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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Make repeated attempts to save the fueros


favorable to her, but ambition

was to undo their beneficial effects. One troublesome point in the various peace conferences was the so-called case of the Catalans. It had been generally believed that England in accordance with her earlier treaty with the Catalans would insist on the preservation of the much mooted _fueros_ and that Philip V would make the concession, as had Philip IV before him. Philip V showed himself to be obstinate on this point, for, not once, but several times, he positively refused to yield. Furthermore, the English government, desirous of peace, the prospective advantages of which for England were already clear, repeatedly charged its ambassadors not to hold out for the Catalan _fueros_. Some attempts to secure them were made, but when they failed to overcome the persistent objections of Philip V provision was made for a general amnesty to the Catalans, who were to enjoy the same rights as the inhabitants of Castile. The rights of Castilians, however, together with the duties which were implied, were precisely what the Catalans did not want. The conduct of Charles VI was equally unmoral. He did, indeed, make repeated attempts to save the _fueros_, and declared that he would never abandon the Catalans. Yet he signed a convention withdrawing his troops from Catalonia, and left the people of that land to their fate. The latter were not disposed to yield without a struggle, and sustained a war against Philip V for more than a year. The fall of Barcelona in 1714 put an end to the unequal
conflict.

[Sidenote: The French influence in Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession.]

[Sidenote: Madame des Ursins.]

[Sidenote: Instances of resistance by Philip V to domination by Louis XIV.]

One of the interesting factors of the era of the war was that of the French influence in Spain, which was to have a pronounced effect on the internal development of the country, and, by extension, on that of the colonies. Philip V was seventeen years of age when he ascended the throne, but, though he many times proved his valor in battle, he was in other respects a weak and irresolute character, without striking virtues or defects, fond of hunting, and exceedingly devout,--in fine, of a type such that he was inevitably bound to be led by others. These traits fitted in with the policies of Louis XIV, who fully intended to direct the affairs of Spain in his own interest. He charged Philip V never to forget that he was a Frenchman, and, indeed, with the exceptions presently to be noted, Philip was quite ready to submit to the will of his grandfather. From the first, Louis XIV surrounded the Spanish king with French councillors, some of whom occupied honorary positions only, while others filled important posts in the government of Spain, and still others, notably the French ambassadors and French generals, exercised actual authority without having any official connection with the country. One of


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