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In penning this inscription, from a distant city, aloof from old associations, and devoted to new pursuits, memories of you throng, cheer, and sweeten my thoughts. Not only do I recall the kindly courtesies and personal attachments at your firesides and meetings, but the unwavering trust you reposed, from the first effort which I made against sectionalism to the present time, when the conse quences of that sectionalism, so sanguinary and terrible, yet remain. I represented you truly, when I warned and worked from 1856 to 1860 against the passionate zealotry of north and south; when I denounced, in and out of Congress, the bad fallacy and worse conduct of the secessionists; when I voted to avert the impending war by every measure of adjustment; and when after war came, by my votes for money and men, I aided the Administration in maintaining the Federal authority over the insurgent States. Sustained by you, I supported every measure which was constitutional and expedient, to crush rebellion. At the same time I have freely challenged the conduct of the Administration in the use of the means committed to it by a devoted people. Believing that a proper use of such means would bring peace and union, and believing in no peace as permanent unless it were wedded to the Union, in love and contentment, I have omitted no opportunity to forward these objects. This I have done in spite of threat and violence. For doing it your confidence has not been diminished, but increased.
I know that the popular heart for some years will love to dwell most upon the deeds of the war. The Doers will and perhaps should outshine the Talkers. Our defenders in the field will be elevated above those in the forum. Men are prone to admire the hero. When he has the solid elements of courage and virtue, added to the glitter of martial success, admiration becomes worship. Napoleon understands this. To aggrandize the great founder of his family, he makes the Cæsars create events, rather than events create Cæsars. But it is as true that the French Revolution was indebted to Rousseau for its seminal idea, as that its events developed the greatness of Buonaparte. The great captains of our war, McClellan, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Farragut, and Porter, whose names will shine most upon the historic roll, were but the blossoms of that growth of ideas, whose antagonism and elucidation have been the work of the Press, Pulpit, and Forum.
In the humble part I have taken in these discussions, I have never underrated the magnitude of the institutions involved and their underlying principles. Augustus Schlegel said of authorship that according to the spirit in which it has been pursued, it is an infamy or a virtue. So of politics. They constitute a great moral
and intellectual science. In its pursuit passions and interests should be subordinate to wisdom and truth. Acrimony should give place to charity if not to good humor. This is for the behoof of society, whose tranquillity depends far more upon the dominant thought than upon the successful sword.
I would not, if I could, perpetuate any of the conflicts illus trated in this collection. I have had my share of such conflicts. No ambition now actuates me save that I may be instrumental, through these pages, in mirroring the past eight years, with the clearness and fidelity of truth. Whatever my own views may have seemed to some, they are to be judged as you my constituents judged them, by their expression as here given, without partisan gloss or misrepresentation.
Notwithstanding this volume has been prepared for your kind eye, it is published with distrust; therefore I crave from you the same indulgence which you have always accorded.
SAMUEL S. COX. New York City, June 30, 1865.