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This work, the reader will observe, is professedly a compilation. The plan of it, the number and length of its chapters, and the contents of each, were prescribed by the puplishers, to the compiler, who holds himself responsible to the public, only for his care and diligence in collecting his materials, and his judgment in arranging them. He has endeavoured to execute the laborious task assigned him with fidelity, and a strict regard to truth and facts, and in such a manner as to render it interesting and useful to all classes of his readers, especially to the generation now on the stage of action. A peculiar interest in the events here recorded has been excited by the visit of the Friend of Washington, of our country, of liberty, and of man, the Marquis La Fayette ; and they will now be recurred to with a desire and feelings never before experienced. The scenes in which this distinguished man acted, and the battles which he fought, in which he bled, will be adverted to and . read with lively ardour and affectionate gratitude. The whole of our history, in such a state of feeling as now exists, will be read with deeper interest and happier and more lasting good effects than it ever was before. We cannot but notice, with much gratification, that the occurrence to which we have alluded, has taken place just in time to render the information here given particularly desirable. Much of it that is appropriate, collected from scarce volumes of newspapers, the journals, public and private, of the Congress, and other sources inaccessible to the mass of readers, will be found collected in no other work. We shall deem ourselves happy if we can, in any way, contribute to increase the good effects of the visit of our respected and beloved friend, by rendering it subservient to the acquisition of a more extensive knowledge of the principles and military operations of our Revolution.
The official documents, which make a great part of the present volume, will inspire confidence in its authenticity, and furnish full accounts, written at the time of their occurrence, and sanctioned by the public authorities, of most of the prominent events in our history, during the period of our revolution.
The compiler of this work is pledged to complete the History of the United States, begun by the late venerable Dr. TRUMBULL. He intends, should his life and health be prolonged, to fulfil his engagement, in three or four volumes, in the course of as many years. In these volumes the documents in this will be reduced to the usual form and style of regular history.
The Biographical Appendix to this work has been principally prepared by other hands, who are responsible, of course, for their own work. The compiler had expected to have prepared this part of it, but has been prevented by unavoidable occurrences.
New-HAven, Oct. 4, 1824.