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influencing, in any very powerful degree, the CHAP. II. general fate of the kingdom. Still, it cannot be

1808. denied, that its possession would have eminently contributed to the consolidation of the French power in Spain; and it is the opinion of a high authority, that, at the commencement of the St. Cyr. war, Napoleon would have acted more wisely had the greater proportion of his forces been employed for the reduction of Catalonia.

No part of Spain, perhaps, opposes so many obstacles to an invading army. Its general character is rugged and mountainous; the plains are of small extent; and it abounds in regularly fortified places of great strength. Catalonia, therefore, was geographically strong, and yet stronger in the courage, hardihood, and fine spirit of her population. The prospect of becoming a province of France was one most repugnant to the pride of the Catalans,-and they were prepared by every sacrifice to avert the advent of so dreaded a misfortune. That Napoleon contemplated the dismemberment of Catalonia from Spain there can be no doubt. Its acquisition would have been most favourable to the augmentation of the commerce and naval of France in the Mediterranean. With this view,

power

VOL. II.

F

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