Evert one that reads, every one that mingles in society, is constantly meeting with allusions to subjects on which he needs and desires further information. In conversation, in trade, in professional life, on the farm, in the family, questions are continually arising, which no man, well read or not, can always satisfactorily answer. If the facilities for reference are at hand, they are consulted, and not only is the curiosity gratified, and the stock of knowledge increased, but perhaps information is gained and ideas are suggested that will directly contribute to the business success of the party concerned.
But how are these facilities for reference to be had? IIow are the million to procure a library? How are they to obtain the means of informing themselves on every point in which they may be interested; of satisfying themselves with respect to persons and places, questions of art and science, religion and politics, literature and philosophy, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures? How can the working-man hope to bring within his reach the whole circle of sciences, and every point of human knowledge as developed up to the present moment? We answer, by subscribing to The American CyclopAedia.
A Cyclopaedia is preëminently the work for our country and generation. No one has time to grope among a hundred different works for every fact required, without the certainty of finding it at last. With a Cyclopaedia, embracing every important subject, and having its topics alphabetically arranged, not a moment is lost. The matter in question is found at once, digested, condensed, stripped of all that is irrelevant and unnecessary, and verified by a comparison of the best authorities. Moreover, while only men of fortune can collect a library complete in all the departments of knowledge, a Cyclopaedia, worth in itself, for purposes of reference, at least a thousand volumes, is within the reach of all - the clerk, the merchant, the professional man, the farmer, the mechanic. In a country like ours, where the humblest may be called to responsible positions requiring intelligence and general information, the value of such a work cannot be over-estimated.
Plan of the Cyclopaedia. The American CyclopAedia presents a panoramic view of all human knowledge, as it exists at the present moment. It embraces and popularizes every subject that can be thought of. In its successive volumes is contained an inexhaustible fund of accurate and practical information on Art and Science in all their branches, including Mechanics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Philosophy, Chemistry, and Physiology; on Agriculture, Commerce, and Manufactures; on Law, Medicine, and Theology; on Biography and History, Geography and Ethnology; on Political Economy, the Trades, Inventions, Politics, the Things of Common Life, and General Literature.
The Industrial Arts, and those branches of Practical Science which have a direct bearing on our every-day life, such as Domestic Economy, Ventilation, the Heating of Houses, Diet, etc., are treated with the thoroughness which their great importance demands. Technical terms are here as far as possible avoided, that all the information given may be practically understood and applied.
The department of Biography is full and complete, embracing the lives of all eminent persons, ancient and modern. In American biography, particularly, great pains have been taken to present the most comprehensive and accurate record that has yet been attempted. Special attention is called to an invaluable feature in this department: not only are the lives of the distinguished dead furnished, but also those of the living celebrities of our own and other countries, prepared by writers who, from personal acquaintance or special research, are most competent to do them unbiased justice.
In History, The American CyclopAedia gives no mere catalogue of barren dates, but a copious and spirited narrative, under their appropriate heads, of the principal events in the annals of the world. So in Geography, it not only serves as a general Gazetteer, but it gives interesting descriptions of the principal localities mentioned, derived from books of travel and other fresh and authentic sources.
As far as is consistent with thoroughness of research and exactness of statement, the popular method has been pursued. The wants of the people in a work of this kind have been carefully kept in view throughout. By condensation and brevity, the editors have been enabled to introduce a much greater variety of subjects than is usually found in similar works, and thus to enhance the value of the Cyclopaedia as a manual of universal reference.
It is hardly necessary to add that, throughout the whole, perfect fairness to all sections of country, public men, political creeds, and religious denominations, has been a sacred principle and leading aim. Nothing that can be construed into an invidious or offensive allusion has been admitted. The truth, without note or comment, has been our motto.