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BIOGRAPHICAL AND POLITICAL:

COMPRISING

MEMOIRS OF MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,

DRAWN FROM AUTHENTIC SOURCES:

EMBRACING THE PROMINENT EVENTS OF THEIR LIVES, AND THEIR CON-

NECTION WITH THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE TIMES.

BY HENRY G. WHEELER.

Ellustrated by numerous Steel Portraits and fac-simile Autographs.

NEW YORK:

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

82 CLIFF STREET.

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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand

eight hundred and forty-eight, by

Henry G. WHEELER,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District

of New York.

Hall OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, I

Washington, January 23, 1847. ) DEAR SIR: The Joint Committee on the Library have had under consideration your Prospectus for the publication of “A Biographical History OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED States," and have authorized me to subscribe for two copies of said work for the Library of Congress.

Yours respectfully,

RICHARD BRODHEAD, Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress,

on the part of the House. Henry G. Wheeler, Esq.

608.

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PREFACE.

THE wide and almost antrodden field of labor upon which we have entered, if not destitute of those allurements that sometimes tempt the mind to trials beyond its strength, has been surveyed by us in no spirit of exaggerated confidence in our own powers, but with a distrust of them so constant and oppressive as almost to have diverted us from our object. The hope, faintly cherished, that we might accomplish our design

-the conviction that the pursuits of many years had left resources and materials at our command not generally attainable -the mute, but fervent aspiration of our heart that it might be given to us to rear a column which the country would not disown, and on whose base, peradventure, in some lowly spot, our own humble name might be inscribed—these motives have guided and sustained us through embarrassments and difficulties to whose accumulated pressure we should otherwise have yielded.

We believe we are the first who, by a comprehensive union of biographical memoir with public history, have attempted to bring home to the familiar contemplation of the people of the United States the practical operation of the institutions under which they live; to demonstrate to them, by the examples we set before their eyes, how much more potent an instrument in the civilization of nations is the schoolmaster than the warrior —the plowshare than the sword!

In the attainment of this end, our business has been less with men than with facts. We have violated no confidences; we have followed no man to the sanctuary of his own habitation. We have taken him, where we found him, in the full glare of the public eye, on the field of his public duties and his political fortunes. Studiously rejecting those hyperbolical tributes of praise which are as offensive to good taste as they are often unmerited and insincere, we have believed that, in many instances, the highest eulogy, like the severest censure, was to be found in the simple statement of a fact.

Our present labors have been confined, with one important exception, to that House with whose business we have been so long connected; "on whose mane we have laid our hand" in all the phases of storm and sunshine, and for which we have garnered up, not without cause, feelings of respect and affection that must cling to us while we may be numbered among the living.

Our future volumes will give to the Senate a more ample representation than our arrangements for this have enabled us to offer.

THE AUTHOR. NEW YORK, May 1st, 1848.

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