THE first words of this work were written in New York, July, 1897, and consisted of its dedication
"TO ELLEN DANA CONWAY.
"In response to your desire, my wife, I undertake to record the more salient recollections of my life. It is a life you have made happy, and never unhappy save by the failure of your health: its experiences during forty years have been yours also, and on the counsel and judgment which have never been wanting at my side I can happily still rely in living over again in our joint memory the events deemed worthy of record.
"Let me obey my own heart, and secure the favour of many hearts that have known your friendship and witnessed your life, in America and Europe, by writing your name on a work as yet unwritten, to which--because it is an enterprise near your heart--I now dedicate myself."
This dedication is now to a memory.
My wife died on Christmas Day, 1897. But the joint memory on which I had depended has not been altogether wanting; among her papers I found a sort of journal, and in this and her letters to relatives she has continued to help me.
Many valued friends in America and Europe, and even several journals, have also called for my reminiscences, and I have felt it a fair demand on the closing years of a surviving witness to developments and events which have made momentous chapters of history. The wisdom or unwisdom of a new generation must largely depend on its knowledge and interpretation of the facts and forces that operated in the generations preceding, from which are bequeathed influences that become increasingly potent when shaped in accepted history. The eventualities of life brought me into close connection with some large movements of my time, and also with incidents little noticed when they occurred, which time has proved of more far-reaching effect than the immediately imposing events. I have been brought into personal relations with leading minds and characters which