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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839, by MARSH, CAPEN, LYON, AND WEBB,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


It is the intention of the Publishers of THE SCHOOL LIBRARY, to furnish to its readers, in-the department of Biography, an account of some of the most prominent individuals who have figured in the history of our natal land, from the days of the early voyagers to America, down to our own times.

The field opened to them, in this department, abounds in rich, rare, and varied materials; which, wrought into proper form, cannot fail to prove both interesting and profitable. It is, of course, impossible, in a series like THE LIBRARY, which is intended to embrace works in every department of Science and Literature, to appropriate an entire volume to the delineation of the character of each individual, whom it may be desirable to introduce to the reader, or whose life and deeds may be deemed worthy of being held up as examples for imitation.

So conspicuous, however, is the stand, which some have occupied, so large a space did they fill in the history of their times, so completely identified were they with the leading transactions or important events of their age, that a few pages would furnish space to give but a dry, meager, and unsatisfactory account of their lives and actions. Such, for example, is the case as respects Columbus, and Washington. To each of these eminent individuals, an entire volume has therefore been appropriated: the Life and Voyages of the former, by Washington Irving, constitutes the first volume of THE SCHOOL LIBRARY,— the Life of the latter, by the Rev. C. W. Upham, being now in the course of preparation for a subsequent volume of the same Series. Franklin may be mentioned, as another individual whose services and discoveries will require at least one volume being devoted to them, to do any thing like justice to the illustrious Philosopher




Life, and a selection from his Writings, are in a state of forwardness. He is also briefly mentioned as a signal instance of "the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties,” in another work which has been prepared for the LIBRARY.

Of by far the greater number of individuals, however, who have identified themselves with the history of this Country, biographical sketches, only, will be presented. These will necessarily vary much in length, as the aim will be to exhibit every .characteristic trait of the person delineated, and describe every important event, with which he was connected or in which he was concerned ; but at the same time to avoid that extreme minuteness of detail, naturally. looked for in a complete Life.

In justice to Mr..Sparks; the editor of the American Biography,' we would state, that the following volumes, with which we commence the collection of Biographical Sketches, were selected from his series. By an arrangement with his Publishers, Hilliard, Gray, & Co., the Publishers of this LIBRARY secured the right of making such selections, as they might wish, from the whole series; and in exercising that right, they have chosen those Lives which were deemed best suited to the object had in view. Several of the Lives, although suitable for the publication for which they were furnished, are not well adapted to a School Library; and have been studiously avoided : the remainder, with but few exceptions, will be found here embodied; these three volumes embracing nearly the whole matter contained in six volumes of the 'Biography.' Numerous errors, existing in the original, have been corrected; a full Table of Contents, and a Glossary, will be found in each volume; several autographs, not in the original, have been given; and additional and explanatory remarks have been added, where found necessary to render the text more clear and intelligible, or where called for, in consequence of more recent events. To the third volume, is appended a copious Index, which will be found of essential service in making references.

The collection will be continued, at suitable intervals, by the addition of other volumes, consisting of materials selected and prepared expressly for the LIBRARY. Boston, June, 1839. T. H. W.

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