Lord Castlereagh's appointment as Foreign Secretary in 1814 coincided with the defeat of Napoleon. His main objective during his ten year term in office was to establish an underlying equilibrium in Europe. A very important component of this was the containment of France. Castlereagh succeeded in preventing France from expanding with the exception of Nice and Savoy, as she made no other territorial acquisitions in the nineteenth century. Castlereagh failed however with his intention to set up a permanent international system, as the Congress was limited to four meetings: Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laibach and Verona. The purpose of the Congresses had drifted from British intentions by the end of his time in office. No fully accredited British representatives attended the last two of these meetings. .
In his Memorandum of 19 January 1805, Pitt the Younger who undoubtedly influenced Castlereagh (his political apprentice) defined the British government's underlying aim for after it had concluded the struggle with Napoleonic France. This aim was to establish "a general agreement and guarantee for the mutual protection and security of the different powers, and for re-establishing a general system of public law in Europe.".
Castlereagh faced an immensely complex task during a period of revolutionary fervour throughout Europe sparked by the example of Napoleonic France - which was still potentially the greatest of all the European powers even though Napoleon had been overthrown. .
The aim documented by Pitt the Younger was interpreted by Castlereagh as, setting up with the other major European powers a permanent international system with regular functioning congresses. Britain lead the industrial revolution, and it was of great importance to keep good relations with the other European powers to boost trade. "Britain could no longer feed her own people. She was dependant on international trade both for food and for the raw materials necessary to keep her industry going," - M.