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I should think, appear from the disturbances which have had place at several times among the peasants of Ireland ; as the open, yet almost bloodless insurrection of men stiling themselves Hearts of Oak, in the year 1763, in the counties of Armagh, Tyrone, and Derry-men of all sects of religion indiscriminately; the more bloody insurrection of the Hearts of Steel, ten years afterwards, in the counties of Antrim and Derry, mostly protestants, irritated to violence by exactions of rents and fines of leases on the estate of the earl of Donegal ; and the nocturnal outrages committed many years in the south by the Whiteboys, particularly in the counties of Tipperary and Kilkenny. Neither is emigration to America, from an island which could easily maintain double the number of its present inhabitants by a due cultivation and improvement of its lands, a very favourable symptom. What revenue might Ireland contribute for the support of the British power under proper encouragements of industry, when under many discouragements her annual revenue to the crown has risen from less than ten thousand pounds, in the fourteenth century,* to near six millions, or six hundred fold, at the close of the eighteenth?
One’of the happiest consequences reasonably expected to arise, in course of time, from the
* Leland's history of Ireland, book ii, chap. 5.
abolition of our national distinctness, the rex moval of our local parliament, and its incorporation with that of Britain, is the subsidence of that rancorous spirit of religious animosity, which has been the parent of so much mischief to this island. We hope, as the measure cannot now be attended with any danger, to see shortly so completean emancipation of the catholics, that modes of metaphysical credence shall no longer be a barrier against political capacity and civil right. This subject is well worthy of consideration in the imperial parliament, where, doubtless, as in a truly protestant assembly, the question will be decided in the spirit of liberality, justice, and true policy ; over-ruling by an august determination the ominous croakings of little bigots ; men, who, to retain a monopoly of power, scrupled not, in the public legislature, to traduce the conduct and character of their countrymen. * Such a measure would most powerfully tend to the gradual extinction of religious animosity and local faction : but so violently are the minds of men prejudiced at present by the rage of civil and religious dissension, that a candid narration ,
* A returning spirit of regulated liberty bas already, notwithstanding the spasmodic struggles of a dark and inveterate faction, ejected from the representation of his country a man, who, at a distance from detection, in his capacity of imperial senator, uttered without shame what he well knew to be contrary to the truth. :
of Irish affairs for some years past must inevitably give offence to every party, and the narrator, in the words of no mean historian, “must be “armed against censure only by an integrity
which confines him to truth, and a literary “ courage which despises every charge but that .« of wilful or careless misrepresentation.”* To this little work I must expect contradictory objections far more acrimonious than those which have been made to my former, composed on a subject little interesting to the passions of adverse factions—Terraquea, or a System of Geography and Modern History.
To the Terraquea some wise heads have objected, that it is a compilation from other writers, as truly it is from some hundreds. I am sorry that the same objection inevitably lies against this little history also, the sphere of which is so extremely narrow in comparison of that of the other. Since unfortunately I could find no supernatural means of either being present in all the scenes of action, nor of having those actions revealed to me by spiritual vision or otherwise, I was obliged to have recourse to the vulgar mode of compilation; and have accordingly compiled from such oral, manuscript, and even printed, information, as I could procure on the subject. To discern and
· * Leland's history of Ireland, prel. discourse, p. 3.
select, the true state of facts from these materials, was not found void of difficulty. In ten or twelve accounts of the same action, I have found no two to agree, except in a few points ; and I am sorry to say, that even contradictory affidavits might be procured in lamentable plenty: But how far soever objectors may contradict one another with respect to my statement of facts, they will probably all agree with respect to my stile. That of the Terraquea has by some been pronounced too high for the subject; by others too low and jejune. Which of the two sorts of objectors has judged rightly in this case, I cannot pretend to determine; but I am much inclined to the opinion of a gentleman who said, that of the two he thought the former less actuated by envy or malignity than the latter. In the stile of this local history, I feel myself perfectly se
cure from the former species of critics, as its · humility is unquestionable. Serpit humi, tutus nimium timidusque procellæ.
In my statement of facts I shall be accused as a favourer of loyalists and rebels, of orangemen and croppies, of heretics and papists; and I must acknowledge, not without some justice, as I love my countrymen of every sect and party, and most heartily wish them to act in a manner the most conducive to their own happiness, to cultivate Christian charity and friendship among themselves, and with the inhabitants of their
great sister island, their fellow-subjects and natural associates.
Whatever may have been my feelings for the sufferings of others, I hope they have no where caused me to swerve from the line of truth. With respect to myself they ought not to be very acute, as I sustained no other loss, I fervently thank God, than that of property. Though my three youngest children fell into the hands of the rebels, they received no injury ; and though my two eldest sons were engaged as yeomen against the Wexfordian rebels in several most dangerous conflicts, they escaped without a wound. One part, indeed, of my loss of property was grievous-books, which I cannot for a time replace, necessary for the finishing of my historico-geographical work ; and manuscripts which never can be replaced, particularly that of a history of the British islands, which I had carried near its conclusion, and in which I had paid extraordinary attention to stile and arrangement.-But, though I am not sensible of misrepresentation through resentment or prejudice, and have stated the facts to the best of my judgment, yet inany involuntary errors may be found in the foregoing pages ; and to any persons who shall have convincingly corrected them, whether in a decorous or acrimonious manner, I shall acknowledge my obligation ; but of unfounded censure, or declamatory non