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possession of the views of others and to furnish such references as will enable them to form their own conclusions.
These volumes have been dedicated to my grandfather, but, in order that the name of my father, William Allen Butler, may also in some manner be linked with them, they will make their first appearance on that anniversary of his birth (February 20, 1825), on which he completes the seventyseventh year of his life. For more than fifty-five years be has been a member of the New York Bar in active practice; he has been President of the American Bar Association and also of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. On this day, and under these circumstances, it certainly is justifiable for me to refer to the words uttered on an appropriate occasion by the Honorable Joseph H. Choate a few weeks ago, just before he left this country to resume those duties as our ambassador at the Court of St. James, which he is so gracefully and efficiently performing, in which he described my father as “the very Dean of our profession and entitled to be so called not only by reason of his seniority, but also from his character, and the manner in which, during his more than half century of practice, he has constantly upheld the honor and dignity of the Bar.”
Had these volumes been dedicated to any person other than my father or grandfather, two names would have presented themselves to me between which it would have been hard for me to have chosen.
Delivering the manuscript to the publishers about a year ago, while the members of our profession were universally preparing for the appropriate celebration of the centennial anniversary of his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the name of that great jurist, John Marshall, naturally presented itself to my mind, and as my work has progressed, my veneration and respect
for him whom John Randolph used affectionately to call “the Great Lord Chief” has constantly increased, for it is perhaps more to him than to any other single man that this country owes to-day its ability to stand among the other nations on an equal footing as a fully sovereign power, unshorn of any element of national strength or trammelled with the fetters of strict construction by which at one time it was threatened to be strangled. In fact, Mr. Garfield might well have added to that eloquent passage in his memorial address, in which he declared that Marshall found the Constitution a skeleton and clothed it with flesh and blood, that the Chief Justice also breathed into the body, which he thus really created, the breath of national life and sovereign power without which it would have remained an inert mass, but through the possession whereof it has been able to live and move and have its being.
It is hardly necessary to mention the other name for that of William McKinley must naturally suggest itself to the reader. It was largely due to his kindly inspiration and the friendly interest which he ever expressed in this and other work undertaken by myself that this book was conceived in its concrete form and the earlier portions thereof completed. During our last interview the plan and scope of these volumes were discussed and the desire which he expressed to see them completed was one of the inspiring influences which sustained me while the work was in progress.
That Mr. McKinley was pre-eminently appreciative of the value and extent of the treaty-making power of our government, was evidenced by those utterances in his Buffalo speech which, in view of the tragic events of the following day, were strangely mystical and prophetic; and surely it was not by chance, for the hand of God was clearly discernible, that on the very last day on which it could possibly have occurred, he declared that the day of reprisals was past,
and the day of reciprocity treaties had come, that God and man had joined the nations together, that our ships of war must now be white winged messengers of peace. Surely it can well be said of him that this country is the greater from the way in which he lived and did his work, and is the better for the noble, Christian manner in which he passed from this earth unto his lasting reward, leaving precious memories in the hearts of all his fellow citizens whom he loved and served so well.
But his words must be heeded and no monument erected to the memory of William McKinley, no matter how great or how grand it may be, can ever atone for the insult which will be offered to his memory if the pledges made to Cuba during his administration shall not be carried out in letter and in spirit. He, to whom the great industries of this country owe so much and who could never have had one thought which could do them harm, stood pledged to give assistance as well as freedom to that island whose nearness to our coasts made us her natural protector; and now that he has gone a double duty rests upon us to fulfil those pledges, not only for the sake of Cuba but for his honor and our own.
Before closing this preface it is my great pleasure to gratefully acknowledge the assistance which has been received during the preparation of these volumes from many kind friends; it is impossible to enumerate them all but I wish especially to thank the Honorable Orville H. Platt, United States Senator from Connecticut, the Honorable Elihu Root, Secretary of War, Dr. David J. Hill and Mr. Alvey A. Adee, Assistant Secretaries of State, Mr. Andrew H. Allen, keeper of the Rolls and Archives in the State Department and Mr. Charles G. Phelps Secretary of the Senate Committee on Relations with Cuba, for the many courtesies extended to, and documents obtained for me.
This work was commenced in Washington during my sojourn there of 1898–1899, but for the past two years it has been carried on in New York almost entirely in the building of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and it is not only my duty, but also my pleasure, to express in more than a merely perfunctory manner my appreciation of the great assistance rendered to me by the Librarian and the entire staff of the Association. As an almost daily visitor to the library for over two years I have had every opportunity of testing the efficiency of the staff in charge of the building and the library and in every respect it has been tried and not found wanting.
My work for the present is finished. That of my readers now commences--my greatest hope is that they will not find their task in perusing these pages less interesting than mine has been in writing them.
C. H. B.
February 20, 1902.
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