It seems to be commonly assumed among historians that with the signature of the Treaty of Munster the closure of the Scheldt became an accepted feature of the public law of Europe and that no question of its abolition arose until the very eve of the collapse of the ancien régime. If this were true, the century and a half which lie between the signature of the treaty and the attempt of Joseph II to free the river would be a practically blank page in the history of the “Scheldt question”, as indeed it tends to be in most versions of that history.