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JAMES D. RICHARDSON
A REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE STATE OF TENNESSEE
This volume comprises the papers of Benjamin Harrison and of Grover Cleveland (second term). The events of these two Administrations of eight years, though highly interesting, coming as they do down to March 4, 1897, are so recent and fresh in the public mind that I need not comment on them.
This volume is the last of the series, except the Appendix and Index volume. The work of compiling was begun by me in April, 1895, just after the expiration of the Fifty-third Congress. I then anticipated that I could complete the work easily within a year. Though I have given my entire time to the undertaking when not engaged in my official duties as a Representative, instead of completing it within the time mentioned it has occupied me for nearly four years. The labor lias been far greater than the Joint Committee on Printing or I supposed it would be. I had no idea of the difficulties to overcome in obtaining the Presidential papers, especially the proclamations and Executive orders. In the Prefatory Note to l'olume I, I said: “I have sought to bring together in the several volumes of the series all Presidential proclamations, addresses, messages, and communications to Congress excepting those nominating persons to office and those which simply transmit treaties, and reports of heads of Departments which contain no recommendation from the Executive." But after the appearance of Volume I, and while preparing the contents of Volume II, I became convinced that I had made a mistake and that the work to be exhaustive should comprise every message of the Presidents transmitting reports of heads of Departments and other communications, no matter how brief or unintelligible the papers were in themselves, and that to make them intelligible I should insert editorial footnotes explaining them. Having acted upon the other idea in making up Volume I and a portion of Volume II, quite a number of such brief papers were intentionally omitted. Being convinced that all the papers of the Executives should be inserted, the plan was modified accordingly, and the endeavor was thereafter made to publish all of them.