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"ALL that need be said by way of preface to the following pages, is to lay stress upon the great pains which have been taken to ensure accuracy. The innumerable books consulted to this end have not involved half so much time and patience as the journeys undertaken for the purpose of interviewing those who, owing to their official position, or for any other reason, could be relied upon to impart information at first hand. In short, recourse has been had to books only where no living authority was available. By such means, many apocryphal stories have been avoided or explained away. "