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Canadian Biographies, Preface

The Publishers found the second business principle on the fact that they are determined to spare neither labor nor expense in giving to the world the most authentic information how these men have won fortune, how the world has been benefited by their labors, and what has been the turning-point of their success. These examples are of great interest, may spread good seed, encourage the weary, give new life to the desponding, and energy to the aspiring. In the hearts of the young there are ever hopes and yearnings; and although seldom expressed, and often not even acknowledged to themselves, they want only the inspiration of example to point the way, to accomplish a full fruition of their hopes. 

The Publishers believe they are engaged in a laudable enterprise, and trust to a discerning public for a liberal response. It is but just to mention that not one cent has been asked or received from the parties whose biographies have been given in this work; nor is it intended to pander to the vanity of the weak. Eulogy belongs to the dead, not to the living. A record of a man's life and works constitutes his biography; the praise of his virtues is more appropriate in an obituary. It is our object to seek out merit, and by a simple narration of the origin, career, and achievements of individuals, show how the country has become great, and who are the men that have helped to do the work. To know how to achieve success is a laudable craving of the human heart, and to teach by example is the best mode of satisfying that craving. 

The publication of this work will contribute to the supply of materials for the future historian. The day has arrived when something more than the memories of the ancestry of the titled few shall usurp the admiration of mankind. A new era, a new civilization, has sprung up, which furnishes a different material for history. There has been enough written of kings, feudal barons, and the turbulence of unbridled power. It is the social condition of the people that makes the history of Canada, which is by far more interesting, by far more useful, and by far more exemplary, than all the feuds and cabals which crowd the pages of European history. 

The interests of Canada demand-that her history should be modeled after her institutions, and viewed from that standpoint, honor should be given to those who made the country great. A man is a constituent of a community; so is the history of an individual a constituent of the history of a country; and that history which best represents the lives of prominent individuals, will best represent the social condition of a country. 

In making a selection of names for the Biographical Dictionary, the Publishers have aimed to give a view of the representatives of the various interests of this Province: the Statesmen, the Preachers, the Lawyers, the Merchants, the Manufacturers, the Engineers, Educational and Medical Men, and indeed all who take part in the intellectual, social, and material progress of the people. If all are not represented, it is because our efforts have failed to reach them, or because the parties themselves were not familiar with the importance of the work, and have failed to furnish the necessary information. There are some who, from vain pride, have refused information; they feared that their names might be associated with names which did not come up to their standard ; others again, who are worthy citizens, have from a false modesty refused to give particulars, as they said their lives were not of sufficient importance, thereby accepting the position of being supernumeraries in society, who have no share in the common interest-forgetting that in a few years their names, without a record, will be lost in oblivion, and their posterity deprived of the gratification and advantage of reference to an honorable ancestry. 

The Biographical Dictionary will present a galaxy of men whose career will do honor to any country, exhibiting a variety of enterprise and the best illustration of social life ever published. The portraits have the accuracy of photographic art transferred to steel by the ablest engravers of England and America.


Canadian Biographies

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