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But others are intended to throw additional light on the characters and events which are treated of.
My frequent references to the Records of the Commissioners of the United Colonies are made to the well-known edition of Hazard. Though commendable for its general correctness, I should have much preferred to cite from the excellent edition which Mr. Pulsifer is publishing, under the authority of the government of Massachusetts, had it been completed. But the only volume of it, issued from the press in season for my use, closes with the year 1651.
For a few statements, in the absence of evidence of an earlier date, I have had to rely upon the reports of Hutchinson and Trumbull. But, in respect to facts, both are trustworthy witnesses, — the latter eminently so, – as is abundantly manifested by a comparison of their accounts with the original documents or contemporary writers, in cases where these are still accessible; and Hutchinson possessed manuscript materials of great value, which perished in the assault upon his house a century ago, leaving us of the present day without other access to some of his knowledge than what his writings afford.
I have not referred by volume and page to authorities which I consulted in the English State-Paper Office, because I am informed that, since I examined them, the old volumes of the Board of Trade have been broken up, and digested, with other documents, into one series of Colonial Papers, disposed in that strictly chronological order, which, with very rare exceptions, should be the rule for the arrangement of all public archives. The deviation from this method in respect to the extremely valuable collection in the State House of Massachusetts, is to the inquirer an occasion of constant distress, and perhaps of loss which he cannot estimate.
In again laying my friends under contribution for advice, and for the knowledge of facts, I have had occasion constantly to resort to several of those who so materially aided the preparation of my First Volume, and have found their kindness as prompt and useful as before. Among others, to whom I have been
more recently indebted, Mr. Brigham, editor of the “ Compact, with the Charter and Laws, of New Plymouth," has aided my inquiries respecting transactions of that Colony ; Mr. Aspinwall, formerly Consul of the United States in London, has obliged me with the use of his rich collection of books of the period which I treat, and with hints, the fruit of his extensive historical reading; Mr. Parkman, the accomplished author of the “Life of Pontiac,” has given me the benefit of his copies of documents in the French Archives, enabling me better to describe the transactions of the New-England people with D’Aulnay and La Tour; and the Rev. Dr. Ellis placed in my hands his learned monograph, in manuscript, on the history of the Quakers. My course of study for this volume has led me to apply with special frequency to Mr. Trumbull, Mr. Haven, and Mr. Deane, for explanations which their accurate acquaintance with our antiquities eminently qualifies them to afford; and I have continued to be greatly indebted to these gentlemen for numerous particulars of information, as well as for suggesting to me some paths of useful inquiry. In the preparation of almost every chapter of this volume, I have experienced the benefit of their friendly interest in my undertaking. In the superintendence of the press, I have again had the extremely important advantage of Mr. Folsom's critical skill.
It is due to the friends who have contributed so generously to my work, that I should acquit them of responsibility for judgments which, anywhere in the course of it, I have expressed.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Mr. Whitfield's House, at Guilford, — External Views .
Primitive Houses . . .
Politics of Independents and Presbyterians . . . .
Plan for the Reorganization of the Army . . . .