The nature of the political and governmental system is a key element when discussing the means of policy. So also is the relationship between domestic and external factors on foreign policy. In assessing both these issues, it is necessary to devote due attention to perception, namely the perceptions, both within Britain and abroad, of how, why, and with what consequences, British policy operated. The kingdom of Sardinia centred on Savoy-Piedmont which had disputes with neighbouring Austrian-ruled Lombardy. The correspondence of women with their husbands reveals knowledge of politics and a willingness to express their views. Aware of the sensitivity of trade as a political issue, the government sought to demonstrate its support and to discredit suggestions that it would yield commercial interests for political concerns, and notably those of Hanover. Moreover, foreign policy was an important theme and expression of social concerns and norms.