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INTRODUCTION.

It is observed by Mr. Fox, in his historical work on the reign of James II., that “ in reading the history of every country, there are certain periods at which the mind naturally pauses to meditate upon and consider them with reference, not only to their immediate effects, but to their remote consequences.' Two such periods will occur to him who reads the history of the revolutionary war with France, and the part taken in it by Great Britain. His first pause will be at the peace of Amiens, in 1802; his second, at the general peace and settlement (as it was called) of Europe, in 1815. The period at which it shall be given him to fix his thoughts, and to take into his view the remote consequences of that war, social as well as political, is still at too great a distance to be more than a subject for speculation. At all events, if he pauses now it is all he can do. The “ Two Principles” are still opposed to each other in adverse array.

The narrative which follows, and the documents by which it is accompanied, relate to the second of the above periods, namely, the war which broke out afresh after the peace of Amiens. In rendering them public the Author does not pretend to write a history of that war. It will be enough for his purpose if the materials which he presents shall assist others, better qualified than himself for that task, to establish some truths hitherto little regarded, but the knowledge of which is necessary to place in their proper light the

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transactions to which he refers, and the character of the statesmen by whom they were directed.

It was shortly after the commencement of this second period, that Mr. Fox, after a long exclusion from power, became Foreign Minister. The new war, begun under Mr. Addington's administration, and continued by Mr. Pitt until his death, had been distinguished by events the most disastrous to Europe. Mr. Fox's accession to office was the epoch, not of any new system in our foreign relations, but of an honest experiment to reconcile our old system to the new state of things into which the affairs of the Continent appeared to have settled down. The experiment of peace with France, as a state, partially tried by Mr. Addington, in 1802, by a treaty which never was executed, was now again to be attempted by Mr. Fox, disincumbered indeed from all obstacles of form, but incalculably aggravated in point of difficulty by the increased power and resources of France, and by the recent discomfiture at Austerlitz of a confederacy, the last which it seemed possible to oppose to her. References to the negociations at Paris, in 1806, will occupy consequently an important place in the following work.

But in order fully to understand this part of the subject, and in some measure likewise the cause, which, by encouraging Napoleon to ask too much, eventually occasioned the rupture of these negociations, it will be proper to take a short view of Mr. Fox's political situation at the time at which he opened them.

On the breaking out of the first war in 1793, Mr. Fox declared his determined opposition to its principle and its policy. The debates on those topics involved every conceivable subject of English interests, foreign as well as domestic, and were carried on not only with the gravity proportioned to their import

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