, knight of his orders, and of that of the Golden Fleece, his lieutenant-general in the government of Provence, and his ambassador extraordinary to his Catholic Majesty: and the most Serene Catholic King having likewise given full power for treating in his name to M. John Baptist D'Orendayn Marquis de la Paz, his counsellor of state and first secretary of state and of the dispatches; and to M. Joseph Patino, commander of Alcuesca in the Order of St. James, governor of the council of the treasury, and of the tribunals depending thereon, superintendant general of the general revenues, and his secretary of state and of the dispatches for affairs of the marine, the Indies, and the treasury: the above-mentioned ministers have agreed between them on the following articles.
There shall be from this time and for ever a solid peace, a strict union, and a sincere and constant friendship, between the most Serene King of Great Britain, the most Serene most Christian King, and the most Serene King of Spain, their heirs and successors, as also between their kingdoms and subjects, for the mutual assistance and defence of their dominions and interests; there shall likewise be an oblivion of all that is past; and all the former treaties and conventions of peace, of friendship, and of commerce, concluded between the contracting Powers respectively, shall be, as they hereby are, effectually renewed and confirmed, in all those points which are not derogated from by the present treaty, in as full and ample a manner as if the said treaties were here inserted word for word, their said Majesties promising not to do any thing, nor suffer any thing to be done, that may be contrary thereto, directly or indirectly.
In consequence of which treaties, and in order to establish firmly this union and correspondence, their Britannic, most Christian, and Catholic Majesties promise and engage, by the present defensive treaty of alliance, to guaranty reciprocally their kingdoms, states, and dominions under their obedience, in what parts of the world soever situate, as also the rights and privileges of their commerce, the whole according to the treaties; so that the said Powers, or any one of them, being attacked or molested by any Power, and under any pretext whatever, they promise and oblige themselves reciprocally to employ their offices, as soon as they shall be thereto required, for obtaining satisfaction to the party injured, and for hindering the continuance of hostilities; and if it happen that the said offices be not sufficient for procuring satisfaction without delay, their said Majesties promise to furnish the following succours, jointly or separately, that is to say, his Britannic Majesty, eight thousand foot and four thousand horse; his most Christian Majesty, eight thousand foot and four thousand horse; and his Catholic Majesty, eight thousand foot and four thousand horse: if the party attacked, instead of troops, should demand ships of war or transports, or even subsidies in money, he shall be free to choose, and the other parties shall furnish the laid ships or money, in proportion to the expence of troops; and, for taking away all doubt touching the valuation of the succours, their abovesaid Majesties agree, that a thousand foot shall be computed at ten thousand florins Dutch money, and a thousand horse at thirty thousand florins Dutch money, by the month; and the same proportion shall be observed with respect to the ships that ought to be furnished; their said Majesties promising to continue and keep up the said succours as long as the trouble shall subsist; and in case it should be found necessary, their laid Majesties shall mutually succour each other with all their forces, and shall even declare war against the aggressor.
The ministers of his Britannic Majesty and of his most Christian Majesty, having alledged that in the treaties concluded at Vienna between the Emperor and the King of Spain, in the year one thousand seven hundred twenty-five, there were divers clauses that infringed the articles of the several treaties of commerce, or of the treaties of peace in which commerce may be concerned, antecedent to the year one thousand seven hundred twenty-five; his Catholic Majesty has declared, as he declares by the present article, that he never meant to grant, nor will suffer to subsist by virtue of the said treaties of Vienna, any privilege contrary to the treaties here above confirmed.
It having been agreed by the preliminary articles, that the commerce of the English and French nations, as well in Europe as in the Indies, should be re-established on the foot of the treaties and conventions antecedent to the year one thousand seven hundred twenty-five, and particularly that the commerce of the English nation in America should be exercised as heretofore; it is agreed by the present article, that all necessary orders shall be dispatched on both fides, without any delay, if they have not been sent already, as well for the execution of the said treaties of commerce, as for supplying what may be wanting for the entire re-establishment of commerce on the foot of the said treaties, and conventions.
Although it was stipulated by the preliminaries that all hostilities should cease on both fides, and that if any trouble or hostilities should happen between the subjects of the contracting Powers, either in Europe, of in the Indies, the contracting powers should concur for the reparation of damages sustained by their respective subjects; and notwithstanding this it is alledged, that on the part of the subjects of his Catholic Majesty acts of disturbance and hostilities have been continued; it is agreed by this present article, that as to what relates to Europe, his Catholic Majesty shall forthwith cause reparation to be made for the damages which have been suffered there since the time prescribed by the preliminaries for the cessation of hostilities; and as to what relates to America, he will likewise forthwith cause reparation to be made for the damages which shall have been suffered there since the arrival of his orders at Cartagena on the 22 day of June one thousand seven hundred twenty-eight. And his said Catholic Majesty shall publish the most rigorous prohibitions for preventing the like violences on the part of his subjects; their Britannic and most Christian Majesties promising on their part, if there be like cases, to cause reparation to be made for what shall have been so done, and to give like orders for the preservation of the peace, tranquillity, and good intelligence.
