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Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1855, by
In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the District of Columbia.
It is the design of this volume to embody in a convenient form the interesting and valuable information contained in the Executive Documents communicated to Congress at the commencement of its session, in accordance with the constitutional provision which requires the PRESIDENT to make an annual report to that body of THE STATE OF THE UNION.
The annual message of the PRESIDENT and the reports of the DEPARTMENTS contain matter of interest to every American citizen; valuable for immediate use and for future reference. With the documents annexed, they are too voluminous to appear in the newspapers, and only a few of the most important are printed even in the leading political journals of the great cities. They thus reach comparatively few of the large number who are entitled to be made acquainted with their contents; and them in a form not convenient for preservation. To separate what is of permanent interest in these documents from what is temporary and unimportant— to arrange it and make it easy of reference in a volume which every one would be glad to possess and preserve-has seemed to the editor a work of sufficient importance to justify the preparation of the volume now submitted to the public.
The contents of the work are exclusively of official authority. The reports of the Heads of Departments and those of some of the most important bureaus are given entire, and constitute the body of the work.