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JAMES PHINNEY BAXTER, A. M.,
AND His PROVINCE OF MAINE; CHRISTOPHER LEVETT, ETC.
Some time ago, while looking through the New England correspondence in that remarkable depository of historical secrets in Fetter Lane, I came upon a file of papers sent to the Lords of Trade by Governor Dummer, in 1725, entitled: “Thirty-one Papers produced by Mr. Dummer, in Proof of the Right of the Crown of Great Britain to the Lands between New England and Nova Scotia, and of Several Depredations Committed by the French and Indians between 1720 and June, 1725."
A perusal of these papers revealed to me the fact, that, in common with others, I had been misled on several points, with regard to the complicity of the French Jesuits in the depredations committed upon the English frontier settlements by the savages, particularly in the early part of the eighteenth century, and after perusing these papers, which constituted a formidable indictment against the French, and especially against Père Ralé, who was slain at Norridgewock, and who was, perhaps, the best known to our forefathers of all the Jesuits, I concluded to
take copies of them, and some while after, returning home, I prepared a brief paper upon the subjects which they involved, and presented it to the Maine Historical Society.
It is not unusual for most of us to form opinions more or less nebulous, upon topics in which we have no especial interest, and having done so, to resent a disturbance of them; hence, when I had concluded my paper, I was not surprised to notice that several of my
historical associates were regarding me over their spectacles with mild disapproval; in fact, some went so far as to criticise the acts of our forefathers in connection with the subject of my paper, with considerable asperity.
Finding that entirely erroneous opinions prevailed with regard to some of the acts of these noble men of New England, whose blood was the cement which still holds our social structure together, and whose memory we can never sufficiently revere, I deemed it only a duty to gather all the facts that I could, relating to the subject involved in these documents, and to lay them before their descendants.
My examination of the English accounts made by participants in the events of the period; the correspondence and affidavits of eye witnesses to them, revealed to me that none of them had doubts of the