Page images
PDF
EPUB

with the whole of the supplementary numbers, and is therefore, the first complete and uniform edition of the work that has been published.

The Rev. Thomas Prince, the author of the work, was born at Middleborough, and was graduated at Harvard College, 1707. He spent several years in travelling in Europe, and on his return, Oct. 1, 1718, was ordained Pastor of the old South Church in Boston, in which station he remained until his death, Oct. 22, 1758. The author of the New England Biographical Dictionary justly remarks of him, that

was one of the most learned and useful men of his age. He would deserve this character, if he had never published any thing but this Chronology."

Boston, 1826.

he 56

DEDICATION.

To His Excellency, JONATHAN BELCHER, Esq. ; captain-general and governor-in-chief in and over His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England. &c. To the Honorable SPENCER Phipps, Esq., lieutenant-governor ; and to the Honorable His Majesty's Council and House of Representatives of said Province.

The Province under your united care, being the principal of the New-England governments, containing especially the two first colonies of Plymouth and the Massachusetts, from whence the others were chiefly derived, and having the greatest share in the following work, to whom could a son of the Province more properly offer this fruit of his labors, than to your excellency and honors ? especially, when he beholds you as mostly, if not wholly, descendants from the worthy fathers of these plantations ; whom yourselves and posterity cannot but have in everlasting honor, not only for their eminent selfdenial and piety, wherein they set examples for future ages' to admire and imitate ; but also for their great concern that the same vital and pure christianity and liberty both civil and ecclesiastical, might be continued to their successors ; for which

[ocr errors]

they left their own and their fathers houses, in the most pleasant places then on earth, with many of their dearest relatives, and came over the ocean into this then hideous wilderness; and the peaceful fruits of whose extraordinary cares, labors, hardships, wisdom, courage, patience, blood and death, we under the divine protection, and the justice of the best of kings enjoy.

It is to these we firstly owe our pleasant houses, our fruitful fields, our growing towns and churches, our wholesome laws, our precious privileges, our grammar schools and colleges, our pious and learned ministers and magistrates, our good government and order, the public restraints of vices, the general knowledge of our common people, the strict observation of the christian sabbath ; with those remains of public modesty, sobriety, social virtues, and religion ; for which this country is distinguished among the British colonies, and in which we are as happy as any on earth. In the midst of our great advantages, you

will doubtless take a noble and useful pleasure, in reviewing the names and actions of your predecessors; that you may imitate their virtues; as also in surveying the gradual steps that led to our present situation ; together with the train of Providences appearing for us, sometimes indeed afflicting and then delivering, but preserving us through all our dangers, disappointing the designs of enemies, maintaining our invaluable liberties, and causing us to grow and prosper ; that the Sovereign Power

who has formed, preserved and blessed this people, may receive his due and grateful adorations.

It is the orderly succession of these transactions and events, as they precisely fell out in time, too much neglected by our historians, that for some years past, I have taken the greatest pains to search and find, even vastly more than in composing, and which through a world of difficulty and much expense, I here present you, not in the specious form of a proper history, which admits of artificial ornaments and descriptions to raise the imagination and affections of the reader ; but of a closer and more naked register, comprising only facts in a chronological epitome, to enlighten the understanding ; somewhat like the form of Usher's Annals, which a competent historian may easily fill up and beautify.

Nor is the design of this dedication, as is usual with others, to implore your patronage of the work in general at all adventures, or to palliate or excuse the faults or mistakes therein ; but rather humbly to appeal to your collective and superior knowledge, that it may more thoroughly be examined, every mistake of fact discovered, and the remainder only justified.

It would be too high a presumption in me, as well as too intruding on your more important cares, to supplicate a public examination or correction of this composure. But if it were as worthy as the reverend and learned Mr. Hubbard's Narrative of the Indian wars ; for the perusing and approving

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

which, three honorable magistrates were deputed by the governor and council of the Massachusetts colony in 1677, one of whom was a major-general, and the other two were afterwards governors. Upon rectifying every error, such a public approbạtion would consign it as a true report of facts, to the regard and credit both of present and of future generations.

I should now conclude, were it not for an observation of too great and public moment to be here omitted ; which is as follows :

That when the founders of these colonies came over, it was a time of general tyranny, both in church and state, through their mother island ; under which the British kingdoms loudly groaned, as the united voice declared both of their Lords and Commons in several Parliaments both of England and of Scotland, the only national representatives and the most proper witnesses of the national oppressions ; a thousand times more credible than any particular writers. From which those kingdoms could never obtain a legal and established deliverance till the glorious revolution in 1688 ; nor could apprehend it to be sufficiently secured till the happy accession of King George I. to the British throne in 1714; a prince who was a grandson, by the princess Sophia, of that most excellent king and queen of Bohemia ; whom the puritans admired and loved, whom they grieved to see so much neglected in their bitter sufferings by the court of England, and whom those who came over

« PreviousContinue »