THE POLISH REVOLUTION
THE EVENTS of 1830 were patently of transcendent import. The settlement negotiated at Vienna had not remained unchallenged until then, but the Spanish and Italian upheavals of 1820 had been successfully repressed and Greece and the Spanish colonies lay outside the area protected by the Viennese engagements. Thus the Act of Vienna remained intact in theory, if the jealousies of the powers had disrupted its ideological foundation. The French and Belgian revolutions, in contrast, were a manifest infringement of the principle of legitimacy. They proved that even in Europe peoples might impose their wills upon monarchs with impunity.
Although England had been the major dissident from the Holy Alliance and had herself first destroyed the harmony of the concert of Europe, the new situation affected her more profoundly than it did the three eastern autocracies. They were able to emerge, apparently unscathed, from the challenge to their fundamental principles implicit in the popular victories in France and in Belgium. England, however, was no longer the outstanding representative of the opposing system of government. The implications of the new international situation were more immediately apparent and hardly less significant than the ensuing revolution by Reform which in 1832 made her once more the most liberal of European states. Upon the ruins of the Holy Alliance there arose in the west a constitutional entente which balanced the league of autocrats; a guerre des idées became a less remote possibility.
The influence of the new alignment was promptly reflected in the relations of England and Russia. If the decade and a half which followed the Congress of Vienna be properly denominated the "Age of Metternich," it deserves that appellation because