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THE following pages contain the substance of Letters written to my family and friends during six months which I passed in Spain; they have, however, undergone such alterations as were necessary to render what was originally intended for private amusement, not totally unfit for public perusal; and those which relate to the Mahomedan dominion, have been entirely composed since my return. In addition to what I have borrowed from Ocampo, Masdeu, and Mariana, I am also indebted to a very accurate abstract of the state of the Moors in Granada, written by Simon de Argote.
It will be perceived, that I have only paid that attention to political subjects which the interesting events, daily passing before me, naturally demanded. I believe, it will be found, that my opinions of public
characters, of the nature of the government, and of the disposition of the great mass of the people, are corroborated by all who have visited the Peninsula ; and I feel additional confidence in the sanction they receive from the able letter of the Marquis Wellesley to Mr. Canning, which is printed in the Appendix.
The traces of national character are so strongly marked on the inhabitants of Spain, that few Englishmen who have visited that country, would find much difficulty in delineating its prominent features. Whatever opinions we may entertain with respect to domestic politics, we all unite in admiring the efforts of the Spanish people, in their attempt to liberate themselves from oppression. We all join in respecting the manly firmness with which, after repeated reverses, they continue to resist their invaders; in execrating the government which has so grossly abused their confidence; and in fervently wishing their ultimate freedom and happiness.
I am desirous to rectify an error into which I have fallen, respecting the conspiracy formed in Seville, to overthrow the central Junta. I have learnt since
the following sheets were printed, that Lord Wellesley did not name the individual regiments implicated in that plot, nor did he find it expedient to communicate to the government so much of the detail of that project as I had reason to believe he did, from the information I acquired in Seville. While I pay this tribute to accuracy, it is a satisfaction to know, that the respectable authority which has enabled me to correct this error, has, at the same time, confirmed the truth of the other circumstances I have related respecting that conspiracy.
In preparing this work for the press, it has been my object to select such materials only, as I conceived would interest and amuse, while they might convey some information. To myself, amidst many anxieties, it has been a pleasing resource to retrace the scenes I had viewed, and to travel over again the roads I had passed.
JUVAT EXHAUSTOS ITERARE LABORES,
ET SULCATA MEIS PERCURRERE LITTORA REMIS.
London, March 1, 1811.