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government on the other. The apprehensions of both parties were abundantly justified by experience.

"*It was fcarceh/ possible, that, in such a shock, the balance of our constitution should not, in some degree, be shaken, and bent a little, for a time; towards one side or" other. The candour and indulgence with which we have treated the opposite opinions on this important, delicate, and tender subject, we wish to be conssdered, by our readers, as a pledge Of that perfect impartiality and freedom from all party spirit, by which we wish this work' to be distinguished. As it extends to many years back, so we hope it will be continued, and find acceptation in the world, for many years to. come. It is not for any party, or temporary humous, or passion, that we select and record the transactions and events "os' the passing years, but for bur countrymen, and all men, in ali-tinpec anrf <jiicunistanccs. ::o I.;::r.o ■-. :-,-.- ..;--, ;ji-.-.- «. ;;;: ;<.- ,

Though we are "rather inclined to be of opinion with those who:think flieTneaifures of administration^ to which ■we haVtfnow afflidedi were'compelled by the dangers and exigencies of the time%pw^ ate lielthar'■unconcerned, nor unalarmed, at whatever seems to impose "Hstraint on civil or political freedom.

V

On a due balance between prerogative and liberty has the British constitution been, supported. When either of these has preponderated many evils have been suffered. But there is something in the genres, manners, habits, and character of the English nation, different from, and paramount to, laws and forms, that, amidst all the deviations of the constitution, has constantly brought it back to its true spirit. "The same* principles which have enabled England, by the immensity of its resources, to stand unshaken in the midst of the disasters that befel the coalition, and to display greater, and greater energy, in proportion to increasing difficulties, will, we doubt not, save the state from the disastrous consequences which too often flow even from precedents founded in temporary expediency.

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In tracing the movements of armies, the revolutions of states, the political intrigues, dissentions, and contests, which mark the year 1796, we have exerted our usual industry, not only in delineating objects, accordbig to their respective magnitude and importance,- bjat in reducing them within the wonted limits of our Annual History of Europe. .■>._> i ~;

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To the various hints of so man^ of our readers on this head, they will perceive, we have not been inattentive. It is not a minute and circumstantial detail of transactions and events, that we understand to be ■ wished for and expected in our historical {ketches j but a narrative brief and rapid, yet clear and comprehensive: one that may give a just view of what is passing in the world, without too much time or trouble of reading. The curiosity of such of our readers as may have a taste and turn for more particular information, respecting various occurrences, will be gratified in the second part of the volume.

THE

THE

ANNUAL REGISTER,
For the YEAR 1756.

THE

HISTORY

O F

EUROPE.

CHAP. I.

Situation of the French Nation and Government, and Views of the Director)/. Dijparfties to be encountered by France al the Close of 1795.—Stale of Parties in England.Temper of the Briti/h Nation.Assemblies for the Purpose of a Parliamentary Rcjorm, and Peace xrith France.J] great and dangerous Scarcity of Provisions.Meeting of Parliament.Insults and Outrages of an immense Mob against the King, on his IVay to the House of Lords.-The regret of all People of Sense at this Treatment of the King.Speech from tlte Throne.Debates thereon.In the House of Commons.— idnd in that of the Isrds.

A

FTER the death os Robespierre, the convention were more at liberty than they had been to declare the voice os the people; and the sentiments of nature, with »n inclination to peace, began to appear in the public councils, as well as among the generality of the French nation: but it too often, nay, most commonly happens, in all governments, that the real interests of the many are (acrificed to those of the sew: the dictates of humanity Vol. XXXVIU.

to the views of personal aggrandizement and ambition.

Uniformity and steadiness of government may proceed from different and even opposite causes; the predominant habits and passions of absolute monarchs on the one hand; and the virtues of nascent and juvenile republics on the other: when, the external relations of the state are neither many nor complicated; when its interests are easilv discerned and constantly pursued, the

t BJ integrity

integrity and upright intentions of the representatives and rulers being constantly supported by a general simplicity of manners, and a sacred regard to the principles of morality and religion. In the newly constituted government of France both these kinds of steadiness were wanting. It was less democratieal indeed than that of 1793; but still the executive power was consigned into five hands instead of one only. It was not staved as all olher republics (if any extent and durability have hitherto been, by some individual power, whether under the name of archon, duke, 'logo, king, siadtholder.orthe president ofa congress. It was impossible that five directors, aim" these Frenchmen too, should, tor any length of«-time, act with harmony. They split into parties hostile and violent, in proportion to the power with which they were invested: in order to retain which the'preponderating 'parlv treated their rivals in the directory, and their opponents in the councils with the most merciless severity, and repeatedly violated the constitution, under the pretence of preserving it. Like their predecessors in the revolution, in default of simplicity ot manners, and the other requisites to a genuine republic, they had recourle to intrigue and violence. Had their own manners been more pure than they were, without those adventitious supports in so great and corrupt a commonwealth, and where all'are lo prone to direct, but,now: to be directed, they "could not, for even a short time, have held together any semblance os a regular fabric of government.

There was one point, however, In which the directory on their elevation, to power unanimously agreed* 1 .

The Jacobinical party that had so long domineered in the public councils, confident as above related, from victory over the sections of Paris, and treading in the very footsteps of Robespierre, had appointed a commission of live, for the safety os the country; and but for the bold and animated efforts of a few men would certainly have effected the flavery of France in the permanency of the convention. The directors, conscious of (he general odium they, in common with the other leaders of the convention, had incurred on this al tempt, and also of their malversation in precipitating the consideration of the new constitution, and garbling the reports that had been maxie concerning its acceptance, determined to divert the minds of the nation from their own conduct, and to exhaust the public discontents by a prosecution os (hewar. Is this should prove successful, of which they entertained not any doubt, the merit would, in a very great degree, be reflected on themselves, and the enemies of the directory would be regarded, by the: nation at large, as enemies to the victories and glory of France. They were undoubtedly fortunate in the choice of their commanders. The luccellcs of their generals occupied and dazzled the public mind for a time; but wisdom, constancy, and purity of design, without which no prosperity can bo lasting, were wanting in the supreme councils. The armies were neglected; the tide of success was turned; and finally, to shew how little that temporary success was.owing to any principles inherent in the constitution, the vast and stupendous genius of oije man, to which chiefly tiie directory were indebted- for a temporary

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