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A History of Modern Europe, 1792-1878   By: (1845-1892)

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1792 1878



Barrister at Law; Fellow of University College, Oxford; Vice President of the Royal Historical Society


With Maps


In acceding to the Publishers' request for a re issue of the "History of Modern Europe," in the form of a popular edition, I feel that I am only fulfilling what would have been the wish of the Author himself. A few manuscript corrections and additions found in his own copy of the work have been adopted in the present edition; in general, however, my attention in revising each sheet for the press has been devoted to securing an accurate reproduction of the text and notes as they appeared in the previous editions in three volumes. I trust that in this cheaper and more portable form the work will prove, both to the student and the general reader, even more widely acceptable than heretofore.


London, November, 1895.


The object of this work is to show how the States of Europe have gained the form and character which they possess at the present moment. The outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1792, terminating a period which now appears far removed from us, and setting in motion forces which have in our own day produced a united Germany and a united Italy, forms the natural starting point of a history of the present century. I have endeavoured to tell a simple story, believing that a narrative in which facts are chosen for their significance, and exhibited in their real connection, may be made to convey as true an impression as a fuller history in which the writer is not forced by the necessity of concentration to exercise the same rigour towards himself and his materials. The second volume of the work will bring the reader down to the year 1848: the third, down to the present time.

London, 1880.


In revising this volume for the second edition I have occupied myself mainly with two sources of information the unpublished Records of the English Foreign Office, and the published works which have during recent years resulted from the investigation of the Archives of Vienna. The English Records from 1792 to 1814, for access to which I have to express my thanks to Lord Granville, form a body of firsthand authority of extraordinary richness, compass, and interest. They include the whole correspondence between the representatives of Great Britain at Foreign Courts and the English Foreign Office; a certain number of private communications between Ministers and these representatives; a quantity of reports from consuls, agents, and "informants" of every description; and in addition to these the military reports, often admirably vivid and full of matter, sent by the British officers attached to the head quarters of our Allies in most of the campaigns from 1792 to 1814. It is impossible that any one person should go through the whole of this material, which it took the Diplomatic Service a quarter of a century to write. I have endeavoured to master the correspondence from each quarter of Europe which, for the time being, had a preponderance in political or military interest, leaving it when its importance became obviously subordinate to that of others; and although I have no doubt left untouched much that would repay investigation, I trust that the narrative has gained in accuracy from a labour which was not a light one, and that the few short extracts which space has permitted me to throw into the notes may serve to bring the reader nearer to events. At some future time I hope to publish a selection from the most important documents of this period. It is strange that our learned Societies, so appreciative of every distant and trivial chronicle of the Middle Ages, should ignore the records of a time of such surpassing interest, and one in which England played so great a part. No just conception can be formed of the difference between English statesmanship and that of the Continental Courts in integrity, truthfulness, and public spirit, until the mass of diplomatic correspondence preserved at London has been studied; nor, until this has been done, can anything like an adequate biography of Pitt be written... Continue reading book >>

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