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PREFACE TO VOLUME II.
THE FIRST VOLUME of these Works contains a Biographical Memoir of Mr. SEWARD, his Speeches and Debates in the Senate of New York, his Speeches and Debates in the Senate of the United States, and his Forensic Arguments.
THIS VOLUME embraces the writings of Mr. SEWARD while he occupied the executive chair of his native state.
Governor SEWARD was inaugurated on the first day of the year 1839, and remained in office four years, having been re-elected at the close of his first term-an honor more distinguished, it may be remarked, because, as the state advances, it is more rarely conferred. He entered upon the duties of his office under many peculiar circumstances, and there were apparently more exciting questions and important events crowded into those four years than into almost any similar period in the history of the state. Hence, the papers which emanated from his pen during that time, aside from their intrinsic merits, are believed to possess more than ordinary interest and value.
The volume commences with his "NOTES ON NEW YORK," which were prepared originally as the Introduction to "The Natural History of the State of New York," a work of great value, and an honor to the state and to Governor SEWARD'S administration, as well as to that of his predecessor, Governor Marcy, under whose auspices it began. His STATE PAPERS, embracing his An
nual and Special Messages to the Legislature, his Official Correspondence, and his Pardon Papers, occupy the remaining pages.
These papers need no comment to recommend them to the attention of the reader. In addition to their other merits, it may be safely said that they present the most rare and complete history of the state of New York ever published.
To some persons, the MESSAGES of Governor SEWARD, after the lapse of ten years, may appear the least attractive of any portion of these volumes; but the more attentive reader will discover in them the great ideas upon which are based the political philosophy that has governed the whole life of their author. As has been well remarked, they afford the light by which we may most easily and clearly read his public career in the service of the state of New York, and of the nation.
The publication of Governor SEWARD'S OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE, particularly those portions relating to the VIRGINIA, GEORGIA, and M'LEOD controversies, will be very generally welcomed; frequent demands for it having, for several years past, been heard from the press and from the public.
Perhaps no portion of his Works will be read with more interest by a large class of readers than the PARDON PAPERS. Their omission would have been seriously felt in estimating the character of their author and his administration.
With these few remarks, the present volume is respectfully submitted to the public.
The THIRD VOLUME will contain Mr. SEWARD'S Orations and Discourses, Occasional Speeches and Addresses, Executive Speeches, Political Writings, General Correspondence, Letters from Europe, and a continuation of his Speeches in the Senate of the United States.
WILLIAMSBURGH, L. I., March 1, 1853.
CONTENTS OF VOL. II.
See INDEX at the close of the volume.