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This Chronicle of Ireland, from the Reformation to the Revolution, is offered to the consideration of the Pablic, as the first eighty numbers of it originally appeared in the Dublin Journal, under the title of “ Annals of Irish Popery, by John De Falkirk,” at a time when a Compendium of Priest Taafe's false and traiterous History of Ireland was published and circulated through that country, by a member of the “ Catholic Board,” and when the true reformed faith of this realm was assailed by the Popish demagogues of Ireland, with a degree of violence, which threatened the extirpation of the professors of it, and proved to demonstration the necessity of maintaining those laws, which the wisdom of our ancestors, taught by dearbought experience, had enacted for the preservation and extension of it. The reader will find in the following pages a more exact, circumstantial, and satisfactory account than has hitherto appeared, of the first and most interesting stage of the warfare which commenced in Ireland, with the massacre of the British settlers, and the destruction of all their habitations, churches, towns, and improvements, with very few exceptions, on the 23d October, 1641. Sir John Temple's work on this subject contains an account of the transactions of little more than two months after the breaking out of the rebellion, as he concludes it with the arrival of Sir Simon Harcourt and the English forces in Dublin, on the last day of December, in the same fatal year. The substance of his work is given in this compilation as far as it goes. The authenticity of this melancholy narrative is indisputable, for Sir John Temple's character for integrity and calents was well known to the public; and holding the high offices of Master of the Rolls and Privy Counsellor, he had opportunities of making extracts from the very originals, or authentic copies of the voluminous examinations taken by the Commissioners appointed to ascertain the sufferings of the Protestants of Ireland at this disastrous period. The dispatches and letters from suffering gentlemen in the several provinces, representing to the Lords, Justices and Council, the sad condition of their affairs, lay open to his inspection ; and from all these important documents, he tells us, he has, for the benefit of the age in which he lived, and for the use of generations unborn, communicated, in his History of the Irish Rebetlion, so much as he conceived necessary for public information, and consistent with his trust as a Privy Counsellor.
Lord Clarendon's “ History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in Ireland—the Earl of Clanrickard's “ Memoirs,”-Doctor Borlase's History of the dismal effects of the Irish Insurrection," and Sir Richard Cox's “ Hibernia Anglicana," have been all out of print for many years, and, together, with their large size and high price, which confined them to the libraries of the learned and wealthy, they are liable to the following objections:
The Earl of Clarendon's treatment of the affairs of Ireland appears to have been but cursory, for which the noble author apologized to the public, by observing that a full relation of all material passages from the beginning of the rebellion, including his own administration, would be found in the “ Memoirs" of the Earl of Clanrickard, which work, though dignified with the title of “ Memoirs," is but a voluminous and uninteresting collection of letters, warrants, orders, and other loose and incoherent state papers, in which the anonymous publisher discuvers a strong inclination to lay most of the bloodshed of these dismal times at the door of the English Protestants--a disposition, which has since been evinced by Dr. Curry, Mr. Plowden, and other Popish writers, in their attempts to justify the sanguinary persecutions of 1641.-Dr. Edmund Borlase published his History in defence of the administration of his father, Sir John Berlase, who was the colleague of Sir William Parsons, at the breaking out of the rebellion, and he is accused, in Dr. Nalson's Collections, of having misrepresented King Charles the First and his ministers in it, and bestowed some unmerited praises on certain parliamentary rebels. Sir Richard Cox's “ Hibernia Anglicana” was published at London in the year 1689, when Ireland was the seat of war and desolation under the tyrannical government of the bigotted and unfurtunate King James the Second. An extraordinary curiosity in inquiring after the affairs of this country prevailed in England at this time, which induced the author to hasten the publication of his second volume, in which the cransactions of the period comprised in the present volume occupy but sixty pages, and it was recommended to the press, early in the year 1690, by two Secretaries of State.
Such encouragements as these are said to have pushed the work a little too fast forward, so that it came into the world in somewhat of a looser dress than was at first intended by the compiler of it.*
From these different authors, with Harris's enlarged edition of Sir James Ware's works, the Histories of Sanderson, Rapin, Warner, Leland, and some later writers and from the Biographers of the learned and truly patriotic prelates, Archbishop Usher and Dr. William Bedel, Bishop of Kilmore, the collector of these Andals has formed what he hopes will be considered an useful and authentic compendium of the History of Ireland, during a period of all others most awfully instructive to the succeeding Governors and Legislators of this part of the British empire.
* See Bishop Vichdson's Irish Historical Dictionary.
The future historian will find in this work a great number of important facts, which have been hitherto but little known; he may use it as an index, with the addition of accurate dates, to direct him to topics, authorities, and sources of intelligence which might otherwise escape his notice; and the Political Economist will also discover in it a direct and satisfactory solution of the important question, what has retarded the prosperity of Ireland, and frustrated all the efforts of the British nation to civilize and improve it, for the last three hundred and fifty