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Hinckley are chiefly in the handwriting of their authors, who were among the most prominent men of the time. Among them are autograph letters, or those bearing the signatures, of Governor Josiah Winslow, Roger Williams, King Charles II., William Penn, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, King James II., Sir Edmund Andros, Governor Bradstreet, Sir Henry Ashhurst, General John Walley, and Colonel Benjamin Church. The copies of letters and papers drawn up by Governor Hinckley are generally in his handwriting
The“ History of the Indian and French Wars,” by Rev. Samuel Niles of Braintree, the publication of which is completed in the present volume, is printed in obedience to the wishes of the Historical Society as expressed through its Standing Committee. The first part may be found in the sixth volume of the third series of the Collections, in which some account is given of the author. It may be proper to repeat, that he was born on Block Island, May 1, 1674; graduated at Harvard College in 1699; and settled at Braintree, May 23, 1711. He died on the anniversary of his birthday, May 1, 1762, aged eighty-eight; being almost precisely of the
of Governor Hinckley. “Father Niles," as he was sometimes called, had personal knowledge of many of the occurrences which he describes; as his life extended through the entire period, from the breaking out of Philip's War to the conquest of Canada. He has, however, freely availed himself of the labors of others. The Niles Manuscript
was bequeathed to the Society by the Rev. Dr. Freeman, one of its first members, and its Recording Secretary from 1793 to 1812.
In printing the volume, modern orthography has been adopted, excepting for proper names, of which the original spelling is retained unless in cases of manifest error. A convenient Index will be found at the close of the volume, prepared by Dr. John Appleton, the Assistant Librarian of the Society; for whose careful reading of the proof and revised sheets of the work as they came from the press, critical accuracy in the detection of errors, and valuable aid in the preparation of notes, the Publishing Committee express their obligations. The notes of Prince, which are of very considerable value, bear his name: those of the Committee have no mark to designate them.
Boston, Nor. 20, 1861.