William Pitt and the Great War

William Pitt and the Great War

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William Pitt and the Great War

William Pitt and the Great War

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Excerpt

In the former volume, entitled "William Pitt and National Revival," I sought to trace the career of Pitt the Younger up to the year 1791. Until then he was occupied almost entirely with attempts to repair the evils arising out of the old order of things. Retrenchment and Reform were his first watchwords; and though in the year 1785 he failed in his efforts to renovate the life of Parliament and to improve the fiscal relations with Ireland, yet his domestic policy in the main achieved a surprising success. Scarcely less eminent, though far less known, were his services in the sphere of diplomacy. In the year 1783, when he became First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, nearly half of the British Empire was torn away, and the remainder seemed to be at the mercy of the allied Houses of Bourbon. France, enjoying the alliance of Spain and Austria and the diplomatic wooings of Catharine II and Frederick the Great, gave the law to Europe.

By the year 1790 all had changed. In 1787 Pitt supported Frederick William II of Prussia in overthrowing French supremacy in the Dutch Netherlands; and a year later he framed with those two States an alliance which not only dictated terms to Austria at the Congress of Reichenbach but also compelled her to forego her far- reaching schemes on the lower Danube, and to restore the status quo in Central Europe and in her Belgian provinces. British policy triumphed over that of Spain in the Nootka Sound dispute of the year 1790, thereby . . .

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