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A caution to the reader is necessary. From the fact that these papers are put in the first person throughout, one unwarned would
the impression that they were left by Mr. Drew in finished form, and that my task as editor had been merely to dig up from the rubbish of some attic a bundle of manuscript undiscovered these thirty years since his death, and hand it over to the printer.
This view would be the more natural, because of the following article (I quote it in part), which appeared in the New York Tribune, February 8, 1905:
“A diary of Daniel Drew, containing pen pic, tures of former Wall Street celebrities and accounts of old-time financial transactions, has been discovered. It came to New York the other day in an old trunk which was shipped down from Putnam County to a grandniece of the financier from the Drew estate in Carmel. Yesterday, in going through her consignment, she came upon the diary. Jim' Fisk is mentioned often in its pages, and also Cornelius Vanderbilt. Events of • Black
Friday' are touched on." The article goes on to state that the diary would be prepared for publication.
From this one might infer that the papers which follow were received from the pen of. Mr. Drew in the connected form in which they here are
given. Which impression would be quite erroneous. As a matter of fact the material out of which this series of papers has been made, were in the most jumbled and helter-skelter form imaginable. Even where I have had the clear words of Mr. Drew to guide me, I have had to “ English ” it for the easy comprehension of the reader. For, as the pages themselves state, schools were not plentiful in our rural districts a hundred years ago; and an education of the book kind was not only hard to get, but was also little valued in comparison with practical skill—the ability to bring things to pass. In altering his grammar and spelling, therefore, so as to make for easy reading, much of the tang and individuality which, to those who knew him, Daniel Drew possessed to an uncommon degree, has undoubtedly been sacrificed. In order to whip the life story here recorded into something approaching coherence and clearness, I have had to shape the thing from the start.
In fact, my share in the preparation of this volume has had to be so large, even writing with my own hand parts which were needed in order to supply the connection-putting these also, as in the case of historical drama, in the first person—that I had doubts as to whether plain biography might not have been the better form, as being less liable to misconstruction. But I decided to let it go forth in the first person throughout, provided it could be accom
panied by a foreword of explanation. In historical drama, the poetic form is sufficient notice to the reader that the speeches are not stenographic reports, though the situations and spirit of the whole are true to history. In the present case I have sought to convey the same notification by means of this introduction. That errors have crept into a work pieced as this has been out of scraps and fragments, is to be expected. But I venture to state that these will be found to concern matters of unessential detail alone. In the drift and temper of the work as a whole, I pledged myself to absolute adherence to the originals.
The events narrated constitute a stirring and important era in our nation's history. The development of navigation on the Hudson River, brought recently to the front by the tri-centennial celebration; the Erie Railroad and its vicissitudes; early days in Wall Street; the religious spirit of a former age, a spirit which to-day in all of the churches is changing rapidly for the better; the Tweed Ring in New York City—these and other events touched on in the papers which here follow, are not without historical value. Some of the facts and viewpoints here given have not, to my knowledge, found their way elsewhere into print.
BOUCK WHITE. Head Resident's Study, Trinity Neighborhood House
New York City.