The next seminar of the TORCH Diplomacy in the Early Modern Period Network will take place on 22 January (4:30pm-6:30pm) in the Gerry Martin Room at the History Faculty. Our speaker for this session will be Jean-Charles Speeckaert (Jesus College, Oxford/Wiener Anspach Foundation). The title of his paper will be 'How to build a pacific relationship between two neighbours: France and the Austrian Netherlands after the Diplomatic Revolution (1756)' and an abstract can be found below.
Jean-Charles Speeckaert (Jesus College, Oxford) - 'How to build a pacific relationship between two neighbours: France and the Austrian Netherlands after the Diplomatic Revolution (1756)'
The memory of confrontations and thirst for conquest long marked the relations between France and the Low Countries (nowadays Belgium). The Diplomatic Revolution in 1756 changed this conflictual neighborhood. This unprecedented alliance led Louis XV and Maria Theresa of Austria to pacify their relations. My research has examined how this peace concretized in the Austrian Netherlands, the nearest Hapsburg land for France. Nearly two generations of the populations of these countries lived in a period of peace, which is rare.
The first part of my paper will present the issue of the Abbey of Saint-Hubert d’Ardenne. As the Abbey’s vast territory was situated at the intersection of the Austrian Netherlands, the Principality of Liege and the Duchy of Bouillon, it raised strong dispute over sovereignty. The problem needed to be solved in the new context of peace. This case study puts in perspective the diplomatic and international dimension of the Belgian provinces and the significance of sending ministers to Brussels. The second part consists of a group portrait of the men and women who were at the heart of these relationships, examining their practices, and their networks. In the context of cross-border relations, the emphasis is also on the intervention of non-diplomatic actors.