The sketches in this volume vary in length and minuteness, not from a disposition, on my part, to withhold facts, but because a few of my subjects are too cautious to allow their private history to go before the public; nevertheless, the work contains full and accurate details of the private and public history of our “Presidential Candidates”—not one of whom has any idea of the position I have assigned him.
In selecting candidates, of course, I have followed my own judgment—had I made use of everybody’s, I might fill a dozen volumes. I have sketched the prominent men who have been named in connection with the Presidency in 1860. Messrs. Buchanan and Pierce I have passed over as men who have gone through a campaign—and through a Presidential term—and the people know them. It is the men who have not run the race for Presidential honors—the new men—of whom the public would learn something, or I have made a mistake in writing this book. The general reader will easily find in the volume the position of any candidate on the issues of the day; and possibly, beside, interesting personal details which show the character of the man.