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use of strong and forid expressions, that he might not impose upon the reader a pleasing delusion, and lead him into false conceptions of the events undertaken to be related.
The following work is not confined to the contest between Great-Britain and the United States of America, but includes all the other parts of the war which originated from that contest.
In the beginning of the first letter, the reader is acquainted with the reasons that produced an historacal account of the first settlers in the Thirteen Colonies, and of their successors, down to the close of 1771. The insertion of what followed to the commencement of hostilities, was necessary for the connecting of the two periods.
The form of letters, instead of chapters, is not altogether imaginary, as the author, from his arrival in America in 1770, maintained a correspondence with gentlemen in London, Rotterdam and Paris, answering in general to the prefixed dates.
He apprehended, that by keeping to such form, and making the narrative agree with the moment to which it related, and by introducing the various insertions necessary for the authenticating of facts, a present ideal existence of past events inight be produced in the mind, similar to what is felt when a well executed historical painting is examined. The better to secure this point, several parts are written in the present tense. If the author has failed in the execution, it is hoped that the candid reader will admit of the good intention as an apology.
He has kept, as far as he could, to a chronological order. This has necessarily interrupted the narrative of particular parts ; which, though a disappointment to some, may prevent the tediousness that might otherwise have been felt by persons of a different taste. It may at least serve to prevent or correct
the too frequent mistakes of ascribing prior events, partly or wholly to subsequent facts. The author regrets his not hava ing given every European letter the immediate resemblance of being written to him by a correspondent. He flatters hima self, that he has in some measure compensated for that and other defects, by the general contents of every letter in each volume, prefixed to the same; by a copious index to the whole at the end of the last ; and by a set of maps, about which neither care nor expence has been spared to render them valuable.
Struck with the importance of the scenes that were opening upon the world, in the beginning of 1776, he formed an early design of compiling their history, which he made known to the late commander in chief of the American army; and meeting with the desired encouragement from him, he applied himself to the procuring of the best materials, whether oral, written, or printed. Oral communications were mis nuted down while fresh in the memory; the written were directed immediately to himself in mariy instances, in others only imparted: the productions of the European press could not be received with any regularity or certainty during the war, but were improved as they could be obtained.
The United States, in congress assembled, favored hiin with an inspection of such of their records as could with propriety be submitted to the perusal of a private person; and he was indulged by the late generals Washington, Gates, Greene, Lincoln, and Otho Williams, with a liberal cxamination of their papers, both of a public and more private nature.
He had the opportunity of acquainting himself with the records of the first settlers in New-England; and examined those of the Massachusetts Bay, from their formation as a company to the close of the war, contained in near thirty folio manuscript volumes,
Dr. Ramsay's History of the War in Carolina, was communicated to him while in manuscript; and liberty was granted to make full use of it; the present opportunity is embraced fire acknowledging the benefit received from it, and for returning grateful thanks to the Doctor. The Americans remarked, that Dodsley's Annual Register contained the best foreign printed summary account of affairs : But it was not possible for writers on this side the Atlantic to avoid mistakes. That Register and other publications, have been of service to the compiler of the present work, who has frequently quoted from them, without varying the language, except for method and conciseness. He gathered from every souree of intelligence in his power, while at the place of his residence near Boston ; and since his return to his native country, in 1786, has improved the advantage arising from it.
The accounts here given of American affairs, are so different in several respects from what have heen the conceptions of many on each side the Atlantic, that it was necessary to insert a variety of letters, papers, and anecdotes, to authenticate the narrative. The publication of these, it is presumed, will obtain credit for such parts as could not with propriety be supported by the introduction of similar proofs.
To write a history worthy the approbation of his friends, and (as far as his power extended) of the present age, and of posterity; and to convince mankind, that Truth was his care, his search, and what his soul was engaged in, have been the great objects of
The AUTHOR. London, Oct. 28, 1788.
OF THE SEVERAL LETTERS IN Vol. I.
The New-York and Massachusetts settlements on the subject
The Massachusetts assembly declare against parliamentary
Mr. M‘Dougall, of New-York, committed to jail for publish-
Governor Hutchinson and the Massachusetts general court,
LETTER VI. P. 214_215.
The Virginia burgesses resolve to maintain an intercourse