Foundations of British Foreign Policy from Pitt (1792) to Salisbury (1902); Or, Documents, Old and New

Foundations of British Foreign Policy from Pitt (1792) to Salisbury (1902); Or, Documents, Old and New

Foundations of British Foreign Policy from Pitt (1792) to Salisbury (1902); Or, Documents, Old and New

Foundations of British Foreign Policy from Pitt (1792) to Salisbury (1902); Or, Documents, Old and New

Excerpt

This volume represents a selection by the Editors of unpublished and published documents dealing with foreign affairs, from the rise of the Younger Pitt to the death of Salisbury. It contains both official papers and private letters; speeches and other public statements of policy. Should the volume be successful, the Editors will consider the editing of a selection from the eleven volumes of the series British Documents on the Origins of the War, which they edited in conjunction with Dr G. P. Gooch.

A selection of documents extending over a period of a century always offers problems and difficulties. The Editors have had access to a large number of unpublished materials, public and private, so that many of the documents that they have chosen are new. But a selection of documents dealing with foreign policy offers less difficulty than one relating to internal affairs. Despite opposed parties, and even opposed policies, the continuity of ideas in British diplomacy is striking. The famous State Paper written by Sir Eyre Crowe on I JANUARY 1907 reproduces what are virtually Canning's ideas on foreign policy eighty years before. Most of the assumptions underlying these views were accepted by all statesmen from Pitt to Salisbury, though their methods of application and interpretation may have differed. The balance of power, the sanctity of treaties, the danger of extending guarantees, the value of non-intervention, the implications of what Castlereagh called "a System of Government strongly popular and national in its character" were understood by all. It is true that Palmerston, in his robust vigour, was ready to interpret 'non-intervention' in a sense which would have surprised Castlereagh and Canning; that Russell glorified the revolutions which Disraeli disliked; that Salisbury hated publicity and parliamentary control; that Gladstone preferred the concert of Europe to the balance of power. But these differ-

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