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Kaleky Pres? 8: Haw. Coll.
W. Flint, Printer, Angel Court, Skinner Street.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE
EARL OF LIVERPOOL.
THE name of MILTON requires not the sanction of rank or greatness : But as the subject of the present volume must necessarily engage the deep attention of his Majesty's Government; and as there is no other work in which that subject is so ably and impartially discussed, I have presumed to inscribe it to your Lordshipand am, my Lord, with profound respect,
Your Lordship's most
PUBLIC opinion whether founded in truth or falsehood is uncontroulable. The institutions of religion and the laws of society may oppose formidable barriers to restrain, but they must ultimately yield to its influence. It is the irrevocable law of human nature that the general will consentaneously and firmly expressed shall triumph. Erroneous opinion, the result of ignorance and prejudice, and sanctioned by custom, has ever been mighty for evil, and in the ages that are past has exercised and maintained an almost omnipotent dominion. Against this usurpation of her throne, Truth has modestly ventured to assert her claims; but her voice has been drowned in the loud clamour of popular indignation, and those who with superhuman courage have dared to espouse her cause have been vicariously immolated to appease the dæmon invested with her awful and high prerogatives. Many a victim has perished in the gloom
of a dungeon and expired on the scaffold, and at the stake. The very weapons of truth as well as her advocates have been violently wrested from her defence. It has been deemed high treason against established authority to seek her in the exile to which she has been driven, or to make an appeal in her behalf through the various mediums of public and accredited instruction. The pulpit, the press, and the intercourse of social life have been placed under the severe interdiction of uttering an expression or a thought that would seem to favour the most trivial of her interests. The world has never been her friend nor the world's law. Whatever she has acquired have been the laurels of dearly purchased victories, achieved by the prowess and sufferings of her champions and martyrs. Like her glorious prototype it has been her lot to be despised and rejected of men. Still, however, in the darkest periods, and amidst the insolent triumphs of her adversaries, a few there have been who have sought her sorrowing, who have paid her the homage of their tears, and who have dared though their lives and estates were the instant forfeiture, to proclaim her the sovereign mistress of their destiny. Chivalrous and brave, they have loved persecution for her sake, and her smile, the smile of immortality has irradiated with glory the disgrace which settled upon their tomb.
But let it not be imagined that their conflicts and their woes have been wasted in vain attempts to raise a fallen greatness. Not an effort, not a pang