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Printed by T. C. Hansard, Peterborough-court, Fleet-street, London.

PREFACE.

In the long and disastrous annals of the war which has now become almost habitual to Europe, the present year will be peculiarly memorable on account of the variety and importance of its events-events, however, more striking in their occurrence, than decisive of the important concerns depending upon the issue of the contest.: Of these, the most prominent in magnitude and interest was undoubtedly the invasion of one great empire by the collected force of the still greater empire, which in its spread had left itself no other adequate antagonist.

The conflagration of a capital, the horrid carnage consequent upon well-fought battles between countless hosts, the still more lavish and lamentable waste of lives occasioned by the rigours of winter combining with the distresses of retreat, and the inglorious flight of a leader who scarcely ever before returned without fame and conquest from his daring expeditions; form scenes of tragic grandeur which the drama of human affairs has rarely presented in modern times on the civilized parts of the globe.

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The peninsular war has likewise been carried on with unusual vigour; and the storming of two strong fortresses, with an action in the field of greater magnitude than had before occurred between the chief contending parties, followed by the liberation of the southern provinces of Spain from its invaders, offer splendid materials to the military historian of this period.

At the same time, the adoption of free governments in Spain and Sicily will equally interest the philosophical observer, provided their duration shall correspond with the zeal displayed in their establishment.

Another event which has added to the confusion and calamity of the times, and perhaps will be the parent of consequences more momentous than any which are yet apparent, is, the unfortunate commencement of a war between Great Britain and those Transatlantic States to which she gave birth, and has communicated the most valuable of her treasures, her laws and liberty. To this country, indeed, the war has been little more than an addition to its drains and losses ; but to the United States its continuance must prove a severe trial of the strength of that federal union which has hitherto contributed so essentially to their prosperity and security, and will probably give origin to those evils which press so heavily upon all old governments.

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:: In domestic history the present year will be distinguished as that which by reuniting all the powers of the crown in the person of the Prince Regent, has made an actual commencement of a new reign, and afforded a sufficient criterion of the spirit in which it is likely to be conducted. It has also put to the test the strength of the different political parties; and by weighing them all in the balance, has demonstratively proved the existence of a preponderating mass of power which reduces them to 'comparative insignificance. After all the complaints of the want of “a strong and effective administration,” that ministry has been continued which gave rise to these complaints; and no want of strength or efficacy has appeared in carrying through the measures determined upon by the government, Difficulties, it is true, have occurred respecting certain political points, but they have been such as it required rather wisdom than power to adjust. The intestine disorders which have pervaded a considerable tract of the manufacturing districts, and which assumed a character of daring and ferocity unprecedented among the lower classes in this country, have been happily quelled by a firm but lenient exertion of authority; and the record of them may serve to exemplify the dangers attending a population forced by prosperous trade greatly beyond its natural level, whenever the

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