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Coordinates: 45°26′21″N 10°59′39″E / 45.43917°N 10.99417°E / 45.43917; 10.99417

The Congress of Verona met at Verona on October 20, 1822 as part of the series of international conferences or congresses that opened with the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, which had instituted the Concert of Europe at the close of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Quintuple Alliance was represented by the following persons:

Contents

Issues

While the representatives of the United Kingdom and the European powers had at first, during the Congress of Vienna, acted largely in concert, the extent to which the concord epitomized in the expression the "Concert of Europe" had unraveled in seven years became apparent in the way in which the two main questions before this Congress were handled.

The instructions drawn up by Londonderry, as he then was, for his own guidance, had been handed to Wellington by George Canning without alteration. They defined the United Kingdom's position towards the three questions which it was supposed would be discussed: the Turkish Question (currently surfacing in the Greek insurrection), the question of intervention in favor of the Bourbon royal power in Spain and the revolted Spanish colonies, and the Italian Question.

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Italian Question

The matter of the Italian Question dealt with the continued Austrian rule in Northern Italy. Since the United Kingdom could not undertake to support a system in which she had merely acquiesced, Wellington did not even formally present his credentials until the other Powers had disposed of the matter, a British minister (Castlereagh's half-brother and successor in the Londonderry title) attending merely to keep informed and to see that nothing was done inconsistent with the European system and the treaties. (See History of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtiroll and Irredentism.)

Turkish Question

In the Turkish Question, the probable raising of which had alone induced the British government to send a minister plenipotentiary to the Congress, Wellington was instructed to suggest the eventual necessity for recognizing the belligerent rights of the Greeks, and, in the event of concerted intervention, to be careful not to commit the United Kingdom, beyond a supporting role. (See Greek War of Independence.)

As for Russia and Austria, the immediate problems arising out of the Turkish Question had already been privately settled between the emperor Alexander and Metternich, to their mutual satisfaction, at the preliminary conferences held at Vienna in September.

Spanish Question

When the plenipotentiaries met in Verona, the only question raised was the Spanish Question, of the proposed French intervention in Spain, in which Wellington's instructions were to express the uncompromising opposition of the United Kingdom to the whole principle of intervention.

The discussion was opened by three questions formally propounded by Montmorency:

  1. Would the Allies withdraw their ministers from Madrid in the event of France being compelled to do so?
  2. In case of war, under what form and by what acts would the powers give France their moral support, so as to give to her action the force of the Quintuple Alliance, and inspire a salutary fear in the revolutionaries of all countries?
  3. What material aid would the powers give if asked by France to intervene, under restrictions which France would declare and they would recognize?

A series of gilt-copper medals apparently struck in England represent participants of the Congress in less than flattering lights: the "Count de Chateaubriand" (Ludwig Ernst Bramsen, Médallier) bears an inscription that offers the British view of the French position in a nutshell: THE KING OF FRANCE MY MASTER DEMANDS THE FREEDOM OF FERDINAND VII TO GIVE HIS PEOPLE INSTITUTIONS WHICH THEY CANNOT HOLD BUT FROM HIM, while the emperor Francis I of Austria asserts MY TROOPS OCCUPY NAPLES TO CHASTISE THE NEAPOLITANS FOR DARING TO CHANGE THEIR CONSTITUTION.

The reply of Alexander, who expressed his surprise at the desire of France to keep the intervention wholly French, was to offer to march 150,000 Russians through Germany to Piedmont, where they could be held ready to act against any Jacobins, whether in Spain or France. This solution appealed as little to Metternich and Montmorency as to Wellington; but though united in opposing it, four days of confidential communications revealed a fundamental difference of opinion. Wellington, firmly based on the principle of non-intervention, refused to have anything to do with the suggestion, made by Metternich, that the powers should address a common note to the Spanish government in support of the action of France. Finally, Metternich proposed that the Allies should hold a common language, but in separate notes, though uniform in their principles and objects. This solution was adopted by the continental powers; but Wellington, in accordance with his instructions not to countenance any intervention in Spanish affairs, took no part in the conferences that followed. On October 30 the powers handed in their formal replies to the French memorandum.

Russia, Austria and Prussia would act as France should in respect of withdrawing their ministers, and would give to France every assistance she might require, the details to be specified in a treaty. Wellington, on the other hand, replied on behalf of the United Kingdom that having no knowledge of the cause of dispute, and not being able to form a judgment upon a hypothetical case, he could give no answer to any of the questions.

