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Of public praise. O friend revered, O guide
Meantime, with dutiful and patient hope,
This book originated in the train of thought described in the introductory pages, and was begun at the time there specified. For the form which it has taken I am indebted to Boethius; an obligation which perhaps few readers would have suspected, but which I am not the less bound to acknowledge. Farther than this it is only neces
that recent circumstances have produced no change in the author concerning the Roman Catholic Question; no one however can more sincerely wish that timid counsels may be proved by the event to have been wise ones; that government may gain strength by yielding to menaces;
and that the Protestant Constitution of these kingdoms may be secured by abandoning the principles upon which it was established.
And here this Preface would have ended, ifa certain Rev.Mr. Shannon, who was three or four times in company with me, three or four and twenty years ago, had not thought proper to affirm in a recent pamphlet, that Mr. Southey expressed to him at that time, “ ardent wishes” for the restoration of what he calls “ the Catholic rights ;” and to assert that such wishes could not possibly hạve been changed, except from “ causes that are liable to suspicion.” It is so utterly insignificant what opinions any individual may have advanced upon such a topic, long ago, in the freedom of conversation, at a private table, that I should not think it worth while to bestow any public notice upon such a statement, still less upon the insinuation which accompanies
it, were there not persons in whom party spirit has so far destroyed the sense of honour and of justice, that any authority however futile is sufficient for them, when the purpose of detraction is to be served by it. But these “ ardent wishes,” and the energy of language in which Mr. Shannon pretends to remember that they were expressed, never had, or could have had any existence, except in the dreams of his own imagination. For it is well known to every one of my early friends, (and few men, as they pass through life, have dropt fewer of their friendships on the way,) that my opinions respecting the Roman Catholic claims to seats in Parliament and certain offices in the state have always been the same. I have ever maintained that the Romanists ought to be admitted to every office of trust, honour, or emolument, which is not connected with legislative power ; but that it is against the plainest rules of