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REBELLION IN IRELAND,
IN THE YEAR 1798, &c.
AN IMPARTIAL ACCOUNT OF THE PROCEEDINGS
The Irish Revolutionists,
From the Year 1782, till the Suppression of the Rebellion.
TO ILLUSTRATE SOME FACTS.
THE SECOND EDITION, WITH CONSIDERABLE ADDITIONS;
And a Preface,
A REPLY TO THE OBSERVATIONS
SIR RICHARD MUSGRAVE, BART.
UPON THIS WORK.
By the REV. JAMES GORDON,
RECTOR OF KILLEGNY, IN THE DIOCESE OF FERNS, AND OF CANNAWAY,
AUTHOR OF TERRAQUEA, OR A NEW SYSTEM OF GEOGRAPHY AND
Truth's would you teach, and save a sinking land,
Printed by J. D. Dewick, Aldersgate-street,
J. COOKE, 5, ORMOND QUAY, DUBLIN.
How far I may be justifiable in devoting any portion of my time to the writing of a preface, on account of puerile and unfounded objections, I know not precisely, but such may be expected by some readers.
That my history of the rebellion would be an object of reprobation to the irrational zealots of two opposite and mutually hostile parties, who distract this unfortunate island, and that it would be offensive to some individuals independently of party, since truth is odious to the guilty, I was completely aware, and my expectations have been as completely fulfilled. That it should be so much approved by the discerning few, particularly by some who are eminent in literature, was indeed beyond my expectation. Of these, part were prepossessed in its favour, even before they saw it, from the contradictory censures of opposite zealots. Thus a gentleman of great literary knowledge told a friend of mine,
a short time after its publication, that he had not seen my book, but had formed a favourable opinion of it, on finding that it had given equal and high offence to the violent blockheads on both sides.
To form a statement of the inconsistent objections made to this little work by, counterfeit, and even by some real, but ignorant and unreflecting, loyalists, would be to fill a volume as large as the work itself, with a heterogeneous mass of absurd matter. So far as any consistent meaning can be collected from such a mass, the substance appears to be this, that I have not described all those who, by inclination, or accidental circumstances, were arranged on the side of loyalism, as free from every infirmity of human nature, and endued with every virtue, particularly those of clcinency and courage. That I have not depicted all those who, by previous design, or by accident, were found on the opposite side, as destitute of every virtue, and though cowards; yet, by some strange fatality, exposing themselves in such manner to the swords and bullets of the armed saints, as to have been slaughtered in thousands in every encounter; while, among the saints, notwithstanding the intrepid exposure of their persons to the guns and pikes of the immensely more numerous rebels, very few were killed or wounded.
By suppressing all information inconsistent
with such a plan, and heightening that which would answer the purpose, I might have written such a book with much less trouble than that which I have published. I should then have given not more offence to croppies, and I really believe, much less offence to Roman catholics, than I have given. I might be outwardly caressed, perhaps, even to my great pecuniary emolument, and loudly applauded by a certain description of people, who, at the same time, must inwardly despise me, while my pretended history would be a laughing-stock to all men of discernment who should deign to read it, and, as soon as the present ferment should subside, would be quite thrown away as a useless piece of sycophantic lumber.
To write a book determinedly and exclusively in favour of either party, especially the victorious and ruling party, is an easy piece of business. An author with such a purpose will feel no dearth of story, style, or phrase. The fiery stream of volcanic matter will be poured copiously around him. The danger is, that he may be overwhelmed by the lava, or enveloped in a cineritious cloud. Neither will he want purchasers for a lumber of affidavits formed to his purpose among the dupes of his party, if his object be present gain, without regard to future infamy.
Instead of such a plan, I chose, (as I must choose, if I should write at all) the line of truth,