H. F. Fulford Williams
The writer of these letters was the third son of Maurice Fitzgerald, seventeenth «Knight of Kerry». He came to Portugal with the force of 5,000 men which was despatched from England under the command of Sir William Clinton in December 1826. Originally sent to Mr. Aubrey Bell, the well-known writer on Portugal and himself a connection of the Fitzgeralds, the letters were to assist him in the preparation of a Memoir on the seventeenth «Knight of Kerry».
This is a hereditary Irish title, held since the XIIIth century by a branch of the Fitzgerald family, and is local to the holding of the lands (Note I). The thanks of the Historical Association are due to Mr. Bell for his permission to print such parts of the letters as deal with the British army in Portugal. Some family references have been omitted; otherwise the letters are given as they stand.
They only cover the opening phases of the stay of the force in Portugal, though the troops under Clinton were actually in that country until April 1828. Some notes have been added, but owing to present circumstances they are not as full as could be wished.
In the first place it is desirable to give a general indication of the Political Position as it stood in 1826-7.
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