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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Although Virginia must be content with a secondary and unpretending rank in the general department of history, yet in the abundance and the interest of her historical materials, she may, without presumption, claim pre-eminence among the Anglo-American colonies. While developing the rich resources with which nature has so munificently endowed her, she ought not to neglect her past, which teaches so many useful lessons, and carries with it so many proud recollections. Her documentary history, lying, much of it, scattered and fragmentary, in part slumbering in the dusty oblivion of Transatlantic archives, ought to be collected with pious care, and embalmed in the perpetuity of print.
The work now presented to the reader will be found to be written in conformity with the following maxim of Lord Bacon: "It is the office of history to represent the events themselves, together with the counsels, and to leave the observations and conclusions thereupon, to the liberty and faculty of every man's judgment."
I avail myself of this occasion to express my acknowledgments to Hugh B. Grigsby, Esq., (who has contributed so much to the illustration of Virginia history by his own writings,) for many valuable suggestions, and for having undergone the trouble of revising a large part of the manuscript of this work.
Petersburg, Va., September 2d, 1850.