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BY THE HON. WILLIAM SMITH.
Formerly of New-York, and late Chief Justice of Sower Canada.
PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE NEW-YORK
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW-YORK, n. Be it remembered. That on the 7th day of November, A. D. 1839, in the 54th year of the Independence of the United States of America, JOHN DEL AFIELD, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor in the words following, to wit:
"The History of the Province of JVVw- York, from its discovery to the^nppointment of Governor Golden, in 1762. By the honourable William Smith, formerly offCetD-TQrfa and tote Chief Justice of Lower Canada, Published under the direction of the JWw- York Historical Society. . *
In conformity to the Act of 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 an Act entitled " An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act fur 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 extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical ami other prints."
FRED. J. BETTS,
The present volumes, now for the first time associated, contain the History of the State of New-York from its first discovery to the year 1762, by the lateWiLLiAM Smith, formerly Chief Justice of Canada, with the author's last alterations and additions from the original manuscripts. On a production, a part of which has been so long before the public, and so highly appreciated, it is scarcely necessary to make any commentary. It is sufficient to observe, that had the Historical Society rendered no other service ttf the community than the publication of these volumes, this alone would have justified the bounty of the Legislature. But they trust that thejr other labours are appreciated, and hope the public will see, in these efforts, a design to fulfil the obligations to which the Society is pledged, and to enhance the character of the great State of which they are members.
The Continuation of the History will be found not inferior in interest or execution to the part so well known. It treats of the period between the years 1736 and 1762. The father of the historian was a conspicuous actor in these times, and the Chief Justice had the most ample means of information. The Biographical Memoir furnished by his son, the Hon. William Smith, of Canada, though brief, will be perused with pleasure "by all who feel an interest in the circumstances of one of the most prominent public men of his day. Here is a striking coincidence in several respects, between the proposition of Smith for the government of the colonies and that of Dr. Franklin, made in the year 1754. At this early date the question of union was decided almost unanimously: the several committees appointed by the respective States having reported thereon, the plan of Franklin was preferred, and with a few amendments was reported. By this plan the general government was to be administered by a president general appointed and supported by the crown; and a grand 4
council to be chosen by the representatives of the people, of the several colonies met in their respective assemblies.
The author's geographical description of the early state of the colony of New-York, which originally appeared in the quarto edition of his history, is in this edition embraced as an appendix to volume first.
The State of New-York, while she does justice to her great natural resources, ought not to be indifferent to her own fame, or the reputation of her distinguished sons. These are her property, not less valuable or productive than the tolls on her canals. By making known meritorious exertions, we point out the way to farther efforts, and excite the spirit of emulation. In the present condition of affairs, this is best done by institutions like our own; individual attempts are for the most part lost and ineffectual. During the period embraced in the narrative of Smith, this State was for a long time the chief seat of war, and on its borders was settled the title to a great part of North America. Exposed to the. incursions and depredations of hostile powers, its prosperity was checked and its high destiny deferred. We are now a united people, and, under the benign influence of republican institutions, its rank is the first in the confederation.
May her example shed a salutary influence over her sister States, and may those to whom her fortunes are confided, continue to act worthy of her and of themselves.
City of New-York* Nov. 16, 1829.
JOHN W. FRANCIS, ) Committee