Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818)/Maintenance of the Peace of Europe

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Reference to Treaty of 30th May, 1814; to Vienna Congress Treaty of 9th June, 1815; to Treaty of 20th November, 1815; and to Convention of 9th October, 1818.

The Ministers of Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia, in pursuance of the exchange of the Ratifications of the Convention signed on the 9th of October, 1818[3], relative to the Evacuation of the French Territory by the Foreign Troops, and after having addressed to each other the Notes, of which copies are annexed[4] have assembled in conference, to take into consideration the Relations which ought to be established, in the actual state of affairs, between France and the co-subscribing Powers of the Treaty of Peace of the 20th of November, 1815[5]—Relations which, by assuring to France the place that belongs to her in the European system, will bind her more closely to the pacific and benevolent views in which all the Sovereigns participate, and will thus consolidate the general tranquillity.

After having maturely investigated the conservative principles of the great interests which constitute the order of things established in Europe, under the auspices of Divine Providence, by the Treaty of Paris of the 30th of May, 1814 (No. 1), the Reces of Vienna (9th June, 1815, No. 27), and the Treaty of Peace of the year 1815 (20th November, No. 40), the Courts subscribing the present Act, do, accordingly, unanimously acknowledge and declare :—

1. That they are firmly resolved never to depart, neither in their mutual Relations, nor in those which bind them to other States, from the principle of intimate Union which has hitherto presided over all their common relations and interests—a Union rendered more strong and indissoluble by the bonds of Christian fraternity which the Sovereigns have formed among themselves.

2. That this Union, which is the more real and durable, inasmuch as it depends on no separate interest or temporary combination, can only have for its object the Maintenance of general Peace, founded on a religious respect for the engagements contained in the Treaties, and for the whole of the rights resulting therefrom.

3. That France, associated with other Powers by the restoration of the legitimate Monarchical and Constitutional Power, engages henceforth to concur in the maintenance and consolidation of a System which has given Peace to Europe, and which can alone insure its duration.

4. That if, for the better attaining the above declared object, the Powers which have concurred in the present Act, should judge it necessary to establish particular meetings, either of the Sovereigns themselves, or of their respective Ministers and Plenipotentiaries, there to treat in common of their own interests, in so far as they have reference to the object of their present deliberations, the time and place of these meetings shall, on each occasion, be previously fixed by means of diplomatic communications; and that in the case of these meetings having for their object affairs specially connected with the interests of the other States of Europe, they shall only take place in pursuance of a formal invitation on the part of such of those States as the said affairs may concern, and under the express reservation of their right of direct participation therein, either directly or by their Plenipotentiaries.

5. That the resolutions contained in the present Act shall be made known to all the Courts of Europe, by the annexed Declaration, which shall be considered as sanctioned by the Protocol, and forming part thereof.

Done in quintuple, and reciprocally exchanged in the original, by the subscribing Cabinets.

Aix-la-Chapelle, 15th November, 1818.


Annex A: Evacuation of French territory[edit]

Reference to Treaty of 20th November, 1815. The Undersigned Ministers of the Cabinets of Austria, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia, have received orders from their august masters to address to His Excellency the Duke of Richelieu the following communication :—

Called by Article V. of the Treaty of the 20th November, 1815,[9] to examine, in concert with His Majesty the King of France, whether the military occupation of a part of the French territory, stipulated by the said Treaty, might cease at the end of the third year, or ought to be prolonged to the end of the fifth, their Majesties the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia, and the Emperor of all the Russias, have repaired to Aix-la-Chapelle, and have charged their Ministers to assemble there, in conference with the Plenipotentiaries of their Majesties the King of France and the King of Great Britain, in order to proceed to the examination of this important question. In this examination the attention of the Ministers and Plenipotentiaries had for its particular object the internal situation of France ; it was said to be directed to the execution of the engagements contracted by the French Government, towards the cosubscribing Powers to the Treaty of the 20th November, 1815.[9]

The internal state of France having long been the subject of serious deliberations in the Cabinets, and the Plenipotentiaries assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle having mutually communicated the opinions which they had formed in that respect, the august Sovereigns, after having weighed these opinions in their wisdom, have recognised with satisfaction, that the order of things happily established in France, by the restoration of the legitimate and constitutional Monarchy, and the success which has hitherto crowned the paternal care of His Most Christian Majesty, fully justify the hope of a progressive consolidation of that order of things so essential to the repose and prosperity of France, and so strictly connected with the great interests of Europe.

