The settlement of the Belgian question was the first test for Palmerston on becoming foreign secretary in Lord Grey's administration. Belgium, previously the Austrian Netherlands, had been reunited with Holland in 1815 to form a barrier to French expansion, but had rebelled in August 1830 and declared itself independent. A conference of the great powers in London in February 1831 recognized Belgian independence and, when the Dutch refused to submit, French troops marched in. When they proved reluctant to leave, Palmerston dropped hints of war. By the treaty of November 1831 Belgian independence and neutrality were guaranteed.
Subjects: British History.