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On presenting the second volume of the National Portrait GalLERY of Distinguished Americans to the public, the conductors find themselves in a position again to express their thanks for the encouragement they have continually received from every section of the Union; and also for the valuable assistance which has been offered to them by the talented contributors to the literary portion of the work.
It is unnecessary here to speak of the unwearied exertions which have been used in collecting and arranging the materials of which this volume is composed; a moment's reflection, and a glance at the extensive range of our subjects, will show that the labor has not been light; but it is proper to state, and we feel justified in saying, that as conductors of a national work, we have never lost sight of our responsibility to the public, but have faithfully endeavored to fulfil every pledge given at the commencement.
We only ask this to be borne in mind, that the publication of so extensive a series of portraits, in the same space of time, had never before been attempted in this country, and that in general, the talents of our Engravers had to be trained to this particular branch of the art upon this work. How well they have succeeded, every one will judge from the evidence submitted. Thus far, then, the Portrait Gallery has been a school for the best talent of the country: no Artist of respectable qualifications has been refused employment, and every one employed has been encouraged to strive for the mastery, by his best exertions being rewarded according to his own estimate of their value.
For the future, we cannot promise greater efforts, but greater success we confidently anticipate, from the increased means which have been developed and improved.
JAMES B. LONGACRE.