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OF THE UNITED STATES
JOHN FISKE, CARL SCHURZ, WILLIAM E. RUSSELL,
JOHN HAY, AND OTHERS
JAMES GRANT WILSON
Many of the brief biographies of the twenty-three Presidents of the United States contained in this volume were written by distinguished scholars and statesmen who were peculiarly fitted by their training or contact with our chief magistrates to render ample justice to their subjects, and also to treat them with what Edmund Burke describes as “the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.” Several of the monographs were especially prepared for this work, while the larger number were written for “Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography." In some instances they have been revised and enlarged for the present volume. These three-and-twenty articles contain a complete record of the most important events in the nation's history from the inauguration of our first President to the summer of 1894, a period of more than one hundred and five years, and including twenty-seven administrations. The well-known writers of these model biographies of our chief magistrates are not responsible for the brief notices of the ladies of the White House, for the sketches of other persons connected with the families of the Presidents, for the bibliographies accompanying their monographs, nor for the selection of the many illustrations in the text, which it is believed will enhance the interest and value of the volume. These have been added by the editor. The twenty-three steel portraits have been engraved from the best originals obtainable, and the interesting series of facsimiles, with three excep
tions, were taken from the editor's complete collection of letters written by the Presidents, concerning some of whomsuch as Washington, the elder Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Grant-it may safely be said, “upon the adamant of their fame the stream of time beats without injury." For those of John Adams, James Monroe, and Andrew Johnson the publishers are indebted to the courtesy of William Evarts Benjamin, the New York dealer in autographs and engravings, as those three examples in the editor's set of letters of our chief magistrates were not well adapted for use in this work.
New YORK, August, 1894.