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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

SHELDON FUND
JULY 10. 1940

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854,

By J. S. REDFIELD, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Southern

District of New York,

STEREOTYPED BY C. C. SAVAGE,

13 Chambers Street, N. Y.

PREFACE.

“ THE Works of William H. Seward” are already before the public in three large volumes. They have been received with much favor. At the same time they have increased the demand for an edition in a more reduced and economical form. The present volume is intended to meet that want. The Memoir which follows is substantially the same as that contained in the larger edition. Its faithfulness has been generally acknowledged. Two new chapters have been added to it in the present volume. They recite the history of the Compromises of 1850, the defeat of the Whig party in 1852, and the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise in 1854. A number of extracts from Mr. Seward's Speeches have also been introduced to illustrate the text.

A portion of the volume has been appropriated to Selections from Mr. Seward's Works. Among these Selections will be found extracts from most of his Addresses and Orations, his Executive Messages, his Forensic Arguments, and his Speeches in the Senate. Although comparatively few and brief, they embrace a great variety of topics under the heads of Agriculture, Internal Improvements, Education, Freedom, Commerce, and Miscellaneous. Besides

the extracts in these general divisions, Mr. Seward's Oration on the Destiny of America, and his two elaborate Speeches in the Senate on the “Nebraska Question,” are presented entire.

Recent events have given great interest and significance to many of Mr. Seward's Speeches. The prophetic warnings which abound in his Speeches on the Compromise Acts of 1850 appear now like sober history. Whoever will compare his Speeches on the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise with those of 1850, and also with his earliest productions, can hardly fail to award him the praise of consistency with himself, whatever judgment may be passed upon the principles he has so faithfully defended. And, while all may not be ready to allow that no errors have occurred in his public life, few will contend that any motive inconsistent with the highest regard for the interests of Human Nature or the honor of his country has ever influenced him. It may be, as Mr. Seward himself has remarked, that in seeking to perfect the diffusion of knowledge—in desiring to raise from degradation less-favored classes, depressed by unequal laws--or in aiming to carry into remote or sequestered regions the physical and commercial advantages enjoyed by more-favored districts, he has urged too earnestly what seemed to him to be the claims of humanity, justice, and equity. But, while the verdict is not to be looked for in the passing hour, it is very manifest that a generous appreciation has hitherto met all his efforts, from a large and steadily-increasing portion of his fellow-citizens. To such we trust this volume will not be unwelcome.

THE EDITOR. BROOKLYN, L. I., Jan. 1, 1855.

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