The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the European Alliance

By Thomas Lawrence ; C. J. Bartlett | Go to book overview

7
Castlereagh and the
'New Diplomacy' 1816-22*

In 1885 an historian of the British Radical party expressed the belief that Castlereagh had come to be viewed 'as the incarnation ... of the principles on which despotic government were based', not so much because of his responsibility for repressive legislation at home, but because of his association with the continental despotic powers. It is perhaps to be doubted whether the unemployed Derbyshire puddler who exploded, 'Damn the Prince Regent. Damn the Government. I'll kill Lord Castlereagh, before I settle, and roast his heart', was greatly swayed by Castlereagh's attendance at European congresses, but among the more sophisticated Castlereagh's foreign policy certainly caused concern. Romilly, for one, in January 1816 feared that British liberties — as well as those of Europe — might be jeopardised by Castlereagh's alliance with continental despotism. 1 Furthermore, whereas in domestic policy Castlereagh could claim to be representative of much upper-class opinion, in his quest for a European Alliance he was acting almost wholly alone. It is impossible to think of any British Foreign Secretary

____________________
*
I have used the phrase 'New Diplomacy' to describe Castlereagh's European policy as it is broader in meaning than Congress System or Concert of Europe. The phrase can be justified in that Castlereagh himself saw his diplomacy as something very different from that of the past century ( see below, p. 206), and it has the advantage of embracing more than the occasional meetings of sovereigns and ministers in formal conferences. Castlereagh intended that the new relationship with the European powers should operate at all diplomatic levels and at all times.
1
Harris, pp. 163-5. Romilly, iii. 220-9.

-199-

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The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the European Alliance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Castlereagh *
  • In Memory of Paul *
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1: The 'Mask' of Castlereagh 1
  • 2: Irish Apprenticeship 1790-1801 6
  • 3: India and the Liar Against Napoleon 1802-9 40
  • 4: The Pittites Without Pitt 1806-12 88
  • 5: Wars and Peace-Making 1812-15 106
  • 6: Leader of the House of Commons 1812-22 162
  • 7: Castlereagh and the 'New Diplomacy' 1816-22 199
  • 8: Castlereagh and the Wider World 235
  • 9: Suicide and Conclusion 259
  • Bibliographical Note 281
  • Index 287
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