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James Madison, President of the United States, on entering upon the duties of the office, declared, that “to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities, and to favor the advancement of science and the diffusion of information, as the best aliment to true liberty," with other salutary sentiments and intentions, would be a resource which could not fail him; and added, “but the source to which I look for the aid which alone can supply my deficiencies, is the well tried intelligence and virtue of my fellowcitizens, and in the counsels of those representing them in the other departments associated in the care of the national interests."

To support the Constitution” by his talents, by his best services, and with his life, if required, is the firm and irrevocable determination of every true patriot; but the support” presupposes a knowledge of that valued instrument; and the knowledge can alone be expected to follow a careful reading and study of its letter and its spirit. To afford an opportunity to every American citizen to do this, is the object in the publication of the present edition.

If, as Ciccro informs us, in ancient Rome the very boys were obliged to learn the twelve tables by heart, as a carmen necessarium, or indispensable lesson, to imprint on their tender minds an early knowledge of the laws and constitution of their country,

“ Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna."

If it was deemed important to the preservation of British liberty, in the earlier and better days of that country, that Magna Charta should be authoritatively promulgated and read to the people, it is no less important to the preservation of American lilerty, that every intelligent citizen should, by his own will and authority, aided by the liberality of the Government, possess a copy of this great charter of American liberty.

There appears to have been no formal provision made by the Government of the United States for the promulgation of the Constitution, except by a concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress, made during the first Congress, (6th July, 1789,) whereby it was "Resolved, that there be prefixed to

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