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Louis XIV’s military occupations of Lorraine and Savoy
Author: Phil McCluskey

This book investigates the occupations of two of the territories, Lorraine and Savoy, both of which were occupied twice during the course of Louis's personal rule: Lorraine in 1670–1697 and 1702–1714, Savoy in 1690–1696 and again in 1703–1713. It first provides some necessary background in terms of French frontier strategy during the seventeenth century, and also relations between France, Lorraine and Piedmont-Savoy in the longer term. It includes a brief account of the occupation of Lorraine under cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, to provide useful comparison with an earlier occupation. The book then gives a narrative analysis of the occupations from the point of view of France's strategic priorities. It also considers the administrative side of the occupations, in terms of the structures and personnel put in place by the French regime and the financial and security burdens imposed on the occupier and the occupied. The book further investigates French policy towards elite groups, and their reactions to French occupation. It looks at the ways in which the nobilities responded: whether they chose to collaborate with or resist the French, and what forms that collaboration and resistance took. The attention then turns to those who held offices in occupied territories, in the sovereign courts, where they continued to exist, as well as in the lower, subaltern courts and the towns. Finally, the book considers the French church policies towards, and the responses of, the episcopate, the religious superiors and the lower regular and secular clergy.

Abstract only
Phil McCluskey

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book investigates the occupations of Lorraine and Savoy, both of which were occupied twice during the course of Louis XIV's personal rule: Lorraine in 1670-1697 and 1702-1714, Savoy in 1690-1696 and again in 1703-1713. It provides some necessary background in terms of French frontier strategy during the seventeenth century. The book gives a narrative analysis of the occupations from the point of view of France's strategic priorities. It also investigates French policy towards elite groups, and their reactions to French occupation. The book looks at the ways in which the nobilities responded: whether they chose to collaborate with or resist the French. It considers the church: French policies towards, and the responses of, the episcopate, the religious superiors and the lower regular and secular clergy.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
Phil McCluskey

This chapter examines the background to the conquest and occupation of the Lorraine and Savoy during the reign of the Sun King. It begins with a brief exploration of French Government policies on the eastern frontiers of the kingdom in this period, with the aim of identifying the priorities and mindset of the king and his ministers. The chapter seeks to establish the political, social, economic and cultural circumstances of the territories. The first three decades of Louis XIV's personal rule saw significant territorial additions to the kingdom of France. Peter Sahlins argued that natural frontiers were, in a way, pivotal to French frontier policy, 'not as boundaries but as passages'. Families of the ancienne chevalerie were an important link between Lorraine and France. Despite a brief, partial reconquest of Lorraine during the Frondes, Charles IV remained exiled and, for the second half of the 1650s, imprisoned by the Spanish.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
Phil McCluskey

This chapter deals with the way the military occupations developed, from conquest to ideas of possible annexation. It explores how they relate to French strategy for the north-eastern and south-eastern frontiers during Louis XIV's personal reign. If in the second half of Louis XIV's personal rule France maintained some control over Lorraine without too much difficulty, the picture was far messier when it came to the lands of the duke of Savoy. After Nijmegen, French frontier strategy, as directed by Louvois and Vauban, centred on the creation of the pre carre, a more defensible geometric frontier marked by a more linear fortress barrier. The great defences created by Louvois and Vauban on the Lorraine frontier comprised Phalsbourg, Longwy and Sarrelouis, strengthened by the acquisition of Strasbourg in 1681 and Luxembourg in 1684.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
Phil McCluskey

This chapter begins with an overview of the administration of conquered frontier territories during Louis XIV's personal rule, to give context to the institutional structures erected in the occupied territories. Throughout the French occupation of 1670-1697, Louis XIV's appointees to the governorship of Lorraine were those commanders who operated extensively out of Lorraine, reflecting a pattern that continued throughout the reign in other frontier provinces. A degree of moderation in dealing with conquered populations had certainly been central to the success of Louvois' and Barbezieux's strategies in pays conquis. The different styles of leadership of the war ministry, along with the different pressures on the secretaries of state for war at different points in the reign, led to significant variation in the amount of ministerial direction. The existing networks of loyalty, family ties and professional pride had to be woven into the fabric of French provincial governance.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
Phil McCluskey

