The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the Reconstruction of Europe

The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the Reconstruction of Europe

The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the Reconstruction of Europe

The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the Reconstruction of Europe

Excerpt

With this volume I have completed a project begun over twenty years ago of describing the foreign policy of Britain during the period when Castlereagh directed it. The volume on the later period of the European Alliance, 1815-22, was published first, partly because I had already given some account of the previous period in the Congress of Vienna (1919) and in the first volume of the Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy. But in neither of these was it possible for me to aim at completeness or to display all the evidence on which the narrative rested, and I have been able to obtain from the Londonderry Papers, which have since been opened to me, much new information. A period of such supreme importance in British relations to European affairs seemed, in any case, to merit an attempt to describe it in the light of all the available evidence.

The most important evidence was in the Foreign Office Papers in the Record Office. These had been used by many historians, both British and foreign, but large portions of them had never been surveyed, and they had never been considered as a whole. I have tried to convey an impression produced by an intensive study of them all, but my task has, of course, been made much easier by the labours of those who have preceded me.

The archives of the foreign Powers are not so important for British diplomacy in this period as in that of the Alliance. For the first two years there were few foreign representatives in London, and in 1814-15 Castlereagh was for long periods in personal contact with the principal sovereigns and statesmen of Europe. Since these were concentrated in one place there was no need, as Metternich has pointed out in his memoirs, for . . .

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