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Excerpt from A Belle of the Fifties: Memoirs of Mrs. Clay, of Alabama, Covering Social and Political Life in Washington and the South, 1853-66
My wife was amazed at your eloquence, wrote attorney-general Jeremiah Black in r 866, and in suc weding letters urged Mrs. Clay to put her experiences with Messrs. Johnson, Holt and Stanton into book form. To these and urgings as powerful from many quarters, reiterated during the past forty years, until the present work was undertaken, Mrs. Clay-clopton has remained indifferent. Her recollections of a long life are now gathered in response to a wide and insistently expressed desire to see them preserved in a concrete form ere the crowding years shall have made impossible the valuable testimony she is able to bear to ante-bellum and bellum conditions in her dearly loved South land. To that end many friends of Mrs. Clay-clopton have lent an eager aid, and it is an acknowledgment due to them that their names be linked here with the work they have so lovingly fostered.
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