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“NUNC IGITUR, NUNC CELO ITERUM VICTRICIA IGNA
E. & G. Merriam, Printers, Brookfield, Mass.
In offering the following volumes to the Public, the author would by no means be understood as courting any competition with the more able and elaborate works of his contemporaries. To all the British historians of the Peninsular War, he has been largely indebted, and it would ill become him to speak of their labours, otherwise than with respect. The works of Colonel Jones, and Colonel Napier, display a very high degree of talent and ingenuity; and even that of Mr. Southey, considered as a vast magazine of facts, laboriously collected, and embodied in a narrative of uniform clearness, and occasional power, may be considered as a valuable addition to our literature.
Yet, admitting the merit of these writers, it appeared to the author, that their accounts of the Peninsular War were calculated rather for the closet of the professional student, than for the great mass of the public, who are little likely to feel interested in any dry or lengthened detail of accessory incidents, or to enter very deeply into the intricacies of military discussion; and that there was still wanting a
work which should introduce to the intimate acquaintance of the great body of the people, the events of one of the most memorable
periods in the history of their country, which should diffuse and imprint, more widely and more deeply, a fitting pride in the great achievements of the British arms, and render Englishmen more familiar with the circumstances of the most splendid and important triumph ever gained by the supporters of liberty, justice, and the rights of man, in opposing the gigantic usurpation of wild and profligate ambition.
To furnish such a work has been the object of the author of these Annals. That he has succeeded he cannot flatter himself; yet he trusts that he has at least deserved the credit of having detailed the occurrences of the war with fairness and impartiality ; and that he has, in no instance, made his work subservient to the dictates of national bigotry or unworthy prejudice.
To any peculiar qualification for the task he has undertaken, the author of these volumes makes no pretension. A few years of his early life were spent in the army-when he had the good fortune to be present in some of the great battles which it has now fallen to him to describe. He was thus enabled to acquire, by personal observation, a knowledge of many important localities, which he trusts will occasionally be found to have produced a beneficial influence on his narrative. Of any other advantages he is un
aware; and the circumstance of the present work being given anonymously to the world, may be taken as an acknowledgment that the opinions which it contains could derive nothing of authority from the name of its author. Were it otherwise, however, he would prefer that these opinions should stand or fall without extrinsic support; and he is aware of none which he is not prepared to relinquish, whenever, by more able reasoners, they shall be shown to be erroneous.
In a work embracing so vast a variety of detail, it is scarcely possible to hope that complete accuracy has been attained. The author trusts, however, that he will be found to have fallen into few important errors; and he submits the present work to the judgment of the public, not with confidence certainly, but with no wish to deprecate the severity of any censure to which it may be found liable.