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BY THE AUTHOE OF

'GOLDEN HILLS, A TALE OF THE IRISH FAMINE;" "CEDAR CREEK," ETC,

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LONDON:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;

56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD; AND
164, PICCADILLY.

1866.

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LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SON'S, STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.

PREFACE.

Though the following pages are in the form of fiction, no pains have been spared to preserve minute accuracy in all that_ concerns the history of that terrible outbreak, known as the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The various volumes, written on both sides of the question, have been carefully studied, and innumerable contemporary documents — pamphlets, newspapers, broadsheets, and ballads — have been collected and examined. The sole desire of the writer has been to discover and present the truth.

Let no reader of this tale imagine that the pictures of that disastrous period are overdrawn. Any person who has carefully studied the history of the time, will know that the writer has erred rather in an under-statement of the facts, than in an excess of vivid incident. Were the narrations of certain historical scenes as complete and full in all their details as they might have been, they could only cause pain to the reader. The horrors of the bridge at Wexford, and the slaughter at Vinegar Hill, have therefore been but briefly sketched:—a score of kindred tragedies are only glanced at. The wonderful Irish genius for wit and humour has been used to lighten any sombreness in the narrative, as it must be in every faithful transcript of the character of the people. It may be added, that all verses of ballads, and passages from pamphlets, speeches, etc., introduced into the Qarrative, are veritable extracts from effusions of the period.

It is the strong conviction of the writer, produced by long and intimate acquaintance with the Irish people and their history, that the superstition and priestcraft of Roman Catholicism form the chief cause of the troubles of that most beautiful yet most unhappy island. But these evils are to be eradicated, not by the nominal and lifeless profession of a purer faith, but by a living, loving trust in the Divine Saviour. Too often has Irish Protestantism, in past times, assumed the form of a political creed, or been but the watch-word of a party. In the deeper piety, the devouter fervour, and the fuller exercise of that "love, which is the fulfilling of the law," displayed by the Protestant churches of the sister island, we have the best and surest augury that the darkness of Ireland's "night is past, and the true light now shineth." May " the Lord hasten it in his time!"

It may be stated, in conclusion, that The Foster-Brotkers of Boon appeared in the "Leisure Hour " previously to the outbreak of the present Fenian agitation. The writer need scarcely say that the descriptions given refer exclusively to a by-gone era in the history of the country. They cannot, without the grossest violation of truth and good faith, be pleaded as justifying the incendiary projects which are now once more disturbing the peace of Ireland.

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