On This Day
1624 – Signing of the Treaty of Compiègne between France and the Netherlands.
The Treaty of Compiègne of 10 June 1624 was a peace treaty between France and the Netherlands. It allowed France to subsidize the Dutch war effort against Spain in the Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) after the end of the Twelve Years’ Truce. France offered an immediate loan of 480,000 thalers, to be followed by more instalments over a period of three years in which the Dutch would continue the fight against Spain. This move was part of the general effort of France to undermine the Habsburg Empire. It led to the revival of a Franco-Dutch alliance which had been enfeebled since the execution of Oldenbarnevelt in 1619.
This treaty permitted to France to pursue this opposition through indirect means, much as the Treaty of Bärwalde in 1631 between France and Sweden would finance Sweden’s war effort in Germany. The treaty was masterminded by Richelieu in order to prevent a Habsburg revival.
Through the treaty, the Dutch requested financial help in their fight against Spain, in exchange for naval support to France. In particular the foundation of a French West India Company was suggested, that could receive the support of the Dutch West India Company in opposition to Spain. A definite agreement on cooperation on the high seas was not found however, but it was agreed that France would provide a loan to be repaid once the Netherlands had a truce or peace with Spain, and that if the French king was to go to war the Dutch should return half of the money to him or help him with men and ships. The Dutch also agreed to intervene in the Western Mediterranean against pirates based in the Barbary States, and to generally support French shipping there.
Under the terms of this treaty, the Dutch had to supply a fleet of 20 warships for the French king’s fight against the Protestants in the Capture of Ré island, thereby infamously providing military support against their coreligionaries. The fleet was under the command of Admiral Willem Haultain de Zoete. It was withdrawn from French service in February 1626 after a resolution of the States-General in December 1625.
With the Treaty of Compiègne, Richelieu also got the Dutch to stop fighting the French in East Asia, thereby facilitating French commercial ventures.
Born On This Day
1854 – Sarah Grand, Irish feminist writer (d. 1943)
Sarah Grand (10 June 1854 – 12 May 1943) was an Irish feminist writer active from 1873 to 1922. Her work revolved around the New Woman ideal.
Early life and influences
Sarah Grand was born Frances Elizabeth Bellenden Clarke in Rosebank House, Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland of English parents. Her father was Edward John Bellenden Clarke (1813–1862) and her mother was Margaret Bell Sherwood (1813–1874). When her father died, her mother took her and her siblings back to Bridlington, England to be near her family who lived at Rysome Garth near Holmpton in East Yorkshire.
Grand’s education was very sporadic, yet she managed with perseverance to make a career for herself as an activist and writer, drawing on her travels and life experiences.
In 1868 Grand was sent to the Royal Naval School, Twickenham, but was soon expelled for organizing groups that supported Josephine Butler’s protests against the Contagious Diseases Act, which persecuted prostitutes as infected women, as the sole cause of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, subjecting them to indignities such as inspection of their genitals and enclosure in locked hospital wards.
Grand was then sent to a finishing school in Kensington, London. In August 1870, at the age of sixteen, she married widowed Army surgeon David Chambers McFall, who was 23 years her senior and had two sons from his previous marriage: Chambers Haldane Cooke McFall and Albert William Crawford McFall. Grand and McFall’s only child, David Archibald Edward McFall, was born in Sandgate, Kent, on 7 October 1871. He became an actor and took the name Archie Carlaw Grand.
From 1873 to 1878 the family travelled in the Far East, providing Grand with more material for her fiction. In 1879 they moved to Norwich, and in 1881 to Warrington, Lancashire where her husband retired.
Upon returning to England, she and her husband became sexually estranged by her husband’s bizarre sexual appetites. Grand felt constrained by her marriage. She turned to writing, but her first novel, Ideala, self-published in 1888, enjoyed limited success and some negative reviews. Nevertheless, she trusted in her new career to support her in her decision to leave her husband in 1890 and move to London. Recently enacted laws that allowed women to retain their personal property after marriage were an encouraging factor in her decision.
She used her experience of suffocation in marriage and the joy of consequent liberation in her fictional depictions of pre-suffrage women with few political rights and options, trapped in oppressive marriages. Later works would have a more sympathetic stance to males, such as Babs the Impossible in which the single noble women would feel resurgence in their worth encouraged by an idealistic self-made man.
Through her husband’s work as an army surgeon, Grand learned of the anatomical physiology of the nature of sexually transmitted diseases. She used this knowledge in her 1893 novel The Heavenly Twins, warning of the dangers of syphilis, advocating sensitivity rather than condemnation for the young women infected with this disease.
Rebirth as Sarah Grand and her later life and death
Clarke renamed herself Sarah Grand in 1893 with the publication by Heinemann of her novel The Heavenly Twins. This feminine pen name represented the archetype of the “New Woman” developed by her and her female colleagues. Grand established the phrase “New Woman” in a debate with Ouida in 1894.
She lived briefly in London, then, after her husband’s sudden death in February 1898, moved to Tunbridge Wells, Kent (Royal Tunbridge Wells), during which time she took an active part in the local women’s suffrage societies, as well as travelling extensively, particularly to the United States on a lecture tour in the wake of the notoriety of her novel The Heavenly Twins. Although it gained her mixed and often angry criticism, her work was well received by notable authors as George Bernard Shaw. In 1920 she moved to Crowe Hall at Widcombe in Bath, Somerset where she served from 1922 to 1929 as Lady Mayoress alongside Mayor Cedric Chivers. When her home was bombed in 1942, Grand was persuaded to move to Calne in Wiltshire, where she died the following year on 12 May 1943, a month before her 89th birthday. She is buried in Lansdown Cemetery, Bath, Somerset, alongside her sister, Nellie. Her son Archie outlived her by only a year, dying in a London air raid in 1944.
Her work dealt with the New Woman in fiction and also in fact; Grand wrote treatises on the subject of the failure of marriage, and her novels may be considered anti-marriage polemics. Grand holds out the hope of marriage as the holiest and perfect state of union between a man and woman, but deplores the inequality and disadvantages intended to keep young women ignorant, and insists that women should rebel against entrapment in a loveless marriage.
The New Woman novel was a development of the late 19th century. New Woman novelists and characters encouraged and supported several types of political action in Britain. For some women, the New Woman movement provided support for women who wanted to work and learn for themselves, and who started to question the idea of marriage and the inequality of women. For other women, especially Sarah Grand, the New Woman movement allowed women to speak out not only about the inequality of women, but about middle-class women’s responsibilities to the nation. In The Heavenly Twins Grand demonstrates the dangers of the moral double standard which overlooked men’s promiscuity while punishing women for the same acts. More importantly, however, Grand argues in The Heavenly Twins that in order for the British nation to grow stronger, middle-class women must choose mates with whom they might produce strong, well-educated children.
The Berg Collection of the New York Public Library keeps Mark Twain’s copy of The Heavenly Twins. Twain filled the margins of the book with increasingly critical comments, writing after one chapter, “A cat could do better literature than this.”
The Heavenly Twins, 1893
Our Manifold Nature, 1894
The Beth Book, 1897
Babs the Impossible,1901
Adnam’s Orchard, 1912
The Winged Victory, 1916
Norman Dewis OBE (3 August 1920 – 8 June 2019) was a British car test driver, who was the chief test driver and development engineer for Jaguar Cars from 1952 to 1985.
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