The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the European Alliance

By Thomas Lawrence ; C. J. Bartlett | Go to book overview

9
Suicide and Conclusion

In the winter of 1821-2 Castlereagh seemed at the height of his powers. In retrospect it may be possible to detect occasional symptoms of the approaching disorder of his mind, but most of his admirers would have agreed with Croker that he seemed better than ever. With Liverpool still recovering from his domestic tragedy of 1821, and with the recent shadow of royal displeasure slowly lifting, Castlereagh's authority was at its peak. Above all, Croker was impressed by his bearing and manner — imperturbable and aloof as Mont Blanc. Many others had commented upon this tremendous outward calm. Bamford had noted his 'handsome but immoveable features'; Caulaincourt had found him 'just and passionless', and Cornwallis described him as 'so cold that nothing can warm him'. Indeed, Salisbury thought that

'It was this impassibility which worked so badly for his fame'
. Yet such coldness did not permeate all his character, and much of it was the result of conscious effort on his part. The occasional glimpses that exist of him in his youth suggest an expansive and volatile temperament, and there were occasions in later life when his emotions broke through to the surface. Part of his apparent coldness arose from shyness and diffidence in a large company, especially among strangers. Princess Lieven did not meet him until he was famous, yet she noted,
'It is strange how timid he is of society, as if he were just beginning'
. Yet the discovery of a common interest with a stranger was a great tongue-loosener, as for instance when he found that a foreign diplomat shared his passion for sheep‐ breeding. Public speaking did not come easily to Castlereagh,

-259-

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The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1812-1815, Britain and the European Alliance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Castlereagh *
  • In Memory of Paul *
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1: The 'Mask' of Castlereagh 1
  • 2: Irish Apprenticeship 1790-1801 6
  • 3: India and the Liar Against Napoleon 1802-9 40
  • 4: The Pittites Without Pitt 1806-12 88
  • 5: Wars and Peace-Making 1812-15 106
  • 6: Leader of the House of Commons 1812-22 162
  • 7: Castlereagh and the 'New Diplomacy' 1816-22 199
  • 8: Castlereagh and the Wider World 235
  • 9: Suicide and Conclusion 259
  • Bibliographical Note 281
  • Index 287
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