William L. Wilson and Tariff Reform, a Biography

By Festus P. Summers | Go to book overview

Preface

FEW WILL question the propriety of a biography of that political leader of the Cleveland era whose name has come down to us as a synonym for low tariff. As stated by the late Josephus Daniels, "Too little is known of William Lyne Wilson by the American people."* Indeed, there are biographies of Cleveland, Carlisle, Cockran, Morton, Atkin­ son, Wells, and other leaders of the tariff-reform movement, but none of Wilson who worked with them and shared their successes and fail­ ures. Personable to the point of impeccability, schooled in the political theory which identified democracy with individualism and laissez faire, an effective public speaker and skilled congressional debater, and above all a rounded scholar and close student of issues, Wilson possessed rare qualifications for the role he was to play in the tariff drama as reform champion and defender of the old democracy.

Many have contributed to the making of this book. Through the generosity of the Rutherford B. Hayes--Lucy Webb Hayes Founda­ tion I was awarded grants-in-aid which have enabled me to bring to­ gether widely scattered materials and devote several months to full­ time research. I am deeply grateful to Mrs. Milton Rouss, daughter of William L. Wilson, and to his son, the late Dr. Arthur L. Wilson, who lent me the Wilson Papers and so courteously gave me assistance in the collection of other materials. I wish also to thank William L. Wilson, 2nd, and William H. Wilson, Jr., grandsons of William L. Wilson, who have supplied manuscript materials and extended me many courtesies.

Others who generously furnished materials and information were Allan Nevins, Philip P. Chase, Dorothy Ganfield Fowler, Clem Shaver, Roy B. Cook, Susan Bates Darwin, and the late Percy S. Straus. Among others who lightened the load of the research for this volume, I wish especially to mention Edward A. Hill and Leonard J. Falter, of the R. H. Macy Company; Allyn B. Forbes, of the Massachusetts HistoricalSociety Library

____________________
*
Josephus Daniels, Editor in Politics, p. 69.

-ix-

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