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M E MO IR

OR

THE LATE WILLIAM P. HAWES, Esq.,

BY

HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT.

To commemorate the talents, depict the character, and enlogise the virtues of a departed friend, although a melancholy task, must ever be, in some sort, pleasurable to a survivor; and for the most part biographers have been so sensible of this sad pleasure, that they have but too often departed from their proper line of duty, and degenerated into mere panegyrists. So far is this, however, from being in accordance with the views of the writer, that he considers such adulatory notices equally useless as regards the reputation of the dead, and discreditable to the motives of the living. It is, then, his intention merely to lay before the public such brief facts, concerning the deceased, as may suffice to render them acquainted with the individual who ministered so osten and so long to their amusement, under the fictitious name, J. CYPRESS, JR., which has been still retained in the title of these volumes.

William Post Hawes, the author of the fugitive pieces now for the first time collected, was the son of Peter Hawes, Esq., a distinguished member of the New York bar, and subsequently secretary of the Washington Insurance Company in this city. He was born on the 4th day of February, 1803, and, at a very early age, commenced a course of study in all the branches of a liberal education, in several—the first-schools of the day. In due course of time he entered at Columbia college, and on the 7th day of August, 1821,—when but 18 years of age—was admitted bachelor of arts, with all the honors; and on the 7th day of August, 1824, master of arts in the same institution, of the Philolexian society of which he had been an honorary member during the greater part of his terms.

Having determined on the honorable profession of the law, as the career most congenial to his habits, he became a student in the office of John Anthon, Esq., now a celebrated member of the New-York bar, and was successively admitted attorney in August, 1824, solicitor in March, 1826, counsellor in the supreme court in May, 1828, and in the court of chancery in May, 1830. It may not be superfluous here to state that Mr. Hawes served in the militia of the state of New-York, from the grade of ensign in January, 1825, through all the successive ranks, to that of colonel of the 222d regiment of infantry, in January, 1836.

From the commencement of his practice as a lawyer at the age of 21, to his untimely end, he continued in that eminent profession; in which he occupied by his talents, industry, and kindly disposition, a highly honorable situation.

In the year 1826 he contracted a matrimonial alliance with Miss Priscilla Morris, by whom he had an interesting family, to which he was ever bound by the kindliest and sweetest ties, not of relationship alone, but of affectionate and earnest solicitude. His premature death, the consequence of a severe and sudden cold, neglected he was engaged on Saturday in the duties of his office, dead on the following Tuesday, and actually buried before the writer of this brief memoir was aware that he had a friend less in this world of care and disappointment-robbed his young daughters and untimely widow of their best earthly friend and only true protector.

The literary career of Mr. Hawes, which with a sensibility characteristic of the man, he ever wished to keep out of sight, commenced at a very early period, the first of his extant papers bearing date of February, 1827, and consisting of a series of articles published in the Gazette, on the then interesting subject of the abduction and supposed murder of the free mason Morgan.

From that period until the day of his death he continued to write, at short and constant intervals, fugitive articles for various periodicals and papers; the principal of which were the. American Monthly Magazine, the Mirror, the New-York Standard, and afterwards, the New York Times. Subsequently, he became a regular contributor to the New-York Spirit of the Times and Turf Register, both issued from the office of those thorough sportsmen and most enterprising publishers, the Messrs. Porter of this city.

With characteristic order and minuteness, all Mr. Hawes' writings were found, after his death, regularly entered and corrected, in a large blank book, kept by him for that purpose from a very remote date, so that the duty, devolved on the editor, has been merely that of selection and arrangement.

Mr. Hawes was a moderate but a steady democrat; never a leveller or disorganizing radical; and almost all his earlier literary productions, whether in prose or verse, are of a political character. These the editor has judged it best to suppress, for several reasons, which he feels it here his duty to lay before the public. First, they are generally of a partizan character, and do not relate to any grand measures of political principle, or such as possess any lasting interest. Second, although clear, sound, and sometimes richly fraught with humor, they are generally inferior to the others, both in character, spirit, and the peculiar racy naivete, which is the most remarkable attribute of his miscellaneous writings.

The papers, of which this little work is composed, were published, with but the exception of one or two original posthumous articles, either in the pages of the American Monthly, and Turf Register, or in the columns of the Mirror, and the Spirit of the Times. Farther than this it is not for the writer to say ; his own estimate of the writings, the character and genius of his friend, has already been recorded in a paper entitled “TO THE MEMORY OF CYPRESS”” published in the Turf Register for May, 1841, which is appended to this memoir as being the embodiment of first impressions, before the writer had the least conception, that on him would fall the lot to be the supervisor and collector of writings, which he so sincerely and enthusiastically admires. The labor which he has undertaken, he has undertaken as being indeed a labor of love; he has brought to it the whole of his energies, the best of his abilities ; and though unused to sue for public favor, he does so far deviate from his accustomed practice as to crave this indulgence—that all the censure of the critics may fall upon his head, while all the praise may be awarded, where it is only due, to his departed friend. The profits of this little

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