John Sherman's Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabinet: An Autobiography

John Sherman's Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabinet: An Autobiography

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John Sherman's Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabinet: An Autobiography

John Sherman's Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabinet: An Autobiography

Read FREE!

Excerpt

These recollections grew out of a long deferred purpose to publish a selection of my speeches on public questions, but in collecting them it became manifest that they should be accompanied or preceded by a statement of the circumstances that attended their delivery. The attempt to furnish such a statement led to a review of the chief events of my public life, which covers the period extending from 1854 to the present time. The sectional trouble that preceded the Civil War, the war itself with all its attendant horrors and sacrifices, the abolition of slavery, the reconstruction measures, and the vast and unexampled progress of the republic in growth and development since the war, presented a topic worthy of a better historian than I am. Still, as my life was interwoven with these events, I concluded that it was better that I state my recollection of what I saw or beard or did in those stirring times rather than what I said. Whether this conclusion was a wise one the reader must judge. Egotism is a natural trait of mankind. If it is exhibited in a moderate degree we pardon it with a smile; if it is excessive we condemn it as a weakness. The life of one man is but an atom, but if it is connected with great events it shares in their dignity and importance. Influenced by this reasoning I concluded to postpone the publication of my speeches except so far as they are quoted or described in these memoirs.

When I entered upon their preparation the question arose whether the book to be written was to be of my life, including ancestry and boyhood, or to be confined to the financial history of the United States with which I was mainly identified. This was settled by the publishers, who were more interested in the number of copies they could sell than in the finances of the United States.

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