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ceded him, to so high an eminence of reputation,) feels that he is, by no means, addressing himself only to the present race of his countrymen. To this repository of facts and arguments, of authentic documents and contemporary opinions, future statesmen, historians, and philosophers, will resort for those materials, which must form the surest ground-work of all their labours. And while its present Editor animates his exertions with this reflection, he never ceases to recall to his mind, that all the credit of his narrative, and consequently all the utility of his labours, both now and hereafter, must depend upon his industry in searching for truth, and his candour and fidelity in its relation.
That the readers of this volume will find in it ample proofs of diligent and careful résearch, he has too much confidence in their justice, to allow himself to doubt. He is equally conscious of the sincerity of his desire, to deliver faithfully what he has laboriously collected.
He does not, however, attribute to himself the inerit, if merit it were ;-- the dishonour, he would rather call it;-of that species of impartiality, which is the product of indifference. The fate and fortunes of his country; the measures which advance, and those which impair her prosperity ; the conduct of her distinguished statesmen ; and the result of her important transactions; are all to him matters of the highest
interest. He is the annalist of a great Empire, but he is, at the same time, the citizen of a free state,
Yet while he claims and exercises that liberty of judgment, speech, and writing, which we consider as the best safe-guard of our Constitution, he trusts he shall not be found to have abused it. He has no wish to calumniate those from whom he may happen to differ in political opinion;=none, to misrepresent their motives, to traduce their characters, or, least of all, to falsify the record of their actions.
In those branches of the work which embrace the literature and manners of the country, or which aim solely at affording to the reader a liberal and not unprofitable amusement, he has acted with the same spirit of impartial selection and arrangement, though applied to matters of much less importance. And he has above all things been careful to maintain the uniform character of “ The Annual Register,” by continuing the exclusion of eyery word or sentiment, which could be deemed, in the remotest degree, injurious to the interests of morality.
On the whole, it is the hope of the Editor, that as the historical portion of the work, while it faithfully records the fleeting transactions of the times, may convey some information respecting them, even to those who are best acquainted with their general
course and progress, so its remaining parts may afford to ingenious minds of every description, a reasonable and liberal entertainment, together with the opportunity of exercising their taste and judgment on subjects not wholly unsuited to them.
Preliminary Observations— Meeting of Parliament-Speech from the Throne
Marquis of Sligo, moves the Address—Lord Limerick--Address unanie
towards the end of the year awful which the country had ever 1803, arising, as well from the me. experienced, induced the minister, nacing position which France had after a short recess, of little more taken upon her shores, opposite to than three months, to call the that line of British coast, which pre- parliament together. Accordingly, sented the most obvious points of it met on the 22nd of Noveminvasion, as, from the necessity there ber, and his majesty, in a most existed of speedily providing the gracious speech,* after acknow. supplies of money and men, to meet ledging the wisdom of parliament in
Vide “ State Papers," p. 596.
providing the necessary measures - when every individual, born to the for the defence of the country, paid protection of equal laws, stood fora high compliment to the spirit ma- ward, without distinction of rank, nifested by the volunteers, and men- class, or situation, to shed his blood tioned the capture of St. Lucie, To. in the defence of their common bago, St. Pierc, Miquelon, Deme- country. The measures which the rara, and Essequibo, as a proof that wisdom of parliament had adopted, no exertions were wanting in mak. had been outdone by the zeal and ing an impression on the foreign patriotism of the people themselves, possessions of the enemy. His ma- and Great Britain now presented to jesty also expressed his fixed deter- the imitation of the world, the mination to share the exertions and sight of a nation of soldiers, volundangers of his people in the defence tarily stepping forward to defend of the country (doubtless advert- their unequalled form of governing to the menaced invasion). To ment. France would in vain rely the activity and valour of his fleets on civil dissentions, by which she and armies, and to the zeal and un- had obtained such advantages over conquerable spirit of his faithful other countries; whatever divisions subjects, he confided the honour of religious distinctions might make in his crown, and all the valuable in- another part of the united kingterests embarked in the contest. He dom, yet there were principles on concluded, by expressing his firm which all were animated with one conviction, that, if the enemy should mind: all were equally determined hazard an invasion, the consequence not to be dictated to by any foreign to them would be discomfiture, con- power, but live as their forefathers fusion, and disgrace, and to this had done, an independent nation, country the solid and permanent or not to live at all. After a very advantage of fixing its independence warm acknowledgment of the senon the basis of acknowledged timents of personal magnanimity, strength, the result of its own tried expressed by his majesty in his energy and resources. Besides speech, he concluded by moving the these topics, his majesty alluded to address. the suppression of the Irish insur.. The earl of Limerick seconded rection, and declared his hope that the address : he pointed out to the those of his subjects in that country house, that the various topics introwho had swerved from their allegi- duced in the speech of his majesty, ance, were now sensible of their er
were unconnected with any minisror, and would join heartily in re- terial question, and were such as sisting an invading enemy. He also he hoped would meet the unani. informed the parliament of the con. mous approbation of the house. Ile vention which had been entered into expatiated, with considerable ani. with Sweden,
mation, on the heroic patriotism The marquis of Sligo moved the which induced such numbers of men address in the house of lords: he voluntarily to arm themselves for began by expressing his opinion, the defence of the country. In. that, if ever there was a moment for stead of being “ a nation of shoppeculiar pride in the name of Bri- keepers,” as we had been sneeringtain, it was at the present period, ly termed by the foc, we were able