I found a reference to the Peace of Westphalia in an unlikely place today: in an article on free expression. “The idea of free expression traces itself back to the Peace of Westphalia,” reads the dubious sentence. I understand that the author is trying to connect religious liberty with freedom of thought, and freedom of thought with freedom of expression, but this is a tenuous chain at best. I can assure you that no one in Westphalia was thinking of “freedom of expression” (or speech, or press) when they agreed to the compromises there. Even freedom of religious practice was severely restricted: some religious minorities had their own churches, others were allowed to hold services only in private homes, and many were granted only freedom of conscience.
Archive for the ‘references’ Category
I just noticed that you can buy the letter signed by Emperor Ferdinand III (shown left) at Amazon.com. My first thought was, who would want a letter signed by Ferdinand III? Charles I, maybe, or Louis XIV, or Richelieu, but Ferdinand III? He is not exactly a monarch whose name is known to a lot of people outside of period specialists.
Then I noticed the price of the letter — $3,999. So presumably this is not a replica, but the actual letter signed by Ferdinand himself. And a lovely signature it is, I might add. You don’t see those beautiful swirls anymore. If you don’t fancy all the hand printing, or if the price seems a bit low for your tastes, you can acquire this other printed document signed by Ferdinand for the bargain price of $5,499. “A memorable & special gift!” the advertising text notes. “A unique centerpiece for the home or office! Only 100% Authentic Autographs & Manuscripts – Certificate of Authenticity Provided.” Well, I can’t argue with that. If anyone is looking to get me a Christmas present and can’t find any appropriately themed Westphalia merchandise that I don’t already have, look no further. (I should clarify that these documents don’t appear to have anything to do with the Peace of Westphalia itself other than bearing the signature of one of the peace’s signatories. I can’t tell for sure because I can’t get a large enough version to read the text.)