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would be laborious; I need not say how much the labor is increased by the extent of our republic, the differences in the origin and early government of its component parts, and the multiplicity of topics, which require to be discussed and arranged.

Much error had become incorporated with American history. Many of the early writers in Europe were only careful to explain the physical qualities of the country; and the political institutions of dependent colonies were not thought worthy of exact inquiry. The early history was often written with a carelessness which seized on rumors and vague recollections as sufficient authority for an assertion which satisfied prejudice by wanton perversions, and which, where materials were not at hand, substituted the inferences of the writer for authenticated facts. These early books have ever since been cited as authorities, and the errors, sometimes repeated even by considerate writers, whose distrust was not excited, have almost acquired a prescriptive right to a place in the annals of America. This state of things has increased the difficulty of my undertaking, and, I believe, also, its utility; and I cannot regret the labor which has enabled me to present, under a somewhat new aspect, the early love of liberty in Virginia; the causes and nature of its loyalty; its commercial freedom; the colonial policy of Cromwell; the independent spirit of Maryland; the early institutions of Rhode Island; and the stern independence of the


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