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ANNUAL REGISTER,

OR A VIEW OF THE

HISTORY,
POLITICS,

AND
LITERATURE,

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In the history of 1808, the great object of attention is Spain. Spain is the centre around which we arrange all other countries in Europe; and we take more or less interest in them, according to the relation in which they stand to the theatre, on which the contest between liberty and tyranny is to be determined. This exhibits to our view a striking mixture of patriotism and corruption, exertion and remissness, precaution and improvidence, heroism and cowardice. Patriotic ardour, however, prevailed, on the whole, over corruption; and though new levies of peasants were apt, on most occasions, to consult, as was to be expected, their safety by flight, the amor patriæ, and the bravery of many thousands of Spaniards were carried to the highest pitch of glory; and formed an early and fond hope, that if some character pre-eminently energetic and great should be produced by the present contest, and the patriots place him at their head, and trust themselves entirely to his direction, the Great Peninsula might be saved, and the tide of fortune turned against the tyrant. Such were the expectations of humanity after the first efforts of the direction of provincial juntas. At the present moment, the minds of men, accustomed to anticipate future by a retrospection of past events, are agitated between hope and fear, according as they turn their views to the progress of çonquerors, or the prosperous success of those who, contending for liberty, have made head against them.

When a great and populous nation, possessing extensive yet compacted dominions, is roused to arms, and breathes a spirit of ambition and conquest, it has generally been found for a time irresistible. Multitudes are upited under one standard ; experience produces able commanders; they possess all the advantages of stratagem and attack over mere defence: resistance only renovates their spirits, in

flames

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