With regard to the execution of the engagements, the communications which, since the opening of the Conferences, the Plenipotentiary of His Most Christian Majesty has addressed to the Ministers of the other Powers have left no doubt on this question, as they prove that the French Government has fulfilled, with the most scrupulous and honourable punctuality, all the clauses of the Treaties and Conventions of the 20th November;[10] and propose, with respect to those clauses, the fulfilment of which was reserved for more remote periods, arrangements which are satisfactory to all the contracting parties.

Such being the results of the examination of these grave questions, their Imperial and Royal Majesties congratulated themselves, that they have only to listen to those sentiments and those personal wishes which induced them to put an end to a measure which disastrous circumstances, and the necessity of providing for their own security, and that of Europe, could alone have dictated to them.

From that moment the august Sovereigns resolved to cause the Military Occupation of the French Territory to be discontinued; and the Convention of the 9th October sanctioned this resolution.[3] They regard this solemn act as the final completion of the General Peace.

Considering now, as the first of their duties, that of preserving to their people the benefits which that Peace assures to them, and to maintain in their integrity the transactions which have established and consolidated it, their Imperial and Royal Majesties flatter themselves that His Most Christian Majesty, animated by the same sentiments, will receive with the interest which he attaches to everything tending to the welfare of mankind, and to the glory and prosperity of his country, the proposition which their Imperial and Royal Majesties address to him, to unite henceforth his councils and his efforts to those which they will not cease to devote to so salutary a work.

The undersigned, charged to request the Duke of Richelieu to convey the wish of their august Sovereigns to the knowledge of the King his master, at the same time invite his Excellency to take part in their present and future deliberations, consecrated to the maintenance of the peace, the treaties on which it is founded, the rights and mutual relations established or confirmed by these treaties, and recognised by all the European Powers.

In transmitting to the Duke of Richelieu this solemn proof of the confidence which their august Sovereigns have placed in the wisdom of the King of France, and in the loyalty of the French nation, the undersigned are ordered to add the expression of the unalterable attachment which their Imperial and Royal Majesties profess towards the person of His Most Christian Majesty and his family, and of the sincere interest which they never cease to take in the tranquillity and happiness of his kingdom.

They have the honour, at the same time, to offer to the Duke of Richelieu the assurance of their very particular consideration.

Aix-la-Chapelle. 4th November, 1818.


Annex B: Union of the Five Powers[edit]

The Undersigned Minister and Secretary of State to His Most Christian Majesty, has received the communication which their Excellencies the Ministers of the Cabinets of Austria, of Great Britain, of Prussia, and of Russia, did him the honour of addressing to him on the 4th of this month,[13] by order of their august Sovereigns. He hastened to make it known to the King his Master. His Majesty has received with real satisfaction, this new proof of the confidence and friendship of the Sovereigns who have taken part in the deliberations at Aix-la-Chapelle. The justice which they render to his constant cares for the happiness of France, and above all to the loyalty of his people, has deeply touched his heart. Looking back to the past, and observing that at no other period, no other nation has been able to fulfil with a more scrupulous fidelity, engagements such as France had contracted, the King has felt that it was indebted, for this new kind of glory, to the influence of the institutions which govern it; and he sees with joy, that the consolidation of these institutions is considered by his august Allies to be no less advantageous to the repose of Europe, than essential to the prosperity of France. Considering that the first of his duties is to endeavour to perpetuate and augment, by all the means in his power, the benefits which the complete re-establishment of general Peace promises to all nations ; persuaded that the intimate union of governments is the surest pledge of its duration ; and that France, which could not remain a stranger to a system, the whole force of which must spring from a perfect unanimity of principle and action, will join the association with her characteristic frankness; and that her concurrence must add strength to the well-founded hope of the happy results which such an alliance must produce for the benefit of mankind, His Most Christian Majesty most readily accepts the proposal made to him of uniting his councils and his efforts with those of their Majesties, for the purpose of accomplishing the salutary work which they have in view. He has, therefore, authorized the undersigned to take part in all the deliberations of their Ministers and Plenipotentiaries, for the object of consolidating the peace, of securing the maintenance of the Treaties on which it rests, and of guaranteeing the mutual rights and relations established by these same Treaties, and recognized by all the States of Europe.

