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PREFACE.

If we inquire into the history of European nations, even as far back as Charlemagne, never shall we find, perhaps, as æra of more aniversal interest than the present, both to those nations in general, and to Great Britain in particular.

The constitution of governments, like the constitution of man, must have its periods of vigour, and decline ; it must rise and fall, flourish and decay; and, although it abound in physical, it may fail in moral strength, and thus perish.

From this failure in the moral constitution of their governments, more than from any other source, has flowed that vast and mighty stream of desolation, wbich, like a torrent, swept along the face of modern nations and nearly overwhelmed them in its gloomy tide ; from this has the recent map of Europe presented so melancholy and so degenerate a picture. The iniquities of civilized man and the corruption of Courts had opened a wide and yawning abyss ; nations were on the brink; the light of life and liberty had fled; the storini was gathering; the angry eye of Heaven looked down, formed a being for the scourge of man, and sent him abroad to desolate the land.

What scene then did the continental map of Europe present ? Its nations chained, as if by one common spell of thraldoin; their governments, their laws, their religion trampled on; the ties of society torn asunder; the rights of thrones trodden down; their Kings degraded, and upstart vassals polluting, with their vile touch, the sacred sceptres of royalty. No longer did the age of cbivalry throw its light around ; that of blood, rapine, and desolation was at its zenith : a long and dreary night of Vandalism overshadowed the earth : the only light it shed was caught from the buruing pile where nations lay expiring, and gleamed on the gore-spotted arena, where the common gladiators of despotism were mangling their warworn frames.

These times are past--the sad picture is no more-a new light bursts in-the spell is broken, and that being, whom it pleased the Almighty ruler of cations to send as a scourge to mankind, is horled

into his original den of darkness. How changed is the scene, a new order of things succeeds--the rights of thrones and nations are respected, and peace is restored to a suffering world ! No blood-stained star shoots its troubled ray o'er the horizon, and sheds its horrid gleam on ruined cities and desolated landsmall is calm, tranquil and serene.

To inquire even slightly into the causes, remote or proximate of so grand and universal a change, is a task of no small labour : it is not our business here however, it is not the business of the traveller -his only aim is to pourtray the principal features in the character and country of those who have been most instrumental in its agency, and, to add to that interest, which we must all feel in the fate of those who have so largely contributed to put an end to the sufferings of mankind.

When we look to our own country, what just cause of pride and dignity do we behold! Never did her eagle-wing soar higher-never did she beam in brighter splendour! Amid the ruin and wreck of demoralized pations she has stood out the firm and generous pilotwhen others slept and were worn with their woo she ever watched at the oft giddy helm ; her greatness grew with the madness of the gale ; ber swiftness hung on the wings of the storm; her proud pendants floated aloft o'er the majesty of the Heavens; her course was steady ; her track was secure, and she still pointed to that beacon, where peace and salvation shewed their hallowed, but expiring flame.

But it is not to Great Britain alone that we are to look in the glorious struggle. The nations of the north have poured down their legions : to these we are to turn our eyes. The flames of Moscow have burst a new light on man; the falling towers of the Kremlin have chimed the tyrant's parting knell, and proclaimed aloud that Europe is free! And never did bis towering genius soar to such a flight as when first these ill-fated towers caught its glance; never did his blood-stained pinions dart on a more hapiess victim. If the memory of future ages had but this alone of his mighty conquests to dwell on-if the giant strides of his vast career bad ceased to be remembered, and been swept dowo the common stream of time, this alone would remain on its banks an imperishable monument of law. less ambition.

The traveller, however, must not confine himself to political views-it is not for the diplomatist or statesman he writes ; for al

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