Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, 2d Viscount
concert of Europelater confirmed by the Quadruple Alliance. He advocated a moderate peace settlement for France, including restoration of the Bourbon monarchy and the limitation of France to her prewar boundaries. A dominant figure at the Congress of Vienna (1814–15; see Vienna, Congress of), Castlereagh worked for the establishment of the United Netherlands and the German Confederation. He favored an independent Poland but was compelled to accept a repartitioning of that country. Castlereagh placed great hope in the
congress systemagreed on at Vienna, by which the great powers would consult regularly for the maintenance of peace. However, he did not approve of outright intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries and protested, in increasingly explicit terms, the assumption of this right by the powers of the Holy Alliance. By the time of his death it is almost certain that he had decided to break with the wartime allies. In England, however, he was much criticized for his apparent cooperation with those same autocratic governments, and he was also blamed for repressive actions to curb unrest in England, though he was not directly responsible for them. He became (1821) the 2d marquess of Londonderry on his father's death. He committed suicide the next year. One of the foremost statesmen of his time, Castlereagh was cold in personality and lacked ability as an orator; he never gained an easy popularity and was hated by radicals like Shelley.
See biographies by C. J. Bartlett (1966) and J. Bew (2012); H. A. Kissinger, A World Restored (1957, repr. 1964).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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