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Printed by Y. M, O'Toole of Son,

GT. BRUNSWICK-STREET, DUBLIN.

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PREFACE.

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It has passed into a proverb, that discord among her children has been the bane of Ireland from the beginning of her history. The Anglo-Saxon invaders, so far from curing the national disease, only intensified its virulence, by introducing, in their own persons, a new element of dissension. The breach was widened, first, by the difference of religion consequent on the Reformation ; subsequently, by the establishment of English settlers in Ulster after its confiscation under James the First; and still further, by a fresh importation of the dominant race into Munster under Cromwell. But the chasm yawned to its utmost under Anne, when, by the Penal Laws, the whole population was divided into Protestants basking in the full sunshine of freedom and temporal prosperity; and Papists, as they were called, crouching under the lash of a Draconian code, and left merely to “ vegetate and rot." Catholic Emancipation contracted the limits of separation, and soothed, in some measure, the bitterness of religious animosity; but Protestant Ascendancy still remains, and the ranks of Irishmen stand, as ever, serried against each other in hostile array.

The Orangeman of the north and the Catholic of the south represent the extremes of national disunion and antipathy.

He who would throw oil on these troubled waters, blend

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the discordant elements, and direct the mingled mind of the WHOLE PEOPLE to one grand scheme of national improvement, would attempt the noblest task of the patriot, achieve the proudest triumph of philanthropy, and fulfil the highest duty of a Christian. He who would only contribute to the attainment of such an end may lack the success, perhaps the genius, of a hero; but he surely deserves the laurels of a good and valiant soldier.

Such an attempt was made eighty years ago, or thereabouts, by one of Ireland's greatest men, but one whose efforts in her cause are amongst those least commemorated by Ireland's gratitude or love. It was made by one of the persecuted race ; by a minister of the proscribed religion ; by one who joined the ranks of the Irish priesthood in the hour of its darkest danger, when the words applied to the lawgivers of the fated land were, alas ! too true :

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That man was-Arthur O'Leary. His writings are stamped with a manliness of style and sentiment, a spirit of cosmopolitan benevolence, a depth of Christian feeling, a loyalty to constituted authority, a breadth of religious toleration, and a wholesome love of country, that should render them for ever sacred in the archives of the literature of Ireland. It is marvellous how his merits could have been hitherto so slightly appreciated, seeing that, by the ceaseless and powerful efforts of his pen, he really was the grand precursor of O'Connell in the mission of Catholic Emancipation. He did more than any Irishman ever did to remove the prejudices, and to dispel the ignorance on which those prejudices were founded, that had so long checked the repeal of iniquitous and barbarous legislation, and kept asunder, on aecount of religion, a people whose common Christianity taught them that fraternal love was not merely an advantage, but a duty.

From the obscurity of his social position, his genius and virtue raised him to the highest ranks of popularity and favour. He was loved and sought after by the greatest men of his time, both in Ireland and England; by the most illustrious noblemen, including George, Prince of Wales ; and by the still more exalted aristocracy of intellect, of whom Grattan, Curran, and Burke were not the least shining representatives. He enjoyed a pension from the crown for the services he had rendered his country; in this hard, up-hill struggle of life illustrating, by his success, the dictum of the Roman historian : “Ipsa virtus pervincit, ne in ullo genere hominum inhonorata sit." (Liv. lib. x.)

. The times in which he lived were strikingly analogous to the present. An American war had been just concluded then, as another has now. Ireland then looked to America for support in her difficulties—so does she look now. Disaffection prevailed amongst the people, the country was disturbed by Whiteboys ; Ireland was never, perhaps, so discontented as she is at the present moment. Whiteboyism in 1786 was limited to a portion of the island ; Fenianism in 1868 has spread itself through the length and breadth of the land.

To repress national folly displayed in fruitless insurrection, was one of O'Leary's grandest aims, and certainly one of his most successful achievements. If the reproduction of such portions of his writings as treat on this subject produce a similar result to-day; if, while painting in their true colours the grievances to which Ireland has been victimized for centuries, those writings succeed in demonstrating the only legitimate and effectual means of securing national amelioration, and in inculcating patience and moderation under the lash of persecution—the transcriber will be amply requited for his pains. If they fail to do so, it will not be for want of sober truth, logical force, political sagacity, Christian feeling, and eloquent persuasion, for which they are distinguished.

Then, also, as now, the fundamental truths of Christianity were assailed—the divinity of Christ and the immortality of the soul. With the weapons of O'Leary, the ranks of modern sophists and sceptics may be routed, as he routed the infidel disciples of Voltaire in his day. The calumnies against Catholicity which he refuted, are needed to-day in the eternal interests of truth; the toleration which he preached may worthily find an echo after an interval of three generations, for generations quickly perish, but prejudices are slow to be extinguished.

Under the banners, then, of Truth, Peace, Religious Toleration, and Love of Country, we publish “The Life and Writings of the Reverend Arthur O'Leary," the gist of whose constant exhortation to mankind was that noble sentiment, so admirably expressed, and so cherished in the memories of the thousands of Irishmen to whom his name is familiar : “Let not religion, the sacred name of religion, which, even in the face of an enemy, discovers a brother, be any longer a wall of separation to keep us asunder."

While we thus, however, propose for admiration the writings of Arthur O'Leary, candour obliges us to confess that in them are found enunciated many sentiments of a theological nature, which, if they do not transgress the bounds of orthodoxy, are nevertheless characterized by a boldness of assertion and looseness of reasoning sufficient to awaken a feeling of nervous uneasiness in the mind of a Catholic reader. It would have been possible for us to

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