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POLITICAL AND CIVIL HISTORY
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
FROM THE YEAR 1763
TO THE CLOSE OF THE ADMINISTRATION
OF PRESIDENT WASHINGTON, IN MARCH, 1797:
A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE
POLITICAL AND CIVIL STATE
NORTH AMERICAN COLONIES, PRIOR TO THAT PERIOD.
BY TIMOTHY PITKIN.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PUBLISHED BY HEZEKIAH HOWE AND DURRIE & PECK.
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT, to wit: L S BE it remembered, That on the twenty-third day of January, in the fifty
second year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. V. 1828, Timothy PITKIN, of the said District, hath deposited in this Office the Title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as author ; in the words following-to wit:
“ A Political and Civil History of the United States of America, from the year 1763 to the close of the administration of President Washington, in March, 1797 : including a summary view of the Political and Civil state of the North American Colonies, prior to that period. By Timothy Pitkin. In two volumes.”
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned"--and also to the act entitled “ An act supplementary to an act entitled · An act for the encouragement of learning, hy securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
CHAS. A. INGERSOLL, Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
PRINTED BY HEZEKIAH HOWE-NEW HAVEN.
The events, whether of a political, civil, or military character, which led to the American revolution, and the establishment of those forms of government under which the people of the United States now enjoy so much liberty and happiness, are daily becoming more and more objects of peculiar interest and inquiry.
No incident of any considerable importance, either in the cabinet, or in the field, tending to elucidate this portion of the history of the United States, and to show the sacrifices American patri. ots were then called upon to make, and the difficulties they had to encounter, in effecting so complete a revolution, can fail to interest every American.
With the military events of that period, the people of the Uni. ted States, it is believed, are better acquainted than with those of a political or civil nature. This first suggested to us the idea, that a connected view of the political and civil transactions of our country, unmixed with military events, except so far as the latter had an influence on the former, was a desirable object.
We were induced to believe, also, that a more intimate knowledge and recollection of the difficulties which their political fathers had to overcome, not only in effecting that revolution which separated the North American colonies from Great Britain, but in establishing those civil institutions and forms of government under which, by the smiles of heaven, the Americans justly flatter themselves they now enjoy a greater share of personal and political happiness than the people of any other nation, would tend to increase the veneration of the citizens of the United States for those institutions, and induce them, with firmer purpose, to adhere to the great charter of their union, as their best and only security against domestic discord or foreign force.
With these views, we have presented to the public, the following sketches of the political and civil history of the United States, from 1763 to the close of the administration of president Washington, in March, 1797. The great political events of this interesting period, we were persuaded, however, could not be well understood, without some knowledge of the political state of the country prior to that period, of the views entertained by our an. cestors respecting their rights, and of the nature of their connection with the parent state.
The stamp act and the insignificant duty on tea, precipitated, but did not alone produce, the American revolution. This great event must be traced to powerful and efficient causes in existence, and in operation, long before the adoption of these particular measures ; causes which, brought at length into more active operation by these measures, produced such wonderful effects.
The unexampled unanimity of sentiment against the stamp act, which instantaneously appeared among two or three millions of people, widely dispersed over this extensive continent, was not the work of a day or a year. The opinions then simultaneously and universally expressed by the Americans, on the subject of their rights, were the opinions of their fathers, which they brought into this country, and here cherished and handed down to their posterity.
We have, therefore, presented a summary of the political state of the North American colonies, from their first settlement to the year 1763, embracing a general view of the colonial policy of the metropolitan country, as well as the opinions and conduct of the colonists themselves, respecting their civil and political rights, particularly those relating to representation and taxation.
In doing this, we have consulted most of the colonial histories, and where these were wanting or imperfect, we have, in some instances, had recourse to the original records. In our researches respecting colonial history, we have felt the want of many papers which could only be found in the office of the board of trade and plantations in England. We have availed ourselves, however, of the publications of George Chalmers, Esq., who was many years clerk of that board. We allude to his “ political annals” concerning the United Colonies of America, published in 1780 ; and his “ opinions of eminent lawyers on various points of English jurisprudence, chiefly concerning the colonies, fisheries, and commerce of Great Britain, collected and digested from the originals in the board of trade and plantations, and other depositories," published in 1814. From these publications, (the first of which is only brought down to the year 1688,) as well as from other sources, we are satisfied that a full and complete colonial history of this country cannot be compiled without the aid of those papers; and we cannot but express a hope, that by the patronage either of the general government, or the state governments, authentic copies of them may be obtained, and deposited among the archives of our country.
With respect to that portion of American history which has claimed our particular attention, we have derived our information from sources deemed perfectly authentic. We have avail