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yet survive that belong to another age, and another state of society, and which having long since outlived their time, and fulfilled their mission, still cling to the prejudices and traditions of the past, and paralyze the energies of the present.
It is to this clashing of interests, this war of principles—advancement on one side, and an obstinately maintained stationary policy on the other—that may be attributed the political convulsions, that have so long threatened, and still continue to threaten, the peace of the world; and it is this that has laid France, our former ally in the glorious work of civilization, prostrate beneath the iron will of the despot, the priest, and the soldier.
Unbiassed by any party considerations, or religious prejudices, the author of these volumes has endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the actual condition of the people he attempts to describe ; his sole object, the cause of truth ; his only fear, the imputation of falsehood, or of being considered other than what he is, and ever has been—the friend of monarchical government, of rational liberty, and religious freedom ; the enemy of despotism, bigotry, and intolerance, in any part of the world.
The present state of Italy has especially engaged his attention; and it is chiefly to plead her cause at the bar of public opinion that the following pages have been written, trusting that, notwithstanding the feebleness of the advocate, they may advance the interests of so noble a people. In this hope, he confidently leaves his work to the enlightened and impartial reader, certain that every indulgence will be accorded to a writer whose only aim is to enlist the sympathies of the generous sons of free England in favour of a country-once the cradle of the arts, the home of science, literature, and learning—which has so long been overrun by foreign armies, torn by domestic dissensions, and oppressed by the intolerant rule of priestcraft and despotism.
State of religion in the south of France— Infidelity and
superstition — Appearance of the Virgin Mary on