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Political Pamphleteer

The Spanish Succession

Two Great Questions Consider'd Title Page
The Two Great Questions Consider'd. I. What the French King will do, with Respect to the Spanish Monarchy. II. What Measures the English Ought to Take. London, Printed in the Year, 1700.

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When King Charles II of Spain died in 1700, he had no heir. Instead he bequeathed his territory to the duc d’Anjou, with the stipulation that he could not hold the thrones of both France and Spain at the same time. Because of competing claims from the Hapsburgs in Austria and fears of a united France and Spain, however, war broke out. In this pamphlet, Defoe argues that it is “egregious nonsense” to think that the rulers of Europe would acquiesce to the Spanish king’s choice of an heir--an untitled man from another nation. He also argues that there must be a balance of power in Europe, for “A just Balance of Power is the Life of Peace.” If it requires war to gain that balance, so be it.

This copy has many hand-written annotations, comments and manicula in the margins. The writer seems to be in agreement with Defoe’s arguments, and perhaps even more cynical.


Danger of the Protestant Religion Title Page
The Danger of the Protestant Religion Consider’d, from the Present Prospect of a Religious War in Europe. London: Printed in the Year 1701.

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Published shortly after Two Great Questions Consider'd. His fear is that the Spanish succession will threaten the Protestant religion on the continent. He gives a brief history of Protestants in Europe and ends by urging England to assist her Protestant neighbors, if not with troops, then at least with money.

This copy also has marginal notes written in throughout the text.


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