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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
WILLIAM CONYNGHAM PLUNKET.
IN placing at the head of these sheets, a name, to which the respect and the admiration of the Public have attached so much celebrity; and in avowing, at the same time, that I have selected the name of a Friend, with whom I have been united, almost from childhood, in the closest habits of intimacy; I am aware, that I subject myself to the imputation of acting as much from a motive of pride, as from a sentiment of af. fection. I admit the imputation to be wellfounded. To enjoy the happiness of such a Friend, and not to exult in the possession, would be not to deserve it. It is a pride, which, I trust, may be indulged in without blame; and the distinction of having been associated with a character, so transcendently eminent for private worth, for public virtue, and for intellectual endowments, I shall always regard as one of the most honourable circumstances of my life.
But, independently of these considerations, the very nature of my subject supplies a reason for the choice which I have made, For I know not, in truth, to whom I could, with greater propriety, inscribe a work, whose chief end is to expose false reasoning and to maintain true religion, than to one, in whom the powers of just reasoning are so conspicuously displayed, and by whom the great principles of religion are so sincerely. reverenced.
With these views, I trust, that I shall stand excused by you, my dear Sir, in have ing, without your knowledge, thus availed myself of the credit of your name. The following treatise, in which so many additions have been made to a former publication, as in some measure to entitle it to the appellaţion of a new work, I submit to your judge ment: well satisfied, that if it meet your approbation, it will not find an unfavourable reception from the public.
I am, my dear Sir,
With the truest attachment,
THE AUTHOR. Trinity College, Dublin,
Sept. 21, 1808.