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OR A VIEW OF THE
For the YEAR 1811.
PRINTED FOR W. OTRIDGE AND SON ; J. CUTHELL; R. JEFFERY; J. BELL;
PR E F A CЕ.
ALTHOUGH the year before us is not marked
with the fate of kings or kingdoms, it has not been destitute of events to render it memorable. In particular, it forms to Great Britain the era of what the now hopeless infirmity of its venerable sovereign may denominate a new reign: and if the conditions annexed to the regency, and the uncertain duration with which it commenced, have in some measure repressed the usual manifestations of character displayed on a change in the crown, there have not been wanting some indications of the temper in which the regal office is likely to be administered. Of these, however, it would be premature to pronounce a judginent, since that temper will certainly be more fully developed when the restrictions on the regency shall expire, and its permanency be no longer doubtful. The appointment of the regency, with its various prerogatives and limitations, and the provision made for his Majesty's resumption of authority on the event of his recovery, must be regarded as important additions to
the constitutional law of the country, and will doubtless be resorted to as precedents on any future occurrence of a similar kind.
Among the domestic events of the year, the efforts of the Irish catholics to obtain an equality of civil rights with their fellow-subjects cannot fail of exciting a lively interest in all who speculate upon that important topic, the connexion of religious with political establishments. The abortive attempt made in England to introduce alterations into the act of toleration will likewise be considered as a memento of no small importance by those who look up to that act for their protection in the privileges they are permitted to enjoy. In the debates on these several points it will be impossible not to perceive an approach towards that state of public opinion which leads to the maxim, that difference in religious worship ought to make no difference in civil rights.
The acknowledged evils arising from the general substitution of paper currency to specie, and the provision made for a temporary remedy, must also rank among the subjects which render memorable the parliamentary history of the year.
This year will also be distinguished in the military annals of Great Britain by the success of its arms in various severe encounters, in which the courage and discipline of its soldiers were not less conspicuous than the same qualities have long been
in its sailors. The complete deliverance of the kingdom of Portugal from its powerful invaders; the bloody and victorious repulses of an adventurous and confident foe; and the authority obtained by a British commander, whose high reputation has enabled him to marshal an allied army so as to cooperate in his active and vigorous plans; are circumstances which must ever attach interest to the peninsular campaign of 1811. Not less of glory, and more entire success, has attended the expedition by which the rich island of Java, with its celebrated capital, the centre of the once powerful dominion of the Dutch East-India company, has been annexed to the British empire, and the Gallo-Batavian flag has been finally struck in that quarter of the globe.
It would have been gratifying to the friends of humanity, if in these events they could have discerned any advance to a restoration of that state of peace which alone can effectually relieve the calamities and distresses pervading so large a portion of the civilized world. But no light yet appears through the gloom in which the political horizon is involved; on the contrary, the year closes with rising clouds in the north and the west, threatening new and wider-spread ravages. Determined in his purpose of ruining the finances of England, the ruler of France will not tolerate any deviation from his rigorous measures for excluding all British commerce from the continent of Europe; and the rights of independent