Conflict, Commerce and Franco-Scottish Relations, 1560-1713 by Siobhan Talbott

By Siobhan Talbott

Utilizing untapped archival resources from Britain, France and the USA, Talbott provides a comparative view of British family with France over the lengthy 17th century.

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Henry Scrimgeour, a diplomat and book collector from Dundee, studied in Paris and retained his Catholicism. 81 For these Scots, religious tendencies did not preclude study at top French institutions. France remained one of the preferred destinations for Scottish graduates, owing to its exclusive academies and superior teaching in certain disciplines. The importance of religion in determining successful or unsuccessful integration and business is an issue prevalent throughout much of this volume, and similar themes will be seen among commercial networks and communities as merchants chose to do business with those who could offer them lucrative opportunities rather than dealing exclusively with – or even prioritizing – those who shared their religion.

Transactions were conducted through commissions, orders and accounts in the traditional manner, but without being recorded in the statistical sources that have formed the basis of conventional economic histories. While the impact of these transactions or of merchants’ spending patterns on nations’ economies is almost impossible to quantify, this does not render it any less noteworthy. Indeed, the high profit margins of many of these transactions lend this activity economic significance.

26 Despite her political candidness, Scotland did seek to re-enforce her trading privileges in France after 1560. 28 It is unsurprising that either nation pushed for the continuation of this relationship, or that Scotland sought to strengthen her own position by maintaining diplomacy with both her auld ally and auld enemy, and there were wider motivations at play. 29 In 1561 France’s overtures were governed by the wider European political climate: a fractured Britain was more attractive than a united front.

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