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At this crisis in our government—a crisis such as it has never before been called to pass through—a constant recurrence to the fundamental principles upon which it is founded cannot be too much recommended to the citizens of our noble republic.
It is in this manner only that a thorough knowledge of the duties which every good citizen owes to the laws of his country, can be attained. This fact is universally recognized, by old and young, at the present time ; and the interest in the important papers which we have embraced in this little volume, is daily increasing more and more.
It contains that immortal document, the Declaration of Independence, with the names of the signers; and also the Constitution of the United States, which has formed the safeguard of our rights and the bulwark of our liberties, through many years of unparalleled
peace and prosperity. Every observing freeman can receive a lasting benefit from the perusal and study of these instruments ; a general dearth of which, in family libraries, is sensibly felt by those who desire the information contained in such a manual as this.
To these we have added WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS. The prophetic warnings of "the father of his country" commend themselves anew to the careful attention of every American citizen, as being particularly applicable to the present distracted state of our country.
It is surprising to note how few are well posted in the contents of these documents, and how many there are who have never read them at all. This is un. doubtedly owing to the want of the general circulation of a cheap edition.
To supply this want, and satisfy the increased demand, the publishers have prepared this volume, and have endeavored to present it in a form which will be acceptable for popular use, and at a price which will make it within the reach of all.
Pocasset, Mass., 1861.