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The primary object of the publisher of the National Almanac has been to make it, as far as possible, a thoroughly accurate, reliable, and exhaustive authority upon the subjects of which it treats. To this end, every effort has been used, and no expense has been spared. Some practical difficulties have arisen, necessarily incident to the preparation of this, the initial volume of the proposed series; but it is confidently expected that they will be wholly overcome in the succeeding volume for 1864. The arrangements for future publication are believed to be such as will satisfy, in all respects, the wants of the public. No hesitation, however, is felt in referring to the following pages as an earnest of what may be accomplished hereafter; for they contain twice the quantity of matter that has been furnished by any similar work ever published in this country.
In the collection and preparation of this matter, the aim has been to take nothing at secondhand, but to resort, whenever it was practicable so to do, to the original sources of edge. Hence the statistics and statements connected with the civil, military, and naval service of the country have, to a very great extent, been submitted to the examination of official personages for revision and correction, so that they may be considered as embodying not only the latest information, but as communicating it in a form sanctioned by the proper authority.
In addition to the precaution taken by the publisher to secure reliability in this respect, he has also endeavored in like manner to bring the facts down to the date of going to press. The statistics of preceding almanacs have generally been from six to twelve months behindhand, chiefly because their editors have been content to await the tardy publication by Congress of official documents and reports; whereas in the present case, upon application to various departments of the Government, we have been kindly enabled to avail ourselves of the manuscript sources of information.
The valuable results of the last census (the eighth) have been classified and incorporated, so as fully to exhibit the absolute and relative state of the government and people and their progress during the last decade. We have also introduced throughout the work a larger variety of topics, and a far greater copiousness of treatment, than will be found in any publication of this class which has preceded the present. Indeed, the purpose has been to exhibit, for immediate use and future reference, a complete representation of the actual condition of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and the respective States, in their manifold interests, whether political, social, industrial, agricultural, commercial, financial, ecclesiastical, educational, or literary. We hope to present, for each year, in the National Almanac a faithful summary and analysis of the elements of our national life, and thus to make up a record which will possess the value, and merit the permanence, as it will assuredly contain the materials, of history.
On all topics connected with the present state of hostilities, special pains have been taken to insure fulness and reliability. Hence we have prepared a minute and accurate narrative of facts and events; and, in order to render the same complete, it has been carried back to the origin of the struggle, so that there may be found in this and the succeeding numbers of the National Almanac a detailed and unbroken diary of the occurrences of the war from its outbreak, and an obituary record of the officers who have fallen in the contest.
For the carefully prepared sketch of each of the coins of the United States we are indebted to the forthcoming new edition of Bouvier's Law Dictionary. The article was prepared for that work by the Hon. J. Ross Snowden, whose former official connection with the National Mint gives assurance of its entire accuracy. Our thanks are also due to A. Dallas Bache, LL.D., Joseph Henry, LL.D., Professor Gillespie, Professor Coppée, Hon. James Pollock, LL.D., Pliny Earle, M.D., W, V. McKean, Esq., the heads of the Departments at Washington, the Governors and Secretaries of the various States, and to other contributors and correspondents, who have kindly furnished aid and extended facilities to us in the preparation of the work. We regret that most of the valuable material transmitted by various officers of the army and navy reached us at a period too late for use in this volume. It is, however, duly appreciated, and will be embodied in our next year's issue.
The publisher will, at all times, be happy to receive contributions and suggestions from all who may feel an interest in the undertaking.
G. W. C. PHILADELPHIA, January 1, 1863.
Note.-The National Almanac will hereafter be issued about the 15th of December of each year.
Insanity, and Hospitals for Insane..................
Judiciary, Supreme Court, &c..........
Titles and Abstracts of Public Laws...
Changes in Relative Position of States from 1790 to 1860.