ABSTRACT

French foreign policy during the Orleans Monarchy was dominated by the search for an agreement with another power. In the first two years of the new monarchy’s existence the fear of isolation exercised a profound influence over the conduct of French diplomacy and almost every French politician and diplomat regarded an entente with another great power as the only remedy. Thus the immediate aim of foreign policy was to divide the enemies of France. Throughout the negotiations in London in 1831 and 1832 on the Belgian question, Talleyrand, the French ambassador in London, regarded the prevention of an anti-French coalition as his major objective. The pursuit of French interests in the Low Countries, however important, had to be subordinated to this overriding aim. 1 It was to England that Talleyrand looked for support; he rightly believed that the Whigs were ideologically opposed to a conservative coalition against France and that it was the English government which had the most to gain from co-operation with France on the Belgian question. Once it became clear – as it certainly had by mid-1832 – that there was little likelihood of the emergence of an anti-French coalition, the search for an agreement with another power could be associated with the pursuit of more positive ends.