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To furnish the public with a concise history of America, from its discovery to its present state of civilization and importance, is an undertaking of such general utility, that the attempt, if it even fall short of complete execution, has a claim to a considerable share of indulgence. This is more especially the case, when the writer has to follow a historian of such great and just celebrity as Dr. ROBERTSON, in at least one-half of the work.

To compose such an historical epitome as is desirable, from scattered materials, is a difficulty of such magnitude as wholly to discourage the attempt; and to abridge the pages of so great an original, where there is nothing superfluous, nothing the reader would wish to be omitted, is a design which seems to border on temerity. But this abridgement has been preferred, because it is attended with the least chance of disappointment; and it is not dishonorable to borrow, when the obligation is candidly acknowledged.

Dr. ROBERTSON's history has, therefore, been implicitly followed in what relates to South America. His arrangement of the subject, his chronological order, and his very style have been adopted, as the best that can be chosen. To condense his details, to introduce only the most prominent and characteristic events, has been the principal effort, and invariable purpose of the epitomizer: endeavoring to preserve, unbroken, the connexion and continuity of events; and to present the reader with a brief, but interesting, view of one of the most important eras in the annals of the world.

So far the writer travelled with pleasure-but, in tracing the subsequent part, the history of North America, he has cause to regret the absence of so pleasing 321025

and faithful a guide-being obliged to collect materials from different sources, of all the British settlements in North America, from their first landing to the final separation from the parent state.

The settlement of these colonies being made at different periods, with charters of incorporation extremely variant, and with governments as distinct as their geographical boundaries, rendered a history of the British empire in America very complex and difficult. From this heterogeneous mass, the writer has endeavored, with considerable labor, to educe a summary of those events that paved the way to the American Revolution; and this Synopsis will constitute an introduction to the future histories of the UNITED STATES.

In that portion of the work which succeeds the confederation of the colonies, and the consequent declaration of Independence. we set our feet on surer ground: we revive events that happened in our own memory; and of which there are faithful records within reach of the generality of our readers. In treating on this part of the subject, it is not a very easy task, wholly to avoid that collision of opinions which is inseparable from free governments, and which constitutes so great a part in the annals of United America: but though difficult, the writer has endeavored to avoid it; confining himself, as much as possible, to a history of facts, and to those only that are of a national concern. His principal object has been to present his readers witn a comprehensive view of the whole, without any respect to the politics of a single state or party; and to excite, if possible, a zeal for the general welfare and honor of our common country.-How far he has succeeded in this, as well as other parts of the work, must be left to the candid reader; to whom it is now very respectfully submitted.




1. THE discovery of America has led to events unrivalled in modern history, and we cannot sufficiently admire that steady unconquerable resolution, that amazing force of mind which carried Columbus, the first bold discoverer, through all opposition, and over innumerable obstacles, to the ultimate end of his grand design. The intelligent reader will be agreeably entertained in following this skilful navigator, through unknown seas, in search of a New World: every little incident during the voyage will appear of sufficient magnitude to fix the attention, and excite a strong sympathy with the adventurous chief, in all the various turns of his fortune.

2. According to Dr. Robertson, Christopher Columbus was born in the year 1447 A. D.: the place of his birth is not ascertained, but it appears he was a subject of the Republic of Genoa, and was allured into the service of the Portuguese by the fame of their discoveries: he was descended from an honorable family, though reduced to indigence by various misfortunes.


3. Columbus discovered, in his early youth, a strong propensity and talents for a sea-faring life: this propensity his parents encouraged by the education they gave him after acquiring some knowledge of the Latin tongue, the only language in which science was taught, at that time, he was instructed in geometry, cosmography, astronomy, and the art of drawing. To these he applied with such unremitted ardor, as they were so intimately connected with his favorite object, navigation, that he advanced with rapid proficiency in the study of them. Thus qualified, he went to sea at the age of fourteen, and began his career on that clement, which conducted him to so much glory. His early voyages were to those ports in the Mediterranean which his countrymen, the Genoese, frequented. This being too narrow a sphere for his active mind, he made

an excursion to the northern seas, and visited the coast of Iceland; he procceded beyond that island, the Ultima Thule of the ancients, and advanced several degrees within the polar circle.

4. This voyage enlarged his knowledge in naval affairs more than it improved his fortune; afterwards he entered into the service of a famous sea captain of his own name and farmily. This man commanded a small squadron, fitted out at his own expense, and, by cruising against the Mahometans, and the Venetians, the rivals of his country in trade, had acquired both wealth and reputation. Columbus continued in the service of this captain for several years, distinguished both for his courage and experience as a sailor: at length, in an obstinate engagement off the coast of Portugal, with some Venetian caravels, returning richly laden from the Low Countries, the vessel on board of which he was, took fire, together with one of the enemy's ships, to which it was fast grappled.

5. In this dreadful extremity his intrepidity and presence of mind did not forsake him; for, throwing himself into the sea,₪ and laying hold of a floating oar, by his own dexterity in swimming, he reached the shore, though above two leagues dis- va Thus was a life preserved for greater undertakings.


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6. When he had recovered sufficient strength, he repaired to to Lisbon, where many of his countrymen resided: they warmly ca solicited him to stay in that kingdom, where his naval skill and experience could not fail of procuring him that reward, which his merit entitled him to. Columbus listened with a favorable ear to the advice of his friends; married a Portuguese lady, and fixed his residence at Lisbon. By this alliance, the sphere of his naval knowledge was enlarged. His wife was a daughter of Bartholomew Perestrello, one of the captains employed by prince Henry, and who, under his protection, had discovered and colonized the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira.

7. From the journals and charts of this experienced navigator, Columbus learned the course which the Portuguese had held in making their discoveries. The study of these, gratified and inflamed his favorite passion; and, while he contemplated the maps and read the descriptions of the new countries which Perestrello had seen, his impatience to visit them became irresistible. In order to indulge it, he made a voyage to Madeira, and continued during several years to trade with that island, with the Canaries, the Azores, the settlements in Guinea, and all the other places which the Portuguese had discovered on the continent of Africa.

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