This is a history book. Medals, by means of the engraver's art, perpetuate in a durable form and within a small compass which the eye can embrace at a glance, not only the features of eminent persons, but the dates, brief accounts, and representations (direct or emblematical) of events; they rank, therefore, among the most valuable records of the past, especially when they recall men, deeds, or circumstances which have influenced the life of nations. How much light has been furnished for the study of history by the concise and faithful testimony of these silent witnesses! The importance of medals is now universally acknowledged, and in almost every country they are preserved with reverent care, and made the subject of costly publications, illustrated by elaborate engravings, with carefully prepared letter press descriptions and notes. Up to the present time no thorough work devoted to the medals of the United States of America has been published. When I entered upon the task, several years ago, of investigating their history (p. viii) for the period embracing the first century of the Republic, I had little conception of the difficulties to be encountered. The search involved a very considerable expenditure of time and labor, but at last I have the satisfaction of offering to the public the result of my investigations, completed according to the original plan.