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THE REV. RICHARD MACDONNELL, D.D.,
PROVOST OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, AND M.R.I.A.
To you this small volume is inscribed by the Author, to testify the high estimation in which he holds your character, not merely as occupying the highly honourable and well-merited station of Provost of the University of Dublin, of which it can be no flattery to say that you are its decus et tutamen, but as a friend and encourager of the general literature of your country. When you sat in the Council of the Royal Irish Academy as one of their officers, you evinced a genuine patriotic desire to promote the cultivation of letters in Ireland, not only by the general interest you took in the literary, as well as in the scientific and antiquarian researches of that learned society, but by proposing as the subject of prize essays
“ To investigate the authenticity of the Poems of Ossian, both as given in Macpherson's Translation, and as published in Gaelic (London, 1807) under the sanction of the Highland Society.” That proposal, being adopted and acted on by the Academy, was assuredly the means of stimulating inquiry, and of rescuing certain valuable ancient manuscripts from oblivion or extinction, to say nothing of many of the Lays in this collection, which, for the first time, are now presented to the reader in an English dress. Since then, much has been done to bring to light some of the oldest records of the country that are yet extant; and the friends of Irish literature may indulge the hope that, under your auspices, their favourite investigations may be pursued with increasing ardour and success. That you may live long in health and happiness to promote them, in conjunction with the still nobler objects of your rank and position in society, is the sincere wish of
Your obedient Servant,