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remarkable Providences ; such as appearances of comets and eclipses, earthquakes, tempests, inundations, droughts, scarcities, fires, epidemical sicknesses, memorable accidents and deliverances, deaths of men of figure, with their age and places where they lived and died, as also of the most aged, with the number of their offspring ; there will be brief hints of our historical transactions, as the rise and changes of governments, the elections of chief magistrates, the grants and settlements of towns and precincts, their Indian and English names, the formations of churches and counties, the ordinations and removals of ministers, building houses for public worship, forts and great bridges, erecting grammar schools and colleges, extraordinary public fasts and thanksgivings, propagation of the Gospel, remarkable laws and executions, as also wars, assaults, expeditions, battles, peace, &c. The different dates assigned to various occurrences, will be carefully compared and corrected, and the very years, months and days, if possible, ascertained. Together with an introduction, containing a brief account of the most remarkable persons, transactions and events abroad.
1. From the Creation to the birth of Christ, according to the computation of the best Chronologers.
2. From thence to the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.
3. From thence to the discovery of New England by Captain Gosnold.
The ministers throughout this country were desired to make their careful inquiries, and send in their accurate accounts as soon as possible ; that such material passages might be preserved from oblivion, and so desirable a collection might be hastened to the public yiew.
Upon my publishing this design, I first engaged in the introduction ; but quickly found, as Chambers in his Cyclopædia observes, Chronology to be vastly more difficult than one can imagine, who has not applied himself to the study ; and as Alsted in his Thesæurus, says, that his other labors were but as play to this. In my prefaces to the several periods and the following notes, I observe the writers with whom I agree and differ, as also some of the greatest difficulties. And as I would not take the least iota upon
trust if possible, I examined the original authors I could meet with ; and some of the articles were so perplexed, as it cost me a fortnight's thought and labor before I could be fully satisfied. The mere tables and calculations I was forced to make would compose a folio. To find out not only the year and month, but even the day of every article, I was obliged to search a great number of writers; and the knowing reader will see that so many precise points of time, are nowhere to be found, but by such a collection as I have for this intent perused.
As to the line of time, it is measured by the continued succession of patriarchs and sovereigns of the most famous kingdoms and empires. For the three first periods, viz. (1) of the patriarchs, (2) Judges of Israel, and (3) Kings of Judah, to the destruction of the first Temple and of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar ; I leave the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Septuagint and Josephus, which several writers both ancient and modern follow; and I strictly keep to the Hebrew Bible, of which it is said, our old English Bede was the first who made it the rule of ancient Chronology. In the fourth period, viz. from thence through the reigns of the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian and Egyptian monarchs, to the Roman emperors; I keep to Ptolemy's famous Astronomical Canon, and give it exactly through the period. In the fifth and sixth periods from thence to the monarchs of England, I make use of Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio, Herodian, Eusebius, Evagrius, Socrates, Scholasticus, Calvisius, Helvicus, Petavius, &c. And in the seventh and last, from thence to the beginning of the reign of king James I. in England, when he became the first monarch of Great Britain, I keep to the ancient authors in Latin to the reign of Edward II. ; of all which I am sorry that I could not find the Saxon Chronicle in this country.
But whereas in the times before the Christian era, I cite several authors ; such as Calvisius, Helvicus, Alsted, Petavius, Usher, &c. as agreeing in the same year affixed to an article, though they called that year a different year of the world : I need not tell the learned, that in those articles those authors do not differ, as to the same real years, or years of the Julian period, or celestial characters assigned to them, or in their distance from the christian era. Thus for instance, as to the time when Augustus took Alexandria, and put an end to the Egyptian kingdom ; Calvisius calls it August 1, in the year of the world 3920; Usher calls it 3974, beginning 3975 in the following month ; but we, beginning this year with January, as the Julian year begins, place this article on August 1,
August 1, in 3975; and yet this is the very same real year, month and day, viz. August 1, in the year of the Julian period 4684, Cycle of the sun 8, of the moon 10, and the 30th year before the christian era ; the first of which is the year of the Julian period 4714; as all chronologers agree. In our use of those authors therefore, we turn their years of the Julian period into those years of the world which answer them in our chronology.
In the Introduction I also observed this rule, that the nearer I drew to the later ages, wherein we grow more concerned, the larger I made my periods ; and in the process of this work, was gradually led on and persuaded to exceed my first design, which was to have made the five later periods near as short as the two former.
