A History of Modern Europe - Vol. 2

A History of Modern Europe - Vol. 2

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A History of Modern Europe - Vol. 2

A History of Modern Europe - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In writing this volume I have not had the advantage of consulting the English Foreign Office Records for a later period than the end of 1815. A rule not found necessary at Berlin and some other foreign capitals still closes to historical inquirers the English documents of the last seventy years. Restrictions are no doubt necessary in the case of transactions of recent date, but the period of seventy years is surely unnecessarily long. Public interests could not be prejudiced, nor could individuals be even remotely affected, by the freest examination of the papers of 1820 or 1830.

The London documents of 1814--1815 are of various degrees of interest and importance. Those relating to the Congress of Vienna are somewhat disappointing. Taken all together they add less to our knowledge on the one or two points still requiring elucidation than the recently-published correspondence of Talleyrand with Louis XVIII. The despatches from Italy are on the other hand of great value, proving, what I believe was not established before, that the Secret Treaty of 1815, whereby Austria gained a legal right to prevent any departure from absolute Government at Naples, was communicated to the British Ministry and received its sanction. This sanction explains the obscure and embarrassed language of Castlereagh in 1820, which in its turn gave rise to the belief in Italy that England was more deeply committed to Austria than it actually was, and probably occasioned the forgery of the pretended Treaty of July 27, 1813, exposed in vol. i. of this work, p. 534, 2nd American edition. The papers from France and Spain are also interesting, though not establishing any new conclusions.

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