Item of the Day: Field of Mars (1781)
The Field of Mars: being an Alphabetical Digestion of the Principal Naval and Military Engagements, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, Particularly of Great Britain and her Allies, from the Ninth Century to the Present Period. Selected from the Best Historians and Journalists, and Adjusted from the Greatest Authority. Interspersed with concise Descriptions of the Towns and Plances, the Subject of each Article. To which is Prefixed An Essay on the Art of War, and A Comprehensive System of Military and Naval Discipline. Embellished with Maps, Charts, Plans, and Views of Battles. In Two Volumes.
Reference work, in two large, fully illustrated volumes. Includes folding maps depicting sea and land routes. Printed in London for J. MacGowan, No. 27, Paternoster-Row, 1781.
To the Public:
To preserve a perfect impartiality is the province of every Historian, but few attain to it; how far the FIELD OF MARS has adhered to that character, it may be construed a presumption in us to announce; yet thus far, without censure, we may declare, that all events are given as faithful historians present them to us, at whole length, naked, and unmasked; stripped of that praise and adulation, as well as that calumny and reproach with which these transactions are too frequently related. In order to annex veracity to our assertions, particular attention has been paid to extracts from works of repute, and publications of authority. Indeed, where superior merit is conspicuous to all the world, it would be as superfluous as ridiculous to attempt a display of it; yet we may be allowed to assert, that this Nation is almost arrived to the summit of Human Grandeur, and its natives, as men, to the first degree of reputation for Valour, Courage, Integrity, and Humanity; but at the same time it must be admitted, that the utmost efforts of Human Wisdom cannot secure the fate of one single event, which causes the most unlikely to produce their designed effects, often succeed to admiration, and to the utter confusion of the boasted power of Human Prudence, Foresight, and Precaution.
AT this period, such a Publication cannot but be acceptable to the British Reader, when Britain is involved in an accumulating War, when she has to contend not only with her Natural Enemies, France and Spain, but with her late Unnatural Allies the Dutch, and her refractory North American Subjects, who, in diametrical opposition to her internal interest, as well as those of their Mother Country, have set up an Independence, under the protection of the united powers of their avowed Enemies, the French and Spaniards, and the concurrence of the treacherous and time-serving States of Holland, who so lately felt the chastisement of our insulted arms; yet now dare to support a contest the most unhappy that England was ever engaged in; and its termination cannot but be the most important, and mark an æra in the history of Europe.
A TIME when every British subject glows with emulation in defence of his Native Country, and the support of its dignity; for as nothing will stimulate beyond example, so the perusal of a well executed work on this Plan, cannot but excite a desire to pursue the well trod paths of our Ancestors, in an exertion to prove ourselves worthy of enjoying the fruits of their labours, and urge us to pay a just tribute to their revered memories.
NO history, ancient or modern, can, in any comparative degree, vie with that of this Nation for its great exploits, both by Land and Sea; and no country whatever, can pride itself in having withstood the united machinations of its restless enemies, equal to that of Britain; whose well-concerted efforts have generally been crowned with success, and its perfidious enemies sunk into shame and disgrace, even in their own opinion, whenever they have roused the resentment of the Natives of this most favoured Isle. In vain have the arms of France and Spain combined to crop the laurels of the British Forces; their endeavours have proved as baseless as their faith; and every attempt to injure, has been frustrated and rendered abortive by the dauntless spirit inherent in the breasts of the Sons of Albion and Hibernia; who have proved to the whole world, that, however arduous, however apparently impracticable, any proposed attempt may be, the English Soldiers and Seamen are not to be deterred from it by any prospect of difficulty or danger: but will exert themselves as far as men can do, and at least deserve success, if they do not attain it, when led by men worthy to command them, many of whose Feats would have done honour to the Roman arms.