Stevin Seminar: Sovereignty and Property at the Congress of Soissons, 1728-1730
Speaker: Frederik Dhondt
The Congress of Soissons (1728-1730), sometimes called a ‘sleeping’ congress, did not generate a final peace agreement pursuant to the Parisian Preliminaries (31 May 1727), a provisional arrangement to prevent a general war in Europe. Soissons was a congress of peacekeeping (Burkhardt), and in part contributed to the European culture of peace engineering (Ghervas). Public circulation of news on the congress, but the material culture of the print resources consulted by the diplomats allow to identify this eighteenth-century meeting place within the broader European republic of books, news and letters. Besides the central commercial claims that opposed the Maritime Powers to Spain, the delegations reflected on geopolitical questions from the East Indies to Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Mediterranean. I closely studied French, British and Dutch archives on the talks in a forthcoming long paper (60 pages). My presentation will focus on the legal arguments developed on the cases of East Frisia, Mecklenburg and the Imperial East India Trading Company in Ostend.
Frederik Dhondt is professor of legal history at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), where he leads the Research Group Contextual Research in Law (CORE). He is a visiting professor at the VU Amsterdam. His research focuses on legal argumentation in diplomatic practice, constitutional and political history (18th and 19th centuries).
Time: Monday 23 May, 16:00-17:00. Place: Hoofdgebouw VU – zaal 01A32.