The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815

The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815

The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815

The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815

Excerpt

This monograph was written at the request of the Librarian of the Foreign Office in eleven weeks of this year, extending from May to August. It is purely a pièce de circonstance, and will be followed, I hope, by a larger work on the same subject when I am released from my present duties. No one could be more conscious of its faults and omissions than its author; and the only justification for its publication is the fact that it may be of some interest to the general public in view of recent events and present conditions.

It is a surprising but none the less authentic fact that there is no standard history of the Congress of Vienna. We thus stand on the threshold of a new Congress without any adequate account of the only assembly which can furnish even a shadowy precedent for the great task that lies before the statesmen and peoples of the world. This small book makes no pretensions to fill that gap, but it may serve to show how much still remains to be done before the history of the Congress of Vienna is fully known.

I have written for the information of officials and men of action rather than historians, but I have tried to give them some authorities for my conclusions. Throughout I have avoided any reference to or comparison with present circumstances, such applications being outside the province of the historian as such. So far, indeed, as any precedents are provided by this period of history, they may probably be considered useful rather as warnings than as examples; and the book will have served its purpose if it draws attention to some errors of statesmanship, which we may hope will be avoided at the present day.

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