D u r i n g t h e l a s t d a y s of July 1 8 3 0 , a fragile worker-bourgeois coalition brought down the Bourbon monarchy of Charles X and seated Louis-Philippe d’Orleans on France s throne. After an election had gone against his government, the aging king Charles had not only shrunk the electorate and installed tight controls over the increasingly critical press but also dismissed the newly elected Chamber of Deputies and ordered new elections. An uprising in the streets of Paris then inspired insurrec tionary seizures of power in many other French cities. Charles responded too slowly to keep his crown. Remembering reverberations of the French revolution that had begun four decades earlier, European rulers instantly fretted about encouragement the French example might give to radicals in their own domains. On 31 August Britain’s Clerk of the Privy Council, C. C. F. Greville, confided to his diary:
On Sunday I met [Austrian ambassador] Esterhazy in Oxford Street with a face a yard long. Fie turned back with me, and told me there had been disturbances at Bruxelles, but that they had been put down by the gendarmerie. He was mightily alarmed, but said that his Government would recognize the French King directly, and in return for such general and prompt recognition as he was receiving he must restrain France from countenancing revolutions in other countries, and that, indeed, he had lost no time in declaring his intention to abstain from any meddling. In the evening Vaudreuil [first secretary of the French embassy] told me the same thing, and that he had received a despatch from M. de Mole [French foreign minister] desiring him to refuse passports to the Span iards who wanted, on the strength of the French Revolution, to go and
foment the discontents in Spain, and to all other foreigners who, being dissatisfied with their own Governments, could not obtain passports from their own Ministers. (Greville 1938: II, 39-40)
Greville recorded his fear that the Duke of Wellington, Britain’s bluff, unreflective prime minister, might respond to the threat of revolutions on the continent by plunging his country into some violent, vindictive adventure. Hasty intervention, thought Greville, could precipitate another general European war.