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"Nature and Laws would be in an ill case, if Slavery should find what to say for itself, and Liberty
IN THREE VOLUMES
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853,
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.
C. A. ALVORD, PRINTER, 29 GOLD ST.
In this collection of Mr. Seward's Works, it is intended to present the public, not only with his more elaborate speeches and writings, but also with his occasional and unstudied efforts. The principles and measures of public policy, which he has maintained, receive as clear an illustration from the latter class of his productions, as from his more systematic and finished performances. They are, accordingly, important, at a time when the political views of Mr. Seward have become the subject of discussion, in every quarter of the Union.
It has often been regretted that so few of the speeches of the eminent men of a former age have been preserved. The history of our own country, especially, has suffered from this neglect. We search in vain for the speeches even of James Otis, which, in the words of one of his contemporaries, " breathed the breath of life into this nation." The facilities of the present day leave no excuse for a similar neglect in regard to our own orators and statesmen.
The Editor of these volumes, though by no means unconscions of his slight qualifications for so important a task, has attempted to collect and prepare for publication the following works of WILLIAM H. SEWARD. A desire to aid in disseminating the doctrines and principles they contain, as well as to
preserve them in a permanent form, must plead his apology. For a number of years, it has been his wish, to bring these works before the public. He has only waited for the time, when they could be produced without exciting a suspicion of personal or partisan objects. That time, in his opinion, has now arrived.
It is, however, perhaps too much to expect, even now, a candid hearing from all parties. “Nothing," says Mr. Seward, in one of his letters, “that I can do or say, or that can be said or done by my friends, is suffered to pass without exciting alarms lest it may have an ambitious design that I almost despise.”.
To the friends of republican principles and of the claims of justice and freedom everywhere, the Editor believes these volumes will be welcome, and to such they are respectfully dedicated. To the friends of Mr. Seward, also, they will be acceptable, as a complete refutation of the various misrepresentations of his acts and opinions, current in the community, supplying a want long felt and frequently expressed. To many of these friends, the Editor is already indebted for assistance and encouragement in his undertaking, for which, he avails himself of this place to express his acknowledgments.
The difficulty of preparing a select edition of Mr. Seward's works was felt at the outset, and after a full view of the matter, it was determined to embrace every thing of which there had been any public record. Ample limits, as it was thought at the time, were accordingly assigned for the work. But the extraordinary amount of interesting and valuable matter that presented itself for publication required a modification of the original plan. It is therefore proper to say, that this collection does not include all of Mr. Seward's productions. Those, however, which have been omitted, were comparatively of local and temporary importance, and, in many cases, were too imperfectly reported for publication. At the same time, nothing