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PRINTED FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY;
OTRIDGE AND RACKHAM; J. CUTHELL; LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME,
SIMPKIN AND MARSHALL.
W. REYNOLDS; AND
IN giving to the world a volume of DODSLEY'S ANNUAL Register,
which has to set out with recording the commencement of a new reign, we naturally look back on the great political changes of the long series of years over which we have already passed. We began our career at a very interesting epoch. The popular administration of the elder Pitt; the exploits of Frederick the Great; the expulsion of the French from America; the acquisition of a vast empire in India-afforded us the materials of our early volumes. The events which succeeded, though less dazzling to the imagination, were scarcely less interesting to the subjects of a free government — the cabals and contentions of parties at home, and the plans of internal administration adopted by the different countries of Europe. Then came the struggle between Great Britain and her colonies, and the various vicissitudes of war and negotiation, which led ultimately to the establishment of a free, independent, prosperous nation, on the other side of the Atlantic, English in every thing except in their refusal of obedience to English authorities; and, by this very circumstance of apparent difference, proving more surely their genuine British descent. Scarcely was peace restored to the world, when the contest between popular factions and the old government of France began to attract notice; a series of changes of administration and of system ended in the annihilation of the monarchy; all the horrors of the Revolution followed; and a military despotism sprung up, which, under the successive names of Directory, Consul, and finally of Emperor, oppressed France herself, swallowed up Holland and the minor states of Italy, subverted the Germanic empire and the Papal dominions, seated upstarts on the thrones of
Naples and of Spain, drove the court of Portugal to seek refuge in the Brazils, reduced Prussia to the shadow of a name, dictated to Austria in her capital, made even the Russian autocrat tremble on his distant throne, and found submission and inspired terror every where except in our native country. England, from the first, defied and resisted the gigantic despotism which thus overclouded the whole continent, encouraged others to share in the mighty struggle, and supplied them with aid in the moment of need; till Europe at length roused herself from her base lethargy, and the tyrant tumbled from a throne which mouldered suddenly into dust. After a short interval, accident enabled him again to collect around him an imposing display of force, and again to place himself at the head of the people, who had been the instruments of his past transgressions against the human race. But the arm of England, by a single stroke, laid him once more low; and he, who for a succession of years had spread misery over the fairest portion of the globe, at whose name monarchs had trembled, and whose word had created or annihilated states, was sent to pine out his days a lonely exile in St. Helena. The peace that has been since enjoyed, has not been a period of dull inactive repose. A great deal was to be done in settling the external relations of the different powers; and the internal economy of all Europe had been so much disturbed, that the home administration both of our own country and of others has been a spectacle of great and constant interest.
Such is the outline of the changes and transactions, of which, since the commencement of our career in 1758, we have been the historians and delineators. The public favour, which we have so long enjoyed, is the best proof that we have not been altogether unsuccessful in the discharge of our useful and important task. We hope that there is no undue presumption in venturing to say, that if any man wishes to acquire connected information with respect to the transactions of the civilized world since 1758, we know not any work to which he can apply with more advantage, than to Dodsley's Annual Register. It is true, that we must always record events as they appear at the time; for the periodical nature of our