Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh (1769-1822) was an unstable Ulster aristocrat whose favorite costume (pink hunting coat and riding boots) made him a figure in Parliament. Foreign Secretary from 1812 to 1822, he stiffened the Grand Alliance that defeated Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna, which laid the foundations for a hundred years of Pax Britannica, he put on a classic display of balance-of-power diplomacy: to counter the threat of Russo-Prussian hegemony in Europe, Castlereagh threw Britain's weight on the side of the former enemy, France. Britons blamed Castlereagh for the economic distress following...

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