This was the phrase used by European chancelleries in the countries that took part in the War of Succession to designate the debates and agreements on Catalonia that emerged during the last two years of the conflict. The aim behind these debates was to ensure that Catalan freedoms and constitutions would be conserved should Philip V emerge as the victor, as had been agreed in the Treaty of Genoa (1705). In January 1712, the designation of Archduke Charles as successor to his brother at the head of the Holy Roman Empire led these chancelleries to meet at a congress to negotiate a peace between England, France and Spain. Soon after this, the representative of the Empire joined these negotiations, proposing that the territories of the Crown of Aragon should remain under its rule. The chancelleries rejected this proposal, and Philip V refused to conserve the Catalan political structure. The response of the imperial ambassador was to propose the establishment of a Catalan republic under British protection, but both England and Spain opposed this plan. The emperor’s refusal to allow the Catalan ambassador, Francesc Berardo, Marquis of Montnegre, to attend the negotiations as a representative of the nations at war shows how unlikely the proposal for a Catalan republic was to succeed.
On 19 March 1713, Archduke Charles, by now proclaimed as Emperor Charles VI, signed the agreement to withdraw the imperial armies from Catalonia, but kept this in secret, delaying its implementation. Meanwhile, he ordered Empress Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttelto leave Barcelona and return to Vienna with her retinue, and the Catalan authorities did nothing to prevent this. Three months later, Count Guido of Starhemberg, Viceroy of Spain, brought the agreement into effect by signing the Convention of L’Hospitalet (22 June 1713). Negotiations between the British and Philip V continued until Viscount Bolingbroke’s moderate government gave in and accepted the agreement to respect the lives and goods of the Catalan people, but not their privileges.
"The case of the Catalans" resurfaced in the English House of Lords when the Whig opposition used the issue to discredit the Tory government. Despite the efforts of the Catalan ambassador Felip de Ferran i de Sacirera to influence the new English monarch, George I, the fall of Barcelona ended all possibilities of reopening the case. It was not until 1719, following the Anglo-French invasion of northern Catalonia, that the French minister Guillaume Dubois urged his English counterpart, Lord James Stanhope, to restore the Catalan constitutional structure. The course of the war led to the suspension of interest in the Catalan question once more, and the issue was finally closed in the Treaty of Vienna (30 April 1725), signed by two former adversaries, Philip V and Emperor Charles VI, under which the latter renounced his rights over the succession of Charles II of Castile, the dispute that had caused the War of Succession.