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History of Europe, Vol. 1

History of Europe, Vol. 1

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Excerpt from History of Europe, Vol. 1: From the Fall of Napoleon in 1815, to the Accession of Louis Napoleon in 1852

During a period of peace the eras of history can not be so clearly perceived on a first and superficial glance as when they are marked by the decisive events of war but they are not on that account the less obvious when their respective limits have been once ascertained. The triumphs of parties in the senate-house or the Forum are not, in general, followed by the same immediate and decisive results as those of armies in the field and their consequen ces are often not fully developed for several years after they have taken place. But they are equally real and decisive. The results do not follow with less' certainty from the movements Which have preceded them. It is in tracing these results, and connecting them with the changes in leg islation or Opinion in which they origina ted, that the great interest and utility of the history of pacific periods consist.

The periods which have passed over dur ing the thirty-seven years of European na tional peace - from the Fall of Napoleon, in 1815, to the Accession of Louis Napol eon, in 1852 - are not so vividly marked as those 'which occurred during the wars of the French Revolution, but they have a distinctness of their own, and the changes in which they terminated were not less important. The resumption of cash pay ments in England in 1819 was not, to outward appearance, so striking an event as the battle of Austerlitz, but it was fol lowed by results of equal permanent im portance. The Reform Bill was not the cause of so visible a change in human af fairs as the battle of Wagram, but it was attended with consequences equally grave and lasting. Without pretending to have discerned with perfect accuracy, as yet, the most important of the many important events which have signalized this memo rable era, it may be stated that it natu rally divides itself into five periods.

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