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PREFACE.

THIS History is offered to the Public, without pretension, on the part of the Writer, to any other merit than diligence and impartiality. Authors of different nations, ages, religions, and politics, have been carefully read, compared, and, as far as might be, employed for reciprocal correction. Where contradictory statements have involved particular points in uncertainty, the different prejudices and partialities of different Historians have been weighed; the agreement or disagreement of their several accounts, as well with universally admitted facts, as with the general tenor of their own and their antagonists' relations, has been examined; and, according to the result of such inquiries, the narrative has been compiled from the various Authorities consulted, as each has appeared to be most consonant with truth or probability.

The task, though laborious, has brought with it its own reward; inasmuch as the History of the Spanish Peninsula affords a variety of interest, unparalleled in the annals of most other countries. The lofty and daring character of the people, as it presents itself, from their early struggle against the Carthaginians and the Romans, down to their universal insurrection against the modern Despot of the European continent, commands our admiration: the seven centuries of Arab domination and contest teem with interest, such as the pages of fiction can scarcely surpass: whilst the philosopher and the politician may find matter for research and meditation in the developement and overthrow of national liberty, in the concomitant prosperity and decline of the Peninsula, and in the remarkable illustration, offered by the latter periods, of the brutalizing effects of bigotry and tyranny upon the human mind. In a History so extensive, compressed within limits narrow as those of the present publication, much of this can, of course, be little more than indicated. It is hoped, however, that enough of peculiar character may have been shown, to tempt many readers to pursue the study at greater length; and those who shall feel themselves thus tempted, may rest assured that they will never regret the time or the pains bestowed upon the deeper investigation of the History of Spain and Portugal.

Osnaburgh Terrace, Dec. 29, 1832.

M. M. BUSK.

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