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republic against the vices that assail all human institutions."
With such convictions, it seemed to me that the Centennial year was a time for sowing seeds of thought concerning society and government, — seed sifted from that great harvest of experiment and experience that a century had ripened in the New World. It seemed to me, also, that the field was open and inviting; that, at a time when the leading nations of Europe are agitated with questions of political organization and of social reform, — especially with such topics as suffrage, the ballot, popular education, capital and labor, and the relations of Church and State, an impartial review of the political, moral, industrial, and social development of the United States would be welcomed by thoughtful men in other countries as a contribution, for profit or for warning, toward the solution of their own problems. To say that the interest manifested by European scholars and statesmen in the topics of these Lectures did not disappoint this expectation would be far too little for my gratitude. To repeat what they publicly said upon those topics would be quite too much for my modesty. Suffice it, that to have given occasion for such hearty and generous tributes to my country as were publicly uttered by Prof. Zumpt of Berlin, Prof. Villari of Florence, Prof. Whittmeyer of Paris, Sir Benson Maxwell, Sir James Anderson, Sir George Campbell, M.P., Sir Dudley Campbell, M.P., Mr. Henry Richard, M.P., Mr. M‘Lagan, M.P., Mr. MArthur, M.P., Prof. Sheldon Amos of London, Prof. Legge of Oxford, Rev. Henry Allon, D.D., and others of like standing, was more than a compensation for the care and cost of preparing and delivering the Lectures. Would that those of my countrymen who fancy that the United States have lost the respect and confidence of men of culture abroad could have listened to such cordial and discriminating testimony to their worth and standing among the nations !
If these Lectures shalĩ have any value for American readers, it will lie in the fact that they were written abroad, and with an eye to the queries of foreigners. Hence back of the objective presentation of facts is the subjective desire of meeting difficulties that are rather
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felt than stated. Having spent, in all, some seven years of my life in foreign countries, in the study of their peoples and institutions, and in intercourse with their better citizens, I have dispossessed myself of narrow national prejudices, and am able to speak of my own country with more of judicial fairness than might be possible, if I were writing amid the mingled patriotic and partisan excitements of the Centennial year at home. I trust, at least, that I have maintained the sober judgment of history; and I hope, also, that the conviction of the wisdom and stability of American institutions, that has grown upon me as I have studied them from a distant point of view, will impart strength to any who may be wavering amid internal conflicts. The experience of the past shows that the nation may go through many and serious trials without being at all in danger of its life. There is no fear that the Ship of State is going under just because she has shipped a few seas, perhaps has sprung a leak, and we are called to do some hard and dirty work at the pumps.
I would here give emphasis to a point too often overlooked in the comparison of the United States with England and Germany, — that the distinction between society and the government is much more marked in America than in Europe. Though it happens in England and in Germany that men of small calibre, and sometimes of doubtful antecedents, are elected to Parliament, yet in both countries the government combines and centres in itself the best elements of society. Indeed, in Prussia the government is the quintessence of the national morality and culture: hence any serious delinquency of the government would argue a corresponding defect in society itself. Quite otherwise is it in the United States. Indiscriminate suffrage on the one hand, and political indifference on the other, there give opportunity to the worst elements of society to rise to the surface, and incorporate themselves into the government. This may or may not be a condemnation of democratic institutions ; but it is not necessarily a condemnation of American society. In the United States, the integrity and culture of the government are not the measure of these qualities in society. Who, for instance, would estimate the moral and intellect
take tsocial stampany at trice, the Cennt, as
ual status of New York by the City Government as compared with the Chamber of Commerce, the Century Club, or even with a dinner-company at the house of any gentleman of good social standing? But, naturally enough, foreigners take the government to represent the people, and hence form very erroneous notions of American society. Indeed, few foreigners who visit the United States for the purpose of book-making have the opportunity of knowing the best society, for lack of personal introduction; and hence their criticisms upon American culture reflect back upon themselves the circles in which they moved, and expose them to the ridicule of society for such companionship. I venture to hope that these pages may help to correct such misunderstandings, and to establish a criterion of both government and society in the United States.
I have been urged to put the Lectures into the form of a text-book for students, but think it better to preserve the style in which they were given: first, because this has more of directness and freshness; next, because this is the style in which the hearers of the Lectures will expect what they have asked to see in print; and, lastly, because this will show how, in point of fact, the United States have been set before European critics under circumstances of no ordinary delicacy. At the same time, the conscientious care which I have bestowed upon the text of the Lectures in all matters of fact, and the notes and references with which they are supplemented, may commend them to the use of the student, even in the absence of a more scientific form. That the opinions which the Lectures express upon the great variety of topics of which they treat will be acceptable to all readers is not to be expected, nor even to be desired, since an independent thinker most respects in others the quality that he asserts for himself, and puts forth his convictions, not with a primary view to their being accepted, but because he must needs speak what he thinks, and hopes thus to gain for his thoughts and suggestions precisely what they may be worth in the estimate of truth and in the interest of humanity.
In conclusion, I would express my obligation to Prof. Dr. Lepsius, royal librarian, and to Dr. A. Potthast, libra
rian of the Reichstag, at Berlin, for the facilities they have kindly given me for consulting books pertinent to my subject, and to the Government of the United States for public documents placed at my disposal. I am indebted to the Hon. Marshall O. Roberts of New York for files of journals, official reports, and other material made use of in my statistical compilations.
I take occasion, also, to renew my thanks, already orally expressed, to the committees in the several cities where the Lectures were delivered, for their valuable services in preparing and conducting the arrangements for the course.
As germane to the subject, and belonging to the record of the Centennial, I have prefixed to the Lectures two speeches made in London July 4, 1876.
THE DAY WE CELEBRATE.
SPEECH AT THE “ CENTENNIAL DINNER” AT THE WEST
MINSTER PALACE HOTEL, LONDON, JULY 4, 1876.
MR. PRESIDENT, YOUR EXCELLENCY THE MINISTER OF THE UNITED
STATES, MY LORD MAYOR, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. M HE day we celebrate ? No, Mr. President and gentle
L men, this day gives to every American all of celebrity he has or can hope to attain. We cannot honor, we cannot exalt, this day, save by becoming in personal character, and in public as well as private life, all that the day has made us capable of being as citizens and as men. He who lives ignobly, who abuses liberty to license and corruption, who neglects the spiritual laws of his being, and makes freedom pander to sordid and selfish aims, would desecrate the day by taking this toast upon his lips! For that which marks the day is that it made us possible as men born under the largest opportunities of freedom, and the highest incentives to self-development that such opportunities can supply ; made possible to every man the highest manhood of which he is capable. Great as were its benefits to us as citizens, what it did for us as men is infinitely greater; and therefore it is a day not for Americans alone, but for mankind, to hold memorable and illustrious.
I thank God that this birthday of the United States as a nation does not commemorate a victory of arms. War preceded it, gave occasion to it, followed it; but the figure of Independence shaped on the Fourth of July, 1776, wears no helmet, brandishes no sword, and carries no stain of slaughter and blood. I recognize all that war has done for the emancipation of the race, the progress of society, the assertion and maintenance of liberty itself; I honor the heroes who have braved the fury of battle for