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  • Scots in Habsburg Service, 1618-1648
  • Richard D. Culbertson
David Worthington . Scots in Habsburg Service, 1618–1648History of Warfare 21. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2004. xxii + 330 pp. index. append. map. gloss. chron. bibl. $114. ISBN: 90–04–13575–8.

The author uses extensive manuscript sources in Spain, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, the British Library in London, and the University of Aberdeen in [End Page 663] Scotland to discuss Scots involved in Habsburg service by considering Scots in military, diplomatic, religious, trading, and intellectual activities in France, Spain, the Venetian territories, Poland, Muscovy, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Hungary, Germany, and Denmark during 1618–48. Worthington provides a number of tables to contrast rulers, governors, ambassadors, titles of nobility, currency, and foreign terms in the Spanish Netherlands, Habsburg patrimonial lands, and the Holy Roman Empire. The author uses footnotes extensively: often one-fourth to one-third of each page is devoted to footnotes, on occasion two-thirds of a page.

Worthington discusses the historic presence of Scots on the continent and a Scottish religious presence dating back to the 600s in the Rhineland. In the 1100s there was Flemish immigration to Scotland and Scottish trade between towns near Flanders and Scottish east coast ports. By the 1290s there was a group of thirty Scottish law students at the University of Bologna. There were medieval links between Scotland and the lands later occupied by the Spanish Habsburgs and by the early 1600s there were about 40,000 citizens of Scottish origin in the Baltic ports of Poland and in Poznan and Krakow. The Douai college played a similar role for many of the Scots in the Spanish service. Of the twenty-plus Scots who received patronage at the Habsburg courts from 1618–48, even the most successful of them became accustomed to wandering throughout the continent in search of employment thereafter. Gordon and Henderson moved on from the emperor's court. The Scottish circle overlapped with Scottish compatriots living as soldiers, students, or monks in locations such as France, Poland-Lithuania, and the Papal States.

The author primarily discusses several influential Scottish men, including William Semple and his nephew Hugh Semple, S. J., who lived in Madrid and was the leading supporter of Scottish Catholics on the continent. Soon Stuart-Habsburg contacts developed a friendship with the King of Spain that appeared to be more valuable to Scotland than the alliance with France. The good relations with Spain could safeguard Scottish political, economic, and cultural links with the Netherlands. But by October 1648 Semple and the other Scots in the Hispanic world had long since lost any meaningful influence at court in Madrid. Catholic exiles procured royal patronage in the Spanish Netherlands. Examples were Lady Isobel Hay, daughter of Francis Hay, the ninth Earl of Errol, and James Maxwell in Brussels. The author also considers the Scottish imperialists, John Gordon (from a branch of the earls of Huntly) and Walter Leslie (son of the tenth Baron of Balquhain). John Gordon obtained two properties at Smidar and Skrivany and some land near Koniggratz. The emperor awarded Leslie with the possession of the castle of Neustadt an der Mettau in northwest Bohemia and some land around Slavetin. In addition to offering confiscated properties to Scots, the emperor provided remuneration in the form of titles, such as Imperial Count (the Grafenstand); Leslie was appointed Imperial Chamberlain (kammererherr) and was given an honorary imperial golden chain. Ferdinand III awarded Leslie the title of Rechsgraf on 26 June 1637. Leslie worked abroad as an envoy for Emperor [End Page 664] Ferdinand II, Ferdinand III, and Leopold I, and visited the Spanish Netherlands and Naples. The author also discusses correspondence between Leslie and General Ottavio Piccolomini, and how Count Maximilian von Trautmannsdorf was perhaps the greatest diplomat in Austrian history.

Two of Walter Leslie's countrymen were involved in battles against the Swedes — Col. Thomas Henderson (d. 1645) and George Ogilvie (the son of Patrick Ogilvie, the fifth laird of Airlie), who was based in Moravia. In April 1647 Leslie married Ana Franziska, daughter of Maximilia, Prince of Dietrichstein. The marriage brought Leslie into the Austro-Bohemian elite. Leslie thus became the brother...


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