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The volume of The New Annual Register which is now presented to the public, records events, both domestic and foreign, than which scarcely any, even in these times of morrentous and unexpected occurrences, have a more just and powerful claim on the interest of the general reader, or on the profound investigation and study of the politician. A rapid sketch of them will at once display and justify the truth of this observation, and serve as a proper and relevant subject of a
face. If we first turn our attention to the events of domestic politics;—the charges against the duke of York, as commander in chief;—the evidence by which they were supported ;—the incidental and collateral discoveries, which were developed during the progress of the investigation ; the views, the conduct, and arguments of the different parties in the house of commons, by whom his royal highness was either totally and strongly condenined ;-or reļuctantly given up to partial censure ;-or boldly held forth as completely guiltless, and suffering under a foul and barefaced conspiracy ;--but above all, the uncommon interest the British public took on this occasion, which, like an electric shock, communicated itself, almost at once, and with scarcely any diminution of power, from the metropolis 10 the most remote extreinities of the empire ;—and the seady and cool perseverance in the declaration and enforce
ment of their opinion which the people discovered, equally renvoved from the vacillating or outrageous and violent conduct of a mob;—are circumstances which will undoubtedly mark the domestic events of the year 1809 as of extreme importance*
The singular and la.nentable difference and disputes among those whom his majesty had appointed to direct the affairs of the nation ; and the disgraceful consequences, both of a private and public nature, which resulted from an open quarrel, carried even to a breach of those laws which the offenders were oificially called upon to protect by their authority, and sanction by their example, form another leading feature in the domestic politics of the year. No man who loves or reverencus liis country can read, without feeling his cheek tinced with the blush of shame and indignition, that British ministers were involved in petty and selfish jealousies and quarrels, at a time when not only the fate of the continert called for their undivided and unani. mous attention, but when a prospect of reversing that fate more favourable than had ever been presented before, would undoubtedly have silenced, if it could not have subdued every feeling of private animosity and interest in the breast of true patriots. When it is also found that the di graceful and disastrous failure of one of the most powerf and expensive expeditions ever sent from the shores Britain, occurred during these private distractions and
* The attention of the reader is particularly referred to a work titled “ The Iristory of the Proceedings of the House of Comino the Inquiry into the Conduct of His Royal Highness the Du York, comprising an a'thentic Copy of the Evidence, and an : rate Repori of all the Devates in Parliament, as they occurred in C of Time." - This vehime may be had of Mr. S:ockdale, the propi of The New Annual Register.
trigues, candour itself will hardly fail to connect the events, and to lament that the blood and honour of Britons should have been in ihe keeping of men, who seemed io prefer their own interests and the indulgence of their passions, to the welfare of the country.
As an intermediate link between domestic and foreign politics, the disturbances which took place in India during the year 1809 may be mentioned. In this volume we have not been able to give a full account of the termination of these disturbances, nor to trace in minute detail all the events which led to them. Much information on this subject arrived long after the commencement of the present year; and of course it more properly belongs to our next volume. In this, however, we have given a brief abstract of the prior part of the East-India disturbances; and shall not fail in The New Annual Register for 18!0 to present a complete, and we hope an impartial, narrative of transactions, which all parties, however they may differ respecting their cayse and origin, must confess open to our view the instability of the foundation on which our Indian empire rests.
If from domestic we turn our attention to foreign politics, the events that have occurred in two countries principally claim our notice and interest :-In Austria, where, after tottering on the very verge of destruction, Bonaparte at length, by superior skill and resources, completely triumphed ;-and in Spain, wher: his plans have hitherto been in some degree foiled. The tale of these two countries, the rapid fall and complete humiliation of the one, and the protracted resistance of the other, -offer to the politician subjects for profound meditation. The events that have occurred in Spain, though calculated to excite emotions of
indignation and horror against the common enemy, and of commiseration for the suffering inhabitants of that country, are by no means so disastrous as to lead us to despair of the ultimate success of their cause. What Bonaparte has effected in other countries cannot be adduced to prove that he will be victorious here also.
Already have 200,000 of the enemy fallen victims to the cruel ambition of their emperor, whose predictions respecting Spain have in no instance been realized : and though he may continue to pour in his armies, almost without limit, or number, yet so long as the Spanish patriots wage a war of defence only, and receive that support from this country, which its government is willing to afford, they cannot be vanquished. And what they have hitherto performed, although they are ignorant, and actuated rather by a national antipathy to the French, heightened by the cruelties they have witnessed and suffered, than by a pure and enlightened love of liberty, founded on an expe. rience of its blessings ;-and notwithstanding they are led on by a weak if not a treacherous government, triumphantly shows what resistance a people can raise and continue against the power of a tyrant, and how feeble the armies and skill even of Bonaparte would be, if they were levelled against a free nation, under the direction of a wise and popular government.
15th June, 1810.