I’ve been trying to concentrate on writing this week. My plan was to have a complete draft of all the chapters to take with me to Seattle, and that’s only about two weeks away and Chapter Nine needed some serious work. So I packed up the laptop, some books and the road bike, and headed to a country hotel. The weather has been rotten, so I’ve not done nearly as much cycling as planned, but it’s been good for the writing.
Some of this was simply making decisions and working with them. I have so much material and I could go in several different directions. Sometimes it’s simply a case of choosing one and making it work. I save every file with a different name every day, and anything I cut out goes into a discards file so no choice is ever irreversible but this has really helped me move on.
The final section of the chapter now begins with Theodor Reinking’s proposal of a hierarchical model of power with majesty held by the Holy Roman Empire and delegated ius territorii to the rulers within it. That proposal, in the 1619 Tractatus de regimine saeculari et ecclesiastico is near simultaneous with the beginning of the Thirty Years War. I then have a brief discussion of the revisionist narratives about Westphalia – mainly through Teschke but some reference to Krasner, Beaulac and Osiander. My conclusion is that while these approaches are valuable, they risk missing what was interesting about Westphalia. It was not nearly as central as the traditional accounts suggest; but it was not as unimportant as the revisionists would have us believe.
I’ve then used the discussion of von Chemnitz to set up a discussion of the treaties themselves, with emphasis on the words used in the different languages of the negotiators—Latin, French and German all matter. It’s interesting what you can discover: for instance the phrase most commonly associated with the 1555 Diet of Augsburg—cuius regio, eius religio, to whom the region the religion—does not actually appear in the text of the compact, but rather dates from debates about it some thirty years earlier. I was alerted to this by Wilson, Europe’s Tragedy, which is a terrific comprehensive study of the Thirty Years War. I can’t resist quoting Pope Innocent X’s view of the Westphalia treaties: “null and void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, condemned, rejected, reprobate, inane, without force or effect, and no one is to observe them, even when they be ratified by oath”. I then move to a discussion of Pufendorf and Leibniz who are, in part, trying to make sense of where this left the Empire and the polities within it. This joins the political discussion of Leibniz much neater into the overall account.
I’ve shunted all the stuff on the impact of these treaties into the conclusion, which is partly deferral, but also gives me a good sense of how that might be structured.
I also finally worked out what I was doing with Nicholas of Cusa in terms of his position in the book, which is as a coda to the section entitled ‘Rex Imperator in Regno Suo’ in Chapter Seven. In retrospect it seems obvious, but it has taken me ages to work out what to do with him and how to make the link work. I first read him and took notes about eighteen months ago.
Now if I could just work out what I want to say about Vitoria, Grotius and Selden…