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MERICA, not only as it contains a very con

siderable portion of the known world, but in every other respect, may be deemed an important object of historical investigation. Its first discovery arrested the attention of mankind; an attention which seems every day growing more ardent, from its increasing fplendor and progreslive acquisitions of power and importance.

It has furnished employment for numerous writers, who have engaged on this field of fcientific controversy with various success. An arrangement of so many volumes in chronological order, it is hoped, will have its use, not only in perpetuating smaller tracts, which B


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might otherwise have been neglected or forgotten, but by furnishing better and more easy means of information to future historians.

The present compilation originated in accident. A gentleman, of the Editor's acquaintance, in America, proposed to himself the compilation of a history of that country, for which purpose, it was necessary to poffefs a knowledge of all that had been previously written upon the subject; and the Editor of these sheets, having been for some years in the habit of interesting himself in every publication that related to America, was consulted upon the occasion. Hence proceeded the attempt to acquire that knowledge; and (by a very natural gradation) the present publication, with the hope of reimbursing the expences of the pursuit.

The Editor is conscious of many defects, which he must trust to future efforts of his own, (or what is as much his wish) to the more successful labors of others, to amend. The present volume was compiled without


affiftance, and under a complication of difadvantages, which it is however unneceffary to particularize; but this publication would certainly have been fuppreffed, if the Editor had been acquainted with any other of a fimilar nature, that held forth that information upon the subject which he knows to be much wanted, and which he hopes the present volume will be found in a great degree to fupply.

London, March 1, 1789.

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N all abfolute governments, Genius has been almost uniformly observed to defpond and droop*; fhe is a plant of the most tender texture, that requires to be fedulously watched in infancy, and can be raised to maturity by little less than the care and anxiety of pa

*To this pofition, if it be objected that the beft Roman writers flourished under Auguftus, and that they were nearly equalled by the French under Louis the XIVth, it may be replied, that the objections are few; and it is a received maxim, that the paucity of exceptions ferves only to confirm a rule.


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