CLASHES BETWEEN THE RULERS AND THE RULED

BOTH Liberalism and Nationalism were resisted by the vested interests of kings and aristocracies. Mettemich and his like said, in effect, If we yield an inch they will ask for a yard. We would rather perish in a glorious crash after trying to hold everything than give everything away in a series of compromises." Most oligarchies probably did not reason even thus far. In each of the numerous instances when a nation was divided or ruled by foreigners, the interests of one or more monarchs directly and of all monarchs indirectly were affected. Nationalism was particularly repulsive to Austria, whose Emperor ruled over Germans, Magyars, Czechs, Italians, Poles, Slovenes, Slovaks, Serbs, Ruthenians, Rumanians, and others, most of whom, if national principles were followed, would join other groups or would at any rate resist Germanising tendencies in language and administration. Had the Hahsburg empire been an enlightened despotism, as under Joseph II., the resistance to nationalism might have been one that we could wish to have succeeded, but from 1815 to 1918 it was in the hands of rulers and ministers who compare very unfavourably with English government at its worst under George III.

Ugly though many of the works of nationalism have been, for instance the erection of tariff walls all over the old free trade area of the Habsburg empire, we must chiefly blame the statesmen who preferred to let foreign or un-national rule be generally associated with misgovernment. National leaders themselves were guilty of much narrowness and folly. We shall see how, in the middle of the century, a group of statesmen enabled nationalism to win its desires in several countries at the cost of some of the Liberal aspirations which in the beginning had been generally associated with it.

Among the states of Europe peace was maintained almost unbroken from 1815 to 1854, twenty years of war and revolution having exhausted the participants. Metternich's scheme of periodical conferences broke down after a few years' experiment when it encountered a really serious problem in which national passions were heated, but it was revived whenever a European problem grew acute, and it frequently helped to keep the peace. Metternich's chief conferences were held at Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laibach, and Verona, at intervals usually of a couple of years. In 1818 France was admitted to the Congress group. Her accession was counterbalanced by the withdrawal in 1822 of England, whose foreign policy was controlled under George IV. by the Prime Minister, Liverpool, and the Foreign Secretary, Castlereagh. They took a dislike to Metternich's scheme for repressing incipient revolution in European states by the forces of more stable neighbours-as was later done, for instance, in 1823, when France sent an army into Spain to subdue a revolt against the worthless King of Spain, Ferdinand. The dislike of English Tones for this policy was due not so much to sympathy with Liberalism as to their traditional insularity.