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truc object of an Introduction should be to give the
a of book. I will try to do this by
hinting the subjects I treat of, and what I meant in writing this work.
With the restoration of peace at home, we have time to look abroad; and while no good citizen desires a conflict with England, there is a universal and settled determination to call her to an account, sooner or later, for the enormous wrongs and depredations she has allowed her subjects to perpetrate upon our Commerce, our Peace, our Union and Prosperity. She was unfriendly to us in our weakness-she can hardly ask us to be friendly to her in our strength.
I intended not only to display the power, resources and grandeur of the British empire, with whatever constitutes its title to enduring glory, but to lift the veil from her crimes, in oppressing the masses of her own people at home; her cruelties to Ireland, and her helpless hundred and fifty millions in Asia; the corruptions of her "Established Church," as a State Religion; and, in a word, the atrocities of her Oligarchical System, which dresses one man in gold and sends him to the House of Lords, and another in rags and sends him to the Workhouse; a system which has only one scope in Foreign Policy, viz.: to oppress and rob nations, to sweep all commerce but her own from the sea, and above all, to break up the Great Republic of the United States.
Since my first work under the same title appeared, many years ago, I have made repeated visits to England, and spent seven years on the continent, chiefly in the Public Service. I have rewritten and greatly enlarged the original work, bringing it down to 1866-thoroughly exposing the conduct of England towards this country during the period of our great trouble, and showing just how she stands to-day before the gaze of the world.
I do not expect much good-will from the British Government, or most of the British aristocracy, for writing this book. I am working for the emancipation of whole nations, and the elevation of all men. England has always been working for the overthrow of rival nationalities, and the political subjection of men. England fights for the few-I for the many. She for Aristocracy-I for Democracy. She for the present-I for the future. No wonder we should not agree any too well. In justice to myself, however, it should be always held in mind, that, in speaking of England, I mean the Government and the ruling classes of the British empire-not the British people, for whom I entertain all the sympathies which spring unbidden from the common fountains of kindred, language, laws and religion.
BY no means wish to inflame a feeling of animosity between my own countrymen and Englishmen. This is the last thing I would attempt, unless provoked to it by acts of wrong which could not be atoned for except by justifiable retaliation. But there has been solid ground for American complaint against the English Government at many periods of our history-especially since our home troubles began. The barometer of British feeling towards us, during our Rebellion, was graduated exactly to the wavering fortunes of our armies in the field. When victory was on our side, the Government and the press of England were partially with us. When the armed