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courteous encouragement, and practical support. His Grace the Lord Primate, with his usual kindness, was good enough to patronise the undertaking, while from several other of the Irish prelates also it met with a friendly countenance. Among whom the obligations due to those of Cork and Ossory in particular are here gratefully acknowledged.
Nor can the Compiler omit this opportunity of recording his grateful sense of the kind and effective co-operation in the same object, received from the following friends of the work now completed by their aid ; they having severally procured, in their different circles of friends and acquaintance, subscriptions for the number of copies of this volume here set after their various names :
The Hon.Judge Torrens, Derrynoid 32 George A. Hamilton, Esq., M.P.,
do. 16 Balbriggan
Rev. W. M. Hind, Burton-on-Trent 8 Rev. George Salmon, F.T.C.D. Rev. Knox Homan, Fermoyle Rev. W. Reeves, D.D., Ballymena 54 Rev. G. Nugent, Clontibret Rev. Joseph King, Ballyhaise, (a Rev. H. Constable, Ballincollig .. 7
tribute to fraternal relationship) 38 Rev. A. W. Edwards, Limerick 7 Rev. J. Brownlow, Ardbraccan Joseph Napier, Esq., M.P., Dublin 6 Rev. E.J. Hartrick, Belfast ..
William Caine, Esq. Rev. B. Wade. Armagh .
Mrs. Williamson, Monkstown Mrs. Mackesy, Waterford
23 Rev. H. Wilson, Ballywalter Rev. James G. Pooler, Hillsboro' 23 Rev. E. Norman, Abbeyfeale Rev. J. Sharkey, Armagh
Rev. Thomas Jones, Ardtrea Abhm. Dawson, Esq., Dungannon 20 Rev. John King, Dungiven Rev. Mervyn Wilson, Derry.
Rev. S. Twigg, Magherafelt. Rev. H. Hare, Kilkenny..
Rev.W.T. Day, Castle Ventry, Cork 4 Rev. Alexander Leeper, Dublin Rev. J. Gulley, Sligo Rev. Samuel Hayman, Youghal 11 Hon. ' & Rev. William Wingfield, 3 Rev. J. Benn, Portarlington.. 10
Abbeyleix Rev. F. Brady, Kilworth
Rev. A. Hyde Rev. R. Lee, Cork ..
Rev. J. Jebb, Peterstow..
3 Rev. 8. Meyrick, Lismore
Rev. James Lancaster, Abbeyleix.. 3 Mrs. Seymour, Tuam
Rev. C. Moore, Monasterevan Wm. Kane, Esq., Maghera
Rev. A. Denny, Tralee Miss B. Moriarty, Ventry
Rev. William Ross, Dungiven On the whole, if in some few places where cordial and liberal support of this undertaking might reasonably have been anticipated,
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there has been rather experienced a throwing of cold water on the proceeding, any such little discouragement has been well compensated for, in the prompt and warm (and often unsolicited) kindness with which the subscription list has been helped forward in other quarters, from which less might fairly have been expected.
The entire number of copies of this volume for which subscriptions have been received in advance previously to its publication is 1159; and although this be far below the number estimated as required for paying the expenses incurred, yet from the general interest which has been manifested in its favor, and from its having been so widely made known while in the press, there seems every reason to hope that the sales, now that the work is complete, will be such as to compensate ere very long for the deficiency.
Among the subscribers will be found enrolled persons of every condition in the country, from the archbishop to the parish schoolmaster, and from the rank of marquis to that of the humble artizan. The number might have been swelled with some considerable additions, had it not been for the operation of the rule which required payment of subscriptions to be made in all cases in advance. An unvarying observance of this principle has led to the omission from the following list of several names, (including among them those of a noble duke, an earl, a countess, one or two professors in the Uni. versities, &c.) which would have graced a page in this little volume, but for the parties in question, (who had consented to become subscribers) having failed to observe the necessary condition referred to.
Some friends in a few places in England have exhibited a very kind feeling towards the Primer, and endeavoured, not without apparent encouragement, to promote its circulation in that country. It has been compiled however chiefly with a view to those of whose Church it speaks, and the writer, believing it to be less adapted, in various ways, for the other island, has been at little pains to make the work known there, except in a limited number of cases, and those chiefly of persons having some connection with Ireland.
Objections have been made both to the form and title of these volumes. As to the latter, it originally belonged to the first edition, which was complete in one very small volume, and was intended chiefly for very young and ignorant persons.
