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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

These terms were accepted in 1735


treaty was not signed until

1729. One factor in the agreement was the desire of Isabel Farnesio to avenge herself on Charles VI, not only for his failure to join in the recent war, but also to requite his refusal to accept the marriage projects she had proposed. Even when the emperor consented to the attainment in 1731 of Isabel's ambitions for her son concerning the three duchies of northern Italy, she did not put aside her vengeful plans. Charles of Bourbon in fact landed in Italy in that year to take possession of the duchies. A fresh step in the plans of Isabel was the treaty of 1733 with France, often called by analogy with the later treaty of 1761-1762 the "first Family Compact." The opportunity to strike at Austria, which both France and Spain desired, was now at hand, for Austria was in the meshes of a war over the Polish succession. Spain declared war on Austria late in 1733, and in the next year overran Naples and Sicily. In 1734, too, Prince Charles was brought from his duchies to be crowned king of Naples, or the Two Sicilies. Thus had Isabel Farnesio restored the questionably desirable Italian inheritance to Spain, but the duchies were lost. France was ready to make peace in 1735; so she calmly offered Charles VI the three duchies in exchange for a recognition of Spanish Charles as king of the Two Sicilies. Spain protested, but could do nothing more than submit. These terms were accepted in 1735, although peace was not signed until three years later. It is interesting to note that the Catalans
had not yet given up hope of their _fueros_. A body of Catalan patriots visited England in 1736 to ask for the fulfilment of the earlier English promise to maintain the _fueros_, but the British government paid no attention to the petition.

[Sidenote: The War of Jenkins' Ear.]

War was not long in making its reappearance on the Spanish horizon. For a long time there had been various causes of dispute with England, the most important of which arose out of the English contraband trade in the Spanish colonies. The _asiento_ treaty had been used by English merchants as the entering wedge for British commerce, and their violations of the law had met with reprisals at times, especially when English smugglers were caught by the more faithful of the Spanish officials in the colonies. One Englishman, named Jenkins, brought home his ear preserved in alcohol, claiming that the Spaniards had cut it off. Such acts as this, whether of actual occurrence or not, fitted in with English conceptions of Spanish cruelty, and furnished a pretext for war to the rising party of British imperialists, headed by William Pitt. Indemnities were demanded by England and agreed to by Spain, but when the latter put in a counter-claim the British government threatened war, which was soon declared, late in 1739. This conflict, called in English histories the War of Jenkins' Ear, demonstrated that the internal reforms in Spain had not been without effect. The West Indies were the principal field of the struggle, but Spain was able to defend herself,--as witness the successful defence of Cartagena, which Admiral Vernon was so sure he was going to capture that he had commemorative medals struck off in advance. In Europe the most noteworthy events were the Spanish attempts to capture Gibraltar and Port Mah?n, Minorca, both of which ended in failure. France soon came into the war on Spain's side, and the conflict became European when it merged into the great War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748).


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