The Art and Practice of Diplomacy

By Charles Webster | Go to book overview

9
Palmerston, Metternich, and the European System 1830-411

FOR over a century the statesmen of Europe have been occupied with the attempt to create international institutions. The fundamental ideas have always been the same since they are inherent in the problem. Two great expedients have been continually in view: first that of Conference of the great powers, the creation of a central point where international affairs can be discussed verbally, instead of being transacted by exchange of notes and documents between five or six different capitals; and secondly that of Guarantee-of countries, frontiers, or strategic positions-the institution of a common sanction for interests which are common to all.

During the period immediately succeeding the Napoleonic wars these ideas were expressed in the European Alliance. We have now a fairly good idea of the reasons for the failure of that experiment and of the motives of the statesmen who created and destroyed it. But the period immediately succeeding, which I propose to survey today, though considerably studied in recent years, is less known from this point of view. In many respects it is one of the most interesting in the century, with several new experiments, and much adaptation of old institutions to a world which is rapidly changing, as industry and finance increase in power.

The revolutions of 1830 have been to some extent neglected,

____________________
1
Raleigh Lecture on History, 13 June, 1934.

The Foreign Office papers in the Record Office are referred to by the name of the country and the number of the volume (e.g. F.O. Austria, 241). The numbers allotted to each series in the List of Foreign Office Records have been omitted, since none are taken from the Embassy Archives.

The papers in the Haus, Hof-und Staatsarchiv have been referred to in a similar manner by country and number of bundle. I am much indebted to Professor L. Bittner and Professor L. Gross for their kindness in facilitating my researches.

The papers of the first Earl Granville in the Record Office (G. and D. 29) have been referred to as Granville Papers.

-152-

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