Yet it seems very proper still to retain the same title, though the book be now somewhat larger, from the respect which is due to the proper dignity of a “Church History;" this little ecclesiastical compilation not properly deserving so high a name, and being more appropriately designated by one commonly given to works of an elementary character, although not always in times past confined to such as were of diminutive size and small consideration.
And as for the shape, which has given still more general dissatisfaction, it is but a following of the same original, in a point however which is of less importance, and in regard to which, if another edition of the work be called for, the public taste may be easily consulted and accommodated.
Further, it has been suggested that the tone and style of this work is in some places a little more controversial, and less simply historical, than is desirable in treating of such a subject, and that occasionally there has been introduced a needless dwelling on speculative inquiries connected with the matters of fact recorded in its pages. The unnecessary "hooking in " of controversial disquisitions into such a place, or forcing the facts of history to appear to exhibit a stronger bearing on controverted questions, than they naturally do, as it must be admitted to be a fault, so is it one probably from which the “Primer” may not be wholly free. For the writer cannot but feel how easily one is drawn, in examining the records of history, to inquire most carefully, what is the bearing of ancient facts on the subjects which interest us most, on which however they may supply but scanty information ; instead of asking what is their general purport and natural bearing, and what the light which they most naturally and freely supply, on any matters of antiquity with which they are connected : although the latter might be found in the end a course of inquiry not less interesting, and far more instructive in its own proper way, than that on which, from our preconceptions, we had been disposed to enter with more eagerness. We may easily, without any consciousness of a wish to misrepresent the voice of history, be led to inquire chiefly or solely, how far it confirms or countenances our own opinions or practices, and so far only to set forth its testimony; where a candid examination of the facts in their natural aspect would do more to correct prejudices and remove ignorance.
Thus, for instance, with reference to the form of ecclesiastical constitution adopted by the ancient Irish, one whose mind is impressed with a strong sense of the value and apostolicity of diocesan episcopacy, will naturally seek in our early records for a satisfactory illustration of his favorite plan of Church discipline; and failing to find in them any exact counterpart of his ideal of the correct system, will endeavour to adapt to his own views, as well as may be possible, the statements contained in the documents before him, (see p. 983 of this vol.) looking at them himself, and presenting them to others, in such an aspect as may best harmonize with his own prepossessions: cohereas a fair examination of existing records, although not likely malead to any conclusion injurious to the foundation of the episcopal The ciple, or the estimate of its value, in a well informed mind, will tions erve to show how very strikingly the old Irish system of dis
ne differed from a modern churchman's notion of a well-ordered piscopacy-or from a Romanist's view of his papal hierarchy_or from the form of any other ecclesiastical system of the present day whatsoever.
This fishing in stubborn antiquity, here alluded to, for food gratifying to our own intellectual palate, has furnished occasion to some in recent times to discover in Ireland's ancient saints the perfect model of a modern Romanist, nay even of one of those of the ultramontane school ; and has led others, with an equal amount of justice, to such conclusions as these, viz., "that pure and undefiled apostolical Christianity flourished in Ireland, in evangelical vigour, until the twelfth century;"_" that the Culdees (fabulously reported for this occasion to have been commended by V. Bede, who never once mentions them) were a set of very decided antagonists of Romish errors,” in fact, good, sturdy Protestants ;—" that from the coming of Saint Patrick to the Synod of Cashel was a bright and glorious career for Ireland, and that all her woes and
calamities began from 1172;"-as if no Danes, or else none but very civil and manageable ones, had visited the isle in the four centuries preceding. And as for $. Patrick himself, he has been so pulled and jogged to and fro, claimed from time to time as the patriarch—now of Irish Romanists-now of Irish Churchmen-now of Scotch Presbyterians and even of independent congregationalists-that it is not so much to be wondered at if in the notions of some triflers with antiquity, (Ledwich, for instance, and his followers,) there has no shred been left of his real existence at all, and his history has been regarded as a dull romance-a creation of the fancy of an imaginative age.
With a view to avoiding such unfair dealing with historical documents as is above noticed, it has been the compiler's aim, in the construction of the Primer, to let our ancient records, as far as possible, speak for themselves, by giving so many important one in full, and largely quoting the exact words of the most instructivis passages of others. As however it would be too much to expply after all, that such aim has been completely successful in excluthat the colourings derived from preconceived opinions, he can onl spepress a hope, that wherever time, or the suggestions of thosd in better judgment and information, shall discover to him any decideimistakes in the matter, or improprieties in the tone and manner, of the inferences founded on the passages of those early documents which are here concerned, his willingness to be set right may discover itself in the improvements introduced in these respects also, if the opportunity occur, in a future edition of the work.
ARMAGH, September 12, 1851.