Commissaries shall be nominated, with sufficient powers, on the part of their Britannic and Catholic Majesties, who shall assemble at the court of Spain within the space of four months after the exchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, or sooner if it can be done, to examine and decide what concerns the ships and effects taken at sea on either side to the times specified in the preceding article. The said commissaries shall likewise examine, and decide, according to the treaties, the respective pretensions which relate to the abuses that are supposed to have been committed in commerce, as well in the Indies as in Europe, and all the other respective pretensions in America, founded on treaties, whether with respect to the limits or otherwise. The said commissaries shall likewise discuss and decide the pretensions which his Catholic Majesty may have, by virtue of the treaty of one thousand seven hundred twenty-one, for the restitution of the ships taken by the English fleet in the year one thousand seven hundred eighteen. And the said commissaries, after having examined, discussed, and decided the abovesaid points and pretensions, shall make a report of their proceedings to their Britannic and Catholic Majesties, who promise that within the space of six months after the making of the said report, they will cause to be executed punctually and exactly what shall have been so decided by the said commissaries.
Commissaries shall likewise be nominated on the part of his most Christian Majesty, and of his Catholic Majesty, who shall examine all grievances generally whatsoever, which the said parties therein interested may form respectively, whether for the restitution of vessels seized or taken, or with, respect to commerce, limits, or otherwise.
The said commissaries shall finish punctually their commission within the space of three years, or sooner if it can be done, to be computed from the day of the signing of the present treaty, and this without any further delay, on any motive or pretext whatever.
The introducing of garrisons into the places of Leghorn, Porto-ferraio, Parma, and Placentia, to the number of fix thousand men of his Catholic Majesty's troops, and in his pay, shall be effectuated without lots of time; which troops shall serve for the better securing and preserving of the immediate succession of the said states in favour of the most Serene Infante Don Carlos, and to be ready to withstand any enterprize and opposition which might be formed to the prejudice of what has been regulated touching the said succession.
The contracting Powers shall forthwith use all the applications which they shall judge to be consistent with the dignity and quiet of the most Serene Great Duke of Tuscany, and the Duke of Parma, to the end the garrisons may be received with the greatest tranquillity, and without opposition, as soon as they shall present themselves before the places into which they are to be introduced. The said garrisons shall take an oath to the present possessors to defend their persons, sovereignty, possessions and states, and subjects, in every thing that shall not be contrary to the right of succession reserved to the most Serene Infante Don Carlos; and the present possessors shall not demand or exact any thing that is contrary thereto. The said garrisons shall not meddle, directly or indirectly, under any pretext whatsoever, in affairs of the political, economical, or civil government; and shall have most express orders to render to the most Serene Great Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Parma, all the respects and military honours that are due to sovereigns in their own dominions.
The intent of introducing the said six thousand men of his Catholic Majesty's troops, and in his pay, being to secure to the most Serene Infante Don Carlos the immediate succession of the States of Tuscany, Parma, and Placentia, his Catholic Majesty promises, as well for himself as his successors, that as soon as the most Serene Infante Don Carlos, his son, or such other who shall succeed to his rights, shall be the quiet possessor of those states, and in safety from all invasion and other just grounds of fear, he will cause to be withdrawn from the places in those states the troops which shall be his own, and not belonging to the Infante Don Carlos, or to him who shall succeed to his rights, in such manner that thereby the said succession or possession may rest secure and exempt from all events.
The contracting Powers engage to establish, according to the rights of succession which have been stipulated, and to maintain the most Serene Infante Don Carlos, or him to whom his rights shall devolve, in the possession and enjoyment of the States of Tuscany, Parma, and Piacentia, when he shall once be settled there; to defend him from all insult, against any Power whatsoever, that might intend to disturb him; declaring themselves by this treaty, guarantees for ever of the right, possession, tranquillity, and quiet of the most Serene lnfante, and of his successors, to the said states.
