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New England Puritans. On these and other points, on which I have differed from received accounts, I appeal with confidence to the judgment of those who are critically acquainted with the sources of our early history.

I have dwelt at considerable length on this first period, because it contains the germ of our institutions. The maturity of the nation is but a continuation of its youth. The spirit of the colonies demanded freedom from the beginning. It was in this period, that Virginia first asserted the doctrine of popular sovereignty; that the people of Maryland constituted their own government; that New Plymouth, Connecticut, New Haven, New Hampshire, Maine, rested their legislation on the popular will; that Massachusetts declared itself a perfect commonwealth.

In the progress of the work, I have been most liberally aided by the directors of our chief public libraries; especially the library at Cambridge, on American history the richest in the world, has been opened to me as freely as if it had been my own.

The arrangement of the materials has been not the least difficult part of my labor. A few topics have been anticipated; a few, reserved for an opportunity where they can be more successfully grouped with other incidents. To give unity to the account of New Belgium, I reserve the subject for the next volume.

For the work which I have undertaken will necessarily extend to several volumes. I aim at being concise; but also at giving a full picture or


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