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PREFACE.

The following pages would have appeared six months earlier, but for various hindrances which delayed the work of filling up what was but a brief outline. That they should appear at all may be deemed by some readers matter of apology also; but at a period when such strenuous efforts are made to place in different and opposing lights the country and the people referred to, it seemed desirable to add to the collection even such a sketch as this, taken recently from the life. Facts, rather than inferences, are adduced : and if it be objected, that too much of a private and personal nature is interspersed with what concerns the public, it may be pleaded in excuse that not a small portion of English readers are still misled by prejudice or mistake, in their calculations regarding the Irish character. The writer has had many discussions with friends who, desirous of seeing and judging for themselves of this most debateable land, were deterred from gratifying that laudable wish by a degree of bodily fear. Their imagination represented a succession of perilous obstacles, of which the least formidable menaced highway robbery, or submersion in an unfathomable bog. Not a few really pathetic remonstrances were used to dissuade her from so daring an undertaking as that of traversing from south to north the dreaded country: exacting, at the same time, a distinct promise that, if permitted to return with life, she would publish a full and true account of every hair-breadth 'scape; together with a correct transcript of the impression made on her mind by an attentive view of existing circumstances. That promise is now redeemed; and happy will she be if these familiar Letters' tend to remove an unfounded apprehension, or unjust suspicion, as to this lovely country and its interesting inhabitants ; or to arouse a spirit of more impartial inquiry, where the judgment may have been prematurely biassed in matters deserving of the most serious, most patient, and most scrutinizing investigation. When Englishmen learn to view Ireland as she is, the first great step will be achieved towards making Ireland what she ought to be.

July, 1838.

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