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worthy of being raised up from her degraded condition. A soul has come into Ireland, and no matter how the cynic may sneer, or the envious disparage, 'tis nevertheless incontrovertibly certain, that there has arisen of late such an array of talent as our island has rarely witnessed. He who, with others, evoked that genius which is stamped on the pages of the “ Library of Ireland,” is in his grave; and if his spirit could be again embodied on our earth, it would surely rejoice at the successful labours of his coadjutors. There is, however, one exception to this unqualified yet sincere laudation; but I shall not say more about it, lest the acknowledgment might savour of that humility so remarkable in the days of the Pharisees, and so much cherished in ours. For many a weary year anterior to the establishment of “the Library of Ireland,” we were a vast assemblage of talkers; our people had no means of becoming acquainted with the past, save such as they were able to collect from the harangues of popular orators which, less pellucid than the waters of Lough Neagh, rarely unveiled “ long faded glories,” and too often petrified ardent hopes and the germs of manly thought. A potent arm, 'tis true, has unrivetted the chain which for ages rusted into the very heart of our country ; all time and all posterity will give honor to him who did that great work ; but to accomplish what still remains to be done, could not be effected within the narrow limits of one man's life. 'Tis not enough to have given freedom to the slave, if he be not furnished with such teaching as will ever after secure to him the possession of it. The unfettered captive will, doubtless, disport him in the sunshine that blesses his vision, and, forgetting in the enjoyment of the present the wearisome
night of bondage that has past, too often neglect to take heed against a tyranny which might be disposed to send him back to his dungeon. A people worthy of the permanent blessings of freedom will sedulously labour to intrench themselves on ground from which no wily fraud or hostile array can ever again dislodge them. He who is ashamed of his progenitors rarely raises himself in the estimation of men, or ever achieves any work which is likely to reflect honor on his name. Even so it is with a people. They who would aspire to a position of respectability before the world, must have impulses from without as well as from within. The innate love of liberty is never half so potent as when purified and lighted by the recollection of the times which preceded its overthrow. Such memories as these have hallowed as with a sacred fire, the lips of the patriot orator, from the days of Demosthenes to those of Curran. Memories like these have sent the life-blood in quickened current to the hearts of such men as Hugh O'Neill, Tell, and every other patriot soldier who stood up to smite oppression. Nay, more-we are informed on the authority of Holy Writ that the recollection of Sion rendered the captivity of the Hebrew so painfully burdensome, that his fingers could not touch the harp-string in a land of servitude. There is nothing, then, at variance with truth in the assertion that, in order to win freedom, we must be learned in the history of the past; and that, in order to guard it, we must be schooled by those who have chronicled its rise and wept over its decline.
Whosoever would say that the present is not the time for insisting, by every honorable effort of “the voice and the .pen,” for the restoration of Ireland's just demands, is worse than a slave: for he would fain imbue
the minds of his contemporaries and subordinates with false teaching. The uneducated man may fancy that in his person filched privileges have been re-asserted, and immemorial rights vindicated, provided he has picked up some stray plume of grandeur wherewith to bedizen him. The shallow-minded man will feel honored by the recognition of some ephemeral Cresus or titled aristocrat, and inwardly wonder how the rest of his fellows can speak of discontent. Could we fancy a nation made up of such unenviable constituents, we should have no hesitation in conjecturing to what end it must speedily come; but a people whose souls teem with grand memories will strive to live over again all the best that remains of the past. Taught by the fatal experience of their predecessors, they will steer wide of the shoals whereon their freedom was wrecked; and their children's children will honour their tombs, in lasting gratitude for the greatest of all legacies—liberty wrung from the grasp of despotism, guarded with a vigilance like that of the stars,* and bequeathed to posterity as a holy inheritance.
And now, no country has more glorious recollections interwoven with its history than Ireland; and surely no other has so frequently seen the chances of independence snatched from her grasp. In my humble judgment, the last and the best was in the time of the Catholic League; and were it expedient to recal the causes which led to failure, ’twere only necessary to write the one sad word, “ Division.” 'Tis not in the nature of our age that such an opportunity will present itself again; but a better
By the words of the Holy One, they shall never fail in their watches.”_Eccli. xliii. 11
ay, far better-is slowly, yet surely, approaching. Sectarianism and its fiendish train are rapidly disappearing --for God was never more outraged upon earth than in the reckless conflict between man and 'man. From the days of Nebuchadnezzar to those of his representative, Nicholas of Russia, every tyrant has made religion a pretext for oppression. They who failed to do the dictator's bidding paid dearly for their reluctance; and the conduct of those in power so influenced their subordinates and menials, that the people became degraded, and instruments in the hands of their unscrupulous masters, The history of Ireland illustrates—ay, fatally illustrates this assertion. Yet I recal the word_for, far from being fatal, these sad experiences inculcate a mighty moral—teaching us that the union of all parties is essentially necessary to the weal of our common country, and that the holy name of religion should never set man against his fellow-man, or counsel him to shed that blood which God has given for a holier sacrifice. The history of those divisions, so painfully sad, are now within every man's reach. The chronicle of those days, when hope
“Like purple birds
That shine and soar, "*' seemed nearest to us, is as easily procured. The melodies which cheered our forefathers in the banquet-hall at home, or solaced them round the watch-fires when they camped in foreign lands, are becoming familiar to our people. The portraits of those illustrious men who shed the blessings of knowledge on their own and other
* Vide the “Book of Irish Ballads,” p. 196, edited by D. F. M.Carthy, Esq. Barrister at Law.
nations, are now household pictures. They who have given the time which others devote to the frivolities of life, to such arduous works as these, deserve well of their country; and she will yet divide her gratitude between them and you.
In dedicating this volume to you, I fancied that I might thus acknowledge your claim on my respect. Would that I could do more to evince it. As a priest of your religion I can bear testimony to the great good which has resulted from the valuable and cheap editions you have given of our Catholic works; and as one whose habits are not altogether eremitical, I congratulate you on that increasing prosperity which enables you to give employment to so many of our fellow-citizens in the various departments of paper making, type founding, printing, and book-binding. It is but doing you justice to say, that in these various branches you have circulated your capital at home-set native hands to work—and saved us the folly of sacrificing this important trade to some English speculator, who amassing wealth here, returns to spend it in the richest country under heaven.
Having said so much, it only remains for me now to speak a few words concerning this book. The author of it is already known to the readers of the “Library of Ireland,”-nor will I do more than refer them to the Biography written by my friend Thomas D'Arcy Magee. Should any one be over hasty in condemning O'Daly, I would have him seriously consider that he has written nothing that is not founded on fact. The conclusions he has deduced may or may not be erroneousI am nothing more than his interpreter. Whosoever peruses it with attention must, at once, perceive that the author was a clansman by right of his father; and,