Page:American History Told by Contemporaries, v2.djvu/13

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


Preface


The work of which this is the second volume is an attempt to bring before the minds of Americans a picture of the life of their forefathers as the latter saw it themselves. It is the conviction of the editor that there is need of a series which in reasonable compass may accomplish two objects: first, to open up for the use of schools, of libraries, of readers, and of investigators, texts of rare or quaint writings which shall be authoritative, so far as they go; secondly, to make the contemporary writers tell their own story of the events of American history and the aspirations of Americans, from the foundation of the colonies to the present day. The editor believes that such material makes the past vivid to pupil, student, and reader; and that from a succession of such episodes as are here set forth, so fitted together as to make a kind of continuous narrative, a more permanent impression is made on the mind than from the reading of an equal amount of secondary writings.

In selecting material the same principles have been followed as in Volume I: the first authoritative edition has been sought—in a few cases manuscript sources have been used; all pieces in foreign languages appear in translation; the copy is meant to be an absolute transcript of the original in paragraphing, wording, spelling, and capitalization; nothing appears not found in the original, and all omissions are indicated; at the end of each extract is a statement of the place whence the extract is taken. Of course some of the printed originals are not faithful transcripts of the manuscripts, but I have aimed in all cases to reproduce the best text available.

In making up the volume I have drawn less on documents,—charters, messages, resolutions, declarations, instructions, statutes, and treaties,—than on those kinds of material in which the personality of the writer plays a greater part,—journals, letters, reports, discussions, and reminis-

vii