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LEADERS OF PUBLIC OPINION
WILLIAM EDWARD HARTPOLE LECKY, M.A.
'The breath of Liberty, like the word of the holy man, will not
die with the prophet, but will survive him.'- GRATTAN.
IN REPUBLISHING the following sketches, which first appeared anonymously many years ago, I am yielding in part to the request of many friends in Ireland and elsewhere who have been good enough to regret the difficulty of procuring them; and in part also to a feeling that at the present moment their appearance might not be wholly useless or inopportune. At a time when the Repeal movement which was suspended by the famine is manifestly reviving; when the establishment of religious equality has removed the old lines of party controversy, and prepared the way for new combinations; when security of tenure, increased material prosperity, the spread of education, and the approaching triumph of the ballot, have given a new weight and independence to the masses of the people; and when, at the same time, a disloyalty in some respects of a more malignant type than that of any former period has widely permeated their ranks, it is surely not unadvisable to recall the leading facts of the great struggle of Irish nationality. The present of a nation can only be explained by its past; and in dealing with strong sentiments of disloyalty and discontent, it is of the