Imágenes de página




H I S T O R. Y,


L I T E R A T U R E,
For the YEAR 1808.

To w Hich is Pitt Fix E 1),

H - It is" ( . 1: Y of KNOWLEDGE, LEARNING, and TASTE.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]


Ik presenting our Annual Volume to the public we feel satisfied that no preface, either for specific detail or studied eulogium, can he necessary. The plan of the work is sufficiently known; but of the general performance we may be permitted to remark, that if favourable acceptance be deemed a just criterion of literary execution, we shall be justified in reviewing our labours with no inconsiderable feelings of satisfaction. Gratitude for favours received, has operated as a stimulus to increased exertions, arid we offer the present Volume to the public, in the confidence that it is entitled to, and will experience, similar approbation with those which have preceded it.

We may, perhaps, be excused again adverting to those' efforts by which we have been enabled to procure so early a publication of the Volume, and to give it in this respect a superiority over every other work of a similar description ;—a superiority which few will estimate lightly, and which those particularly, who are eager to convey to their friends in remote settlements the earliest arranged intelligence of the events transacted on the theatre of Europe in the preceding year, will know how to appreciate.

It is with regret that we find ourselves, in the Historical Department of our Labours, compelled still to detail the atrocities and ravages of war; and that we see year after year pass away, marked by all the crimes of ambition and all the virulence of hostility. To observe and narrate the

a 2 progress

progress of science and the arts, of wise legislation, philosophic research and internal improvement, would to us be infinitely more pleasing, than to exhibit that moving picture of guilt and bloodshed, of privation and calamity, to which, through theunion of extraordinary talents, ambition, and success in a single individual, the province of historic annals is now almost exclusively confined. During a great part of the preceding year, the patriotic and benevolent were animated by the hope that a barrier was about to be raised against the oppression under which the civilised world has so long groaned. The flame of opposition kindled in Spain, by the succession of frauds and violences which the despot of the Continent employed against its independence, excited an enthusiasm which the wise were unwilling to repress by calculation, and which in the sanguine was connected with the certainty of success. To aid in its ac'complishment the blood and treasure of this country have been employed with an almost unsparing hand. But the .result, hitherto, it must be acknowledged, has little tended to verify the fond expectations which were excited; and which, it will be seen in another part of the Volume, we cherished with the warmest emotions of our hearts. Still we cannot, we will not, despair: we will not abandon as lost the cause, which is not only the cause of every European nation, but that for which it is the bounden duty of them all to contend with the best energies that they possess. We trust, and, from the papers contained in the present Volume, we know, that the patriots of Spain did not undertake a defence of their rights without counting the costs; .—without calculating upon much suffering, and many

severe privations: and that though their armies are for the present beaten, and, in some cases, dispersed, yet we are fully persuaded they will quickly rally, and that with the effectual support, upon which they may rely from this country, they will be enabled to stop the ravages of the enemy; drive back his numerous hosts, and, at the foot of the Pyrenees, exclaim in the language of confidence and exultation, "Hitherto thou mayest come, and no farther."

From the unfortunate and baffling course of external hostility, it is often natural and wise to turn our attention, for relief, to circumstances in the situation of Great Britain which may supply at once consolation and hope; and we cannot reflect without sentiments of pride and satisfaction, that, while nearly all the long-established governments of Europe have experienced subversion, the grand institutions transmitted by our ancestors continue unimpaired; that justice is no where administered in such purity ; that order is no where connected with such freedom; that the exigencies of war in no country ever existed to so great an extent, without considerably greater pressure; and that, whatever minor differences may exist among the inhabitants of this island, all are combined with one heart and one resolve, for the protection of that constitution which is at once their birth-right and their glory. The genuine patriot, while he watches, and, as far as in him lies, endeavours to counteract that natural tendency to decay which exists in our own, as well as in every other political establishment, will not fail to display to public


« AnteriorContinuar »