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TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
The title-page to this edition is embellished with an engraved copy of what was probably the seal of the Council for New England. When I was in England I took great pains to find an impression of that seal, but without success; which surprised me, the patents issued by the Council having been so numerous. An impression of the seal in wax is attached to the patent of Plymouth Colony issued in 1629; but it has been so broken and defaced, that the device is undistinguishable. Mr. Charles Deane believes that he has discovered this in an embellishment of the title-pages of two of the publications of Captain John Smith. I might do injustice to Mr. Deane's ingenious argument (which I understand will soon be published in a volume of the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society), should I attempt to exhibit it. It will be found to have great force.
The Index to my work, in the enlarged form which it now bears, is a fruit of the judgment and skill of Dr. John Appleton, the learned Assistant-Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
J. G. P. CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts ;
1865, July 21.
To JARED SPARKS.
MY DEAR SPARKS;
Seven times seven years ago this day, you, coming from Connecticut, and I, from Massachusetts, arrived at the Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. For two years we were lodged beneath the same roof, and recited our lessons from the same form. Next we were classmates through the undergraduate course at Cambridge. Next we there pursued together our studies for the profession to which we expected to devote our lives. You went to a distant city ; we kept up a constant intercourse of letters and visits. You came to live in Boston, and we met almost every day. I removed to Cambridge ; you followed soon; and, since that time, our homes have been side by side. Friendships of such intimacy and duration are rare. It is not chiefly because the reading world so honors you, — still less is it from a wish to involve you in responsibility for any of my defects, — that, in coming before the public with an essay in a department of writing in which you have won a wide renown, I desire to associate your name with that of
JOHN GORHAM PALFREY.
September 7, 1858.
I PROPOSE to relato, in several volumes, the history of the people of New England.
In this first volume I treat of the Settlement of New England, meaning by that word, not only the arrival of European colonists, but the framing and establishing of that social system, under which, through successive generations, their descendants have been educated for the part which they have acted in the world.
The founders of the commonwealths of which I write were Englishmen. Their emigration to New England began in 1620. It was inconsiderable till 1630. At the end of ten years more, it almost ceased. A people, consisting at that time of not many more than twenty thousand persons, thenceforward multiplied on its own soil, in remarkable seclusion from other communities, for nearly a century and a half. Some slight emigrations from it took place at an early day; but they were soon discontinued ; and it was not till the last quarter of the cighteenth century, that those swarms began to depart, which have since occupied so large a portion of the territory of the United States.
During that long period, and for many years later, their identity was unimpaired. No race has ever been more homogeneous than this remained, down to the time of the generation now upon the stage. With a near approach to precision it may be said, that the millions of living persons, either born in New England, or tracing their origin to natives of that region, are descendants of the twenty-one thousand Englishmen who came over before the early emigration from England ceased upon the meeting of the Long Parliament. Such exceptions to this statement, as belong to any time preceding that of the present generation, are of small account. In 1652, after the battles of Dunbar and Worcester, Cromwell sent some four or five hundred of his Scotch prisoners to Boston ; but very little trace of this accession is left. The discontented strangers took no root. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, about a hundred and fifty families of French Huguenots came to Massachusetts, where, though their names have mostly died out, a considerable number of their posterity are yet to be found. A hundred and twenty Scotch-Irish families came over in 1719, and settled at Londonderry, in New Hampshire, and elsewhere. Great numbers of foreigners — especially of Irish, and, next to them, of Germans are now to be reckoned in a census of New England; but it is chiefly within the last thirty years that they have come, and they remain for the most part unamalgamated with the population of English descent. Thus the people of New England are a singularly unmixed
There is probably not a county in England occupied by a population of purer English blood than theirs. It is a race still more specially to be characterized as representing a peculiar type of the Englishmen of the seventeenth century. A large majority of the early planters were Puritans. Some of the small English settlements in the eastern part of the country were composed of other elements. But, from the early time when these were absorbed by Massachusetts, their anti-Puritan peculiarities began to disappear, and a substantial conformity to the Puritan standard becamo universal.
Sequestered from foreign influences, the people thus constituted was forming a distinct character by its own discipline, and was engaged at work within itself, on its own problems, through a century and a half. Down to the eve of the war which began in 1775, New England had little knowledge of the communities which took part with her in that conflict. Till the time of
the Boston Port Bill, eighty-four years ago, Massachusetts and Virginia, the two principal English colonies, had with each other scarcely more relations of acquaintance, business, mutual influence, or common action, than either of them had with Jamaica or Quebec.
This people, so isolated in its pupilage, has now diffused itself widely. I am to tell the early story of a vast tribe of men, numbering at the present time, it is likely, some seven or eight millions. Exactness in such an estimate is not attainable ; but it would probably be coming somewhere near the truth to divide the present white population of the United States into three equal parts; one, belonging to the New-England stock; one, the posterity of English who settled in the other Atlantic colonies; and another, consisting of the aggregate of Irish, Scotch, French, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, and other immigrants, and their descendants. According to the United States' Census of 1850, the six New-England States had in that year 2,705,095 inhabitants, of which number 305,444 were of foreign birth. It would, I suppose, be making a liberal allowance to refer the round number of half a million of the present inhabitants of those States to the modern immigrations from abroad. other hand, more than seven hundred and fifty thousand natives of New England often persons not inconsiderable in respect to activity, property, or influence - are supposed to be now living in other parts of the Union.* The New-England race has contributed largely to the population of the great State of New York, and makes a majority in some of the new States further west. Considerable numbers of them are dispersed in distant parts of the world, where commerce or other business invites enterprise, though they do not often establish themselves for life in foreign countries. I presume there is one third of the people of these United States — wherever now residing - of whom no individual could peruse this volume without reading the history of his own progenitors.
* Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, XXX. 637.