The Congress of Verona met at Verona on October 20 1822 as part of the Post-Napoleonic congresses that opened with the Congress of Vienna in 1815, which had instituted the Concert of Europe at the close of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Quintuple Alliance was represented by the following persons:
While the representatives of the United Kingdom and the European powers had at first, during the Congress of Vienna, acted largely in concert, the extent to which the concord epitomized in the expression the "Concert of Europe" had unraveled in seven years became apparent in the way in which the two main questions before this Congress were handled.
The instructions drawn up by Londonderry, as he then was, for his own guidance, had been handed to Wellington by George Canning without alteration. They defined the United Kingdom's position towards the three questions which it was supposed would be discussed: the Turkish Question (currently surfacing in the Greek insurrection), the question of intervention in favor of the Bourbon royal power in Spain and the revolted Spanish colonies, and the Italian Question.
As for Russia and Austria, the immediate problems arising out of the Turkish Question had, however, already been privately settled between the emperor Alexander and Metternich, to their mutual satisfaction, at the preliminary conferences held at Vienna in September.
The discussion was opened by three questions formally propounded by Montmorency:
A series of gilt-copper medals apparently struck in England represent participants of the Congress in less than flattering lights: the "Count de Chateaubriand" (Ludwig Ernst Bramsen, Médallier) bears an inscription that offers the British view of the French position in a nutshell: THE KING OF FRANCE MY MASTER DEMANDS THE FREEDOM OF FERDINAND VII TO GIVE HIS PEOPLE INSTITUTIONS WHICH THEY CANNOT HOLD BUT FROM HIM, while the emperor Francis I of Austria asserts MY TROOPS OCCUPY NAPLES TO CHASTISE THE NEAPOLITANS FOR DARING TO CHANGE THEIR CONSTITUTION.
The reply of Alexander, who expressed his surprise at the desire of France to keep the intervention wholly French, was to offer to march 150,000 Russians through Germany to Piedmont, where they could be held ready to act against any Jacobins, whether in Spain or France. This solution appealed as little to Metternich and Montmorency as to Wellington; but though united in opposing it, four days of confidential communications revealed a fundamental difference of opinion. Wellington, firmly based on the principle of non-intervention, refused to have anything to do with the suggestion, made by Metternich, that the powers should address a common note to the Spanish government in support of the action of France. Finally, Metternich proposed that the Allies should hold a common language, but in separate notes, though uniform in their principles and objects. This solution was adopted by the continental powers; but Wellington, in accordance with his instructions not to countenance any intervention in Spanish affairs, took no part in the conferences that followed. On October 30 the powers handed in their formal replies to the French memorandum.
Russia, Austria and Prussia would act as France should in respect of withdrawing their ministers, and would give to France every assistance she might require, the details to be specified in a treaty. Wellington, on the other hand, replied on behalf of the United Kingdom that having no knowledge of the cause of dispute, and not being able to form a judgment upon a hypothetical case, he could give no answer to any of the questions.
Thus was proclaimed the open breach of the United Kingdom with the principles and policy of the Quintuple Alliance, as it had become with the admission of France in 1818, which development is what gives to the congress its main historical interest. The ensuing French intervention ended with the Battle of Trocadero, which reinstated Ferdinand VII of Spain and opened a reactionary period of Spanish and European politics that led to the Year of Revolutions, 1848.