Слике страница
PDF
ePub

PREFACE.

It hardly need be stated that the pressure of professional business, and the never-ending duties of official life, are not favorable to authorship. The author of this work was persuaded by valued friends to prepare it, not because he was accustomed to literary pursuits, but because it was supposed that his practical knowledge of the administration of Government might be of service to his fellow-citizens. He is always ready to do his part as an American citizen, and to aid the great cause of Democracy, which is the only source of safety to the American Republic. He has often been honored by the Democratic party, and he knows of no higher privilege than that of exerting his humble powers to make known its glorious record. But three months were given him to prepare the volume; and the reader will hardly expect in it any details of record or displays of language. It can only be regarded as a brief outline of the history of the Democratic party in this country-intended to lead the reader to certain great facts and principles as connected with the success of republican Government in the United States. He has not attempted to solve any abstruse propositions in political science, nor is he conscious of having been actuated by the motives of a mere partisan. He favors the Democratic party, because that party is the only one that has succeeded in administering the Government successfully. It has been, and still is, the constitutional party; and whoever adds to its means of influence, subserves the cause of truth and duty.

The author has endeavored accurately to give facts as they will be found recorded, and, in expressing his opinions, to avoid injustice to others. To denounce error and dishonesty is the part of an honest man, and it cannot be evaded. The opponents of Democracy will ever be held responsible for what they say and do, particularly when their measures and opinions prove to be adverse to the peace and prosperity of the country. A true Democrat serves himself only when he serves his country; and, if this work shall tend in any degree to turn men from the path of error to that of duty, or to establish more fully those who are already in the way

of truth and safety, the author will have no cause to regret that he was persuaded to give his imperfect labors to the public.

R. H. GILLET.

NEW-LEBANON SPRINGS, April, 1868.

PUBLISHERS: NOTICE.

It is common among readers to wish to know something respecting their author, especially if he communicates information which is in conflict with statements made by others, or expresses opinions for their acceptance which require a modification of their own. The honest reader wants TRUTH, whatever it may be—and it is a step in the right direction if he be assured of the integrity and established wisdom of his author. There are honest men of all parties; and the publishers, so far as they are able, employ only such as authors. We are permitted by the author of this volume to give the following sketch, mostly taken from "LANMAN'S DICTIONARY OF CONGRESS "-published some years before the rebellion: “Mr. GILLET was born in New Lebanon, Columbia County, N. Y., January 27, 1800. His early employment was farming on his father's farm, in Saratoga County, in the summer, and lumbering in the pine-forest during the winter. In 1819 he removed to St. Lawrence County, where he was employed to teach school during the winter, while he attended the St. Lawrence Academy during the summer. In 1821 he engaged in the study of the law with the late Silas Wright, at Canton, still continuing to teach for his support. He was soon admitted to the bar, practising in the local courts, and finally settled in Ogdensburg, where he continued, mainly devoted to the profession, for about twenty years. In 1827 he was appointed brigade major and inspector of the 49th brigade of militia, and for ten years drilled and inspected six large regiments in St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties; February 27, 1830, he was appointed postmaster at Ogdensburg, which office he filled about three years; in 1832 he was a member of the first Baltimore Convention which nominated General Jackson for President; he was elected in November of that year to Congress to represent St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, and reëlected in 1834, and served while in Congress as a member of the Committee on Commerce; in 1837 he was appointed by President Van Buren a commissioner to treat with the Indian tribes in New York, and continued in that service until March, 1839; and in 1840 was a member of the Baltimore Convention which renominated Mr. Van Buren (and drew the celebrated resolutions of that year, still forming a portion of the Democratic platform), and then engaged in the practice of law and continued to do so until 1845, when President Polk appointed him Register of the Treasury, in which office he served until May, 1847, when he was promoted to the office of Solicitor of the Treasury, in which place he continued until the autumn of 1849; he then resumed the practice of law in New York; February 1, 1855, he became Assistant to the Attorney-General of the United States, and continued in that office until he resigned in 1858; President Buchanan tendered him the place of Solicitor of the Court of Claims, which he accepted, and is still (1859) performing the duties of that office.” He held this office until March, 1861, when he was removed by President Lincoln-because he was a Democrat. In 1855 he delivered, before an Association, in Washing. ton, an address “On the Origin and Formation of the Constitution.” On November 6, 1860, he delivered, before the Jackson Association, Washington, an address denouncing secession and predicting its consequences, which was published in the National Intelligencer in December of that year. When Mr. Stanton was appointed Secretary of War, he transferred his law business in the local Supreme Court to Mr. Gillet, and he contiņued to labor in his profession until 1865, when he retired to the beautiful valley of New Lebanon Springs, N. Y., his native place, to reënjoy the mountain scenery of his youth. It may be added, with great propriety, that Mr. Gillet was highly esteemed by President Jackson, and that no man living commanded more the respect and confidence of the late Chief-Justice Taney. He was frequently consulted by Presidents Van Buren, Polk, and Taylor, and enjoyed the confidence and friendship of Presidents Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan. His great ability as a lawyer is only excelled by his modesty and goodness as a man, and he has very reluctantly consented to the publication of this notice to gratify his friends.

« ПретходнаНастави »