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VINDICIÆ ECCLESIÆ ANGLICANÆ.
ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq. LL.D.
HONORARY MEMBER OF THE ROYAL SPANISH ACADEMY, OF THE ROYAL SPANISH ACADEMY OF HISTORY,
The more wit they have spent,
When I inscribed a poem to you some twenty years ago, in memorial of a friendship which had then subsisted more than half our lives, there was a peculiar propriety in so doing. The subject was one concerning which we had talked when we were boys together; it related to your own country; some of your ancestors were among the personages of the tale; historical incidents were introduced which I had collected in your Library, and in your company I had visited some of the scenes which are described. For these reasons,
had there been no other motive, Madoc could not have been inscribed so properly to any person as yourself.
But in prefixing your name to the present volume, this address may appear not less inappropriate, than it was becoming in the former instance. You are an earnest and powerful supporter of what are now called the Catholic claims; and my object in this work is to expose the principles and practices of the Romish Church,.. to show that the present advocates of that Church are not to be trusted in their statements,.. to prove that they pervert history, and that they represent their tenets not as those tenets are, but as they wish them to be thought in this country, at this time. Why then, it may be asked, have I dedicated a book to you, the drift of which is in direct opposition to your political wishes and exertions ? Certainly not for the purpose of dwelling upon that opposition: but because, so far as the work is defensive, no person will take a livelier interest in its efficiency. The Book of the Church could need no vindication with you, who know the author well enough to rely upon his fidelity, even if your own reading were not such as renders you a competent judge whether or not he is borne out by historical records, to the full extent of what he has affirmed; but, as an old and tried friend, you will not see without satisfaction how completely and how easily he can vindicate it to the world.