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Some circumstances, connected with the progress and close of my late Congressional career, have induced me to comply, not altogether unwillingly, with the suggestion of friends, - that whatever I have said on public questions, should be placed within the convenient reach and reference of such as may care to know any thing about my course.
I have ventured to think, too, that this volume would not be entirely unacceptable to the people of Massachusetts, and particularly to the people of Boston, to whom I have been indebted for whatever opportunities I have enjoyed, and in whose service most of these Addresses and Speeches were made.
They are given here just as they were delivered, and many of them printed, at the time, — with no other change than the correction of a few inaccuracies in matter of form, or, it may be, in matter of fact. They thus contain, — not what I might have said, or might now say, — but what I actually did say, on the subjects to which they relate, during sixteen or seventeen years of public employment.
I will not deny, that, in revising the proof-sheets, I have
found, here and there, an opinion of men or of things, which has been in some degree modified by subsequent events. And there may be a few strong partisan expressions, especially in some of the earlier political speeches, which might not altogether approve themselves to my maturer judgment. But there is nothing of substantial principle which I desire to revoke, and, upon the whole, I have preferred to let the record stand, as it has been made up from time to time, rather than allow room for the imputation that I had suppressed or altered any thing, to suit any mere change of political circumstances or of public sentiment.
The size of the volume has compelled me to omit many things which I desired and intended to insert, but I have no fear that there will be any complaint on this score from any quarter.
ROBERT C. WINTHROP. Boston, May, 1852.
REPLY TO A VOTE OF THANKS.