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The committee intrusted with the publication of a volume as a souvenir of Chicago's celebration of the centennial anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as President of the United States, and the beginning of constitutional government in America, have completed their task. They now have the honor to offer it, through the General Executive Committee, to the public. They claim for it no literary merit save that which it owes to the distinguished citizens of the republic who lent their assistance to the celebration. It is a compilation. Out of the hundreds of earnest, thoughtful sermons that were preached on the occasion, out of the hundreds of eloquent orations that were delivered, they have chosen such as in their judgment would best inculcate the lessons which it was the purpose of the celebration to convey. They have been compelled by the limitations of a single volume to omit many addresses that were in every way worthy of preservation, equally worthy, perhaps, with some that are to be found in its pages. With such an embarrassment of riches the work of selection was a difficult one, and it will be remarkable if they have made no mistakes.
It is the hope of the committee that this souvenir volume may obtain wide circulation. They believe that its pages contain patriotic germs which should sink deep into the minds and hearts of the young, and hereafter bear fruit that will be for the glory of the republic. If it shall do no more than impress the truth that a Nation, not a mere aggregation of states, was inaugurated
a century ago, it will have accomplished much. If it shall create a desire for a closer knowledge of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton and all those grand patriots who were present at the birth of the Nation, the study of American history
-a study too much neglected in our public schools—will do the rest.
In conclusion, the committee have only to express the thanks due to those who have kindly aided in the preparation of the volume, and to record the pleasant nature of the associations which this labor brought about. It is peculiarly gratifying that from the inception of the plan of the celebration to the completion of the book, there was a unanimity of sentiment and a cordiality' of relations that have made the recollection of the work like a sweet savor to those who participated in it.