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With the local, moral, and political character of the three divisions of the British empire, I know your Lordship is intimately conversant, and I hope that the representation which I have attempted of the natives and the scenery of the northern branch of it will meet with your approbation.
I have the honour to remain,
Your Lordship's obedient servant,
2, Garden-court, Temple,
Dec. 20, 1808.
In laying before the Public another literary production, I think it due, in point of propriety and respect, to advert to a circumstance which has lately brought my name before it, more especially as that circumstance is distantly connected with the present publication. I refer to an action which I brought against the publishers of a supposed libellous caricature print, and its explanation, of a personal and offensive nature, in consequence of which I have been charged by certain persons with having attempted a violence to the liberty of the press.
Those whose hostility I have increased by that measure have distorted the ground of that action: perhaps no object ever was more grossly and actively misrepresented. From the dominion which my adversaries had and have over some of the public prints, they had considerable means of adding to the injustice which they had before attempted to exercise.
If the matter merely related to myself, from my respect to the Public it should drop into oblivion; but it is not my cause, so much as that of literature and its privileges, that is at stake. Truth has been not a little injured; but yet, notwithstanding so many fractures, I hope to set every shattered bone, and restore her to her former symmetry. A loud outcry has been raised against me, in consequence of such gross misrepresentation. The storm roared long and loud : I have waited for a calmer moment to reply.
In 1806 I submitted to the Public the result of my observations made in the year preceding on the sister island, under the title of “The Stranger in Ireland, or a Tour in the Southern and Western Parts of that Country.” In this work I avoided those topics upon which the public mind has been fearfully divided : I endeavoured to assist in effacing prejudices, and in making my readers of this country better acquainted with, and consequently more disposed to love and esteem, our brethren in Ireland. The Public received
endeavours with such favour, that, expensive as the work was, very nearly fifteen hundred copies of it have been sold. It has also had a large circulation upon the Continent and in America, where it has passed through several editions. Some highly respectable writers upon matters connected with Ireland have honoured me by considering it as a work of authority, and by quoting from it. It moreover obtained for me the friendship and esteem of many distinguished and honourable persons, both here and in Ireland,
as well Protestants as Catholics. I hope I
may be permitted to state thus much, without an imputation of self-complacency.
In 1807 a work, was published, the object of whose title was, to make it appear, for the purpose of injuring' me in the public opinion, that my Journal of this long and rather laborious Tour had been contained in a few pencil hints, or memorandums. The body of the book was filled with fragments of distant and discordant sentences extracted from my work, absurdly jumbled together, and interspersed with falsehood and the vilest perversions, which were presented to the Public under the imposing mask of fair quotation.
Had this attack been announced as a travesty, the Public would have regarded it as a burlesque, and I should have been as much disposed as any
to have smiled at what humour it might have possessed. Indeed I should have deemed it, in some measure, an honour; for, as the nature