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1866. , 9 -

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by

D. APPLETON & Co., In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the

Southern District of New York

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“Such letters,” says Lord Bacon, “as are written from wise men, are, of all the words of man, in my judgment, the best; for they are more natural than orations and public speeches, and more advised than conferences or private ones.” The sources of pleasure and instruction to be found in the private correspondence of eminent persons, have never been fully explored; much less have they been rendered accessible to the bulk of the reading public. Our language abounds in letters which contain the most vivid pictures of manners, and the most faithful and striking delineations of character; which are full of wit, wisdom, fancy, useful knowledge, noble and pious sentiment.

The task of the Editor has been that of selection from many hundreds of volumes, of classification upon some comprehensive system, and of occasional illustration and explana. tion. Whilst our earlier literature has been freely laid under contribution, much material has been been derived from the more recent. No letter has been introduced to which it was supposed any exception could be taken on the ground of taste or morals. Those only have been selected whose

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