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ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.


THE need of a good portable Universal Biography has been long felt, not only by literary men but by the reading public in general. With the exception of Maunder's Biographical Treasury, published in London, there is none extant. The small works of Jones, Bellchambers, Davenport, &c., are very incomplete; and as they are only brought down to the time of their publication, quite valueless now. Maunder's book is for the most part excellent, condensing a vast variety of biographical knowledge within a small compass, and coming down to the year 1850; but the objections to it are, that it almost wholly ignores American names, and is quite anti-republican in its sympathies. Under the titles of the various kings, too, it furnishes a great deal of matter which properly belongs to history, to the exclusion of more appropriate subjects.

The compiler of the present volume, therefore, making Maunder the basis of his work, has endeavored to preserve the compactness, while he improved upon the fidelity and comprehensiveness of his original. He has re-written most of the articles, either to enlarge or condense them; and has added a vast number of names, especially of American men of eminence, and those who have died since former works were prepared. In all cases he has consulted the most reliable authorities, and given as much authentic information under each head as could be condensed into the allotted space.

Of course a work of this kind can be little more than a record of names and dates; it gives no scope to the expression of opinions, and its merits, if it has any, must be simply those of accuracy and comprehen

compiler believes that his Many names are doubtless

siveness. In these respects, therefore, the work is the best now offered to the public. omitted which ought to have been in it, and many are in it which might better have been omitted; but on the whole, he thinks that he has presented as large a variety of names, and said as much about each of them, as will be required by ordinary readers. Students and investigators will always have at hand the larger works of Gorton, Chalmers, Rose, the Biographie Universelle, and the Encyclopedias.

It should be added, that besides Maunder, the compiler has consulted the works of Allen, Blake, and Aikin, and particularly that most valuable publication, the Encyclopedia Americana by Prof. Lieber, with its continuation by Professor Vethake. In the typographical arrangement, in order to save room, all the same generic names are treated under one head, in the manner of classical dictionaries, and the initial letters of the words "born" and "died," which so often occur, are commonly used in place of the full word.

P. G.

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