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A distinguished writer has observed (Quarterly Review, vol. lxii., p. 277), that, in the early part of Lord Castlereagh's political career, there were persons disposed to form a low and very erroneous opinion of him; “but when his situation became more prominent and his character better defined, that polished benevolence, that consummate address, that invincible firmness, and that profound yet unostentatious sagacity, won the respect and confidence of reluctant Senates at home and of suspicious Cabinets abroad." Every attentive reader of the volumes here presented will, I trust, admit that the traits of the illustrious Statesman are sketched not by the hand of Partiality, but by that of simple and sober Truth.
This Second Series embraces the period between the admission of my lamented Brother into the British Cabinet and the eventful year 1813. During the first part of this period, he was at the head of the Board of Control; subsequently, at that of the War and Colonial Department; and, towards the conclusion, he held the then most important office of Secretary for Foreign Affairs. As in the preliminary observations to the different Sections of my work I
have endeavoured to mark the circumstances under which the Papers contained in it accrued, it would be superfluous to enter here at any length on the subject.
Suffice it then to remark that numerous documents and letters in this division of the Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh prove not only that his ever active mind was intently engaged in providing adequate means of home defence against any hostile attempt from abroad, but that the plans of the expeditions undertaken in 1807, 1808, and 1809, with one exception, that against Constantinople) emanated from him ; and his Correspondence abundantly attests his unwearied zeal and energy in carrying them into execution, his anxious attention to the minutest details, and his earnest solicitude for not merely supplying the necessities of the troops engaged in these enterprises, but for affording them all possible comforts.
One prominent feature in the volumes now placed before the reader is formed by the copious Correspondence between my Brother and his personal friend, Sir Arthur Wellesley, whose pre-eminent qualifications he above and before all seems to have had the sagacity to discover, at a time when he was obliged to exert all his influence, both with the Cabinet and with the King, in order to procure his appointment to the chief command of the British army in the Peninsula. The accuracy of his judgment was amply attested by the subsequent career of our great Captain.
THE FIFTH VOLUME.