Influences on Anglo-French relations, 1814-1818
The above statement was made in London by the soon to be restored King of France in April 1814 at a banquet held in his honor at Guildhall. This gala state occasion marked the triumph of twenty-five years of British policy. The reception was limited to the inner circle of society yet the British public anxiously watched its proceedings and Louis XVIII's journey back to his native land. England in 1814 was entering an age of elegance, a century of empire building; she was the destroyer of one world order and the establisher of a new one. To examine the initial hesitating steps of British statesmen and the impact that the British public both male and female played in the reestablishment of orderly government in France, 1814-1818, is the primary concern of my work. In many ways my work attempts to analyze construct long after all the participants are dead. As a result, my task was to isolate specific statements of individuals and groups in archival and published material and look for a repetition of the idea after the statement writings or speeches of policy makers. My research into the final years of the war with France has resulted in surprising conclusions. Even with Napoleon's crushing defeat by Russia and after almost twenty of war, the British public was not united in its opinion of Napoleon, France, or peace. Many at this late date even believed a peaceful world was still possible with Napoleon remaining on the throne of France. Those who wanted Napoleon's removal still believed that the French were basically good people led astray by a tyrant. With Napoleon dethroned they were confident that the French would willingly set aside their warlike ambitions and adopt a government similar to their English neighbor. The majority of the British were interested in working with the restored Bourbon monarchy to create a "very British" France. When this sentimental goal failed to materialize during the First Restoration followed by Napoleon's successfully and unopposed return, British opinion quickly changed to hostility towards France, corrupting future relations.
Mary T Duarte,
"Influences on Anglo-French relations, 1814-1818"
(January 1, 1997).
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