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5th. Of the affairs of Europe, and the republics of Southern America, so far as they affect their relations with this country.
In the course of the fifteen years embraced in this history, many important constitutional questions have arisen, been fully discussed, and the opinions of the several departments of government expressed on them.
Though most of the subjects are familiar to the community, it is thought that a concise and connected view of the leading principles on which the government has proceeded, during this period, might be useful.
Few occasions have occurred to call into exercise American valor. Such as have, are highly honorable to the country. One object of this work is to preserve a record of them, and bring them to the recollection of the citizens. They are now to be found only in the fugitive publications of the day.
The diplomatic discussions have been highly important and honorable to the nation. Their principal object, on the part of the United States, has been, to obtain redress for injuries; on the part of other na · tions, to avoid or procrastinate the claims. Another object has been to place commercial intercourse on a footing of a fair and liberal reciprocity; and a third, to abolish the slave trade, and the practice of priva
teering; the government uniformly adopting the Washington policy of avoiding all political connections. A view of these discussions, which is attempted in this work, is interesting, as it affords a knowledge of the feelings and policy of other nations towards this.
The work is not intended as an electioneering object. At the same time, it is not the wish, nor within the power of the writer, to conceal his views of the prominent measures of the several administrations within the period, or to prevent the operation which a candid view of past transactions may have on public opinion. In expressing them, however, he trusts it has always been done with a sacred regard to private character.
First session of the 16th congress. Admission of Maine and Mis-
souri. Missouri question. Origin of slavery, and its introduc-