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* ༣ ལ government on the other. The apprehensions of both parties were abundantly justified by experience.
It was fcarcely possible, that, in such a shock, the balance of our constitution should not, in some degree, be fhaken, and bent a little, for a time, towards one fide 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 considered, 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 ta
It is not for any party, or temporary humour, or passion, that we select and record the transactions and events of the passing years, but for our countrymen, and all meri, in all-times and circumstances. ;
Though we are rather inclined to be of opinion with those who think the measures of administration, to which we have now alluded; were compelled by the dangers and exigencies of the times, we are neither' unconcerned, nor unalarmed, at whatever seems to impose restraint on civil or political freedom.
On a due balance between prerogative and liberty has the British constitution been supported. When either of these has preponderated many evils have been fuffered, But there is something in the genius, 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 fame principles which have enabled England, by the immens
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,
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, according to their respe&ive magnitude and importance, but in reducing them within the wanted limits of our Annual History of Europe,
To the various hints of so many 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 sketches; 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.
Situation of the French Nation and Government, and I lex's of the Directory.
-Difficulties to be encountered by France at the Clofe of 1795.-State of
pierre, the convention ment and ambition. more at liberty than they had been Uniformity and steadiness of goto declare the voice of the people; vernment may proceed from differand the sentiments of nature, with ent and even opposite causes; the an inclination to peace, began to predominant habits and passions of appear in the public councils, as absolute monarchs on the one hand; well as among the generality of the and the virtues of nascent and juveFrench nation : but it too often, nile republics on the other: when nay, most commonly happens, in all the external relations of the state governments, that the real interests are neither many nor complicated; of the many are lacrificed to those of when its interests are easily dilthe few : the dictates of humanity cerned and constantly pursued, the Vol. XXXVIII.
integrity integrity and upright intentions of The jacobinical party that had so the representatives and rulers being long domineered in the public counconstantly supported by a general cils, confident as above related, from simplicity of manners, and a facred victory over the sections of Paris, and regard to the principles of morality treading in the very footsteps of and religion. In the newly confti- Robespierre, had appointed a comtuted government of France both million of five, for the safety of the these kinds of steadiness were want- country; and but for the bold and ing. It was less democratical indeed animated efforts of a few men would than that of 1793; but still the ex- certainly have effected the slavery ecutive power was conligned into of France in the permanency of the five hands instead of one only. It convention. The directors, conwas not stayed as all other republics scious of the general odium they, in of any extent and durability have common with the other leaders of hitherto been, by some individual the convention, had incurred on power, whether under the name of this attempt, and also of their malarchon, duke, doge, king, stadt- versation in precipitating the conholder, or the president of a congrefs. fideration of the new constitution, It was imposible that five directors, and garbling the reports that had and these Frenchmen ton, should, been marle concerning its acceptfor any length of-time, act with ance, determined to divert the harmony. They split into parties minds of the nation from their own hostile and violent, in proportion to conduct, and to exhaust the public the power with which they were ditcontents by a prosecution of the invelted : in order to retain which war. If this ihould prove successful, the preponderating 'party treated of which they entertained not any their rivis in the directory, and doubt, the merit would, in a very their opponents in the councils with greai degree, be reflected on themthe most mercilets severity, and re- 1cives, and the enemies of the dipeatedly violated the confiitution, recory would be regarded, by the under the pretence of preserving it. nation at large, as enemies to the Like their predecesors in the revo- victories and glory of France. They lution, in default of fimplicity of were undoubtedly fortunate in the manners, and the other requilites choice of their commanders. The to a genuine republic, they had fuccellies of their generals occupied recourie to intrigue and violence, and dazzled the public mind for a Had their own manners been time; but wildom, confiancy, and more: pure than they were, without purity of delign, without which no those adrentitious fupports in to prosperity can be lafling, were great and corrupt a commonwealth, wanting in the fupreme councils. and where all are to prone to di- The armies were neglected; the rect, but none to be directed, they tice of fuccess was turned; and 'could not, for even a fhort time, finally, to fhew how litile that temhave held together any lemblance porary success was owing to any of a regular fabric of government. principles inherent in the constitu