British Diplomacy and Swedish Politics, 1758-1773
by Michael Roberts
University of Minnesota Press, 1980
Paper: 978-0-8166-5859-6


British Diplomacy and Swedish Politics, 1758–1773 was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This book has three objectives; to shed light on the central issue in British foreign policy during a period inadequately explored by historians; to present, for the first time in English, an account of the dramatic last decade of Swedish "liberty" and its final overthrow by Gustavus III; and finally, to direct the attention of historians to the career of Sir John Goodricke—a diplomat whom Lor Rochford called "the best man we have abroad; you can trust him with anything—except money."

These themes are in fact inextricably linked. For Great Britain, emerging from the Seven Years War victorious but isolated, needed to safeguard her trade with Russia and British statesmen felt that an Anglo-Russian alliance could best be achieved by first concluding a treaty with Sweden to which Russia would adhere. To achieve this aim, it was essential to break French influence in Stockholm, to oust the francophile Hats from power, and to install their anglophile rivals the Caps. Thus Swedish party politics, and the Swedish constitutions, unexpectedly became matters of great consequence in Whitehall. To win the necessary victory in Stockholm Britain needed a minister of peculiar talents and no little ability. Sir John Goodricke was such a minister. And the record of his exertions, and of his eventual failure, is necessary to any proper understanding of British policy in the postwar decade.

This book is an important contribution to both British and Scandinavian history and, since it also illuminates the subject of European political relations in the eighteenth century, it will be welcomed by diplomatic historians and specialists in eighteenth-century studies as well. Michael Roberts tells his story with customary verve and grace, and effectively refutes any idea that diplomatic history need be dull.

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