Correspondence of Anthony Heinsius 1702-1720

Compiled by A.J. Veenendaal jr., with the assistance of C. Hogenkamp and M.T.A. Schouten

Nineteen volumes were needed to publish the vast correspondence left by Anthonie Heinsius (1641-1720), Grand Pensionary of Holland. Following the death of Stadholder King William III in 1702, Heinsius took charge of foreign policy within the Republic of the United Provinces. Consequently, his letters are immensely valuable. Together with the Duke of Malborough and Eugene of Savoy, he formed a triumvirate that led the allied forces against France and Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession. Almost all the political and military leaders of the day are present in his letters, and because the Grand Pensionary took impeccable care of his letters this publication provides a wealth of information about the period.

All letters written to and by Heinsius -almost 24,000 items- have been printed, either in full, as a summary, or in a list. Heinsius’s personal archive is by far the most important source of material, although many letters were also found in other archives both at home and abroad.

The publication can help to improve our understanding of the role of the Republic at the beginning of the 18th century, particularly in the area of foreign policy and warfare, while domestic affairs are also dealt with at length. The abundance of foreign sources currently available has meant that up until now historiographers have tended to emphasize the English and Austrian side of the alliance. However, this imbalance can now be redressed with the publication of Heinsius’s letters.