Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1
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PREFACE. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 1.
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The opinions of an enlightened foreigner, unconnected with the political parties that divide the nation, are always replete with valuable instruction to a people. “To see ourselves as others see us,” is as difficult, and at the same time as useful, for societies as for individuals; but to no country is such an aspect of its condition so likely to be of service as Ireland, for in no other part of the world have all circumstances, small and great, connected with the moral, social, and political condition of the country, been so studiously and so grossly misrepresented. The Translator need only mention M. de Beaumont’s works on the United States to prove his competency as a political observer; and the extraordinary success which the present work has already had on the Continent, is evidence that his testimony respecting Ireland will guide the opinions of a great part of Europe.
There are some who affect to disregard the opinions which foreigners form of the domestic economy of our empire; “the snail,” says the Gentoo proverb, “sees nothing beyond its shell, and believes it the finest palace in the universe;” but though such recklessness may be felt or affected by ardent partisans in Ireland, it is not likely that a similar course will be pursued in England. The political supremacy of the British Empire rests so much on public opinion for its support, that nothing by which that opinion may be changed or modified can be neglected with impunity.
M. de Beaumont designed his work exclusively for continental readers, and therefore, on many points, entered into long and minute explanations respecting the details of British law and administration, which are unnecessary for English readers, and have therefore been omitted. This is the only liberty which the translator has taken with the text, unless the consequent modifications of the division of the matter be deemed changes that ought to be acknowledged.
It was originally designed to add notes and illustrations to the body of the work on the same scale as those appended to the Introduction, but this design has been relinquished to prevent the work from being identified with any of the parties to which the discussions have given rise, and to keep intact its most characteristic and important feature,—its being the record of opinions formed by an enlightened statesman, whose views are obviously beyond all suspicion of being warped by prejudice or passion.