"May 30, 1893.
"My dear Nicolay,: As you and Colonel Hay have now brought your great work to a most successful conclusion by the publication of your life of my father, I hope and request that you and he will supplement it by collecting, editing, and publishing the speeches, letters, state papers and miscellaneous writings of my father. You and Colonel Hay have my consent and authority to obtain for yourselves such protection by copyright, or otherwise, in respect to the whole or any part of such a collection, as I might for any reason be entitled to have.
"Believe me, very sincerely yours,
"ROBERT T. LINCOLN.
"JOHN G. NICOLAY."
Both in fulfilment of the request contained in the foregoing letter, and in execution of a long-cherished design, we present to the public this
viedition of the Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, hoping and trusting that it will be received as a welcome addition to American historical literature.
JNO. G. NICOLAY,
Something more than a decade has elapsed since the preceding words were written, and during that period the assiduity of a multitude of Lincoln collectors has brought to light a large amount of manuscript material which inevitably escaped even such conscientious workers as Nicolay and Hay. The collectors have been so diligent during this period it is hardly probable that any of Lincoln's writings of importance can be any longer undiscovered. The aim has been to collect this material, add it to the work of the two great biographers, and so make a complete and definitive edition.
The chronological arrangement of the original edition has been followed and all new additions to the text inserted in their respective places and marked with an asterisk.
Explanatory and biographical notes have been added where deemed necessary to explain obscure allusions or to preserve the continuity of the narrative. These notes are mostly new;
viithose for which Nicolay and Hay remain responsible are in this edition signed with their initials.
Lincoln's personality inspired hundreds of the most prominent men of the 19th century to utter some tribute to his genius. The best and most appropriate of these have been selected as introductions to the different volumes of this edition.
For permission to reprint copyrighted material grateful acknowledgment is due to the Century Co., Chas. Scribner's Sons, Small, Maynard & Co., Fox, Duffield & Co., the Dresden Publishing Co., Horace Traubel, McClure, Phillips & Co., D. Appleton & Co., and Howard Wilford Bell.
Special thanks are also due to numerous private collectors who have assisted the work by giving valuable suggestions and lending autograph letters, illustrations, etc., particularly to Mr. Judd Stewart of Plainfield, N. J., Major William H. Lambert of Philadelphia, Mr. C. W. McLellan of New York, Judge Daniel Fish of Minneapolis, and Mr. Richard Watson Gilder, editor of the "Century Magazine."