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or GENERAL REPOSITORY OF
H IS TO R Y,
L I T E R A T U R E,
For the YEAR 1809.
To Which is PRRFIXED
The HISTORY of KNOWLEDGE, LEARNING, and TASTE,
The volume of The New Annual Register which is now presented to the public, records events, both domestic and foreign, than which scarcely any, even in these times of momentous and unexpected occurrences, have a more just and powerful claim on the interest of the general reader, or on the profound investigation and study of the politician. A rapid sketch of them will at once display and justify the truth of this observation, and serve as a proper and relevant subject of a preface. . lf we first turn our attention to the events of domestic politics;—the charges against the duke of York, as commander in chief;—the evidence by which they were supported,—the incidental and collateral discoveries, which were developed during the progress of the investigation;the views, the conduct, and arguments of the different parties in the house of commons, by whom his royal highness was either totally and strongly condemned;—or reluctantly given up to partial censure;—or boldly held forth as completely guiltless, and suffering under a foul and barefaced conspiracy;-but above all, the uncommon interest the British public took on this occasion, which, like an electric shock, communicated itself, almost at once, and with scarcely any diminution of power, from the metropolis to the most remote extremities of the empire;-and the .
£ady and cool Perseverance in the declaration and enforcea 2 ment
ment of their opinion which the people discovered, equally removed from the vacillating or outrageous and violent conduct of a mob —are circumstances which will undoubtedly mark the domestic events of the year 1809 as of extreme importance". - - The singular and lamentable difference and disputes among those whom his majesty had appointed to direct the affairs of the nation; and the disgraceful consequences, both of a private and public nature, which resulted from an open quarrel, carried even to a breach of those laws which the offenders were officially called upon to protect by their authority, and sanction by their example, form another leading feature in the domestic politics of the year. No man who loves or reverences his country can read, without feeling his cheek tinged with the blush of shame and indignation, that British ministers were involved in petty and selfish jealousies and quarrels, at a time when not only the fate of the continent called for their undivided and unanimous attention, but when a prospect of reversing that fate more favourable than had ever been presented before, would undoubtedly have silenced, if it could not have subdued, every feeling of private animosity and interest in the breasts of true patriots. . When it is also found that the disgraceful and disastrous failure of one of the most powerful and expensive expeditions ever sent from the shores of Britain, occurred during these private distractions and in.
* The attention of the reader is particularly referred to a work entitled “The History of the Proceedings of the House of Commons in the Inquiry into the Conduct of His Royal Highness the Duke of York, comprising an authentic Copy of the Evidence, and an accu'rate Report of all the Debates in Parliament, as they occurred in Order of Time.”—This volume may be had of Mr. Stockdale, the proprietor of The New Annual Register. -
- - trigues,
trigues, candour itself will hardly fail to connect the events, and to lament that the blood and honour of Britons should have been in the keeping of men, who seemed to prefer their own interests and the indulgence of their passions, to the welfare of the country. As an intermediate link between domestic and foreign politics, the disturbances which took place in India during the year 1809 may be mentioned. In this volume we have not been able to give a full account of the termination of these disturbances, nor to trace in minute detail all the events which led to them. Much information on this subject arrived long after the commencement of the present year; and of course it more properly belongs to our next volume. In this, however, we have given a brief abstract of the prior part of the East-India disturbances; and shall not fail in The New Annual Register for 1810 to present a complete, and we hope an impartial, narrative of transactions, which all parties, however they may differ respecting their cause and origin, must confess open to our view the instability of the foundation on which our Indian empire rests. If from domestic we turn our attention to foreign politics, the events that have occurred in two countries principally claim our notice and interest:—In Austria, where, after tottering on the very verge f destruction, Bonaparte at length, by superior skill and resources, completely triumphed;—and in Spain, where his plans have hitherto been in some degree foiled. The fate of these two countries,— the rapid fall and complete humiliation of the one, and the protracted resistance of the other,-offer to the politician abjects for profound meditation. The events that have accurred in Spain, though calculated to excite emotions of a 3 indignation