BLTC Press Titles

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Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Bhagavad Gita


Fragments upon the balance of power in Europe

by Friedrich von Gentz


would have been necessary to extend the elucidation, which will be found in the following pages of the relations between France and Austria since the conclusion of the peace of Luneville, both in a historical and political light, to the relations between France and Prussia, between France and the German Empire, between France and Russia, between France and England, and so forth; and to have illustrated as distinctly as possible their respective interests, by which means we should have arrived at an induction of the principles on which we ought to act, the object to which our exertions ought to be directed, and the new constitution which ought to be framed for the purpose of remedying the present evil, and of obtaining security for the future.

This attempt necessarily supposed that the political distempers of Europe had arrived at a decisive crisis, at the time when Austria and Russia prepared for battle with the overgrown power; and that it was only by energetic means and bold operations, that it could be discovered whether the principle of life, or the principle of

death was to prove victorious. Had the former triumphed but in part, or had at least the event of the contest for a considerable period of time remained in doubt, the abovementioned enquiries would have been of some use, first in the way of impressing on the minds of contemporaries the immense importance of the object for which we were contending; and secondly, as a mode of circulating clear and distinct notions of what was to be acquired before our efforts could be rewarded by that true political regeneration at which we aspired. But as an unhappy destiny blasted the fairest hopes upon earth in their first blossom, as the contest was decided and terminated, lost and given up when people scarce believed that it had commenced; as events such as no age ever witnessed, in less than three months inflamed the disease in the vital parts of the system to such a pitch of virulence, that all we had hitherto suffered vanished like a shadow before what was present; the execution of the original plan could have produced no good effect. For though the few amongst us whose courage is superior to fate, and


vkudk rises in proportion even as their fortunes droop, do not on the brink of impotency, where we are now brought, despair of the possibility of salvation, it will least of all escape them that under this new form of ruin which presents itself to us in consequence of the retreat of the Russian army, the Presburg treaty, and the PrusSian negociations, there are much greater difficulties to vanquish, and far different problems to solve than there were in that earlier period of the disease, when the peace of Luneville, and its immediate results, seemed to call forth the utmost energies, and to defy the most powerful remedies. In such circumstances no one can be astonished that he who undertook such a work, after being interrupted in the execution of it by the catastrophes of the time, resolved not to pursue it agreeably to his original plan, but to give that part of it which he had already executed in the form of fragments, as a specimen of what he would have performed under more fortunate circumstances, or at all events as an historical monument to perpetuate the recollection of a state of things

which the rapid growth of the evil seems already to have left half a century behind.

In this point of view alone the following sheets must be considered, in order to their being fairly and justly estimated, and in order even to their being received with indulgence. Their numerous deficiences and gaps will not escape the penetrating eye. Though much of what they contain will, by those who approve the sentiments, be found to be truths of much importance, independent of their reference to the time of their being written; yet upon the whole they bear the character and colour of that particular period.*

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