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PREFATORY LETTER.

I FEEL much pleasure, my dear brother, in complying with your request, that I would furnish you with a general sketch of the present political situation of Europe. You are aware of the uncertainty of all speculations of this sort upon contemporary events. At the present moment they are particularly hazardous, on account of the rapidity with which important occurrences of the most opposite character now succeed each other. The history of every following week refutes the statements and anticipations of the one that went before ; and the most intrepid prophets have begun to be weary of the profession. M. de Pradt himself has for some time been silent. Under these circumstances you will not be surprised if my opinions and conjectures are completely contradicted before they reach you. Should they fortunately escape this accident, you will still consider them only as an extended newspaper article, which may very probably lose its interest at the next arrival.

Sept. 1, 1821.

EUROPE: &c.

CHAPTER I.

Introductory remarks on the general causes of the

present political agitations.

The course of events in Europe since the final fall of Bonaparte has been, I believe, as unexpected, as it is in every point of view remarkable. A variety of circumstances concurred to produce an uncommon uniformity of feeling and interest among the several nations, and the different classes of society, at the period immediately preceding the Congress of Vienna. The national jealousies resulting from the ancient balance of power, and the political feuds connected with the earlier periods of the revolution, had all disappeared under the intolerable tyranny of Napoleon. The continental sovereigns forgot their habitual enmities, and even the distant stateliness of their ordinary habits of intercourse in this hour of common danger, and acted together with the cordiality and intimacy of personal friends. Liberty had long before withdrawn from the banners of France and enlisted under those of her enemies : so that the people entered every where into the views of their governments with enthusiasm, upon the same principles of independence, which sometimes lead them to opposition. France herself, with the exception perhaps of the army, was disposed to regard the allies as deliverers, rather than as enemies. It was an 'era of good feelings, like that which now exists in the United States ; and which it

may

be hoped will be of longer duration. The uses of adversity were exhibited in the high minded spirit which directed all the proceedings of the allies among themselves, and in their relations with France at the time of the first invasion. Politicians and sovereigns who had previously submitted with rather an

ill

grace, if at all, to the common restraints of morals, seemed to have risen all at once to the loftiest heights of chivalry; and even cool observers began to indulge a hope, that political affairs would wear in future a new aspect. It seemed as if the French revolution, after failing, at least for a time, in its'direct attempts to accomplish any considerable good, was destined to reform the world by reaction. Certainly any person, who at the time of the treaty of Paris had predicted that within six years a general dissatisfaction would grow up between the

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