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PREFACE.

In writing the Biography of Henry Clay, we are conscious of entering a field several times explored, by individuals of great ability, who have spread before a delighted public the rich rewards of their researches. But its great amplitude—the loftiness of its hills—the breadth of its valleysand the vastness of its enclosures, induce the belief, that the office of another explorer would not be altogether that of a gleaner; on the eon. trary, that the proper performance of its duties would result in the discov. ery of new beauties, and in the acquisition of new treasure. Under the influence of this belief, the resolution was taken and preliminaries settled of our undertaking, and ourself brought to its borders, indulging in visions of anticipated pleasure, not unlike those which an enthusiastic botanist experiences, who, with feranthos across his shoulders, and analyzing apparatus in his satchel, is about to enter the fair field of nature, to cull and examine the loveliest specimens of her skill. Personal gratification, how. ever, was not the only nor chief motive prompting us to the undertaking. We desired to procure a larger and better collection than had ever been made of the mental gems of him who had moved in patriotic majesty over it, and adorned its enclosures of intellectual verdure with the brilliants of pure and lofty action; to gather and collocate these, we were strongly urged by the consideration that we should thus contribute, in some degree, to carry into execution that which formed one of the most interesting features of Mr. Clay's character-a desire to submit his every public act to the closest public scrutinya desire which was never introduced to subBerve a certain purpose, but which was coeval with his political existence, and which he ever, under all circumstances, unequivocally avowed. A further motive was derived from our own ardent desire to behold a more

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