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letters have the same kind of value as the cahiers, describing the state of France on the eve of the Revolution, from which, since the days of Tocqueville, the best French historians have derived some of their most valuable materials. Occasionally, too, amid this great mass of serious, formal, and depressing documents, there may be found others of a very different character, which were seized among the papers of the conspirators, and which have sometimes a strangely pathetic interest. There are love-letters and rude poems; passionate expressions of youthful friendships; note-books in which eager scholars described their studies or recorded their passing thoughts; day-dreams of young and ardent natures, too often destined to end in exile or the gallows.
Another source from which I have derived much information has been the Pelham Papers, which have been deposited in the British Museum. Pelham was Irish Secretary from March 1795 to November 1798. His long and frequent visits to England while he was in office, made his correspondence unusually copious; and when he ceased to be Irish Secretary he still continued to correspond with leading persons in Ireland. The British Museum also possesses an interesting series of letters written by Percy, Bishop of Dromore—the well-known author of the ' Reliques of Ancient English Poetry'—to his wife, during the rebellion, and during the debates on the Union.
It remains for me to express my gratitude for some private collections of papers which have been opened to me. Of these two of the most important have been given to public institutions since I had the privilege of examining them. The Charlemont Papers have been placed in the Irish Academy. The Westmorland, or, as they are now called, the Fane Papers, are in the Irish State Paper Office. Lady Bunbury kindly placed in my hands a very interesting correspondence of Lady Louisa Conolly and her friends; and Lord Colchester, the whole correspondence of Abbot, who was Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant during the Administration of Addington. The Harcourt Papers, which throw some light on an important period of Irish history, have been privately printed by their owner, Colonel Harcourt, of Nuneham Park, and a copy has been given to the British Museum. To Lady Louisa Fortescue I am indebted for permission to read the correspondence of Lord Grenville at Dropmore, and to Lord George Hamilton for some curious papers describing the different interests and connections in the Irish Parliament.
THE FIRST VOLUME.