In considering the question of publishing these letters, which are all that ever passed between my father and mother, for after their marriage they were never separated, it seemed to me that my only alternatives were to allow them to be published or to destroy them. I might, indeed, have left the matter to the decision of others after my death, but that would be evading a responsibility which I feel that I ought to accept.
Ever since my mother's death these letters were kept by my father in a certain inlaid box, into which they exactly fitted, and where they have always rested, letter beside letter, each in its consecutive order and numbered on the envelope by his own hand.
My father destroyed all the rest of his correspondence, and not long before his death he said, referring to these letters: 'There they are, do with them as you please when I am dead and gone!'
A few of the letters are of little or no interest, but their omission would have saved only a few pages, and I think it well that the correspondence should be given in its entirety.
I wish to express my gratitude to my father's friend and mine, Mrs. Miller Morison, for her unfailing sympathy and assistance in deciphering some words which had become scarcely legible owing to faded ink.