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DEBATES OF CONGRESS,
FROM 1789 TO 1856.
FROM GALES AND SEATON'S ANNALS OF CONGRESS; FROM THEIR
THE AUTHOR OF THE THIRTY YEARS' VIEW.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
346 AND 348 BROADWAY.
LONDON: 16 LITTLE BRITAIN.
ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
THE title-page discloses the sources from which this abridgment is made, and shows them all to be authentic, and reliable,-well known to the public, and sanctioned by resolves of Congress. Of the latter of these authorities —“Gales and Seaton's Register of Debates," "The Congressional Globe and Appendix, by Blair and Rives," and the same afterwards by "John C. Rives”—it is not necessary to speak, further than to remind the reader, that they are original reports, made either by the publishers or their special reporters, and revised by the speakers, and accepted as authority by Congress; and therefore needing no historical elucidation to show their correctness. But of the first—“ The Annals of Congress by Gales and Seaton"-being a compilation, a special, but brief notice is necessary to show the credit to which they are entitled. And first, of the qualifications of the compilers for their work. To education and talent, and a particular turn for political disquisition and history, they added, at the time, more than forty years' personal connection with the Debates of Congress, as reporters and publishers of the speeches and proceedings in that body. Both of these gentlemen reported, on extraordinary occasions; and both with great aptitude and capacity for the business, and Mr. Gales especially, (under whose particular care the compilation of the Annals was made,)—of whom Mr. Randolph, a most competent judge, was accustomed to say, that he was the most perfect reporter he had ever known-a perfection which resulted not merely from manual facil
ity in noting down what was said, but from quickness and clearness of apprehension, and a full knowledge of the subject spoken upon. To this capacity for the work, these gentlemen added peculiar advantages for knowing and reaching the sources of information. The father of one of them, and the father-in-law of the other,-(Mr. Joseph Gales, Senior,)—had been an early reporter of the Debates of Congress;-in the time of Washington and the first Mr. Adams,—and, of course, a collector and preserver of all contemporary reports. These came into their hands, with ample knowledge of all the sources from which further collections could be made. To these capabilities and advantages, were added the pride of character which exults in producing a perfect work ;-and they spared neither pains nor cost to produce such a work—and succeeded. The following extracts from a letter of the late Mr. Justice Story, of the Supreme Court of the United States, dated January 14th, 1837-and from one from Mr. Justice McLean, still of that high court, dated 24th of February, 1843-sufficiently attest the value of the Compilation, and the excellence of its execution. Mr. Justice Story says:
"I have examined these volumes with great attention, and I am entirely satisfied with the plan and execution of them. I have, for many years, deemed the publication of the Debates in Congress, interwoven as they should be, and as they are in your plan, with the proceedings explanatory of them, one of the most important and valuable enterprises for public patronage. In an historical view, it will reflect the strongest and best lights upon the nature and operations of the Government itself, its powers, its duties, and its policy. As a means of expounding and interpreting the Constitution itself, it can scarcely be over-estimated. When I was employed in the task of preparing my Commentaries on the Constitution I constantly had recourse to this source of information in all cases within my reach. I had occasion then deeply to regret, however, that many of my researches terminated in disappointment from there not being any complete collection of the debates in print, or at least none in any one repository, or without large chasms, which
* Of this talent, Mr. Gales has lately given a most remarkable instance, in drawing out from notes which had remained as lost for near forty years, a most important speech of Mr. Randolph, delivered shortly before the late war with Great Britain, and in relation to the then condition of public affairs, both with Great Britain and the Emperor Napoleon the First. Mr. Gales had taken down the speech: the notes of it got into the bottom of a trunk, and lay there till a year ago, when Mr. Gales, searching high and low for matter for the Annals, chanced to find them; and immediately drew out the full speech with the freshness and vigor of a morning report of a previous day's debate.