Italian nationalists believed that efforts by Britain to oust the French from the Kingdom of Italy meant that the British would support Italian independence. Following the April 20, 1814 revolution in Milan, many Italian nationalists and Commercial interests desired a British prince, either the Duke of Cambridge or the Duke of Clarence to be appointed to the Italian throne. Lt.-Gen. Robert MacFarlane, Lord Bentinck’s [the British c-in-c in the Mediterranean] reported a large majority in Milan wanted a British king. Sir Robert Wilson, who had been the British attaché to the Austrian Army, was an agent in Milan and also reported that the Austrians were highly unpopular and the majority wanted independence with a British king.
During the war the Foreign Office in London had encouraged Bentinck to stir up revolts like those in Spain against the French. Bentinck hoped to increase British influence in Italy to gain a trade monopoly for Britain and to make Britain the master of the Mediterranean. In March, Bentinck had called on the Italians to assert their independence and in April had announce the restoration of the Genoese Republic. After April 20, Bentinck and MacFarlane promised to send the proposals of the Italian nationalists to London, leading them to believe that Britain favorably supported independence.
Austrian police in May reported that British agents in Venice were spreading the rumor that Venetia wouldn’t remain Austrian at the conclusion of the war. The Austrians believed that they had in April prevented the British from occupying Venice. In May Austrian suspicions forced Castlereagh to instruct Bentinck to recall MacFarlane from Milan. Austrian police reports said the Italian nationalists were traveling to London to gain British support for independence and that a society for Italian independence, which included the Prince Regent and Wellington was active in London. By Aug 1814 Baron Hager van Allentsteig, the Austrian head of police in Italy, asked authorities to investigate reports that the British were fomenting a plot to annex Genoa. In Sept Gen. Bellegarde reported to Metternich that Italian nationalists were divided between those supporting the British and those supporting Murat. In Nov. police reports said that Murat was seeking to get British support for uniting Italy.
See: Rath, R. John. The Austrian Provisional Regime in Lombardy-Venetia, 1814-1815. (1969)
Following Napoleon's escape from Elba some Italian political commentators and Austrian informants believed that the British had orchestrated Napoleon's escape to wage a war from which only they could emerge victorious and which would end with a liberal, constitutional monarchy for Italy beholden to the British.