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ON

PUBLIC CHARACTERS,

AND

PUBLIC EVENTS;

FROM THE

PEACE OF 1783, TO THE PEACE OF 1815.

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Nunquam, igitur, est utile peccare, quia semper est turpe : et quia semper est
honestum virum bonum esse, semper est utile. (Cicero de Off. lib. iii. xv.)

“ By a comparison of a series of the discourses and actions of certain men, for
a reasonable length of time, it is impossible not to obtain a sufficient indication of
their views and principles.”—“ It is against every principle of common sense, to
judge of a series of speeches and actions from the man, and not of the man, from
the whole tenor of his language and conduct.” (Excerpts. Nat. Gaz. Ap. 8, 1834.)


BOSTON:

RUSSELL, ODIORNE, AND METCALF.

7345-11
U 54655.10 Price any

1860, 6ch : 18 , 3

Beruneta

Entered according to the act of Congress in the year 1834,

by RUSSELL, ODIORNE, & METCALF, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

J. D. FREEMAN, PRINTER,

110, Washington Street.

INTRODUCTION.

TOWARDS the close of his life, Mr. JEFFERSON prepared statements seriously affecting the motives and conduct of a numerous class of his fellow-citizens. He intended to have these statements published after his decease. He seems to have expected that they would be received as HISTORICAL TRUTHS, proceeding from high authority.

If Mr. Jefferson has stated truths only, all who know the value of sound historical information are under great obligations to him. If he has stated “false facts,(as he calls them,) without intending to do so, he has increased the well-known difficulty of arriving at certainty, as to the past; and his labors are worse than useless. If he has stated what he knew to be false, he has abused public confidence, and has dishonored his own fame.

As most of those citizens, of whom he speaks reproachfully, have become, like himself, insensible to earthly commendation or censure, is it too soon to inquire, in which of the above mentioned relations Mr. Jefferson should be viewed ?

It would be doing, it is hoped, great injustice to the American public to assume that they are incompetent, or unwilling, to judge calmly and justly of historical truth, whatsoever it may prove to be, or whencesoever it may come.

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