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THE FOURTH VOLUME.
In entering on a period beyond that to which I had formerly directed my attention, I am anxious to explain myself on one point. It may appear to some readers, that I have treated with too much minuteness of detail the transactions and politics of foreign countries. To those who may be disposed to censure me on this account, I have only to represent that every act, and every expression, which occurred in the early periods of the French Revolution had great influence over the conduct and sentiments of almost all persons in Great Britain, where ancient friendships were broken, new connexions established, vehement opinions professed, and dangerous or protective associations instituted, in consequence of the opposite feelings which were excited by this momentous event. It has been my endeavour to investigate closely, and to describe faithfully, those acts and intrigues by which beneficial alliances were dissolved, states led to forego their political independence, kingdoms dismembered or abolished, and the face of the civilized world totally changed. In this great struggle, the opinions of individuals have often been as effective as the achievements of military or naval commanders; and I have considered it important to develope with all possible exactness, on the one side, those means by which the existence of monarchy and established government in general was made unpopular and odious; and, on the other, those acts of aggression, spoliation, and injustice, on the European continent, by which the cause of monarchy was disgraced, and the support of it rendered difficult.