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THERE are two exigencies in authorship equally perplexing: one is, the absence of a theme when composition is
necessary; the other, the presence of a theme which must be condensed within certain limits. Comparatively exhaustive as, it is hoped, the following pages will be found, the things of which they treat require much more extensive elaboration. Nowhere, probably, can there be found so small a territory embracing as many objects of interest as are contained in the District of Columbia ; and yet the citizens of the United States have but a faint conception of the value of the seat of government, and foreign nations still cling to the belief that the distances between the public buildings exceed their magnificence.
The critics must decide the literary merits of this work; but we respectfully submit that, in accuracy of statement, it is to be relied upon; because none but acknowledged literary and scientific authorities have been consulted, and those have been carefully compared.
Great pains have been bestowed upon the classifica
tion of topics; and it is believed that the volume will be equally acceptable to the residents in the District, and to those who feel that the history of a nation's political Capital is the best register of national progress.
The editor trusts that his work may vindicate its right to existence, and prove a sufficient record of the love and pains of its parentage; and he acknowledges his indebtedness to many gentlemen for assistance, especially to C. W. HINMAN, Esq., Baron de OSTEN SACKEN, Professors Henry, BAIRD, FORD, Gill, ULKE, and Jillson, and Doctors GALE, FORCE, and FOREMAN. It is due to T. U. WALTER, Esq., to mention that the engraving of the capital of a column, on page 122, was designed by that gentleman.