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HE year we treat of, afforded much
matter for History, and perhaps still more for Speculation. Though fruitful in great and extraordinary events, it seemed to threaten more than it expressly told. A war which desolated a great part of Europe, and might in its consequences have affected the political system of the whole, appeared at this time, as little more than a secondary object of consideration. Battles and fieges, the destruction of armies and feets, and the ruin of countries, however distant the scene of action, would, in times of less business and importance, have nearly superseded all other matter, and have been considered as the only objects, that demanded the care of the Writer, or that claimed the attention of the Public.
In the present instance it has been otherwise; and however interesting these subjects of observation or discussion may be, others havearisen nearer home, by which, as a nation, we are moreimmediately affected. Theextraordinary movements of some of our great neighbours, and the hostile appearances for some time, on the side, at least, of one of them, were more than objects of curiosity; and though the storm seems for the present blown over, it has afforded sufficient cause for reflection. The issue of the present convulfions in France, whether they terminate in increasing the despotism of the Monarch, or in regaining or enlarging the rights or liberties of the People, must be to us a matter of greatimportance, Fortunate, we should think it, if in this precarious and critical state of affairs, when almost every part of Europe presents an ample field for discussion; our own domestic concerns were in so happy a situation, as not to furnish the Patriot and Politician with the most just and serious anxiety for the welfare of his own country,
We hope that so much matter, and such various subjects of discussion, as have swelled our History beyond the limits usually assigned to it, will sufficiently plead with the Public, for our being later this year than weintended: And that if, upon the whole, we have endeavoured to give the clearest and most impartial account of foreign and domestic transactions, which the limited and imperfectinformation, that can be obtained fo near the time of their being acted, will admit of, we shall still continue to meet with that indulgence, which we have hitherto so happily experienced.