Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Entered, according to Act of Congress, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of South Carolina.



It may be proper to state, that the manuscripts from which the following work is published, were never revised or corrected by their illustrious author. When, during his last illness, they were placed by him in the hands of the editor, he indulged the hope of regaining sufficient strength to perform this labor; but it is scarcely necessary to say that the expectation was never realized. The Disquisition on Government had, indeed, been copied before his death; but it is almost certain he never found time to examine the copy. The Discourse on the Constitution, &c.—with the exception of a few pages,—was in his own handwriting,—on loose sheets,—bearing evident marks of interrupted and hurried composition. Indeed, there is reason to believe that the principal portion of it, if not the entire Work, was composed between the adjournment of Congress in the Spring of 1848, and its meeting in December, 1849.

In preparing the manuscripts for the press, the editor has sedulously endeavored to preserve, not only the peculiar modes of expression, but the very words of the authoi '—without regard to ornaments of style or rules of criticism. They who knew him well, need not to be told that, to these, he paid but slight respect. Absorbed by his subject, and earnest in his efforts to present the truth to others, as it appeared to himself, he regarded neither the arts nor the ornaments of meretricious elocution. He wrote as he spoke, sometimes negligently, yet always plainly and forcibly, and it is due to his own character, as well as to the public expectation, that his views should be presented in the plain and simple garb in which he left them. The granite statue, rough-hewn though it be, is far more imposing in its simple and stern, though rude proportions, than tbe plaster-cast,however elaborately wrought and gilded. Some few sentences have been transposed,—some repetitions omitted,—and some verbal inaccuracies, necessarily incident to hurried composition, corrected. With these exceptions, and they are comparatively few,—the Work is as it came from the hands of the author; and is given to the public with no other comment than that made by himself in a letter dated the 4th of November, 1849—" I wish my errors to be pointed out. I have set down only what I believed to be true; without yielding an inch to the popular opinions and prejudices of the day. I have not dilated,—but left truth, plainly announced, to battle its own way."

February 22d, 1851.

« ZurückWeiter »