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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by

G. P. PUTNAM AND Co., the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for

the Southern District of New York.

1

1

PREFACE.

It was

HE present volume completes work

to which the author had long looked

forward as the crowning effort of his literary career.

The idea of writing a life of Washington entered at an early day into his mind. especially pressed upon his attention nearly thirty years ago while he was in Europe, by a proposition of the late Mr. Archibald Constable, the eminent publisher of Edinburgh, and he resolved to undertake it as soon as he should return to the United States, and be within reach of the necessary documents.

Various circumstances occurred to prevent him from carrying this resolution into prompt effect. It remained, however, a cherished purpose of his heart, which he has at length, though somewhat tardily, accomplished.

The manuscript for the present volume was nearly ready for the press some months since, but the author, by applying himself too closely in his eagerness to finish it, brought on a nervous indisposition, which unfitted him for a time for the irksome but indispensable task of revision. In this he has been kindly assisted by his nephew, Pierre Munro Irving, who had previously aided

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