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THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, WITH THE FAC-SIMILES OF
FAC-SIMILES OF THE AUTOGRAPHS OF A LARGE NUM-
BER OF DISTINGUISHED INDIVIDUALS.
BY LEWIS C. MUNN.
PUBLISHED BY THE COMPILER,
120 WASHINGTON STREET.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by
LEWIS O. MUNN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
PRINTED BY STACY AND RICHARDSON, NO. 11 Milk street.
It has long been the belief of the compiler of "THE AMERICAN ORATOR” that a work of its character could not fail to be of interest to the public. We are emphatically a nation of talkers. The ambition of nearly all our men of intellectual eminence seems to be to succeed in the field of oratorical display. From those fortunate individuals who have secured for themselves a seat in our national and state legislatures, down to the more humble, but not less ambitious, personage who edifies the public on Fourth of July occasions, or from the village lyceum rostrum, all exhibit the most unconquerable desire to obtain the reputation which Brutus possessed and Antony disclaimed.
It would be singular, indeed, if out of this mass of matter continually given to the public, much that is meritorious should not be produced. With this conviction, it has been the aim of the compiler to endeavor to present, in a necessarily limited compass, what he deemed the fairest specimens of the abilities of those who had attained the highest rank in their vocation. In this somewhat arduous labor, he has in some instances been kindly assisted by the authors themselves, and he would avail himself of this occacasion to return to them his grateful acknowledgments.
In selecting the “Specimens," the design has been to represent both the pulpit and the forum. If the extracts from efforts made in the latter field shall seem to preponderate, the compiler offers as his excuse the fact that it is here the American mind seems most naturally to seek its development, and consequently here we find its most characteristic representation.
In the Appendix to the work, it is believed, there is presented an entirely original feature. Allusion is made to the large collection of fac similes of the autographs of distinguished men of this and other countries; and, in this connection, the compiler cannot omit to acknowledge his great obligations to that “prince” of autograph collectors, CHARLES H. MORSE, Esq., of Cambridgeport, Mass., who has, with the kindest liberality, placed his invaluable collection entirely at his service, in preparing the work.
BOSTON, January, 1853.