This chapter examines the financial and material burdens placed on Lorraine and Savoy with a view to comparing how these changed over the course of the reign. It also examines how they differed from the demands made of the French frontier provinces. The chapter looks at the problems of security, order and discipline in the occupied territories, which dictated what resources the French Government needed to invest there and how much they could take. The principal objective of royal policy in Lorraine in the first few years of French rule was to cover the costs of the military occupation, but in the longer run much depended on whether the French stayed. Improvements in military discipline meant that the occupations of Louis XIV's personal rule were significantly less harsh on the population than occupations earlier in the seventeenth century under Cardinal Richelieu.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
Abstract only
Phil McCluskey

This chapter looks at the way French Government evolved in each occupation and the means by which the French attempted to secure nobles' allegiance. It examines the nobilities of Lorraine and Savoy with an eye to their plural nature, beginning with the bulk of the nobility the families often referred to, inaccurately, as 'sword' nobles. The older feudal nobility of Lorraine proved particularly difficult for the French to deal with in the months after the conquest. France's relationship with the nobility of Savoy was significantly different to that with the Lorrain nobles. French strategies were conditioned by certain expectations of noble behaviour, which could be incompatible with non-French nobilities. For many nobles in Lorraine and Savoy, the wars of Louis XIV's reign proved particularly awkward, given the strength of ties that existed over the frontier and the level of ensuing disruption.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
Phil McCluskey

French attitudes towards the sovereign courts of Savoy reflect the broader trend, and differ considerably from the action taken in Lorraine twenty years earlier. The contrast between Lorraine and Savoy in the actions of the French with regard to their sovereign companies demonstrates how far French policy towards occupied elites depended on the warmth of their initial reception. The offices of the sovereign companies of both Lorraine and Savoy conferred noble status upon their holders, and often these officers came from well-established families. In every newly conquered province under Louis XIV, the control of the esprit public became a priority for the French Government to prevent any possible conspiracies. In these territories, this meant public opinion as represented by the administrative and social elites. During the War of the Spanish Succession, Chamillart insisted that French agents and governors in these Savoyard towns act with as much sensitivity as possible.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
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Phil McCluskey

In Savoy, the French bishop of Grenoble had spiritual jurisdiction over decanat of Savoy, the area around Chambery. Like bishops, religious superiors often wielded great authority and could be vital in building pro-French sentiment. Although the Catholic Church owned some 5 per cent of the land in Savoy and 15 to 20 per cent in Lorraine, the French generally refrained from tapping the wealth. Many of the Savoyard episcopate had trained in France, and much in the Savoyard church had been reformed in the seventeenth century on the French model, including the diocesan seminaries established in Annecy and Saint-Jean. Both Savoy and Lorraine were independent and distinct from the Gallican church, and both territories had recognised the decrees of the Council of Trent in full.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers
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Phil McCluskey

French attitudes to occupied territories seem to have become more sophisticated as the reign of Louis XIV progressed. The way the French Government treated the frontier territories reflected the political, administrative and juridical novelty to contemporaries of 'occupied zones'. In Lorraine the French gradually enacted a series of measures that deprived the local elites of most of their privileges; the result was a monumental failure to rally the traditional Lorrain elites to French allegiance. The experiences of Savoy and Lorraine in the seventeenth century were dissimilar in several ways, leading to strikingly different attitudes to the French as occupiers. France's treatment of Savoy and Nice indicates that, as long as the local privileges of these territories did not clash with the interests of Paris, the French could live with their maintenance. The occupations of these territories reflected various strategic concerns of the French Government.

in Absolute monarchy on the frontiers