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Knowledge, happily diffused and diffusing, forms, even in this state of things, one of the most effectual barriers against the inroads of lawless ambition and universal degeneratioui, The press, unshackled as it exists in this country, can at once expose, and hold up to reprobation, whatever has a tendency to contaminate the morals, mislead the opinions, or subvert the liberties of nations: it is this engine, that can most naturally and promptly convey interesting facts, and enforce satisfactory conclusions; that can communicate information, rectify misconception, dispel doubt, and animate patriotismn.
The year eighteen hundred and six, if it has not materially enriched the discoveries of scientific research, nor added much to the stores of accumulated learning, nor produced any novel theories, either in politics, religion, or taste; if the literature of the last year displayed nothing decisively original, and but little even of singularity, neither was it disgraced, as were some former years, by many productions entirely destitute of merit, or remarkable only for being the vehicles of distempered philosophy, Opinion seems, at length, to have found its ordinary level. Men have grown weary of the contest about epithets and names, to which no meaning was rationally attached. Books, whether instructive or amusing, are now read by nearly all classes of peor ple in this country; while the enslaved state of letters in other countries will render the labours of our press, and the study of our language, increasingly interesting to foreigners.
Inseparably connected with literary discussion, is the con. sideration of our political interests. If satisfaction is derivable
from ļppiness or misery relatively, by comparing and contrastir the situation of one nation with the circumstances of surronding nations, this nation may justly exult in the rank whia it still maintains among the few independent sove. reişities.
While empires are subverted around us, while neighbouring rations are exposed to all the calamities of war; while, in other states, religious institutions are left silently to decay, and the interests of morality and civilization are alike neglected; it is now the felicity, as it will hereafter constitute the glory, of this country, that the venerable establishments of our forefathers remain still unimpaired; that among us the sciences are bene. ficially cultivated, the arts patronised, commercial speculations vigorously pursued, and projects of internal improvement réceived and acted upon,-that, indeed, our opinions are unshaken, that our spirit is unbroken, that our valour is unattainted, and that our resources are alone equal to the conflict, which we may be destined to sustain !
Where, however, is the people, holding any essential rank in the political world, that has absolutely escaped the calamities of this disastrous era? Favoured as this island certainly is, it has felt something of those evils which have afflicted other countries; it has suffered some irreparable losses; it has struggled under many privations. It has lost, not only in the valour by which it was protected, not merely in the sinews of warfare; it has lost in the inind by which its councils were advised, and its operations directed; which infused security among the people, which created confidence on the part of allies, and which extorted respect even from enemies.* Pitt, Fox, are no more. The Pilot was not permitted to weather the stom! The Pacificator did not live to terminate the contest!
* It is enough to allude to this topic. Of the eminent characters thus adverted to, the readers of the Universal Magazine have been already favoured with ample details. See I'olumes 3 and 6, New Series.
HAVING cursorily glanced at the general aspect c public affairs, it remains for the Editor and Proprietors of the niversal Magazine, to acknowledge the liberality which has seonded their excrtions: and to assure those by whom their lours have been thus honourably compensated, that they are ditermined steadily and actively to persevere in the principles, ind upon the system by which they have already obtained so large a proportion of the public patronage. They will never forget, that a Literary Miscellany is designed for extensive circulation, for every class and profession in life; that it ought to interest, to inform, to entertain; that its contents should be acceptable to persons of either sex, of different ages, and of all degrees in society.
The Editor of this Magazine has the satisfaction of knoxing, that his efforts have been favourably received; and the Proprietors feel gratified in its increasing reputation. Competitors we have, numerous and formidable. We do not affect to despise them, since assured that we are above them,
No XXXVIII.- VOL.VII.]
For JANUARY, 1807.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. FREDERICK WILLIAM III. King of imperceptibly prepared itself for Prussia, Elector of Brandenburg, doing the same thing.
Whatever ©c. 6c.
