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L E T T E R
HIS COUNTRY MEN,
J. FENIMORE CHOLER.
JOHN WILEY, 22 NASSAU-STREET.
This letter has been hastily written, with the hope of procuring its insertion in one of the daily prints. Its length having exceeded the writer's expectations, he has presented it to a son of his old and much esteemed publisher, the late Charles Wiley, who has given it its present form, for purposes connected with his own convenience.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1834, by J. WILEY, in the
Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Suutheru District of New-York.
OSBORN AND BUCKINGHAM, PRINTERS,
No. 29 Aon-street.
TO THE PUBLIC.
THE private citizen who comes before the world with matter relating to himself, is bound to show a better reason for the measure than the voluntary impulses of selflove. In my own case, it might, perhaps, appear a sufficient excuse for the step now taken, that I am acting chiefly on the defensive; that the editors of seyeral of the public journals have greatly exceeded their legitimaie.functions, by animadverting on my motives and private affairs; and that assertions, opinions, and acés, have been openly attributed to me, that I have never uttered, entertained, or done. When an individual is thus dragged into notice, the right of self-vindication would seem to depend on a principle of natural justice; and yet, if I know the springs of my own conduct, I am less influenced by any personal considerations in what I am now doing, than by a wish to check a practice that has already existed too long among us; which appears to me to be on the increase; and which, while it is degrading to the character, if persisted in, may become dangerous to the institutions of this country.
The practice of quoting the opinions of foreign nations, by way of helping to make up its own estimate of the degree of merit that belongs to its public men, is, I believe, a custom peculiar to America. That our colonial origin, and provincial habits, should have given rise to such a usage, is