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The Constitution, as the fireside companion of the American citizen, preserves in full freshness and vigor the recollection of the patriotic virtues and persevering courage of those gallant spirits of the Revolution who achieved the national independence, and the intelligence and fidelity of those fathers of the republic who secured, by this noble charter, the fruits and the blessings of independence. The judgment of the Senate of the United States has declared the importance of familiarizing American citizens, more extensively, with this fundamental law of their country, and has approved its association with the examples of republican virtue and the paternal advice of the “Father of his country,” joined to other kindred matter, constituting the body of this work. To this honorable body is due the credit of having provided for the first general promulgation of the Constitution, the continued dissemination of whose wise injunctions and conservative principles among the people, can alone preserve their fraternal union and the precious inheritance of freedom.
That branch of the government which is clothed by the Constitution with legislative, executive and judicial powers, and thus invested with three separate authorities to preserve, protect, and defend this venerated instrument, has been pleased to take the initiative in a measure calculated so powerfully to support the Constitution, as that of giving it, in its simplicity and purity, to the people, who possess, themselves, the sovereign power to judge of the manner in which it may be executed, to rebuke its infraction, and to defend its integrity, and who therefore require every legitimate aid to enable them to perform this vitally important duty in justice, truth, and good faith, for “The Constitution in its words is plain and intelligible, and it is meant for the homebred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens.” “It is addressed to the common sense of the people."
Several distinguished authorities and individuals having, in the plenitude of their liberality, honored the author and compiler with their sentiments on the subject-matter of the work, he claims the indulgence of the friends of the Constitution in giving them place in this edition, believing, that a salutary effect may be produced by the sanction of their special approbation, and the expression of their several views of the importance of an extended dissemination of that instrument. These may impress, in terms more unexceptionable, the obligation incumbent on every intelligent citizen to make himself acquainted with its provisions, restrictions, and limitations, and of imparting, so far as the ability may extend, a knowledge of this paramount law of our country to the minds of the rising generation.
The length of time required in the ordinary course of business, for obtaining a practical knowledge of the operations of government, by persons entering into public life, and their embarrassments for the want of a convenient mode of reference to the various sources of information, have suggested the utility of preparing, as a part of this work, and as germain to its design, a means of collecting and rendering available to the public interest the experience and information acquired in this respect, in the progress of time, by attention to the business of legislation in the public service. The five new chapters in this edition may therefore be considered an essay, to be improved and extended hereafter, with a view, not only to add to the intrinsic matter proper to be read and studied by the great body of American citizens, but to render it peculiarly a vade mecum to the statesman and legislator, the ministering to whose individual convenience must, necessarily, result in facilitating the performance of arduous public duty, and in promoting, in no inconsiderable degree, the public interests.
FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND
PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.
My Dear Sir, Washington, 18 Feb. 1847.
The volume on “ The Constitution of the Writed States,' which you were kind enough
to send me, I have carefully mired, and must now
beg you to accept my warm thanks for the compliment of its dedication* and for the admirable character of its contents. It is, without exception, the best designed, fullest, neatest, and most accurate manual and guide in relation to the great instrumert of which it exclusively treats, that I have yet
It deserves, and I hope it will receive, universal cir. culation.
The Constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. Or parts, provisions, or phrases , it is still and always will be
pos. sible for ingenuity to raise constructive doubts : but, on the whole, as the organic chart of a limited confederated government, a practical trial of nearly sixty years would seem to place its wis. dom and efficiency beyond dispute or rivalry. And, although it is not unusual to hear it said, at moments of heat and disap. pointment, that, in the enactment or administration of our federal laws, the obligations of the Constitution are disregarded, servation and experience of more than thirty years convince mo of the reverse ; and S
satisfied that its hold
the science and the opinion of the country at large is constantly
* The first and second editions.
strengthening. This is, indeed, the natural result of its perfect fitners to produce the purposes for which it was designed union, justice, tranquillity, defence, welfare, and liberty and proves how ivell its practical operations harmonize with the business, sentiments, relations, and progress of the olmerican people. Ruestlers and innovating as we are in most things,
we have not invaded, and I do not think we shall invade for centuries to come, the sacred stability of the Constitution.
Such a fundamental and paramount law, in the picture of its origin iud in the purity of its text, should be placed within the reach of every freeman. It should be found wherever there is capacity to read: not alone in legislative halls, judicial councils, libraries, and colleges, but also in the cabins and steerages of our mariners, at every common.school, log-hut, fac. tory, or firesite. It should form the rudimental basis of American thought, by being made a perpetually recurring object of memory. Your book 'enters upon the attainment of these
promisingly than any of whose existence J Its “Analysis” i singularly interesting and useful ; while its tabular statements and historical recordo constitute most valuable examples of compression and precision. The Senate of the United States, forcibly struck by its merits, gave
their cordial sanction to its extensive dissemination; and, indeed, it would be hard, if not impossible, to devise a beiter mode of enlightening and purifying public opinion as to the necessary powers, duties
, and responsibilities of all the functionaries of the General Go. vernment, the limits of their agency, and the conciliatory spirit of the vast system to which they belong.
dear Pir, very truly,
G. M. Daltas. Olem. Yrkey, Esq.
FROM THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF
THE UNITED STATES.
Washington City, Febʼy 19, 1847. I have to thank
you for a very neatly published copy of the Constitution of the Writed States. So far as I hwe examined the form in which the publication is made, it is decidedly the most perfect of any S have ever seen. The various and valu. able information contained in your book-other than the Consti. tution is of great value.
The whole work is just
suci ought to be found in the library of every citizen in the country.
. Very respectfully, your b't sero't, Wm. YEickey, Esq.
Jno. W. Davis.
FROM THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
for your .
Washington, Albarch 3, 1847. Sirs
directed by . the Justices of the Supreme Court to thanke you w
edition of the Constitution of the Varited States, which
you have been good enough to send them, and to express their approbation of the manner in which the work has been executed. The care with which it has been compared with the original, and the evidence you have furnished of its perfect accuracy, will make it
will make it very valuable in the discussion of questions arising upon the construction of the Constitution ; and, in order , that, on such occasions, it may always be within the reach of the members of the court, and of the bar engaged in the argument, I shall direct the Ebrarian to purchase twenty-four copies for the Law Library.
S am, Sir, your obed't s't, W. Scickey, Esq., Washington.
With great respect,
R. B. Taney