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OR A VIEW OF THE
P OL I T I C S,
For the YEAR 1807-
HUTTED fOR W. OTRIDGE AND SON J LONGMAN, IIUMT, HEM, AMU
ALLEN, AND CO.; E. JEFIERY; VEUNOR, MOOD, AND SBAKFX;
». AtrsaxE; And J. J-aui.der.
IT is an observation of Mr. Hume's, that History, being a collection of facts which are multiplying without end, is obliged to adopt, like most other Sciences, Arts of Abridgment; to retain the more material events, and to drop all the minute circumstances which are interesting only during the time, or to the persons engaged in the transactions. It is not pretended that our Annual Sketches of ths succeeding years, which aim only at aiding the memory, by tracing such connections and relations as may be perceived in so short a time, after the events described, attain to the solidity, importance, and dignity, of just and legitimate history: for which they are only intended to supply materials, and, in the mean time, in some measure to supply their place. But a tolerable execution of even our design, requires the aid of abridgment in proportion to the variety of scenes to be described, and events to be recorded. Wa had not lost sight of this maxim in the composition of the History Of Europe, for 1807 ; which has however extended to a length, for which perhaps we ought, at least to our most accomplished and refined readers, to make an apology.— Certainly rf the scale of narration were to be in proportion to the multiplication of facts, History would totter under its own weight, and endless details would prevent attention to those general conclusions or results, that bestow on particular details their principal importance. Never perhaps, •ince the contest between religious tyranny, and religious liberty, the sister and powerful ally of political freedom, in the reign of the Emperor Charles V, was there so eventful a crisis. France and Russia contended on the banks of the Vistula, for the empire of the political world; and this—we hesitate to say whether it was settled, or only put in a train
for for being settled at the peace of Tilsit: while expeditions from Great-Britain were sent out into every quarter of the world.
The great affairs of nations fall naturally into two classes, according to the physical divisions of the year into Summer and Autumn; and Winter and Spring: the former division, the season of action in the field; the latter, that of deliberation and debate in the councils of states, and sovereign princes. In the year 1807, two campaigns were to be described, and an account given of the business and debates of two sessions of the British parliament.— The first campaign was terminated by the long cessation of arms, at least of field-operations, which succeeded to the horrible battle of Eylau: the second, that which was opened in the beginning of June, and terminated in the armistice that followed the decisive battle of Friedland.—To trace, if possible, among scenes so various, such relations and dependences as might help to weave them into some kind of narrative, more interesting than an assemblage of facts arranged in the mere order of time, was a task neither easy, nor to be performed in haste, or without waiting a little for the developcment of time. And the advantages we have derived from this oeconomv, which we hope will appear ^manifest in the History of Europe, will also, we trust, apologize for the late publication of the present volume.
Such an apology for tardy publication, may not proba bly, according to present appearances, occur soon again. The Continent of Europe, notwithstanding the glorious efforts of Austria and many parts of Spain, appears to be sinking fast into a state of degradation, and the servility, monotony, and barbarism of a military government.—But wherever Liherty, carrying in her train all that gives grace, dignity, and value to life, takes up her abode, it will be our business to attend her: without however being inattentive to the situation, character, and fate, of the unfortunate nations she may leave behind. . London, 18//» of Ottobcr, 1809.
General Aspect of Europe.—Resources of the opposite Belligerent Powers—and Vietcs.—Fragility of Confederations.—General Maxims and Measures of Buonaparte.—Position and Strength of the French and Russian Armies.—Military Force remaining to the King of Prussia after the Battles of Jena and Pultusk.—The
general Plans of the opposite Armies.—Battles of Mohringen
Bergfried—Deppen—Hoff—and Eylau.—'Retreat of the French on the Fistula—and of the Russians behind the Prcgel.
AT the commencement of 1807, every eye was fixed on the coasts of the Baltic. It was here that the destinies of Europe were to be decided, as they had been in former periods, on those of the Mediterranean. The genius and the resources of the north were brought into conflict with those of the south. A mighty contest was to be decided by arms between Alexander empcVol. XLIX.
ror of Russia, and the king of Prussia on the one part, and, on the other, Buonaparte emperor of France, and king of Italy. The latter derived support from the nations whom he had subdued or intimidated,—Italy,Spain, Holland, and a great part of Germany: the former depended on the aid of Sweden, and the cordial and vigorous co-operation ef Great Britain. B There