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PRE FAC E.

In offering to the public the present volume of a work of such long established reputation as the Annual Register—and the former volumes of which have already assumed a place of no inconsiderable rank among the historical documents of our country-we cannot but feel an anxiety proportioned to the subjects, of which we have had to treat.

Already, in the close of our preceding volume, we had anticipated the renewal of the war, that great event which forms the leading feature of the period, whose transactions are here related ; and which will, in its influence, too probably pervade all the political relations of the country during a long course of succeeding years.

At a time, when the public press appeared almost exclusively devoted, to the object of prolonging the

delusive

delusive expectation of permanent tranquillity, we ventured to offer it as our opinion, that a Peace negociated in a tone of submission, and concluded on terms of manifest inferiority, with an ambitious and overbearing neighbour, was not likely to be of long continuance. Our opinion was grounded on the experience of all history, and on the very first axioms of political wisdom. We claim from it no merit of extraordinary foresight, but the higher merit, because it is more rare, of delivering, in opposition to the general wishes and prevailing prejudices of our country, a sincere and honest opinion, upon a point of the highest importance to the public welfare. The same spirit will, we trust, be found to obtain, throughout every part of the present publication; and will not cease to animate it, so long as the endeavours of those to whom its conduct is entrusted, shall continue to prove acceptable to the public.

In speaking of the transactions of the year, of which this volume treats, the task has indeed been less difficult, because no difference can be entertained by any candid and dispassionate man with respect to the character and principles of the public enemy; whose aggression constitutes, as we have already stated, the prominent feature of our present narrative: nor can any subject of the British empire, or any friend to the principles of liberty and justice, whatever be his country, avoid partaking in that sa

tisfaction

tisfaction which we have expressed in the general display of zeal, courage, and public spirit, which has,

the present occasion, reflected so much honour on the inhabitants of these islands, and so well distinguished them from the nations of the continent.

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All that could be wished for, and more than could be required, by any government, from the people whose affairs it administers, has, on the present occasion, not only been given with cheerfulness, but

pressed upon our rulers with earnestness and zeal. The voluntary offers of service of every description, have anticipated their requests, and have even outrun their wishes. With them remain the task-and with them it still remains—a pleasing task if well understood, a glorious one if well executed—the task of directing this spirit in its proper channel ; of applying it to its proper objects; and of rendering it ultimately available to the success of the sacred cause, of national honour and national independence.

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this theme, the nearest to the heart of every Briton, we have been, in some degree, led away from the immediate object of this address; which is, to express our gratitude for the countenance we have received, and to bespeak its continuance by a pledge of that sincerity of intention, and uprightness of principle, by which alone we can hope to merit it; and of that manly freedom of opinion and discussion which

become

become British writers treating of the interests of their country, and addressing themselves to British readers.

We trust, also, that, in the other departments of this work, our desire to deserve the public patronage will be found to have excited us to such endeavours, as are not wholly unworthy of it. The value of our literary extracts, must, of necessity, depend in some degree on the character and merit of the several publications, to which the year may have given birth : yet, few indeed are the works which may not, by judicious selection, afford inaterials both for the entertainment and instruction of the readers of a miscellany such as this: and whatever discredit the confession

upon our own labours, we do not hesitate to declare, that, far from experiencing any deficiency in this respect, we believe and hope, that the state of literature, both in its useful and its ornamental branches, is daily improving in every part of this United Kingdom.

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