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Sed non in Cæsare tantum
LUCANI Pharsalia, Lib. I. 1
1 “But Cæsar's greatness, and his strength, was more
Than past renown and antiquated power;
EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY MACPHERSON & SYME,
31 EAST ROSE LANE.
Sir Walter Scott left two interleaved copies of his LIFE OF NAPOLEON, in both of which his executors have found various corrections of the text, and additional notes. They were directed by his testament to take care, that, in case a new edition of the work were called for, the annotations of it might be completed in the fashion here adopted, dates and other marginal elucidations regularly introduced, and the text itself, wherever there appeared any redundancy of statement, abridged. With these instructions, except the last, the Editor has now endeavoured to comply."
“ Walter Scott,” says Goëthe, “ passed his childhood among the stirring scenes of the American War, and was a youth of seventeen or eighteen when the French Revolution broke out. Now well advanced in the fifties, having all along been favourably placed for observation, he proposes to lay before us his views and recollections of the important events through which he has lived. The richest, the easiest, the most celebrated narrator of the century, undertakes to write the history of his own time.
“ What expectations the announcement of such a work must have excited in me, will be understood by any one who remembers that I, twenty years older than Scott, conversed with Paoli in the twentieth year of my age, and with Napoleon himself in the sixtieth.
“ Through that long series of years, coming more or less into contact with the great doings of the world, I failed not to think seriously on what was passing around me, and, after my own fashion, to connect so many extraordinary mutations into something like arrangement and interdependence.
“ What could now be more delightful to me than leisurely and calmly to sit down and listen to the discourse of such a man, while clearly, truly, and with all the skill of a great artist, he recalls to me the incidents on which through life I have meditated, and the influence of which is still daily in operation ?”—Posthumous Works, vol. vi., p. 253.
[In the present edition (1843) Sir Walter Scott's Notes have the letter S affixed to them, all of the others having been collected by the Editor.]
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The extent and purpose of this Work, have, in the course of its progress, gradually but essentially changed from what the Author originally proposed. It was at first intended merely as a brief and popular abstract of the life of the most wonderful man, and the most extraordinary events, of the last thirty years ; in short, to emulate the concise yet most interesting history of the great British Admiral, by the Poet-Laureate of Britain. The Author was partly induced to undertake the task, by having formerly drawn up for a periodical work—“ The Edinburgh Annual Register”-the history of the two great campaigns of 1814 and 1815; and three volumes were the compass assigned to the proposed work. An introductory volume, giving a general account of the Rise and Progress of the French Revolution, was thought necessary; and the single volume, on a theme of such extent, soon swelled into two.
As the Author composed under an anonymous title, he could neither seek nor expect information from those who had been actively engaged in the changeful scenes which he was attempting to record; nor was his object more ambitious than that of compressing and arranging such information as the ordinary authorities afforded. Circumstances, however, unconnected with the undertaking, induced him to lay aside an incognito, any farther attempt to preserve which must have been considered as affectation; and since his having done so, he has been favoured with access to some valuable materials, most of which have now, for the first time, seen the light. For these he refers to the Appendix at the close of the Work, where the reader will find several articles of novelty and interest. Though not at liberty, in every case, to mention the quarter from which his information has been derived, the Author has been careful not to rely upon any which did not come from sufficient authority. He has neither grubbed for anecdotes in the libels and private scandal of the time, nor has he solicited information from individuals who could
This work was begun in the summer of 1825; the failure of the Author's booksellers, Messrs. Constable and Co., which occurred in January, 1826, necessarily involved the disclosure of their private transactions with Sir Walter Scott; and he himself made the public confession of his being the sole writer of the Waverley Novels, at the first dinner of the Edinburgh Theatrical Fund Association, on the 23d of February, 1827.