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The Publishers apologize for the delay in issuing this volume, which was announced by them as in press, more than one year since, shortly after the decease of its illustrious subject. Gov. Seward, in undertaking its preparation, was well aware of the engrossing attention which his professional duties required, but looked constantly for relaxation from his multiplied business engagements, in the hope that he might be able to .complete the work commenced by him. It however became necessary for its timely completion, to obtain the literary assistance of an able writer, who has, under his auspices, completed the work. The Publishers confidently believe, that it will in all respects, be received as a faithful and impartial history of the Life of the “Old Man Eloquent,” and worthy a place in the library of every friend of liberty and humanity.
The claims of this volume are humble. For more than half a century John Quincy Adams had occupied a prominent position before the American people, and filled a large space in his country's history. His career was protracted to extreme old age.
He outlived political enmity and party rancor. His purity of life-his elevated and patriotic principles of action -his love of country, and devotion to its interests his advocacy of human freedom, and the rights of man --brought all to honor and love him. Admiring legislators hung with rapture on the lips of the Old Man Eloquent,” and millions eagerly perused the sentiments he uttered, as they were scattered by the press in every town and hamlet of the Western Continent. At his decease, there was a general desire expressed for a history of his life and times. A work of this description was understood to be in preparation by his family. It was not probable, however, that this could appear under several years, and when published, would undoubtedly be placed, by its size and cost, beyond the reach of the great mass of readers. In view of these circumstances, there was an evident want of a volume of more limited compass—a book which would come within the means of the people generally,—and adapted not only for libraries, and the higher classes of society, but would find its way into the midst of those moving in the humbler walks of life. To supply this want, the present work has been prepared. The endeavor has been made to compress within a brief compass, the principal events of the life of Mr. Adams, and the scenes in which he participated ; and to portray the leading traits of character which distinguished him from his contemporaries. It has been the aim to present such an aspect of the history and principles of this wonderful man, as shall do justice to his memory, and afford an example which the youth of America may profitably imitate in seeking for a model by which to shape their course through life. How far this end has been attained, an intelligent and candid public must determine.