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THE AMERICAN CRISIS
CHARLES LEMPRIERE, D.C.L.
OF THE INNER TEMPLE
LAW FELLOW OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
HAVING no political bias, no object either personal or peculiar to serve, I have been induced to publish the opinion I have formed on these momentous questions, because I cannot satisfy myself that the facts published, and the articles written with the view of leading the public in England to a right and fair conclusion, have been certain or even veracious. The curious apparent vacillation of ideas which has prevailed, is, to say the least, suspicious that the facts have been made up to support them on one side or the other. My acquaintance with a vast number of American citizens in all four continents, and the opportunities I have had of hearing the opinions of every class and every kind of party, have led me to look carefully before I can honestly form conclusions upon questions so violently argued,
as is invariably the case on the other side of the Atlantic. Civil war is fearful as well as slavery. But civil war, like other manslaughter, varies, according to circumstances, from murder to justifiable homicide; and I hardly think we in England are quite competent to decide on the question of slavery, as it exists in the Southern States, upon the evidence before us. At all events, no fair opportunity has yet been afforded them, either of explanation or of modification, of the recognised evil, in the face of the coercion and abolition which has been the policy of the ruling portion of the Northern statesmen for the last twenty years. Errare humanum est. I may be wrong, but the very difficulty I have experienced in sifting and understanding the reasons adduced by either side for their action in this crisis has been the moving cause of my humbly endeavouring to afford others an opportunity of at least knowing the arguments and facts to be found authenticated in these pages, and which appear to the writer to warrant the conclusions advanced.
5, PUMP COURT, TEMPLE,
Aug. 20, 1861.