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In the selection and arrangement of the Correspondence contained in these Volumes, the intrusion of unnecessary commentaries and political opinions has been carefully avoided. The letters themselves are so lucid and complete, that the interest of the publication has been left to rest upon their details as far as possible. But as a collection of communications of this confidential nature, written from day to day upon passing events, must necessarily involve numerous allusions which, intelligible at the time, are either obscure or liable to misapprehension now, occasional notices of the principal topics and circumstances referred to have been introduced wherever they appeared to be required. By the help of this illustrative frame-work a certain degree of continuity has been attempted to be preserved, so that the reader will have no difficulty in blending these materials into the history of the period they embrace.

The occurrences of that period were momentous in their origin and their consequences; and amongst the prominent subjects traced to their springs and folloewd to their final issues in these Volumes, will be found the great struggle that took place towards the latter part of the last century between the Crown and the Parliament; the Administration of Lord North ; the formation of the Coalition Ministry, and the breaking up of the Whig party; the King's first illness, and the contest on the Regency question; the French Revolution, the war against France, the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland. 1786.


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