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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote Continuance of England's affronts to Spain


Causes of Charles III's policy of opposition to England.]

Many writers have ascribed Charles III's policy of opposition to England to his hatred of that country, growing out of certain humiliations forced upon him by an English fleet while he was king in Naples. There is no reason to believe, however, that this feeling, if indeed it did exist in unusual degree, dominated his political action, and in fact Charles was always a partisan of peace; far from plunging into war he had rather to be convinced of its necessity. There were reasons in plenty to induce him to such a course, irrespective of any personal spite he might have felt. Prior to the reign of Charles, Spain had already engaged in four wars with England (1702-1713, 1718-1720, 1727-1729, 1739-1748) in the course of half a century, and at no time in the Bourbon era had the two countries been on nearly cordial terms. The gist of the trouble lay in the British ambition to possess the greatest colonial empire and the richest commerce in the world. For the realization of these aims it seemed necessary to destroy the colonial importance of France and Spain, and any advances in wealth or military power on the part of either of those countries was regarded as detrimental to the imperialistic designs of England. With respect to Spain, British contraband trade in the Americas under the cover of the _asiento_ treaty had tended to break down the Spanish commercial monopoly, and the annulment of the

_asiento_ had not put an end to the smuggling. While no territories in the Americas had been wrested from Spain under the Bourbons, the previous century had recorded many conquests by England in the Caribbean area, principal of which was that of Jamaica, and along the Atlantic coast strip of North America, the southern part of which had been not only claimed but also occupied by Spain in earlier days. Meanwhile, the losses of France and the aggressive character of English foreign policy under Pitt made it appear that Spain might expect to be deprived of her colonies whenever the opportunity to secure them should seem ripe to England.

[Sidenote: Continuance of England's affronts to Spain.]

[Sidenote: The Family Compact and Spain's entry into the Seven Years' War.]

From the outset of the reign of Charles III there occurred many incidents to heighten Spain's suspicion or anger with respect to England. The exigencies of the war with France led the English to adopt many arbitrary measures against the as yet neutral power of Spain. English vessels stopped Spanish ships on the high seas, claiming a right of search, and seized many of them, often without justification in international law; the English government occupied a bit of Spanish territory, and did not abandon it with a good grace; and there were instances when Spanish merchants in England were treated badly. Meanwhile, British acts of aggression and smuggling in the Americas continued to take place; the English placed difficulties in the way of Spanish fishing off the coast of Newfoundland, though beyond the territorial waters of the British domain; they founded establishments in Honduras without authorization from Spain, and began to cut the valuable dyewoods there; and Gibraltar and Minorca still remained in English hands, a standing affront to Spanish pride and a danger to the peninsula. Nevertheless, the

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