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This volume is intended to present a brief outline of the principal changes and incidents in the lives of individuals of all ranks, professions, and pursuits, who, by their services to literature, science, or the arts, to their country, or to mankind, are supposed to have rendered their personal history a subject of interest to the intelligent public. As convenient size and moderate price are principal recommendations to a work of reference, the notices have been condensed, in order to embrace as much information as possible in the smallest compass. The omission of customary phraseology in the introduction of facts, and the other licenses of condensation which have been taken, reduce the volume to at least one-half of the ordinary proportions for a corresponding amount of information, while it is believed, that the individual facts are presented with sufficient clearness to prevent misconceptions or errors arising from brevity or ellipsis.

Some may complain that no comments have been made on the actions or works of the respective personages who form the subjects of the memoirs. Supposing such an attempt could have been accomplished in the case of six hundred “Eminent Living Men,” without being open to the charge of presumption, it would have defeated our purpose of keeping the volume within moderate limits. But it is not likely that many of our readers, who are qualified to form their own notions as to the literary, social, or any other particular status of the individuals about whose personal history they care to inquire, would value the opinions of another, of whose tendencies to partiality, or of whose capabilities to review all classes of men and all sorts of works they may be entirely ignorant.


may be said, and not without cause, that the relative claims of each individual have not been strictly attended to in the allocation of our space. This inequality arises, not from purpose, but from the nature of the contents, and the peculiar circumstances in which the materials for the compilation of a book of this description must necessarily be obtained. The lives of some great men are so devoid of noteworthy variety, as to furnish but little for the annalist to record that would interest the public. The peculiar nature of the profession or pursuits of others requires more detail to present

an intelligible abstract of the steps by which they have reached distinction. In the case of a third, and perhaps the most numerous class, it was found necessary to limit our data to the extent of our information.

these pages.

We have, of course, been indebted to many authorities for the facts which are crowded into

For Continental names we acknowledge our obligations to Vapereau's “Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains ;” and the “Biographie Universelle des Contemporains : "— for American names, to Allibone's Dictionary of “British and American Authors ; ” Ripley's “ American Encyclopædia;” &c.:

» &c.:- for those belonging to this country, the sources of our information have been so numerous, and so varied, as to render an enumeration of them useless, and, in fact, impossible; suffice it, that we have scrupulously refrained from availing ourselves of facts which could be regarded as the exclusive property of others, although we might, in a few instances, have benefited by such appropriations. Nearly one hundred, however, of the memoirs of persons belonging to this country only, including some of the most distinguished names in the volume, have never, so far as we know, been published before in any form whatever. The materials for the compilation of these have been obtained by private

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