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hither, represented to their posterity in the most amiable character ; of which I can myself bear witness. For, though born in a remoter corner of this land, yet while in the arms of a knowing and careful mother, a grand-daughter of the first race of settlers, next to the Scripture history, she gave me such a view of the reformation, and of the sufferings and virtues of those renowned princes, as raised my joy with others, when the first hopeful prospect opened of their protestant descendants in the illustrious House of Hanover, being advanced to the British throne, and carried us into unbounded transports when our eyes beheld it.
Upon this occasion, His Excellency will forgive me, if, for the honor of his country, as well as for his own, we boast of one among us, who inspired with zeal for the succession of that illustrious House, even in the joys of youth, twice broke away, namely, in 1704 and 1708, and passed a double ocean'; that he might with rapture see, and in his country's name express the ardor of their vows to that most important family ; in which, under Heaven all the welfare of three mighty nations, and even of all the protestant states and kingdoms in the world, as well as the liberty, religion, and felicity of these colonies and provinces were involved. A celebrated instance peculiar to himself alone, that I presume no other American can pretend to ; and, for the fatigue and pains, I suppose no other subject of the whole British empire ; which redounds to the glory of the land that bred him, that parted with him, and received him with applause ; and the happy consequence whereof, at the head of his country, he now enjoys.
May that blessed family remain upon the throne and prosper as long as the sun endures ; may they spread their branches to every state and kingdom round about, and therewith extend the British happiness. May these plantations, flourish under their benign influence to the end of time. May your Excellency enjoy their smiles to the last hour of life ; and thereby, with the Divine grace and blessing, long lengthen our tranquillity, and advance our welfare. May your Honors, now taking your turn to rise and shine in the exalted places of your wise and pious predecessors, follow their bright examples, preserve the dear depposita resigned to your faithful trust, and transmit them safely to your successors; in all your councils may you look to future as well as present generations ; whom you may see depending on your care and wisdom, as we, unborn depended on the care and wisdom of those before us ; and may you ever keep in view, the principal and noble ends of these religious settlements. So will you be, with our dear forefathers, an eternal excellence, and the joy and praise of perpetual generations.
Your Excellency's and
THOMAS PRINCE. Boston, Nov. 24th, 1736.
RELATING THE RISE, DESIGN, AND PROGRESS OF THIS
Next to the Sacred History, and that of the Reformation, I was from my early youth instructed in the history of this country. And the first book of this kind put into my hand, was The New-England Memorial, composed by Mr. Secretary Morton; being the History of Plymouth Colony from the beginning to 1668. Gov. Thomas Dudley's Letter to the countess of Lincoln, informed me of the beginning of the Massachusetts Colony. Mr. William Hubbard and Mr. Increase Mather's Narratives of the Indian Wars in 1637, 1675 and 1676, with Mr. Cotton Mather's History of the Indian Wars from 1688 to 1698, gave me a sufficient view of those calamitous times. Mr. Matthew Mayhew's Account of the Vineyard Indians, Mr. Increase Mather's Record of Remarkable Providences, Mr. Cotton Mather's Lives of Mr. Cotton, Norton, Wilson, Davenport, Hooker, Mitchel, Eliot, and Sir William Phipps, increased my knowledge ; and much more was it advanced, upon the coming out of the last mentioned author's Ecclesiastical History of New England, in folio, in 1702.
Yet still I longed to see all these things disposed in the order of time wherein they happened, together with the rise and progress of the several towns, churches, counties, colonies, and provinces throughout this country.
Upon my entering into the College, I chanced in my leisure hours to read Mr. Chamberlain's account of the Cottonian Library; which excited in me a zeal of laying hold on every book, pamphlet, and paper, both in print and manuscript, which are either written by persons who lived here, or that have any tendency to enlighten our history.
When I went to England, I met with a great variety of books and pamphlets, too many here to name, relating to this country, wrote in ancient times, and which I could not meet with on this side the Atlantic. Among others, in a History of New England, from 1628 to 1651, printed in quarto, London, 1654, I found many particulars, of the beginning of our several churches, towns and colonies, which appear in no other writer. The running title of the book is Wonder Working Providence, &c; and in the genuine title-page, no author is named. Some of the books were faced with a false title-page; wherein the work is wrongly assigned to sir F. Georges ; but the true author was Mr. Johnson of Woburn, in New-England, as the late Judge Sewall assured me, as of a thing familiarly known among the Fathers of the Massachusetts Colony.
In my foreign travels, I found the want of a regular history of this country every where complained of; and was often moved to undertake it, though I could not think myself equal to a work so noble as the subject merits. The extraordinary talents which Le Moyn and others require in an historian were enough to deter me. And yet I had a secret thought, that upon returning to my native country, in case I should fall into a state of leisure, and no other engaged, I would attempt a brief account of facts at least, in the form of annals.
But returning home in 1717, Providence was pleased soon to settle me in such a public place and circumstance, as I could expect no leisure for such a work, and gave it over. I could propose no other than to go on with my collections, and provide materials for some other hand; which I have been at no small expense to gather; having amassed above a thousand books, pamphlets, and papers of this kind in print, and a great number of papers in manuscript ; so many indeed, that I have never yet had leisure enough to read them. For 1 should want at least as long a time as Dio; who says he had been not only ten years in collecting for his history, but also twelve years more in compiling it; and yet by his book of Dreams and Prodigies, presented to Severus, one would think he had sufficient leisure.*
In 1720 came out Mr. Neal's History of New England, which I was glad to see, and pleased both with his spirit, style, and method. I could wish nothing more than that he had all the helps this country affords. And though he has fallen into many mistakes of facts which are commonly known among us, some of which he seems to derive from Mr. Oldmixon's Account of New England in his British Empire in America ; and which mistakes are no doubt the reason why Mr. Neal's History is not more generally read among us; yet considering the materials this worthy writer was confined to, and that he was never here, it seems to me scarce possible that any under his disadvantages should form a better. In comparing him with the authors from whence he draws, I am surprised to see the pains he has taken to put the materials into such a regular order ; and to me it seems as if many parts of his work cannot be mended.
Upon the account of those mistakes as also many deficiencies which our written records only are able to supply; I have been often urged here to undertake our history, but as often declined for the reasons aforesaid. However, being still solicited, and no other attempting, at length in 1728 I determined to draw up a short account of the most remarkable transactions and events, in the form of a mere Chronology ; which I apprehended would give a summary and regular view of the rise and progress of our affairs, be a certain guide to future historians, make their performance easier to them, or assist Mr. Neal in correcting his second edition ; and which I supposed would not take above six or eight sheets, intending to write no more than a line or two upon every article.
The design was this ;
A summary and exact account of the most material occurrences relating to these parts of the world from their first discovery in the order of time in which they happened ; wherein, besides the most
* Lib. 72, c. Xiphilino.