British Foreign Policy, 1660-1672

British Foreign Policy, 1660-1672

British Foreign Policy, 1660-1672

British Foreign Policy, 1660-1672

Excerpt

Judged by modern standards, the history of British foreign policy in the second half of the seventeenth century has still to be written. Ranke's account is seventy years old, the massive work of Gardiner and Sir Charles Firth stops at 1658, and no one has pursued the subject on anything like the same scale. To make a small contribution towards filling that gap is the purpose of this book.

The period taken is, perhaps, the most neglected in the century; the documents are uncalendared and scattered, and the detailed research which in recent years has thrown much light on the second half of Charles' reign is (with the brilliant exception of Miss Barbour Arlington) still lacking for the first. For this reason, though not for this alone, I have attempted rather a general essay in policy than a diplomatic history, which requires (and is, indeed, receiving) a more intensive study of particular episodes, like the Triple Alliance. This, too, influenced the obviously imperfect choice of my material, which I should put in this order of importance, as related to the present condition of the subject: British public archives, collections in private hands, foreign printed . . .

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