The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics - Vol. 1

By William Ernest Smith | Go to book overview

PREFACE

FRANCIS PRESTON BLAIR and his two sons, Francis Preston and Montgomery, are representatives of a longer period of influence in American politics than any other family except the Adams family. Heretofore the Blair Papers have not been published, and are still in private ownership. I therefore hope there may be something in those which I have used in writing this biography of the Blairs that may afford pertinent information for those who are interested in the activities of the Blairs in private and public life, and at the same time assist students and historians whose interests are primarily in other related subjects.

As I have worked over a period of eight years in gathering material for this biography of the Blair family and in writing it, and have worked in an uncharted field, I realize that many imperfections may be found in this effort to place the Blairs in their environment. It has been difficult to be consistent in usage during the long period of time in which I have been forced to carry on my investigations. For any errors there may be in construction and statement of fact, I assume full responsibility. I deeply regret that the cost of publication has necessitated the elimination of two-thirds of my footnotes.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge my indebtedness to Gist and Woodbury Blair, who have made this work possible by placing the Blair Papers at my command, and who have contributed to the work with their suggestions and studies; and to Breckinridge Long and Christine Graham Long, a descendant of Francis P. Blair, Jr. To the late Professor Carl Russell Fish of the Department of History in the University of Wisconsin, I am deeply indebted for his encouragement and timely advice when I began to investigate this subject, and for his sympathetic interest in it throughout my years of investigation. Much of the work he read, and gave me his helpful criticism. I especially owe my wife an expression of gratitude for her constant sympathy and her assist

-vii-

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