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PRINTED FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY;
P R E F A C E.
year 1821 has been fruitful in important events. The Revolution of Naples has been brought to a termination with a rapidity not less extraordinary than its birth was sudden. Piedmont bas been made the theatre of a revolution, wbich, after a few days feverish existence, expired before the terror of the Austrian arms. In Spain, the spirit of innovation has gone on triumphant in its career of madness; and that unfortunate country has been kept in constant distraction on the very verge of social dissolution — not so much by the struggle between the partisans of the new system and the old, as by the dissensions of the Liberals themselves, their mutual jealousies, their ignorance of all practical modes of administration, their atrocious want of all moral or political principle. Turkey, too, has presented a scene of continued disorder; the Albanian insurrection has maintained itself; two insurrections to the north of the Danube bave been suppressed; and a fourth, that of Greece and its islands, has, amid outrages and butcheries disgraceful to humanity, acquired so much strength, as to render the struggle with the Ottoman power of exceedingly dubious issue. Even in those parts of Europe, where civil order has been maintained, much has occurred that deserves to be known and recorded. Portugal, in adopting institutions not very dissimilar to those of Spain, has been guided by men, whose moderation and wariness bave saved her from all the miseries in which her veighbour has been plunged. The French mivistry have been wavering and unsteady; and the increase of tbe public prosperity has failed to diminish the discontent of the people. Germany has enjoyed undisturbed repose ;, yet, amidst this tranquillity, incidents have occurred and indications of public feeling have taken place, especially in the secondary states, which are fit subjects of historical notice: and in Hanover in particular (see pp. 158–160) the crown has introduced alterations in the administration of justice, from which the country cannot fail to reap great and lasting benefit.
Beyond the Atlantic, the year has witnessed the establishment of the independence of Columbia, and the fall of the Spanish power in Mexico and Peru. Brazil, too, in abolishing its old institutions, has taken a great step towards the complete dissolution of the ties that bind it to Portugal.
We pretend not to foretel, what the final consequences of such great transactions may be. It is our business to confine ourselves to the narration of the changes which have occurred, and the series of incidents by which they have been brought about, avoiding all detail of circumstances which neither illustrate the general spirit of the times, nor have had any perceptible influence in the production of those great results, which it is the proper duty of history to record.
Fortunately our domestic history affords no such striking events as are presented to us in foreign countries. We do not need to strive for the establishment of independence, for the overthrow of tyranny, or for the acquisition of the blessings of freedom: we have only to guard that which we bave long possessed, and to leave full scope to the genius of our people in all the various modes of human enterprise. But our domestic annals, though not animated by the bold tints of revolutionary scenery, have been by no means deficient in interest. The policy of the government towards the late Queen has been discussed in all its bearings; principles of economy and plans of retrenchment have been developed with a clearness, which has, in many cases, opened the eyes of the nation and of the ministers too: approaches have been made towards the adoption of a sounder system of commercial legislation ; and, in the discussions occasioned by the measures of the great powers of the continent, our rulers have found it necessary to avow the most liberal doctrines.