Page images

Facts, alike remote from adulation and contempt, would have pleased my taste infinitely more. On reading this declaration, you will naturally prepare yourself for Facts only, in what I am about to communicate; and I declare that it is my design to insert nothing of another kind: yet, alas! the most unadorned Picture of a Perfect Beauty, will still procure for the Painter, the title of flatterer amongst the ignorant and the envious; and such a fate may possibly be


When I look over my Notes, from the substance of which this Sketch is formed, I perceive indeed that they are all of an encomiastic description; and that I have collected nothing but what is favorable to this mighty people. This, I am aware, will give to my work, the colour of an eulogium, rather than

of an impartial history of English manners; and such, if you think fit, you may call it. Every thing praise-worthy in England, you will not find here; but for all I have inserted, you may depend on my fidelity; and should this account prove, upon the whole, very panegyrical, as hinted above, it will the better suit your turn of mind, as I allow it does my own: we are both what are usually termed good-natured men, fond of looking on the pleasing side of every object presented to us, and mutually foes to that acrimony of disposition which delights in discovering imperfection, and in hunting out and exposing to hatred or derision, the faults and foibles of one's fellow-creatures. We have also, I know, invariably felt ourselves disgusted by a certain prac tice, too common in our time; I mean a habit some indulge in, of embracing

every opportunity that offers, to depreciate one portion of the human race, in order to display in a more brilliant light the merits of another; a custom particularly observable in what relates to this country and our's: for you must frequently and with pain have noticed the attempts of innumerable scribblers of Tours, Trips and Rambles in England, to represent that Island as almost in a state of barbarism; and thus insidiously to exalt our native Ireland, by drawing her portrait in enticing attitudes, and picturesque attire; by which vile mode of proceeding, national animosities are cherished; the people of Britain are mortified and abashed by seeing themselves degraded in the eyes of their fellow-subjects; and the Irish, especially such as have never been in England, rendered haughty and insolent in the notions they entertain of their English

brethren, by being kept in ignorance of the numerous and splendid advantages, moral and physical, which England enjoys over the rest of the world. Against these Incendiaries, they deserve not a milder name, I declare war, and am ready courageously to draw my pen: but I will not here follow their bad ex. ample; nor shall any thing resembling the language of prejudice disgrace my pages. Of England, it is my intention to detail nothing but what appears justly intitled to applause; while of Irish pre-eminence, as far as it is practicable, I shall modestly be silent.

Several particulars of general notoriety, and in themselves apparently trivial, you will find recorded as you go along: for this my excuse is that the present little work is intended for the perusal of your rustic neigh

bours, as well as for your own. The honest farmers, who dwell in the vicinity of your Glebe-House, have need of better information concerning this country, than what they have already received, which, I suspect, has reached them only through the reports of such persons as labourers who have returned after working during one or two harvests in England; or at best, by means of occasional conversations with the private soldiers of some marching regiment quartered near them; not always the most acute, or enlightened travellers. And indeed (with great deference I say it) as to yourself, my excellent friend, it is but fair to suppose that much of what would appear trite and dry to a Rider for an English commercial house, or even to a London shop-keeper, will be novel to you, whose mortal career has been but little diversitied. I dare conjecture that

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »