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PRACTICAL AND INTERNAL
The Author's account of himself.
If a man be at any time excusable in speaking of himself, it must be when he finds it necessary to address those to whom he is unknown. The
name and designation of a writer are, indeed, sufficient in most cases, and even unnecessary in some, for the purposes to which the press is commonly made an instrument; but the occasion of this address requires a more intimate acquaintance with my personal circumstances.
Before I proceed, however, I beg you to observe the word impartial, by which I have qualified Roman Catholics.-From such Roman Catholics
as renounce their intellectual rights, and leave the trouble of thinking to others, I cannot expect a hearing. To the professed champions, in whom the mere name of discussion kindles the keen spirit of controversy, I can say nothing which they are not predetermined to find groundless and futile. Among those who, bound to Catholicism by the ties of blood and friendship, make consistency in religious profession a point of honour, I am prepared to meet only with disdain. But there must be not a few, in whom the prepossessions of education and parentage have failed to smother a natural passion for truth, which all the witchery of kindred, wealth, and honour, cannot allure from its object. To such, among the British and Irish Roman Catholics, I direct these letters; for, though the final result of their religious inquiries may be diametrically opposite to that which has separated me from my country, my kindred, my honours, emoluments, and prospects; I trust that in the following account of myself they will readily recognise an intellectual temper, for which no difference of opinion can prevent their feeling some sympathy.
I am descended from an Irish family, whose