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THE

LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS

OF THE

UNITED STATES;

EMBRACING A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE

PRINCIPAL EVENTS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE ADMINISTRATIONS,

TO WHICH IS APPENDED,

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES,
WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS, A LIST OF CABINET OFFICERS, AND A
TABLE OF THE YEARLY EXPENDITPRES OF THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT.

Pobre
BY BENSON J. LOSSING.

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NEW YORK:
H. PHELPS & CO., 124 NASSAU ST.

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53728
5869.5.2 1972, May 7

Gift of
Mrs. Elizabeth A. Sturston,

O Hest Newton.

HARVARD
UNIVERSITY

LIRDARY
SIP Ni 1968

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847,

BY H. PHELPS & CO., in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Southern

District of New York.

PREFACE.

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We have prepared the following pages with the single purpose of presenting in a popular form, for the instruction of youthful Americans, the leading events in the respective lives and administrations of those who have been called to preside over the affairs of our republic. This is the first of a series of works, adapted to the tastes and wants of the young American, which we intend to prepare for the press, under the earnest impression that in this way germs of knowledge, particularly useful to the American citizen, may be from time to time implanted in the luxuriant soil of the popular mind, that will, in the future, spring up and bring forth fruit a thousand-fold.

Princes, especially those who are heirs-apparent to the throne of royalty, are instructed with the utmost care in all lessons of wisdom, and in the duties pertaining to the conduct of a reigning sovereign. Here, every boy is heir-apparent to the throne of sovereignty, and every girl may become a queen-mother. Hence it follows that general instruction upon subjects of national importance those which relate to our history, jurisprudence, the characters of men active in our public affairs past and present, and all other topics with which an American statesman and enlightened citizen ought to be familiar — can not be too early instilled into the mind of the young of both sexes. The limits to which we shall restrict ourselves will preclude the possibility of treating any of these subjects in minute detail ; but we shall endeavor so to condense the principal points of interest, that no important omission will be found. If we shall thus succeed in depositing merely the germs of general information in the young mind, that, like nursery-tales, shall take deep root and never be forgotten; or if we shall be instrumental in developing a thirst for knowledge, and awakening earnest inquiries and investigation respecting the things we present to view, our object will be more than half accomplished, and we shall gladly perform the duty of usher at the portals of popular intelligence, pointing like a guidepost to the spacious galleries within: for we had rather be a door-keeper in the house of wisdom than to dwell in the tents of ignorance.

In sketching the lives of the presidents, and the events of their respective administrations, we have been obliged to study and practise brevity; but we

believe we have embraced all of the most important events connected with
their career. We have devoted much more space to the first three than to any
of the others for the obvious reason that, during the twenty years intervening
between the inauguration of Washington and the retirement of Jefferson, the
disjointed materials of a new government were adjusted and fixed, and the gen-
eral policy of the country was established upon a basis still recognised as the
true and just one.

We have appended the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the
United States, and Washington's Farewell Address, being documents that prop-
erly belong in this connexion : for the first declared us free; the second is the
chart by which the ship of state is guided; and the third is a lesson of sound
practical wisdom for those who hold the helm. An addendum of much inter-
est is also given, which shows the various phases of the executive branch of
the government, and the fiscal affairs of the country, at all periods since the
formation of our federal compact. With this general notice of our object and
design, we cast our crumb upon the waters.

B. J. L.

NEW YORK, September, 1847.

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