Pax Britannica pp 104-116 | Cite as

Challenges of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

  • Barry Gough
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)


Throughout the first half-century of that epoch which constitutes Pax Britannica, British statesmen always concerned themselves with the rights of independence in the Law of Nations and the international system. They might have moulded that situation to suit their purposes; they might have talked in high fashion of a community of law-abiding nations of Europe; they might, when necessary, have proposed multilateral discussions; and they might even have accepted invitations to the same. But, when placed in a corner, without equivocation, they kept to an independence of action. Truth to tell, they hated having their hands tied. The uniqueness of this had been demonstrated long before by their role in crafting the Peace of Vienna, where they cooperated mightily with the other powers in creating a post-war Europe (including Holland and Belgium and new borders). Castlereagh, however, refused to be a slave to the Congress system. A recent historian stated:

he made it clear that he had become increasingly alarmed by the “abstractions and sweeping generalities” emanating from the Holy Alliance. In practical terms, the fear of Russian expansionism — rather than France resurgence — was the underlying, if softly spoken, threat to the successful operation of British foreign policy at this stage.1


Moral Force British Subject Naval Force British Policy Naval Blockade 
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© Barry Gough 2014

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  • Barry Gough

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