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THE Publisher of this second Edition of Dr. Mather's Magnalia, has long been sensible of the great demand for the Work, both by literary men and all others who wish to be acquainted with the early history of our country. The first Edition was published in London in the year 1702, in a Folio Volume of 788 pages. A considerable number of Copies were soon brought into New-England; yet, as many of these are lost, and the work is not to be obtained in England but with difficulty, it has become very scarce. In some instances it has been sold at a great price, but, in most cases, those who have been desirous to possess, or even to read the volume, have been unable to procure it.
The Magnalia is a standard work with American Historians, and must ever continue to be such, especially, respecting the affairs of New-England. To this portion of our country, always distinguished for emigrations, a great part of the population of New-York, the most important state in the American confederacy, and of all the western states north of the Ohio, will always trace their origin. Nor will the lapse of ages, diminish their respect for the land of their forefathers.
The work now presented to the American public contains the history of the Fathers of 5 New-England, for about eighty years, in the most authentic form. No man since Dr. Mather's
time, has had so good an opportunity as he enjoyed to consult the most authentic documents. The greater part of his facts could be attested by living witnesses and the shortest tradition, or taken from written testimonies, many of which have since perished. The situation and character of the author afforded him the most favourable opportunities to obtain the documents necessary for his undertaking. And no historian would pursue a similar design with greater industry and zeal.
The author has been accused of credulity. This charge, however, will not be advanced
with confidence by those well acquainted with the character of the times of which he treats. The great object of the first Planters of New-England was to form A Christian CommonWEALTH-a design without a parallel in ancient or modern times. The judicious reader would expect to discover, in the annals of such a people, characters and events not to be found in the history of other communities.—The geography and natural history of the country were not the principal objects of the author's attention, and, on these subjects, he has fallen into some mistakes.
The work is both a civil and an ecclesiastical history. The large portion of it devoted to Biography, affords the reader a more distinct view of the leading characters of the times, than could have been given in any other form.
The author's language is peculiarly his own. In the rapidity of his manner, he could pay but little attention to his style. Such as it is, it has been thought best to retain it, in
this Edition, as well as his orthography, unaltered.* The Titles of D. D. and F. R. S. were given to Dr. Mather after the publication of this work, and are now annexed to his name in the title-page.
Many omissions in the original work have been recommended, but the publisher concludes to retain the whole.—He is sensible of the risk of publishing so large a work, at the present time. But relying on the utility of the object, he entertains a hope that the liberality of the public will save him from loss.
T. R. Hartford, Connecticut, June 1st, 1820.
PREFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
When I encouraged Mr. ANDRUS, some thirty years since, to rēpublish the Venerable MAGNALIA, it was supposed that few copies would be sold. A small part of the community, even, knew of the existence of the work. It was first printed in England, in 1702. The most of the second edition was soon disposed of, and for some years past has been scarce. The demand for the work is now increasing. The History of New-England cannot be written withohit this authority. It is equally important in the department of Biography and History, Civil and Ecclesiastical. It is stated, in the Preface before us, that “ The great object of the first Planters of New-England was to form A CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH." That is finely suggested by the Author, in the elegant quotation from the great Latin Poet, with a small variation, " Tantæ Molis erat, pro CHRISTO condere Gentem.” And now we may say, by the favour of HEAVEN, THE WORK IS DONE. The world looks with amazement on a great Country, united in one territory, more extensive than Rome, a great population in rapid increase, all looking for Salvation in the name of the Divine NAZARENE.
Hartford, June 181, 1852.
* It will be perceived that there is not by any means a uniformity in the orthography of this edition; bnt whether the discrepancies are attributable to the author or to the former printers, it is impossible now to deterinine. Except where palpable errors had been overlooked, the copy of the last edition has been strictly followed in regard to orthography, although many material deviations have been made in the typograpby. Quotation marks have been introduced, in lieu of putting the numerous quotations in italic, to correspond with the antique style; and a difference bas been made in the type for the original text and that for the documentary portion and extracts ; thereby so distinctly marking each, that they cannot be easily confounded.-TYPOGRAPHER.
GENERAL CONTENTS OF THE SEVERAL BOOKS.