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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by S. G. GOODRICH, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts,
In writing the Lives of the Presidents of the United States, i has been difficult to preserve the strict impartiality which the nature of the work requires, and avoid running either into eulogy or abuse. The circumstances of their administration are so recent, that one who has lived through the greater portion of them, and entered into all the excited feelings of party strife, can hardly be supposed capable of divesting himself of prejudices, and passions, however much he may desire to be an honest chronicler of the times. We can only say, that it has been our sincere aim and endeavor to see near events with the
eye distant spectator, and to anticipate the dispassionate judgment which posterity will pass upon the great men who have administered our Government. The affairs of the last twenty years are yet hardly ripe for the biographer, and the materials for their history are scattered in various directions, and to be drawn from many different sources. That all those sources should be pure, is more than can be expected; but we have uniformly endeavored to resort only to those least exposed to suspicion.
For the materials of our work, we owe much obligation to many distinguished writers. To the Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by a gentleman who has done a great deal for the illustration of American history, we have been much indebted in the course of the volume, and particularly in our summary of their biographies. To the eloquent eulogist of Mr. Monroe, to Marshall, Bancroft, Ramsay, Thacher, Tudor, Wirt, Lee, Jefferson, Irving, Knapp, the author of a Biographical Sketch of J. Q. Adams, Goodrich, Hinton, the editor of American Anecdotes, the author of the History of the United States, published in Lardner's Cyclopædia, to Eaton, Goodwin, the editors of the Annual Register and North American Review, and many others, of whose labors we have had occasion to avail ourselves, we take this opportunity of noticing our repeated obligations. It is idle, in a work of this description, to pretend to originality, and unfair not to acknowledge the sources to which we have been indebted.