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Confederate cruisers; the proposition of the British Government, that the United States should co-operate with it in a Mutual Reform of the Neutrality Laws of the two nations ; what is our just Duty in regard to Fenianism ; and whether we are called upon to put forth some New (Monroe) Declaration of Foreign Policy.
To the American general reader, the writer would especially commend the first and last parts of his pamphlet, — those in which he treats of the past and the future of the country's history. On all of the subjects above named, however, every American, according to the theory of his free government, is bound to have an intelligent and decided opinion ; but, as to his country's honorable record in the past, the writer believes that every fellow-countryman ought to share with him in a feeling of just pride at being a member of a nation so honorably distinguished as our own. Now that we have fought three wars of national independence or existence, and, with God's blessing, have come out of the last and worst struggle a great and free, if not a united, people, it is not for us to feel any longer that we have not an established nationality. We are no longer — I affirm it — new men, " novi homines,” in the family of nations. But we have an ancestry and an inherited reputation from the Washingtons, the Adamses, the Hamiltons, the Marshalls, the Jeffersons, the Madisons, &c., such as hardly belongs to any other nation of the globe. My just deduction from this premise, however, is, that we are called upon all the more to see to it that the sons do not degenerate from their fathers’ noble example.
Of the past of our national record, so far as the writer has undertaken to make a study, or historical sketch, — not paint the historical picture, for which he hopes his sketch may serve as a hint, - he confidently trusts that its perusal will give pleasure to his American readers. IIe ventures to believe that he has brought to light new facts in our Neutral History before unknown or forgotten, and that his combination of materials to fairly bring out our national transactions of that day is quite his own; at least, he is quite unconscious of its existence elsewhere. His only wonder is that publicists and jurists like Marshall, Kent, and Wheaton, who were born and brought up with American Neutrality,—nay, who may be said themselves to compose a great and an honorable part of our neutral renown, should have had so little to say on this topic. It only begets, in the writer's mind, a distrust lest he may himself have exaggerated the importance of his study. He submits his delineation, however, to the candor of his readers, conscious of having been actuated by a sincere desire of stating only the truth; and perfectly sure, that, if he is accurate in his delineatory outline, that portion of American history which he only sketches in pencil ought forthwith to be painted in full by some more competent artist, and put into the hands of every voter in the United States, to inform him what it is to be invested with the birthright of an American citizen.
The writer forbears comment on other portions of his pamphlet, particularly on the discussion of our relations with England, now so important and interesting, and which have grown almost every day more and more so, since he first took up his pen, several weeks since.
He must, however, make an exception so far as to say a word upon its concluding division, in which he ventures in some degree to cast the horoscope of the American future. Perhaps in this portion of the work, as a discussion of the scientific and yet practical principles of neutrality, the professed student of public law may find most to interest him. The writer's views may seem rather those of the moralist than the publicist; yet he ventures to put them forth, in the belief that national actions, like private morals, are growing more and more subject to the domain of moral justice; and that, whether the statesman will or no, he must inquire of the enlightened public sense of mankind — another name for the progress of civilization — whether his measures are worthy of national approbation and adoption.