In this book, Ulysses S. Grant's life story reaches its end. Mexico had interested Ulysses S. Grant since the young lieutenant fought there. Now, as president of the Mexican Southern Railroad, he emerged as a strong advocate of increased trade and investment. Appointed by President Chester A. Arthur to negotiate a commercial treaty, Grant spent most of January 1883, working on the project. For months, Grant promoted the resulting treaty, granting interviews, giving speeches, and toasting visiting Mexican statesman Porfirio Diaz. The Senate ultimately rejected the treaty amid charges that Grant had crafted provisions to benefit his moribund railroad. As Grant lost influence in the White House and in Congress, he turned his attention and energy elsewhere. In September 1883, Grant joined a tour to celebrate the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad, begun during his first presidential term. From Minnesota to Oregon, Grant saw firsthand the rapid growth of the northwest. 'I was not prepared to see so rich a country or one so rapidly developing'. Grant wrote a series of articles about his Civil War campaigns, and then began his ""Memoirs"". In February 1885, he was diagnosed with cancer. Newspapers published daily updates as Grant's health steadily declined. Fading health spurred Grant to finish his ""Memoirs"". He completed the first of two volumes by March. The second was nearly done in June, when the Grants left sweltering New York City for upstate Mount McGregor. Here Grant finished his work and faced his end, unable to speak, communicating by notes to his doctors and friends. 'There never was one more willing to go than I am'. Grant died on July 23, his family at his side.
The late John Y. Simon was a professor of history at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He wrote or edited, in addition to the thirty published volumes of the Grant Papers, four books, among which is The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant. Aaron M. Lisec is associate editor of the Grant Papers. Leigh Fought is assistant editor of the Grant Papers. Cheryl R. Ragar is textual editor of the Grant Papers.