As to other particulars or regulations concerning the keeping up of the said garrisons once established in the states of Tuscany, Parma, and Placentia, as it is to be presumed that his Catholic Majesty and the most Serene Great Duke, and Duke of Parma, will settle the same by an agreement between themselves, their Britannic and most Christian Majesties promise, that as soon as that agreement shall be made, they will ratify and guaranty it, as well to his Catholic Majesty, as to the most Serene Great Duke and Duke of Parma, as if it were inserted word for word in the present treaty.
The States General of the United Provinces shall be invited to come into the present treaty and articles. Such other Powers as shall be agreed on, shall likewise be invited and admitted by concert into the same treaty and articles.
The ratifications of the present treaty shall be dispatched within the space of six weeks, or sooner, if it can be done, to be reckoned from the day of signing it.
In witness whereof, we the underwritten ministers plenipotentiaries of his Britannic Majesty, of his most Christian Majesty, and of his Catholic Majesty, by virtue of our full powers, which have been communicated to each other, transcripts of which shall be hereto annexed, have signed the present treaty, and caused the seals of our arms to be affixed thereto. Done at Seville, the ninth day of November, one thousand seven hundred twenty-nine.
El Marq. de la Paz.
D. Joseph Patino.
SEPARATE ARTICLE I.
ALTHOUGH, conformably to the preliminary articles, it is said in the fourth article of the treaty signed this day, that the commerce of the English nation in America should be re-established on the foot of the treaties and conventions antecedent to the year one thousand seven hundred twenty-five; however, for the greater exactness, it is further declared by the present article, between their Britannic and Catholic Majesties, which shall have the same force, and be under the same guaranty as the treaty signed this day, that under that general denomination are comprehended the treaties of peace and of commerce, concluded at Utrecht the thirteenth of July and ninth of December, in the year one- thousand seven hundred thirteen, in which are comprized the treaty of one thousand six hundred sixty-seven, made at Madrid, and the cedulas therein mentioned; the latter treaty made at Madrid the fourteenth of December, one thousand seven hundred fifteen; as also the particular contract, commonly called the Assiento, for bringing negro slaves into the Spanish Indies, which was made the twenty-sixth day of March, in the said year one thousand seven hundred thirteen, in consequence of the twelfth article of the treaty of Utrecht; and likewise the treaty of declaration, touching that of the Assiento, made the twenty-sixth of May, one thousand seven hundred sixteen: all which treaties mentioned in this article, with their declarations, shall from this day (even during the examination by the commissaries) be and remain in their force, virtue, and full vigour; for the observation of which his Catholic Majesty shall cause to be dispatched forthwith, if they have not been dispatched, the necessary orders and cedulas to his viceroys, governors, and other ministers, to whom it shall appertain, as well in Europe as in the Indies, to the end that without any delay or interruption they may cause them to be observed and fulfilled. In like manner his Britannic Majesty promises and engages to publish the necessary orders, if any be wanting, for re-establishing the commerce of the subjects of Spain in all the countries under his dominion, on the foot specified by the said treaties, and for causing them to be exactly observed and fulfilled.
SEPARATE ARTICLE II.
Consequently, all ships, merchandize, and effects, which shall not have been taken or seized on account of unlawful commerce, and which shall now be proved, by authentic proofs and documents, to have been detained, seized, or confiscated in the ports of Spain, either in Europe or in the Indies, and namely the ship Prince Frederick and her cargo, if they have not been restored already, shall be immediately restored, in the same kind, as to those things were in, if the same shall be found still remaining in their former condition; or in default thereof, the just and true value of them, according to their valuation, which, if it was not made at the time, shall be regulated by the authentic informations which the proprietors shall exhibit to the magistrates of the places and towns where the seizures were made: his Britannic Majesty promising the like on his part, as to all seizures, confiscations, or detentions, which may have been made contrary to the tenor of the said treaties: their said Britannic and Catholic Majesties agreeing, that with respect to the like seizures, confiscations, or detentions on either fide, the validity of which may not yet have been sufficiently made out, the discussion and decision of them shall be referred to the examination of the commissaries, to do therein according to right, upon the foot of the treaties here above-mentioned.
The present separate articles shall have the same force as if they were inserted word for word in the treaty, concluded and signed this day. They shall be ratified in the same manner, and the ratifications of them shall be exchanged at the same time as those of the said treaty.
In witness whereof we the underwritten ministers plenipotentiaries of his Britannic Majesty, of his most Christian Majesty, and of his Catholic Majesty, by virtue of our full powers, have signed the present separate articles, and caused the seals of our arms to be put thereto. Done at Seville, the ninth day of November, one thousand seven hundred twenty-nine.
El Marq. de la Paz.
D. Joseph Patino.