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Reminiscences of Sixty Years in Public Affairs, Vol. 1   By: (1818-1905)

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[Transcriber's notes: Footnotes are at the end of the chapter. The author's spelling of names has been retained. A few commas have been deleted or moved for clarity.]


[Frontispiece: v1.jpg] From a photograph by Purdy, of Boston. Copyright, 1896. [signature] Geo: S. Boutwell

Reminiscences of Sixty Years in Public Affairs by George S. Boutwell Governor of Massachusetts, 1851 1852 Representative in Congress, 1863 1869 Secretary of the Treasury, 1869 1873 Senator from Massachusetts, 1873 1877 etc., etc.

Volume One

New York McClure, Phillips & Co. Mcmii

Copyright, 1902, by McClure, Phillips & Co.

Published May, 1902. N.



I Incidents of my Early Life II Life as a Store boy and Clerk III Changes and Progress IV Schools and School keeping V Groton in 1835 VI Groton in 1835 Continued VII Beginnings in Business VIII First Experience in Politics IX The Election of 1840 X Massachusetts Men in the Forties XI The Election of 1842, and the Dorr Rebellion XII The Legislature of 1847 XIII Legislative Session of 1848 Funeral of John Quincy Adams XIV The Legislature of 1849 XV Massachusetts Politics and Massachusetts Politicians, 1850 51 and 1852 XVI Acton Monument XVII Sudbury Monument XVIII Louis Kossuth XIX The Coalition and the State Constitutional Convention of 1853 XX The Year 1854 XXI Organization of the Republican Party in Massachusetts in 1855, and the Events Preceding the War XXII As Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education XXIII Phi Beta Kappa Address at Cambridge XXIV The Peace Convention of 1861 XXV The Opening of the War XXVI The Military Commission of 1862 and General Fremont XXVII Organization of the Internal Revenue System in the United States


At the request of my daughter and my son and by the advice of my friends, the Honorable J. C. Bancroft Davis and the Honorable William A. Richardson, I am venturing upon the task of giving a sketch of my experiences in life during three fourths of a century. The wisdom of such an undertaking is not outside the realm of debate. A large part of my manhood has been spent in the politics of my native state, and in the politics of the country. For many years I have had the fortune to be associated with those in whose hands the chief powers were lodged. I have been a witness of, and in some cases an actor in, events that have changed the character of the institutions and affected the fortunes of the country. Those events and their consequences must in time disturb, if they do not change, the institutions of other countries.

In the course of this long period I have had opportunities to know some of the principal actors in those important events. In a few cases I am in possession of knowledge not now in the possession of any other person living. These considerations may in some degree justify my undertaking.

On the other hand I have not kept a record of events, and I have had occasion often, especially in the practice of my profession, to notice the imperfections of the human memory. Much that I shall write must depend upon the fidelity of that faculty, although in some cases my recollections may be verified or corrected by the public records.

The recollections of actors, when those recollections are reported in good faith, constitute quite as safe a basis for an historical judgment as do the diaries in which are noted present impressions. Usually the writer of a diary has only an imperfect knowledge of the subject to which the entries relate. If he is himself an actor in passing events he makes and leaves a record colored and perhaps tainted by the personal and political passions of the times. The teachings of experience and that more moderate view of events, which we sometimes call philosophy and sometimes the wisdom of age, may warrant the student and the historian in giving credence to mere recollections... Continue reading book >>

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