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PREFACE.

VEN in the history of the present war, so novel in

- both its origin and condućt, the year 1796 is particularly interesting to every subject of the British em- pire. The spirit of innovation, imported into this coun

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Outrage, in a quarter that ought to be held the most sacred from violence, was ačtually begun: multitudes of men appeared ready to precipitate themselves into

anarchy and rebellion.

In such circumstances, the British government deemed it necessary to take strong measures of prevention. On the conduct of administration the nation was divided, according as they were, more or less, forcibly struck with the dangers to be apprehended from popular encroachments on the one hand, or those of the executive

Vol. XXXVIII, - A government

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a future period, and more auspicious opportunities. That party, which had opposed the war from its very commencement, were loud in their reprobation of its continuance, and reproached ministers with a total want of forefight, in not seeming to have apprehended the difficulties they would have to contend with, and, with equal inability, to encounter them. As the events of the war countenanced these reproaches, the public joined in them, and the government was thought very reprehensible in persisting against reiterated experience, in a contest that threatened to waste the strength of the nation ineffectually, and the aim of which, were it attained, would not prove an indemnification for its eost. Ideas of this nature were now generally predominant, and became, at last, so prevalent, not only among the multitude, which had long been swayed by them, but among the more reputable classes, that a variety of associations were formed, and meetings held, for the avowed purpose of petitioning the legislature in

favour of peace. The city of Lon

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