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Or GENERAL REPOSITORY Of
LI T ERATURE,
For the YEAR 1812.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED
The HISTORY of KNOWLEDGE, LEARNING, TASTE, and
PRINTED FOR JOHN STOCKDALE,
■ Ml I 1
We may safely assert, that the public in'erest was never excited so anxiously, permaneullv, or generally, as by the domestic and foreign exents and transactions of the year 1812. At home the disturbances which agitated our manufacturing districts, for some lime created great alarm and apprehension: it was not merely the mystery in which they were involved, the extent of country over which they spread, or the length of time during which they continued, that gave rise to this alarm and apprehension; but the peculiar character which they assumed, the system with which they were conducted, and the suspicion that they originated from more serious causes than want of employment and the pressure of the limes, and aimed at objects connected with the stability of Government and the peace of the Country. Happily they subsided, by a judicious employment, on the part of Ministry, of patient forbearance, and well-applied vigour.
Closely connected with these disturbances, the discussions and evidence relative to the Repeal of the " Orders in Council" may be viewed; it was proved, almost to the conviction, certainly to the silencing of the advocates for these Orders, that they had in their action rebounded on ourselves^ with at least as much force as ihey had acted on the enemy: this circumstance, joined to the ex
;tation, that by their repeal America would be
a 2 propropitiated, and our trade revived, induced Ministers to give a reluctant consent to this measure; but it came too late, and it was so evidently the result of a regard to our own interest, rather than to the interests or rights of neutral nations, that America was not reconciled. A war between the two countries has taken place, which hitherto has exhibited nothing worthy of notice, except the circumstance of our new enemy equalling us in maritime courage, experience, and skill, and exhibiting, in their land operations, a total want of every quality that can form a general or a soldier. But the most remarkable events in our domestic history are connected with the assassination of Mr. Perceval, a circumstance in itself unparalleled in the British annals. In consequence of his death, negotiations were set on foot for the formation of a new Ministry, the progress and result of which ought to be considered with great attention by all, who wish to obtain a clear and perfect insight into the talents, the character, and the principles of the various parties that exist among our public men. When all the circumstances attending this negotiation are consU dered, it is apprehended, that few will be at a loss to comprehend the character of the Prince Regent; of the leaders of the Whigs; of Lord Wellesley, and Mr. Canning; of Lord Moira, or of those who constitute the present Ministry; and we are afraid that neither the talents nor the patriotism of those to whom the country naturally looks up, in this arduous crisis, will appear to great advantage.
In the Peninsular war, the fame of the British arms was extended and increased: whatever may
. - be be the ultimate and permanent result of our miln tary operations in that part of the world, all must acknowledge that the character of British officers and soldiers has risen very highly; and that while we can appeal to the battles which they have won, we may- challenge for our country as decided and glorious a superiority for military courage and skill, as it has long undeniably possessed on its own peculiar element. If proofs of cool determined and irresistible bravery are called for, we may cite the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz; if proofs of the rarest and most useful talents of a great commander arc demanded, we may appeal to Lord Wellington's conduct at the battle of Salamanca.
But the operations in the Peninsula, however great and glorious, were comparatively of confined extent and interest; and the attention, even of the British nation, was drawn off" from Lord Wellington to the campaign in the north of Europe. The preparations which Bonaparte had long been making for his intended war against Russia, were unequalled in magnitude, and in the care and attention that had been bestowed upon them. These, when completed, exhibited an army of at least 300,000 men, composed of troops who never marched but to victory; and these troops ltd on by officers of the utmost skill, and in whom they placed the greatest confidence. Moreover, this immense and perfect army was commanded by a man, whom, from his uniform and unchecked success, his soldiers believed to be invincible:-— all these circumstances directed the attention of the civilized world to the campaign in the North: and its results were most extraordinary.