In collecting materials for a History of Cambridge, I examined first its Municipal Records, which are continuous from the beginning, but generally brief, and its Registry of Births and Deaths, which, during the second hundred years after the foundation of the town, is very defective. To supply what was lacking, I consulted such printed authorities as were accessible, together with the manuscript Records and Archives of the Commonwealth, of the judicial courts, and of several counties, cities, towns, churches, and libraries. My thanks are due to all the custodians of such books, and records, and archives, for their uniform courtesy and kindness. I have also obtained many genealogical details from the Church Record of Baptisms and Burials, from Probate Records and Files, from inscriptions on gravestones, and from funeral sermons, and newspapers. After the expenditure of much time and labor, however, I am conscious of many deficiencies.

It will be seen that the Genealogical Register is chiefly confined to the families who dwelt in Cambridge before the year 1700,--the descendants of such as remained here being traced down to a recent period. A very few families are included who became residents at a later date; but these form the exception, not the rule. So also in regard to the History, comparatively few recent events are mentioned. It would be impracticable, in a single volume, to include with our ancient annals everything which those who are now living have witnessed, and to trace the genealogy of all our nearly fifty thousand inhabitants. A line must be drawn somewhere; but whether I have drawn it in the most proper place, there may be various opinions. [vi]

Moreover, the reader may be disappointed because he finds so little concerning Harvard College, and the military occupation of Cambridge, at the commencement of the Revolutionary War; but the facts stated on pages 365 (note) and 408 are believed to justify the omission. The almost entire absence of legendary lore may be regretted; but it should be considered, that while it may have been my misfortune, it was not my fault, that I was not born in Cambridge, and that I had no opportunity in the first thirty years of my life to gather the local traditions, which so deeply impress the youthful mind, and which tinge the facts of history with such a brilliant, though often a deceptive light. If lack of vigor and sprightliness be regarded as a serious fault of style, I may plead in extenuation, that although many of my materials were gathered long ago, I was obliged by other engagements, literary as well as secular, to postpone their final arrangement for publication, until impaired health and the infirmities of age became uncomfortably manifest.

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