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With this special end in view, the application of "The American Lyceum" was made to the Author, and was acceded to by him with similar feelings of mingled satisfaction and diffidence to those with which he had assumed the duty assigned to him in relation to the subject in Columbia College. In order in any measure to effect the object in contemplation, he conceived it proper to recast the materials he had already used in a different form, and to compose from them a new work divested, as far as practicable, of the professional character and aspect common to all previous publications on Constitutional 'Law. He has accordingly revised and remodelled his manuscript notes; and in thus attempting to furnish a new outline of this branch of Jurisprudence, he has avoided, as far as possible, the use of all purely technical terms, and has never introduced them unaccompanied by the explanation requisite for those to whom they are not familiar; whilst in all other respects he has endeavoured to render his production useful as a popular manual, rather than that it should be distinguished as a scientific treatise.
In a work of this description, of which the essential value must depend on the fidelity with which' the provisions of the Constitution, the legislative enactments for giving it effect, and the judicial construction which both have received, are stated and explained, it must be evident that, except as to method and arrangement, there can be little scope for originality. To that merit, therefore, the Author makes no pretensions. Upon such points of Constitutional Law as have been definitively settled, he has implicitly followed those guides whose decisions are obligatory and conclusive: upon questions which have arisen in public discussion, but have neither been presented for judicial determination, nor received an approved practical interpretation from the other branches of the Government, he has had recourse to those elementary writers whose opinions are acknowledged to possess the greatest weight, either from their intrinsic value, or their conformity with the general doctrines . of the authoritative expounders of the Constitution: and in the absence both of authority and disquisition, the Author has ventured to rely upon his own reasonings, and has advanced his own opinions, so far only as he conceives them to be confirmed by undeniable principles, or established by analogous cases.
Besides the reported adjudications of the Supreme Court of the United States, the sources which have been resorted to are, the contemporaneous exposition of the Constitution by the authors of " The Federalist;" that portion of the "Lectures" of the late Chancellor of this State, Mr. Kent, which relate to the subject; Mr. Rawle's " View of the Constitution;" and the more elaborate "Commentaries" of Mr. Justice Story. To all these works the Author acknowledges his obligations, although he must lament that the last mentioned invaluable repository of Constitutional learning did not reach him in time to consult it more at large; and in regard to the abridgment of it lately published by the learned commentator, "for the use of Colleges and High Schools," it may be observed, that both from its size and mode of execution it seems to aim at more select and limited objects than those proposed by the present treatise.
With respect to the two preceding elementary treatises to which the Author has referred, it will be found that he has not coincided with the restricted views taken, in the former, of the supremacy, and in the latter, of the perpetual obligation, of the Federal Constitution; but has maintained, upon both these important points, principles more favourable, as he conceives, to the power and stability of the National Government than those which seem to be entertained respectively by the learned authors of the Lectures on "American Law," and of the "View of the Constitution." He has not, however, differed from such distinguished jurists without being supported by the opinions of some of the most eminent statesmen of the present day, and of different parties;—by the doctrines officially proclaimed by the President of the United States, and sustained in the speeches of Mr. Webster; nor without being sanctioned, as he conceives, by the judicial authority of Chief Justice Marshall,—expressly, upon one of the points in question, and virtually, upon the other, by his affirmance of principles which are involved in its consideration, and must eventually govern its decision.
In referring to the venerable name of the present Chief Justice of the United States, the Author must be understood, on this and on all other occasions, as adopting his individual opinions, not less from deference to their official authority, than from the conviction wrought by the luminous and profound reasonings by which they are elucidated and supported. A3 that eminent and revered Judge has himself declared it auspicious to the Constitution and to the country, that the new Government found such able advocates and interpreters as the illustrious authors of i( The Federalist," so it may be regarded as one of the most signal advantages attending its career, that its principles should have been' developed and reduced to practice under a judicial administration so admirably qualified in every respect to expound them truly, and firmly to sustain them.
The nature and design of the present publication dispense with the necessity, if they do not exclude the propriety, of marginal references to authorities in support of the positions advanced in the text. But it is believed that none are assumed without either a direct adjudication upon the point, or that collateral support which is derived from analogical reasoning and precedents, to sustain it,—or without being warranted by the practice of the Government and the acquiescence of the People. From the phraseology adopted, it may perhaps in every instance be perceived whether any point of regulation or construction be authoritatively laid down or argumentatively stated. In the former case,