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P R E F A Ć E.
HE conclusion of the war in the East Indies, has ne
cessarily claimed our utmost attention in the History of the present year. Exclusive of the
national importance of that arduous contest, and the vast stakes which were played for by all the parties, the number and variety of military events, both by sea and land, of which it was so unusually productive, together with the superior abilities and extraordinary exertions of the principal leaders on all sides, must ever render the late war in India peculiarly interesting. Having got through this difficult, though pleasing task, we had only to gather up the gleanings of the war in other quarters; and then, tracing those measures which led to the restoration of the public tranquillity, we have proceeded to take a view of the nature, circumstances, and consummation of that general peace, which has happily put an end to the ravages and calamities of war both in the Old and the New World.
Having thus concluded the narration, and wound up the business of the late molt extensive and eventful war, we shall be able, in our next volume, to take a retrospective view of those political affairs and transactions in Europe, which, however confequential they might have been deemed in other seasons, could not have been attended to during the din and tumult of arms, and while a rapid succession of the most interesting events were continually crowded upon the public attention.
It gives us no small concern to understand, that a passage in our History for the year 1773, should have been supposed to convey an imputation injurious to the honour and character of the Baron de Tott. Independent of our attention to historical truth, as well as to personal justice, we too much regard the fingular talents and eminent abilities of that Nobleman, not to regret, however innocently, that we fhould, in any manner, have afforded means for wounding his feelings; much less thould we consent to its being understood, that we gave any fanction to a false and scandalous calumny. It is impossible, at this distance of time, to re
of the operative circumstances with respect to that passage, or even what our own sense of the subject then was. The Translator of his very curious and valuable Memoirs has, in his Preface, along with the charge, candidly furnished, almost every thing which it would be necessary for us to say upon the subject, by quoting, from ourselves, the uncertainty of the information which could then be obtained, relative to the circumstances of the Russian and Turkish war, and still farther, by his own fubsequent acknowledgment, that the calumny, to which the passage in question is fupposed to allude, however maliciously raised, was publicly prevalent. We shall only add, what we are in ourselves convinced of, that Guys, the French consul or deputy, and the real renegado, was the person to whom we really pointed, however the Baron's actions might at first have been mistakenly attributed to him. Time has cleared up the truth, and done ample justice to his character.