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PUBLIC LIBRARY

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STEREOTYPED BY

GEORGE A. CURTIS,
N. ENGLAND TYPE AND STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY, BOSTON.

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PREFACE.

It is not the purpose of this volume to present the lives of all, or any considerable portion, of those persons who have acquired the most enviable of titles--that of BENEFactors or MANKIND. Nothing more is attempted than to lay before the reader brief sketches of a few of those persons who may lay claim to this designation, either for their deeds, their example, or their influence.

There are several reflections suggested by our subject, which are worthy of consideration. In the first place, it is to be remarked, that a BOOK OF BENEFACTORs, though it be devoted to the memory of those most truly honored of mankind, does not include mere warriors, wits, geniuses, statesmen and millionares--those who are apt to fancy that they are the masterspirits of mankind.

Another reflection is this--that goodnegg--beneficence—is felt and acknowledged by mankind. Though accidental circumstances---fleeting passions or prejudices--may obscure the light of virtue, so that it is unseen for a time-still, that light is ever tending to struggle out from the mists, and always commands the homage of the human heart, when it is perceived. It is clear,' therefore, that there is a moral as well as a physical sun in the universe, and that its rays are as truly adapted to a soul within, as the pencils of natural light to the optic nerve.

Another reflection, and a grateful one to the American bosom, is, that our country has furnished the finest character-that acknowledged by the civil. ized world to be the finestin the annals of our race, at least in modern times. The value of Washington's example, aside from his great deeds in our behall, is beyond calculation, if we use it aright. His character is not only of inestimable worth, as a model upon which to mould our youth; but

is it not also of great significance, in respect to our institutions, and indeed to the cause of human advancement, that it should have been formed in resisting monarchical despotism and in laying the foundations of a republic ?

The reader will remark that we have not confined our selections of benefactors to those who stand before the world, professedly, as such. Those who have been eminently useful, though in the pursuit of their own avocations, we have esteemed as doers of good to mankind, and given them a place in our

of this class are Fulton, Whitney, Arkwright and others. For the brief sketches of some of this class, toward the close of the volume, we are largely indebted to the valuable little work, entitled Exemplary Biography, by Chambers, of Edinburgh.

pages.

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