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L I T E R A T U RE,
For the YEAR 2017.
PRINTEL FOR WILLIAM STOCKDALE,
P R E F A C E.
HE delay that has taken place in the publication of the New Annual Register for the has arisen entirely from the circumstance that its plan and arrangement are considerably altered : -these required preparations and labour that will not be necessary in future, and consequently a delay in the publication of the subsequent volumes need not be apprehended.
It is the object of the alteration to which we have just adverted to give.a more appropriate character to the literary portion of the work; for this purpose the Review, and the History of Knowledge, &c. have been entirely omițced, and in their stead will, in future, be inserted a general sketch of the state and character of the literature of the year. By means of this sketch, and of a short but particular character of each work, from which the literary extracts are taken, it is hoped that the interest and information of this part of the New Annual Register will be rendered at once more impressive
and instructive. The more minute parts of this new plan, as well as a more detailed account of the reasons, which led to its adoption, are given in the introductory chapter to the literary portion of this work.- Some further improvements are in contemplation, which will appear in our next volume.
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The domestic events of the year 1817 possess very great interest, and will afford to che historian materials highly illustrative of the character, both of the government and of the nation. The disturbed state of the country ;-the causes which produced or exaggerated this disturbed štate ; the suspension of the habeas corpus act;—the trials for high treason, sedition, blasphemy, &c.;--and the debates in parliament, are pregnant with matter for deep and anxious reflection on these topics we have dwelt at considerable length; endeavouring to elicit the truth as animixed with error as poga sible, from the discordart but equally positive states ments of the adversé parties. On one topic the voice of the nation proceeded as it were from a single breast. The death of the Princess Char: lotte proved, that high and angry as political disputes are in Britain, they possess no power over the purest and most honourable feelings of our national character. The days that witnessed her
death and funeral, were melancholy days to Britain. But they were also proud days; for they laid bare the heart of the nation, and showed it to be such a heart as no other nation possesses.
The finances of this country, always an important, a difficult, and a little-understood subject, possessed these characters in a higher degree than usual during the year 1817:-we have, therefore, dwelt upon them at considerable length, and also upon the state of our agriculture, manufactures, and commerce,--the sources from which all individual wealth, as well as all national prosperity, must flow.
With respect to the affairs of foreign nations, those of the United States are, from several circumstances, of the highest interest and moment to us. The Americans, springing from our own loins, and most amply enjoying that liberty of which we boast, ought to be regarded by us with feelings of attachment and regard. To those who delight to watch the progress of states, every thing relating to them must be instructive: To the philanthropist, who is deeply sensible of the wretchedness that overwhelms so many in all parts of Europe, America must appear as the country that is to receive and cherish these outcasts; and even to