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THE UNITED STATES
FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO THE PRESENT TIME.
TALIAFERRO PRESTON SHAFFNER, LL. D.,
MEMBER OF THE BAR OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ;
OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF NORTHERN ANTIQUARIES OF COPENHAGEX, AND OF THE LITERARY SOCIETY OF
ICELAND; FOREIGN MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY OF BERLIN, ETC.
Yllustrated with Steel Engrabings,
COMMEMORATIVE OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA ; PORTRAITS OF THE PRESIDENTS ;
MAPS, VIEWS, ETC.,
THE LONDON PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY, LIMITED:
LONDON AND NEW YORK.
The history of the discovery and settlement of America abounds with incidents rarely to be found in the annals of any other parts of the earth’s surface. The whole western hemisphere is a natural wonder; and the people inhabiting the belt now known as the United States, have become a race and a nation characteristic of its climate, fertility of soil, and vastness of resources. With these gifts of the Creator, a mixed multitude of wanderers from other regions combined to form that nation, consisting of people distinguished for genius in the development of science, and the appliances of art. 1 The career of those who settled the New World has occurred since the art of printing became practicable; and owing to this circumstance, the present generation can, with considerable facility, learn the details respecting the progress made by those hardy adventurers. I have availed myself of many advantages in the collection of those facts, and have presented them as concisely as possible in this work.
The discovery of America dates far back in the dim past; and the honour belongs to the Icelanders. Beyond all doubt they settled that continent, A.D. 1000. I do not assert it as probable, but as a fact, easily established by unquestionable evidence. During my travels through Iceland, and while associating with the people, every opportunity was employed to investigate the evidences bearing upon this question: I have not failed to study it in Copenhagen, where the old Icelandic manuscripts are carefully preserved; and, when in Greenland, amidst the Esquimaux at Brattalid, I dwelt upon the spot whereon once stood the habitation of Eric the Red, who sent forth the expeditions to settle America.
The explorations made by the English, French, and Spanish navigators, are impartially narrated; and the daring achievements of the early settlers are described as they chronologically occurred.
The extent of country occupied and claimed by the three nations respectively, | at different epochs, will be found most carefully explained. I have taken
great pains to set forth the means that were applied to terminate the French power on the Western continent; and also the curtailment of the English and Spanish dominion over the vast region that subsequently
formed the great Republic of America. Passing from these foreign ?' sovereignties, I have endeavoured to give an impartial account of the
revolutionary struggle between the provincial
, colonial, and proprietary governments, and George III., which resulted successfully to the former, and in the ultimate formation of the United States' government.
The peculiar powers distributed between the State and Federal institutions, defined by their respective constitutions, ordinances, and bills of rights, are carefully discussed; and the details respecting their mixed administrations, from the foundation of the Republic to the present time, are definitely stated. The reader will observe that I have not indulged in adulation of my countrymen or government; and, in this particular, it is hoped that patriotic service has been done to both. Having mingled with the people of all parts of the civilised world, and arailing myself of rare facilities in studying the governinental systems of Europe, my observations have led me to believe that all governments are imperfect, and that none can be maintained beyond the time they cease to be supported by the affections of the people.
In narrating the discoveries of America, and the thrilling events that occurred, from time to time, during the progress of its settlement, I have copied largely from Holmes' Arnals, Hinton's Cannial History, Stedman's and Gordon's Histories of the Revolution, and various other publications. Credit has been given in all cases to the original source of information; but it is quite possible that I may have failed to do full justice to some of the authorities from which matter has been collected: for, in fact, materials from many hundreds of rolames have been employed. I desire to disclaim any particular merit for originality of ideas or excellence of language; but it is expected that the reader will accord to me the credit of having sought for, and grouped together, the greatest amount of facts relating to America that has ever been published in a connected history. In accomplishing this great desideratan, I bare had access to most of the principal Hbraries in the United States and Europe; but my states have been more particularly ecaned to the archives and Ebraries of the British gorernment, in Leola Wibin the past three years I hare ersmined more than 11,000 Talenses and, from a zber of them, collected important traibs I have Rü par Fears firesterials contained in this work; and while engaged in preparing en in the press, many times toe dawn of muz has warned De to kay ate the pea; sed then, relataras, Lare I regretted the necessity thing is repose.
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