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Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and eighty-two, by THE GLOBE Printing COMPANY, Toronto, Ontario, in the Oitice of the Minister of Agriculture.
In undertaking to prepare a memoir of the late Hon. GEORGE Brown, the writer desired to present to the public a faithful representation of his character in a personal and public sense but mainly to show his position as a representative of the people.
It was naturally supposed at the time of Mr. Brown's death that abundant material for this purpose would be found amongst
This belief was not sustained when an examination was made. He had given little attention to the preservation of papers affecting himself, though of the utmost interest respecting many public events in which he had borne a leading part; many reminiscences of a more personal character were also lost which would have thrown light on his private life. Mr. Brown seems not to have given a thought to the systematic preservation of documents which would have been of material use in presenting a perfectly faithful representation of what he really was as a public man and a private citizen. A somewhat intimate personal acquaintance, and a political connection of more than a quarter of a century, have enabled the writer to supply to some extent what was found to be wanting ; if the information available on some subjects is not quite as exact as would be desirable, no opinions are expressed or conclusions arrived at which are not fully justified by what is known. No attempt has been made to record, in Boswellian style, petty incidents and events in which Mr. Brown bore some part; the intention was rather to present such a general view of his character, and the public events in which he figured so prominently, as would be reasonably satisfactory to the public generally, but especially to those with whom he was personally popular.
Mr. Brown's eventful life, and his position in Canada as a political leader, made it almost indispensable that some one should place on record the share he had in securing constitutional changes which made Canada a home of civil and religious equality and
liberty, in such a manner as would do some measure of justice to his character as a true patriot. The writer regrets that this duty did not fall into more competent hands, and that a more graphic picture should not be presented of one who was so deservedly popular, and who gave so much of his life and strength, as a journalist and politician, to combating public wrongs, and establishing a new constitution embodying just principles of government.
It is always a difficult task to write contemporary history, That difficulty had to be encountered in the present work. Other actors in the events described, who are still before the public, may be unwilling to accept the position assigned them. The writer would regret exceedingly if any of his remarks should, by any such persons, be considered offensive or out of place. The duty of the biographer of Mr. Brown is, however, while dealing fairly with others whose names or acts must be mentioned, to present a faithful picture of him as he was, and his services as they were, and deserved to be estimated by the public, uncaring whether this course should lead to censure or approval on the part of those whose paths were crossed by the departed statesman during his lifetime.
The asperities engendered amongst public men in Canada, strong as they have been, are not so bitter but that it may be assumed that Mr. Brown's contemporary opponents will be disposed to look kindly on the record of one who was always an honourable foe and a faithful personal friend.
A long continuance of ill health, which necessitated many months' enforced absence from any labour, has alone delayed the completion of this memoir, which at first the writer hoped to accomplish within a few months.
TORONTO, August, 1882.