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HOW THIS BOOK GREW.
M HESE Lectures are published in obedience to the call
1 of the audiences that listened to them in Berlin, Dresden, Florence, Paris, and London. Those audiences comprised many persons of the highest condition and culture in Germany, Italy, France, and England, — statesmen, jurists, diplomatists, professors, authors, divines, -as well as the chief representatives of American society in the great capitals of Europe. An auditory so diversified and so distinguished must have satisfied the ambition of any lecturer: but I am more proud to recognize their attendance as a compliment to my country; and most heartily do I thank my honored hearers for their earnest interest in the unfolding of American national life, and for their flattering request that the facts presented from the platform might again be laid before them in the more leisurely form of the printed page.
When I announced a course of lectures on the “ Origin and Development of the United States as a Nation,” to be given in the hearing of Europeans, some of my countrymen were of opinion, that, in the painful aspect of public affairs at home, it were better that Americans abroad should say or do nothing that should call attention to their country, already the subject of so much adverse criticism. There were those, even, who went so far as to say that they preferred not to be known as Americans, and would gladly exchange their nativity for that of an Englishman, a Frenchman, or a German. Though I respected the former feeling as much as I despised the latter, I could not entertain it under the peculiar conditions of the Centennial year. “ America is under a cloud,” said some to whom I was ready to listen with deference; " and the less that is said of her, the better. Till these disgraceful exposures are forgotten, we must hide our heads in silence, and trust to vindicate our country by deeds rather than by words."
1 See Publishers' Note, p. 312.
2 When Schopenhauer, the German pessimist, was in Italy, he was accustomed to decry his country in presence of his French and English acquaintances. "The German fatherland," said he,“ has reared no patriot in me. I am ashamed to be a German, they are so stupid a people.” A Frenchman once replied, " If I thought so of my nation, I should at least hold my tongue about it.”
My answer was, “ I do not seek to give publicity to my country abroad, nor would I in any way obtrude her institutions and history upon the notice of foreigners. But the publicity exists: she herself has given the occasion. The Centennial and the Exposition have drawn the eyes of the world upon her; and, though there may be in some. quarters a relish for the political scandal just now so rife, there will be among thoughtful men a readiness to review the history and experience of a nation, that, in its first century, has taken rank with the first powers of the world. My purpose is to deal with my country in the candid spirit of historical criticism; and history, and, above all, the philosophy of history, is what no lover of truth and of man should fear to unfold. Besides, if my country is under a cloud, shall I skulk behind that cloud, and, in the day of her calamity, seek to hide my nativity? There are Americans of whom I am ashamed; but I am not ashamed of America. There are things in America for which I blush; but I do not blush to own myself an American. If my country is dishonored, brave and manly words for her may be heroic deeds. Pulchrum est benefacere Reipublicæ,etiam bene dicere haud absurdum est. All that I am I owe to my country. My training was in her schools. My knowledge, faith, principles, whatever I value as a man, whatever makes manhood of value to me, I have learned of her. She shall have from me no wavering allegiance. Where my country is right, I shall stand for her against the world; where she is wrong, I shall stand by her, and labor to correct the wrong, and bring her to the right again. And, above all, if there are wrongs in her that are not of her, it is my sacred duty as a patriot and a Christian to separate the good from the evil, and show the inherent purity, dignity, and strength of the