The undersigned, while he begs their Excellencies to have the goodness to transmit to their august Sovereigns, the expression of the intentions and sentiments of the King his master, has the honour of offering them the assurance of his highest consideration.


Annex C: Peace of Europe, Union of the Five Powers[edit]

At the period of completing the Pacification of Europe by the resolution of withdrawing the Foreign Troops from the French Territory ; and when there is an end of those measures of precaution which unfortunate circumstances had rendered necessary, the Ministers and Plenipotentiaries of their Majesties the Emperor of Austria, the King of France, the King of Great Britain, the King of Prussia, and the Emperor of all the Russias, have received orders from their Sovereigns, to make known to all the Courts of Europe, the results of their meeting at Aix-la-Chapelle, and with that view to publish the following Declaration :—

The Convention of the 9th October, 1818,[3] which definitively regulated the execution of the engagements agreed to in the [[[Treaty of Paris (1815)/Definitive Treaty|Treaty of Peace]] of 20th November, 1815,[16] is considered by the Sovereigns who concurred therein, as the accomplishment of the work of Peace, and as the completion of the political System destined to ensure its solidity.

The intimate Union established among the Monarchs, who are joint parties to this System, by their own principles, no less than by the interests of their people, offers to Europe the most sacred pledge of its future tranquillity.

The object of this Union is as simple as it is great and salutary. It does not tend to any new political combination—to any change in the Relations sanctioned by existing Treaties. Calm and consistent in its proceedings, it has no other object than the maintenance of Peace, and the guarantee of those transactions on which the Peace was founded and consolidated.

The Sovereigns, in forming this august Union, have regarded as its fundamental basis their invariable resolution never to depart, either among themselves, or in their Relations with other States, from the strictest observation of the principles of the Right of Nations; principles, which, hi their application to a state of permanent Peace, can alone effectually guarantee the Independence of each Government, and the stability of the general association. Faithful to these principles, the Sovereigns will maintain them equally in those meetings at which they may be personally present, or in those which shall take place among their Ministers; whether they be for purpose of discussing in common their own interests, or whether they shall relate to questions in which other Governments shall formally claim their interference. The same spirit which will direct their councils, and reign in their diplomatic communications, will preside also at these meetings; and the repose of the world will be constantly their motive and their end.

It is with these sentiments that the Sovereigns have consummated the work to which they were called. They will not cease to labour for its confirmation and perfection. They solemnly acknowledge that their duties towards God and the people whom they govern make it peremptory on them to give to the world, as far as it is in their power, an example of justice, of concord, and of moderation; happy in the power of consecrating, from henceforth, all their efforts to protect the arts of peace, to increase the internal prosperity of their States, and to awaken those sentiments of religion and morality, whose influence has been but too much enfeebled by the misfortune of the times.

Aix-la-Chapelle, 15th November 1818.



  1. Hertslet, (No. 87) p. 571.
  2. For French version, see British State Papers, vol. vi., p. 14. (Hertslet, p. 571)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hertslet pp. 558,571: Convention for the evacuation of the French territory (No. 82)
  4. Annex A and Annex B (Nos. 84, 85, Hertslet).
  5. Hertslet pp. 342,571. (No. 40) DEFINITIVE TREATY, between Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia, and France. — Signed at Paris, the 20th of November, 1815
  6. Hertslet, p. 564. (No. 84.)
  7. This Note formed Annex A to the Protocol of 15th November, 1818. (Hertslet, p. 564.)
  8. For French version, see British State Papers, vol. vi., p. 16. (Hertslet, p. 564.)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hertslet, pp. 342,564 (No. 40) DEFINITIVE TREATY, between Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia, and France. — Signed at Paris, the 20th of November, 1815
  10. Hertslet pp.342-410,564 (Nos. 40-46), Treaty of Paris (1815).
  11. This Note formed Annex B to the Protocol of 15th November, 1818. (Hertslet, (No. 85) p. 567).
  12. For French version, see British State Papers, vol. vi., p. 17. (Hertslet, p. 567)
  13. Annex A: Evacuation of French territory (Hertslet, p. 567).
  14. This Declaration formed Annex C to the Protocol of 15th November, 1818 (Hertslet, (No. 88) p. 573).
  15. For French version, see British State Papers, vol. vi., p. 18. (Hertslet, p. 573)
  16. Hertslet, 573. (No. 40) DEFINITIVE TREATY, between Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia, and France. — Signed at Paris, the 20th of November, 1815