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* Neque enim est ulla res, in qua propius ad Deorum numen virtus accedat humana
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
HAVING given, in the previous volumes of this work, a history of the origin and rise of the Republic of the United . States of America, “as traced in the writings of Alexander Hamilton and of his cotemporaries,” it is now proposed, by an exhibition of facts derived from these and other sources of information, to present a larger portraiture of the organization and early administrations of the present National Government, of its domestic and foreign policy, of its parties and chief actors, than has hitherto been delineated.
The great standard work on American history is justly admitted to be that of Chief Justice Marshall, entitled, “The Life of George Washington.” Deriving his statements chiefly from the papers of that illustrious patriot, preserved by himself, with studious care, as monuments of the history of a people he had so well served, nothing can be more generally authentic.
But, its author being a participant in many of the events which had occurred, and restrained by his elevated station, is seen to have been very guarded and heedful in his presentment of the motives, conduct, and characters of men then filling high places. Indeed, at the time he wrote, a fuller presentation would have been as difficult as unwise. His vol. umes, intrinsically valuable, had the effect of drawing forth counter statements, expressly preserved “astestimony against” them.* These since published counter statements, intended to be posthumous, contrasted with those of Marshall, confirm, instead of impairing, his authority; and cast a strong light upon the framers of them. Still it was obvious that much remained to be told. The misrepresentations as to Hamilton, freely ventured, after his decease, in these counter statements, and industriously repeated since, show his great importance in the view of his adversaries, who, though not the avowed, were alike the adversaries of Washington; and demanded an elucidation, also, of his opinions, policy, and purposes, not only as essential to the development of truth; but as a vindication, so intimately were they allied, of both these eminent personages; and, indeed, of the sacred patrimony of our national honor. This has been, in a measure, effected by the publication of his “Works and Correspondence.” During the compilation of these works, it became apparent, that the labor, to be more useful, must be extended to a study of other productions of those adversaries, many of them unpublished. To enable the accomplishment of this end, a formal authority was addressed by the Joint Library Committee of Congress to the Secretary of State, authorizing the use of the papers purchased by the Government—known as those of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Copious extracts of these papers were made, critically collated, and specially authenticated in my presence. This precaution was the more fortunate, as a large part of those from the pen of Jefferson are not embraced in the subsequent official edition of his works; and, in respect to the papers of Madison, for the reason, that the originals of his letters, and also his copies of them, prepared under his own eye, are both preserved in the State department; and that the copies differ