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PRE F A C E.

TH

HE year we treat of, afforded much matter for History, and perhaps ftill more for Speculation. Though fruitful in great and extraordinary events, it seemed to threaten more than it exprefsly told. A war which defolated a great part of Europe, and might in its confequences have affected the political fyftem of the whole, appeared at this time, as little more than a secondary object of confideration. Battles and fieges, the deftruction of armies and fleets, and the ruin of countries, however diftant the scene of action, would, in times of less business and importance, have nearly superseded all other matter, and have been confidered as the only objects, that demanded the care of the Writer, or that claimed the attention of the Public.

In the present inftance it has been otherwife, and however interefting these fubjects of

of obfervation or difcuffion may be, others have arisen nearer home, by which, as a nation, we are more immediately affected. The extraordinary movements of fome of our great neighbours, and the hoftile appearances for fome time, on the fide, at least, of one of them, were more than objects of curiofity; and though the storm seems for the present blown over, it has afforded fufficient caufe for reflection. The iffue of the prefent convulfions in France, whether they terminate in increafing the defpotifin of the Monarch, or in regaining or enlarging the rights or liberties of the People, muft be to us a matter of great importance. Fortunate, we should think it, if in this precarious and critical state of affairs, when almoft every part of Europe presents an ample field for difcuffion; our own domestic concerns were in so happý á situation, as not to furnish the Patriot and Politician with the moft just and serious anxiety for the welfare of his own country.

We hope that fo much matter, and fuch various fubjects of difcuffion, as have fwelled our. Hiftory beyond the limits ufually affigned to it, will fufficiently plead with the Public,

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for our being later this year than we intended: And that if, upon the whole, we have endeavoured to give the clearest and most impartial account of foreign and domeftic tranfactions, which the limited and imperfect information, 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 fo happily experienced.

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