It is strange how we undervalue the historical interest of contemporaneous events, and how careless most persons are of preserving any record of the most stirring incidents that mark their own pathway through life. While in one sense, no period excites our sympathies as does the present, in another, we seem, totally indifferent to its issues, and undervalue as small and insignificant what we are accustomed to admire and extol in the records of a remote generation. ‘True, an impartial verdict as to political action must always be waited for until time shall have modified the asperities of party feeling; but how shall this verdict ever be rendered without material furnished by contemporaneous evidence, be it partisan, or coldly neutral in tone? Partial testimony cannot be rejected; but the judgment as to its value must be held in abeyance until a careful comparison has been made with that given on the other side. It is astonishing, too, how plainly truth is often discovered under color of most violent exaggeration; and when a writer is trying most laboriously to produce a certain impression, some unguarded word, some naive statement of facts, may produce upon the reader’s mind exactly the opposite conviction to that which the writer meant to convey. The only hope that a true verdict shall be rendered in future time, rests upon the honest and fearless testimony of contemporary writers.
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