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To my Brother,
THOMAS, ES Q.,
This Volume is Inscribed,
AS A TOKEN OF ESTEEM, LOVE, AND GRATITUDE.
"I set out with a perfect distrust of my own abilities; a total renunciation of every speculation of my own; and with a profound reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, who have left us the inheritance of so happy a constitution, and so flourishing an empire, and, what is a thousand times more valuable, the treasury of the maxims and principles which formed the one, and obtained the other."
BURKE on Conciliation with America.
Ν Ο Τ Ε.
The speeches and addresses in this volume cover a period of about fifteen months, including the second and third sessions of the Thirty-seventh Congress and the vacation. I have put them in this form to meet the wishes of a few friends, in justice to myself, — that my position may not be misunderstood -- and in the hope, not very buoyant, that they may do good. I am painfully sensible how fragmentary and defective they are. But the principles they seek to illustrate and defend are just and true, and will weather the storm. They constitute the traditional policy of the country, a return to which is, in my judgment, its only security. That they are unpopular at this moment, does not disturb me: the more imperative is the duty of standing by and upholding them. The citizen owes to the country, in the hour of her peril, honest counsel, calmly given, but with the 6 love that casteth out fear.” Never were freedom of thought and of the lips and pen so necessary as now. They have become, not only the most precious of rights, but the most religious of duties.
In preparing for the printer, I have corrected a few of the errors of style. I have not felt at liberty to make material changes in the thought. In one or two instances (as in the remarks on the Conscription Bill), I have added, from notes, suggestions omitted at the time of delivery. The recurrence of the same idea, and of even the same expression, in different speeches on the same or kindred topics, could not well be avoided.
From the remarks on the Trent case, I have stricken two or three sentences which were thought to breathe a spirit of vengeance; a spirit the gospel does not permit us to indulge, even against the enemies of our country. Of the expressions of confidence in the conservative views of the President, I can only say, I believed them well grounded when they were made.
JAMAICA PLAIN, May 25, 1863.