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PREFACE.

ON some of the subjects considered in the following pages, men, equally wise and good, think very differently: I presume, however, that there can be but one opinion entertained respecting other topics brought under review. The expediency and necessity of bestowing immediate attention on the general improvement of Ireland, are points which scarcely admit of any con, tráriety of sentiment; though it is not to be supposed that the same unanimity will prevail in judging of the means by which this important object is to be accomplished.

He who wishes well to mankind, will naturally desire to do good on the largest

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scale which his power will admit; but a very little acquaintance with human nature will convince him, that in order to benefit men effectually, it is necessary to carry even the schemes of benevolence into execution gradually. For, as labour is greatly facilitated, as well as its quantity augmented by its division, so the facility of doing good, and the certainty of ultimately succeeding in every design for its accomplishment, depend very much on allowing our operations to be under the direction of a similar principle.

I am aware that I may have entered too fully into the consideration of the advantages of a national system of education, viewed as a question in political science. I flatter myself, however, that the remarks on this subject will tend to illustrate the utility of affording moral and religious instruction to the inferior orders; and may suggest hints on the means which should be employed for ameliorating the state of Ireland,

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It was once intended to have entered very fully into the consideration of the poetry, customs, and superstitions of the native Irish; but these topics will probably be made the subject of a future publication.

London,
April 14th, 1812.

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