Thus was proclaimed the open breach of the United Kingdom with the principles and policy of the Quintuple Alliance, as it had become with the admission of France in 1818, which development is what gives to the congress its main historical interest. The ensuing French intervention ended with the Battle of Trocadero, which reinstated Ferdinand VII of Spain and opened a reactionary period of Spanish and European politics that led to the Year of Revolutions, 1848.

References

  • W. Alison Phillips, in Cambridge Modern History, chapter I: The Congresses
  • I. C. Nichols, European Pentarchy and the Congress of Verona, 1822

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CONGRESS OF VERONA, the last of the series of international conferences or congresses based on the principle enunciated in Art. 6 of the treaty of Paris of November 20th,. 1815 (see Europe, History). It met at Verona on the 10th 1 The view of some scholars is that the original walls were earlier than the time of Gallienus, who reconstructed them on the old lines, taking in, however, the amphitheatre.

of October 1822. The emperor Alexander I. of Russia was present in person. There were also present Count Nesselrode, the Russian minister of foreign affairs; Prince Metternich, representing Austria; Prince Hardenberg and Count Bernstorff, representing Prussia; MM. de Montmorency and Chateaubriand, representing France; and the duke of Wellington, representing Great Britain in place of Lord Londonderry (Castlereagh), whose tragic death occurred on the eve of his setting out to the congress.

In the instructions drawn up by Londonderry for his own guidance, which had been handed to Wellington by Canning without alteration, was clearly defined the attitude of Great Britain towards the three questions which it was supposed would be discussed, viz. the Turkish Question (Greek insurrection), the question of intervention in favour of the royal power in Spain, together with that of the revolted Spanish colonies, and the Italian Question. As regards the latter it was laid down that Great Britain could not charge herself with any superintendence of a system in which she had merely acquiesced, and the duty of the British minister would be merely to keep himself informed, and to see that nothing was done "inconsistent with the European system and the treaties." To make this attitude quite clear, Wellington was further instructed not to hand in his credentials until this question had been disposed of, his place being meanwhile taken by Lord Londonderry (Stewart), Castlereagh's half-brother and successor in the title, who had fulfilled the same function at Troppau and Laibach. In the Spanish Question Wellington was to give voice to the uncompromising opposition of Great Britain to the whole principle of intervention. In the Turkish Question, the probable raising of which had alone induced the British government to send a plenipotentiary to the congress, he was to suggest the eventual necessity for recognizing the belligerent rights of the Greeks, and, in the event of concerted intervention, to be careful not to commit Great Britain beyond the limits of good offices.

The immediate problems arising out of the Turkish Question had, however, been settled between the emperor Alexander and Metternich, to their mutual satisfaction, at the preliminary conferences held at Vienna in September, and at Verona the only question raised was that of the proposed French intervention in Spain. The discussion was opened by three questions formally propounded by Montmorency: (1) Would the Allies withdraw their ministers from Madrid in the event of France being compelled to do so? (2) In case of war, under what form and by what acts would the powers give France their moral support, so as to give to her action the force of the Alliance, and inspire a salutary fear in the revolutionaries of all countries ? (3) What material aid would the powers give, if asked by France to intervene, under restrictions which she would declare and they would recognize?

The reply of Alexander, who expressed his surprise at the desire of France to keep the question "wholly French," was to offer to march 150,000 Russians through Germany to Piedmont, where they could be held ready to act against the Jacobins whether in Spain or France. This solution appealed to Metternich and Montmorency as little as to Wellington; but though united in opposing it, four days of "confidential communications" revealed a fundamental difference of opinion between the representative of Great Britain and those of the continental powers on the main point at issue. Wellington, firmly based on the principle of non-intervention, refused to have anything to do with the suggestion, made by Metternich, that the powers should address a common note to the Spanish government in support of the action of France. Finally, Metternich proposed that the Allies should "hold a common language, but in separate notes, though uniform in their principles and objects." This solution was adopted by the continental powers; and Wellington, in accordance with his instructions not to countenance any intervention in Spanish affairs, took no part in the conferences that followed. On the 30th of October the powers handed in their formal replies to the French memorandum.

Russia, Austria and Prussia would act as France should in respect of their ministers in Spain, and would give to France every countenance and assistance she might require, the details "being reserved to be specified in a treaty." Wellington, on the other hand, replied on behalf of Great Britain that "having no knowledge of the cause of dispute, and not being able to form a judgment upon a hypothetical case, he could give no answer to any of the questions." Thus was proclaimed the open breach of Great Britain with the principles and policy of the Great Alliance, which is what gives to the congress its main historical interest.

See Cambridge Modern Hist., chap. i. "The Congresses," by W. Alison Phillips, and for authorities, ibid. p. 787. (WV. A. P.)


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