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E S S A Y S

PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH.

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PREFACE

THE ESSAYS now submitted to the Public in a collected form have been written at various times during the last twenty years, and have, for the most part, appeared in Blackwood's Magazine; with the Publishers of which the Author, during that long period, has been in terms of unbroken friendship and constant communication. As the Political Papers, which were all published in the Magazine, contain the Contemporary views of an anxious observer of public events during that period, in the course of which the most important questions ever agitated in this country or on the Continent were made the subjects of public discussion, he thinks that, as representing the opinions of a large portion of Contemporaries on these subjects, they may not be without interest to subsequent times. The measures they embrace are the most important ever brought into action in this or perhaps any other country, and which, for good or for evil, have imprinted their effects on its future history. They include, among others, PARLIAMENTARY REFORM, the two FRENCH REVOLUTIONS of 1830 and 1848, NEGRO EMANCIPATION, the COLONIAL SYSTEM, the CHANGES in the CURRENCY, FREE TRADE, the NAVIGATION Laws, the INCREASE of CRIME and TRANSPORTATION. To the Political Treatises, which occupy about half the Work, have been added a variety of Essays on subjects of HISTORY, LITERATURE, and TASTE, which had formed the recreation of the Author

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