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fity, attention and labour, in which the business of the coming year is conftantly preffing upon the prefent, will easily conceive the difficulty of speedily recovering any confiderable portion of loft time, even fuppofing things ftill to continue in their ufual and ordinary courfe. But in the instance we mention, the occafional delay was immediately fucceeded by an unexpected and extraordinary acceffion of bufinefs; which has fince continually increased, until it has arrived at a magnitude before unknown. Thus the original difficulty was not only rendered infurmountable, but the evil itself became of neceffity greater.
If the Annual Regifter were entirely a compilation, we should have much to anfwer for any failure in point of time. But the nature of the hiftorical part, does not admit of fuch precifion. It muft, in that refpect, as in all others, be governed by the importance and magnitude of its ob
jects. While the state of public affairs continues to render it the principal and most interesting part of our work, we shall run no race against time in its execution. We owe too much to the Public, to make them fo bad a return for their favour; we owe too much to ourselves, to forfeit the high reputation in which the work now ftands abroad as well as at home. trust that the readers of our prefent History, will equally acquit us of remiffness in the execution, and of an undue prefumption on their favour in the delay.
Retrospective view of the affairs of Europe in the year 1779. State of the belligerant powers in Germany. Event of the late campaign, induces a difpofition favourable to the pacific views of the Empress-Queen; which are farther feconded by the mediation of Ruffia and France. A fufpenfion of arms published, and the Congress for negociating a peace affembles at Tefchen. Treaty of peace concluded. Differences between Ruffia and the Porte, threaten a new war. Negotiation conducted, and a new convention concluded, under the mediation of the French minifter. Naval preparations by Spain. Opens the war with the frege of Gibraltar. France. Confequences of the appointment of M. Necker to the government of the French finances. Successful expedition to the coaft of Africa. Ineffectual attempt upon the Island of Jersey. Threat of an invafion, and great preparations apparently for that purpose. French fleet fails from Breft, and proceeds to the coafts of Spain. Combined fleets of France and Spain enter the British channel, and appear in great force before Plymouth. Enemy quit the channel, return again; at length finally quit the British coafts, and proceed to Breft.
HE little effect produced by the contention of the greateft leaders, and of the greatest armies in the world, during the campaign of 1778, in Bohemia, VOL. XXIII.
if not entirely fufficient to produce an actual defire of peace on both fides, could not, however, fail to induce a kind of languor and wearifomeness, and in fome  confiderable
confiderable degree to wear away that quick relish, and keen appetite for war, which great and untried force and talents, acting under the fanguine hopes of yet unfoiled ambition, are fo eminently calculated to excite.
We have heretofore fhewn, that this was not fo much a war of choice, as of prudence, forefight, and political neceffity, on the fide of the King of Pruffia. He made no claims; he had no immediate object of enlarging his dominions in view; nor if he had, was the prefent ftate of public affairs in any degree favourable to fuch a defign. Neither his time of life, his great experience in war, nor the full knowledge he had of the power and ability of his adverfary, were at all calculated to excite a fpirit of enterprize. On the contrary, the defire of fettling, improving, and confolidating with his antient people and dominions, the new fubjects and acquifitions he had .gained on the fide of Poland, together with that fill ftronger with, of tranfmitting a peaceable poffeffion, and undiminished force to his fucceffor, were objects which tended powerfully to difpofe him to the prefervation, fo far as it could be properly and wifely done, of the public tranquility.
But no motives, however cogent, could justify to him, in a political view, the admitting of any confiderable addition of ftrength and dominion, to the power of the houfe of Auftria; more especially, when this addition was to establish a precedent of innovation and difmemberment, which might in time be equally
extended to all the other states that compofe the Germanic body. Upon the whole it would almost feem, as if fortune, who had fo often wonderfully befriended that hero, and whofe apparent defertions of him in cafes of great danger, (which were no less confpicuous than her favours) always tended ultimately to the increafe of his fame, was now anxious to affix a new ftamp to the renown of her old favourite; and of clofing his great military actions by a war, in which he was to appear, rather as the generous pro tector of the rights and liberties of the Germanic body at large, than as acting-at all under the influence of any partial policy.
On the other fide, the paft campaign had afforded a full conviction to the emperor, (a prince prepared for war beyond almost any other, by the fine ftate of his armies, and the refources of his own indefatigable and refolute fpirit) of the immenfe difficulty, of making any fuccefsful impreffion upon fuch an adverfary as the King of Pruflia. With fo vaft a force, and affifted by fuch confummate commanders, he could only act upon the defenfive; and could not prevent his own dominions from being rendered the theatre, and being confequently fubjected to all the calamities of war. It was true indeed, and no fmall matter of boast in fuch a conteft, that he had fuffered neither defeat nor difgrace; that the enemy had been obliged to abandon Bohemia, notwithftanding their utmost endeavours to establish a fecure footing there during the winter; and likewife, that the loffes on both fides were