alliances are formed in nature and
equity may be confided in, and such T is not that the present subject would have been the alliance we are himself from the other crowned heads of the rights and territories of their of Europe, hy his extraordinary cou- respective states and dependencies. rage, knowledge, or fortune, that we The jealousy about which of these have chosen him for occupying the two great powers should possess the first pages of this year's volume of paramount dominion of the German our Magazine; but because his con. Empire, ought not, at such a crisis as duct and fate have more involved we have witnessed, to have been the Europe in calamity and dread, than subject of a moment's contemplation any other events, however import- in the breast of either potentate. ant, which have occurred since the Thiş envy, this invidious desire of supFrench revolution. While Prussia planting or destroying one another, remained intact, there was a ral- has often occupied the machiavellian lying point to look to on any future talents of the courts of Berlin and occasion. Some part of the German Vienna. For this their currents have rampart was beheld sound. The turned awry; but united in the comtroops of the new Alexander, as he mon defence of their countries, they has been named, could not, unbroken, would not have lost the name of aimarch exultingly abreast to the tion. Such an union of power and confines of Muscovy. But for the interest bears no similitude to those fall of the house of Brandenburg, the hollow unprincipled coalitions which apprehension of a new confedera- began in 1792, and which had no tion might have restrained the ambi- main or common object in view, no tion of the modern conqueror within injuries to redress, no insult to resomething like reasonable bounds. venge. Frederick William II, merely Fruitful Germany contains the seeds from his dislike to the French revóof regeneration within itself
. Its lution, thought proper to lay aside hardy and industrious inhabitants his hatred for his rival, and make bina are qualified by nature for war; and his ally. The hopes of partitioning from motives of self-preservation, ott France, indeed, may fairly be might with success, a short time understood to have entered into the bence, be called again to arms when heads of these magnanimous princes, their recent wounds should be healed. Francis and Frederick calculated The rivality between the two houses wrong as to the effects of that league. of Austria and Prussia might be super. While the forces of one were only seded by a mutual regard for each to advance to within a certain disother's condition and safety. Stich a tance of the French territory, those league as we are speaking of, is of the other were deemed suriicient founded in reason and justice, and to reduce the turbulent spirit of the might be safely calculated upon. French, as they had that of the Had there been an honest and skil- Dutch and the Brabanters. The ful negociator emploved between the ruin of his present majesty of Prussia two courts, one of these powers may, in a great measure, be ascribed might have deprived the common to the imprudence of his predecessor; enemy of all pretence for taking up who, as he had been the first to arms till the other had gradually and enter into the coalition, was also the first to withdraw from it. It was jects; in which he exhorts them to chiefly owing to him that La Fayette a courageous exertion in defence of converted the citizens of France into their country and their lawful sovea national guard, thereby creating reign. He informs them that alas it were, from three to four millions though the enemy has given out that of soldiers. Frederick II. and his-the Prussian army is annihilated, the general the Duke of Brunswick, by fact is otherwise ; for that he has their manifesto, stirred up the zeal a powerful army of his own subjects of numerous bands of non-commis- around his person, and has two still sioned officers, by the prospect of more powerful of bis ally not far disadvancement and glory, thereby de- tant from him, with the expectation of veloping the talents of a Hoche, a third to reinforce them. "The King a Pichegru, a Massena, a Brune, and ascribes one of the causes of his late many others of the same class. These misfortunes, to the treachery of some served to till up the vacancies occa- commanders and the want of courage sioned by the defection of the an- in others; but that those who now cient generals, and not only to rival remain to wield their swords in his them, but to outdo the exploits of defence, may be fully contided in. the most renowned warriors of any That as well as the levies which age. The same
success followed have been raised for him in those tliis redoubtable coalition which has districts on the banks of the Vistula, attended all assemblages of con- where Bonaparte has not dared to trary interests; they resemble (as a approach, numbers of volunteers writer of some celebrity has said tiock to the royal standard, resolved in words nearly similar) those fan- to rescue the fortune of their sovetastical nimals ibe fruits of the union reign, or die in the attempt. This of opposite species, which astonish must, in the eyes of many, appear litthe eye by their remarkable forms, tle less than a resuscitation from the but are condemned by nature to le grare. It is, however, no easy matunproductive. This famous and fatal ter to conceive how much a despecoalition of kings not only contri- rate heroism may achieve: The buted to force all the divided parties great Frederick II. was once in alin France to unite in their common de- most as fallen a condition. His capifence, but made every Frenchman ar- tal and half of his kingdomn were dently swear to conquer or die. The in the hands of his enemies; and yet declarations and manifestoes of all he contrived first to check their prothe courts disgusted the most mode- gress, and lastly to force them to rate of the people, but that of the quit his territories, so as in the end court of Berlin cruelly increased the to negociate an honourable peace, danger of Louis XVI. by declaring and establish himself a bigh reputathat it did not believe that unhappy tion as a politician and a general. monarch sincere in his acceptance of We wish we may find Frederick the constitution. More or less of William III. a worthy emule of his disgust and odium has attended grandsire in this instance. We are every coalition since, from the vague not, we will not be, too sanguine on or mysterious designs ascribed to it. this occasion. These vivid flashes The league, however, which might in his majesty's declaration have more have been consistently and cordially of eclat than fire or warmth in them. entered into between the courts of They but too much resenible the Austria and Berlin for checking the feeble, yet pleasing coruscations which inordinate ambition and sway of we behold in the northern hemisBonaparte, could not have failed to phere at certain seasons. But the meet with respect and ultimate suc, presence or the approach of the RusThe chance is lost! Nor is it sian armies has done this.
We have, within the scope of man's ingenuity however, but too much reason to to suggest how it can be regained. fear that the Porte, feeble as is her Within these few days, indeed, we government, will still be enabled (hy have been agreeably surprised by the those who have an interest in her prossight of a spirited declaration of his perity) to employ the vigilance of Prussian Majesty to his Silesian sub. Russia. This latter power, distinct