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It is many years since an attempt has been made in England to deal with the general history of the Peninsular War. Several interesting and valuable diaries or memoirs of officers who took part in the great struggle have been published of late, but no writer of the present generation has dared to grapple with the details of the whole of the seven years of campaigning that lie between the Dos Mayo and Toulouse. Napiers splendid work has held the field for sixty years. Meanwhile an enormous bulk of valuable material has been accumulating in English, French, and Spanish, which has practically remained unutilized. Papers, public and private, are accessible whose existence was not suspected in the thirties; an infinite number of autobiographies and reminiscences which have seen the light after fifty or sixty years of repose in some forgotten drawer, have served to fill up many gaps in our knowledge. At least one formal history of the first importance, that of General Arteche y Moro, has been published. I fancy that its eleven volumes are practically unknown in England, yet it is almost as valuable as Tore?os Guerra de la Independencia in enabling us to understand the purely Spanish side of the war.
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