The compilation of a history of any country is a serious matter, and should not be entered upon rashly. Before undertaking the present work, therefore, the author deliberated for twenty-nine years and six months, and then, having consulted the best legal as well as medical authorities, entered upon the task with fear and trembling. He hired a vacant lot on Nassau street, and fenced it in, and there, surrounded by the paraphernalia of literature and art, he went to work with pen and pencil to jot down the leading incidents of American history to the best of a somewhat defective memory. The illustrations have been our chief care, though the letter-press will be found equally reliable. It was our original plan to flavor these pages with a spice of romance, but after a prolonged altercation with Mr. Carleton, our publisher, we decided to adhere strictly to facts. If the reader should happen to detect any slight anachronism in this work, or has reason to suspect that the unities have been lost sight 12of in a single instance, he will please notify us as early as possible. When it first became noised abroad that we contemplated bringing out an illustrated history of the United States we were deluged with letters from a host of well-disposed persons, such as Thomas Carlyle, James Parton, Wendell Phillips and others of more or less literary ability, offering to “write up” to our pictures. Mr. Carlyle said he could do it nights. But the public was not to be trifled with, so we resolved to put our shoulder to the literary as well as the artistic wheel, as it were, and we flatter ourselves we have demonstrated in these pages that truth is more of a stranger than fiction.
Our task is completed, and we lay aside pen and pencil, feeling that we have done the State a service and that a great load is off our mind. If the work we have just completed shall run through several editions we shall feel that the State has proved sufficiently grateful, and that a still greater load is off our mind.