Daniel Defoe and Diplomacy by William Roosen

By William Roosen

Daniel Defoe's principles on diplomacy and international relations express that he was once a diplomatic realist who was once thinking about such themes because the hazards of common monarchy, the stability of strength, simply wars, the rights and tasks of diplomatic brokers, and the operations of alliances.

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And do you think we do not know how to set a Price upon our Horse, as well as the King of France do~s upon his? 29 Defoe's analogy was so apt that his readers must certainly have understood the diplomatic process better. The behavior of rulers and statesmen like Louis XIV and Robert Harley was very much like horse traders at a fair. Defoe described other diplomatic mechanisms too. While his discussions were not nearly as complete· as those of writers like Wicquefort or Callieres, they are worth noting-if only because they reflected a view that was probably held by many of his contemporaries.

What I unct1hos! what N1cet1es. "Regular·Treating" }5 what adjusting of Precedencies! what Conferences! sadors. shaU give Way! how the Footmen must behave! and the like; What mighty Debates about Receiving and Conducting! and whether the bottom of the Stairs or the top, shall confine their Civilities! Do these Men .... think of the Armies coming into the Field, the Campaign beginning, and that every Day's delay may bring Blood. · ... But to stand at gaze for a Ceremony, whether we shall Treat by Writing or by Word of Mouth, Shall the Fate of Europe turn upon this Trifle?

His argument was so misunderstood, Defoe lamented, that he "suffered innumerable reproaches in print, for having written for a war with the Dutch: which was neither in the expression nor ever in my imagination. " Matters of trade were another question altogether. " It is, of course, impossible to be certain exactly what he thought the role of religion in international politics was. He may just have been using the phrase "Protestant Interest" to express an English national interest. For the quarter of a century following the Glorious Revolution, England's main political goal was to guarantee that the English throne went to Protestant heirs.

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