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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by
THE following work is intended to correct some of the prominent mistakes which are found to prevail in regard to the character of that political controversy which took place in Rhode Island in 1841–2. Although some may be of opinion that it is too soon to give that history to the public, and the day may be far distant when it can be written or read without prejudice, yet the author believes that no good cause will suffer by investigation ; that it can never be too soon to correct errors and mistakes; that national freedom can only be maintained by the proper diffusion of knowledge, and that in every popular government the respective rights of the people and of their government should be clearly defined and distinctly understood. If popular sovereignty is to be regarded as any thing more than an empty name — if it is in reality the fundamental principle
of all free institutions — it should never be lost sight of, but should be constantly watched as the polar star of civil liberty.
The writer is conscious of the perilous position which he has assumed; he knows full well the intensity of those fires which that controversy enkindled, and is aware that beneath their sleeping ashes there may be livid coals which will glow again as soon as stirred. He has no desire to provoke anew those angry feelings which raged with so much fury during the period in question : yet, in obedience to his own convictions of truth and justice, he has plainly and fearlessly made known his own sentiments respecting that controversy and the character of its master spirit — THOMAS WILSON DORR.
TAUNTON, April 1, 1859.