ABSTRACT

International crisis and internal governmental division threatened British foreign policy in 1749. The strengthening of the Barrier Forts in the Austrian Netherlands was apparently crucial to their defence against another French attack, as well as that of the United Provinces, and that of British strategic interests in the Low Countries. It is all too easy to focus on the return of Louisbourg after the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and to argue, therefore, that the ministry was not willing to respond to popular views, and, in this case, on a clearly crucial issue. Newcastle rationalised his attitude with reference to what he saw as a dangerous international situation; although considered from a different perspective, the uncertainties of this situation did, indeed, create dangers, some of them potentially very serious. Domestic political implications were to the fore in trans-oceanic issues because there was none of the international alliance or military exigencies that arose in wartime.