The subject of this monograph, the political work of Maria Theresa, runs over into a second volume, which will appear under the title of Joseph II. Perhaps a few words are necessary to explain this departure from the general plan of the series. Its justification depends on the close continuity between the two reigns. For fifteen years Joseph was associated with his mother as co-regent; and during that time his influence was constantly increasing. To attempt an account of her political action, without taking into consideration the character and views of her son, would involve a wholly inadequate treatment. The reign of Joseph, when left as sole ruler of the empire, was but a working out and fulfilment of the initiatory measures of the preceding reign. Over almost the whole period, in foreign affairs at all events, the influence of one minister, Kaunitz, is predominant; in fact the two reigns are occupied with the rise and fall of his political system. They stand by themselves as an episode in European history.