By that time I finished the introduction, I found so great a number of historical manuscripts, botin old and new ; containing all sorts of records both public and private, religious, civil and miltary; that our printed histories are but a small part in comparison with them, and made me still more ready to yield to the solicitations of others, to enlarge my design and give the public an abridgement of them. For I considered that as several ancient records of towns and churches have been unhappily burnt, and some lost otherwise ; if I did not now in this way preserve the substance of these historical memoirs, it would be daily in danger of perishing beyond recovery.
The manuscripts I have had opportunity to search are these.
1. Governor Bradford's History of Plymouth people and colony, from 1602 to the end of 1646, in 270 pages ; with some account, at the end, of the increase of those who came over with him, from 1620 to 1650, and all in his own hand-writing.
2. The ancient Church of Plymouth Records ; begun by Mr. Secretary Morton.
3. A copy of the Grand Charter of New England, granted by king James I. on November 3, 1620, in 86 pages.
4. The ancient Records of the Massachusetts Colony,
-5. The ancient Records of the County of Suffolk ; in the first volume whereof are several letters from the Massachusetts Company at London to Mr. Endicot, before they came over.
6. The ancient Records of the town of Charlestown ; in the first volume whereof is a particular history of the first coming and settling of the English there, and in the neighboring places.
7. The ancient Records of the town of Boston; as also of the first, second, third, and several other later Churches there.
8. The ancient Records of the first Church of Roxbury, written by the famous and Rev. Mr. Eliot, and his successive colleagues the Rev. Mr. Danforth and Walter. In a separate part of the book are recorded hints of various ancient transactions and events, in other towns and colonies.
9. An ancient Record of the first New-England Synod, viz. at Cambridge, 1637.
10. Plymouth Colony Laws, from 1626 to 1660, inclusively. 11. The ancient Records of the honorable Artillery Company.
12. The Rev. Mr. William Hubbard's General History of NewEngland from the discovery to 1680, in 338 pages, and though not in his own hand-writing, yet having several corrections made thereby.
2. An original Record of the Rev. Mr. Peter Hobart of Hingham, relating hints of matters, both in his own and some neighboring churches also.
3. Major Mason's ancient account of the Pequot War in 1634, 5, 6, 7.
4. Major-General Gookin's history of the New-England Indians, to 1674, inclusively.
5. An original Journal in Latin, composed by the late Rev. Mr. Brimsmead of Marlborough, and in his hand-writing, from 1665 to 1695, inclusively.
6. An account of Memorable Things in New-England, from 1674 to 1687 inclusively, written by the late Rev. Dr. Increase Mather, in his own hand.
7. An original Journal of the late Captain Lawrence Hammond of Charlestown and Boston, from 1677 to 1694, inclusively.
8. An original Journal of a very intelligent person deceased, who desired not to be named; relating remarkable matters from 1689 to 1711, inclusively.
1. A register of Governor Bradford's, in his own hand, recording some of the first deaths, marriages and punishments, at Plymouth ; with three other miscellaneous volumes of his.
2. A little ancient Table Book of his son, major William Bradford, afterward deputy governor of Plymouth Colony, written with his own hand, from 1649 to 1670.
3. Captain Roger Clap's account of the ancient affairs of the Massachusetts Colony.
4. An original Register wrote by the Rev. Mr. John Lathrop, recording the first affairs both of Scituate and Barnstable : of which towns he was successively the first minister.
Two original books of Deputy Governor Willoughby and Captain Hammond ; giving historical hints, from 1651 to 1678 inclusively.
6. Interleaved Almanacs of the late honorable John Hull and Judge Sewall of Boston, Esqrs.; of the Rev. Mr. Shepard the last of Charlestown, of the late Rev. Mr. Joseph Gerrish of Wenham, and several others from 1646 to 1720; wherein the facts were wrote at the time they happened; though the notes in several being wrote in divers sorts of short-hand, to which I was an utter stranger, put me to no small pains to find out their alphabets and other characters.
In lose papers
1. Extracts from the Public Records of the Colonies of Plymouth, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
2. A great number of ancient Letters and other papers which I have collected from several libraries and particular persons.
3. Near two hundred Chronological Letters sent me, collected