The thought of writing these memoirs was suggested to me by
a gentleman, who was a newspaper writer, whom I met in Pensacola
several years ago. I was having a pleasant conversation with
him in which I related some of the incidents of my life, when
he said: "Mr. Skinner, you ought to write a book giving the
events of your life; I am sure it would be very interesting."
I gave the suggestion no thought until after I was paralyzed.
In that condition I could do little but read and talk; often
I found the time hang heavily upon me. After some experimenting
I found that the dictating of these reminiscences made the time
pass pleasanter to me, as it busied my mind.
Another reason for writing this book is that I might avoid
the utter oblivion which is the condition of humanity in general,
a short time after this life is ended, and from which man shrinks
in his normal condition.
My life has been more stirring and exciting than the plain
narrative herein related will convey to the reader.
My conduct has been governed by my own judgment, as I have
not had an older and wiser head to give me the benefit of advice
when such might have been beneficial; when it would have been
received and followed if the proper course had been suggested
to me, as events in my life have occurred.
I have sometimes regretted that I did not continue in the profession
of the law, but circumstances seemed to force me into a business
life, against my will. Whether my success at law would have
been more satisfactory to me than my business life has been,
will always remain unknown.
I trust this book will be a source of interest and satisfaction
to my descendants as it shows how and where I spent my life
and my statements regarding these events.
Emory Fiske Skinner.