With respect to the Established Church of forty years ago, if there is any man living who asserts that I have not under-drawn her, rather than otherwise, he is less intimate with truth than I could wish. On this subject I challenge and defy inquiry. I grant you she is much changed for the better now; but yet there is much to be done in her still. It is true Irishmen at present get Mitres, a fact which was unknown forty years ago. We have now more Evangelicism, and consequently more sleekness and hypocrisy, more external decorum, and, I would also trust, more internal spirituality. We have now many eminent and pious Prelates in the Church, whose admirable example is enough even to shame the Clergymen under them into a sense of their duty. It is to be wished that we had many more such as they, for they are wanted. The Irish Evangelical party are certainly very numerous, and they must pardon me a slight anachronism or two regarding them, concerning what has been termed the Modern Reformation in these volumes. Are those who compose this same party, by the way, acquainted with their own origin? If not, I will tell them. They were begotten by the active spirit of the Church of Rome, upon their own establishment, when she was asleep; so that they owe their very existence to those whom they look upon as their enemies: and if it were only for this reason alone, there ought to be more peace between them. In England the same spirit has effected a similar seduction on that Establishment, but with this difference, that the Puseyites are a much more obedient and dutiful progeny than the Irish Evangelicals—inasmuch as they have the grace to acknowledge the relationship.
This book was written to exhibit a useful moral to the country. It will startle, I humbly trust, many a hard-hearted Landlord and flagitious Agent into a perception of their duty, and it will show the negligent and reckless Absentee how those from whose toils and struggles he derives his support, are oppressed, and fleeced, and trampled on in his name.
It will also teach the violent and bigoted Conservative—or, in other words, the man who still inherits the Orange sentiments of past times—a lesson that he ought not to forget. It will also test the whole spirit of modern Conservatism, and its liberality. If there be at the press, or anywhere else, a malignant bigot, with great rancor and little honesty, it is very likely he will attack my book; and this, of course, he is at liberty to do. I deny, however, that modern Conservatism is capable of adopting or cherishing the outrages which disgraced the Orangemen of forty years ago, or even of a later period. And for this reason I am confident that the Conservative Press of Ireland will not only sustain me, but fight my battles, if I shall be ungenerously attacked. Let them look upon these pictures, and if it ever should happen that arms and irresponsible power shall be entrusted to them, perhaps the recollection of their truth may teach them a lesson of forbearance and humanity toward those that differ from them in creed, that may be of important service to our common country. If so, I shall have rendered a service to that country, which, as is usual, may probably be recognized as valuable, when perhaps my bones are mouldering in the clay, and my ear insensible to all such acknowledgments.