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PREFACE.

From the numerous meetings that have lately taken place in this neighbourhood, on the subject of tithes, and the false impressions that prevail on the subject, I shall offer no apology for having stood forward, to defend, so far as I could, the former, and correct the latter. If I have not adduced all that might be said on the subject, I presume to offer all that in a very short time has occurred to me. If I have failed, I am sure the fault lies in the writer, and not in the merits or justice of the case he has undertaken to advocate.

It may be said that my Publication was unnecessary, that Parliament would never sanction so palpable a wrong as the one prayed for, viz., à total abolition of tithes; but we must remember that words represent things, that opinion governs the world, and that false reasoning, like bad example, is very infectious—that a great part of mankind receive for truth whatever comes recommended to them, under a very thin disguise of sophistry, and, from characteristic indolence, inability, or want of inclination, will not trouble

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themselves to inquire farther; so that the mind becomes coathed as it were with the baneful herbage it has fed on, and which appearing “ pleasant to the eye and good for food," it has devoured with avidity.

Let any man only mark the progress and trace the effects of public opinion for the last century, and he will read all the history of a moral revolution. But if the press proclaim falsehood, it can also promulgate truth. The field is wide-the tribunal impartial, and we need not fear the issue of the conflict, for the sword of truth, like that of Michael, to him who can wield it,

“ From the armoury of God
“ Is given him, tempered so, that neither keen

“ Nor solid might resist that edge." I do not presume to interfere with or question one of the first and best rights of the subject, that of petition; but it is become so much the vehicle of sedition and disaffection-a fluid menstruum, in which the poison is so subtly held in solutionthat I hardly know where to make a distinction between its legitimate exercise and its abuse. There is so much political ventriloquism, so much talking aside, in the present public drama,-a meaning to be inferred by the rule of contraries, that when some agitators so solemnly caution the people to act lawfully, I often (God forgive me !) think their intention is to excite them, whenever a favourable opportunity may occur, to overthrow all before them.

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