« ForrigeFortsett »
P R E F A C
HE Writer who attempts to lay before his
countrymen an impartial History of his own time, engages in a difficult, and on many accounts, an unpleasant work. He is himself liable to be drawn imperceptibly into attachments; and there are few readers who can reason calmly and judge dispassionately, of present ministers and measures.
These confiderations might have led the Author to suppress, for some years, the latter part of this History, (which he has long been forming with some degree of laborious research) if the posture of public affairs did not appear to him to require the recent history of this country to be related now; that by an epitome of the important transactions in which this kingdom has been engaged, the whole may be brought into a close point of view, and the public may from thence be enabled to form a jufter opinion of the measures which have been pursued, and how far the business of the state has been executed faithfully, asliduously, and wisely. To arraign ministers with a petulant and narrow spirit of detraction, is illiberal and highly reprehensible; to examine freely, fairly, and closely their principles of action, both as to the objects which they
grasp grasp, and the means which they apply, is the birthright of an Englishman, and an employment becoming a good citizen.
The History of Great Britain during Lord North's ministry, will ever be one of its most important periods, although it furnishes few materials to dignify and grace the historic page. It is filled with eventful operations, but not with brilliant actions; and to relate them becomes rather an act of duty, than a claim to literary fame. The subject is interesting, without being captivating.
The present situation of these kingdoms, though critical, is respectable; since the bravery and skill of our commanders by fea and land, that native hardiness and contempt of danger which characterise our seamen and soldiers, have suffered no decay, and the nation certainly poffeffes many men illusrious for virtues, talents, and public fpirit.