A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 6

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 6

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A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 6

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century - Vol. 6

Read FREE!

Excerpt

There are few things more remarkable in the political correspondence of the time than the almost complete absence of alarm with which the English ministers viewed the events that have been described in the last chapter. They appear to have wholly scouted the idea that serious danger from France was approaching England, and their chief apprehensions were turned to another quarter. A deep and settled distrust of the Emperor Leopold was one of the strongest motives of their foreign policy, and they seem to have greatly misunderstood and undervalued his character, and exaggerated his designs. The alarm which the aggressive measures of his predecessor, against Holland, had produced in England, and the close alliance with Prussia which it was a main object of Pitt to maintain, had given a strong anti-Austrian bias to English statesmen, and it was confirmed by the long delay of the Emperor in concluding the peace of Sistova, and by some obscure and now forgotten disputes which had ended in the Emperor giving the Austrian Netherlands a constitution considerably less liberal than he had promised, and in the maritime powers withholding their guarantee. The diplomatic correspondence of 1791 is full of English complaints of the efforts of the Emperor to dissociate Prussia from England; of fears lest the Emperor should obtain by negotiation some permanent influence in the affairs of Holland; of expressions of an extreme distrust of his sincerity; of regrets that Prussia, in . . .

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