Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/322

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qualities to which they were generally strangers; his style is simple and concise, his narratives bear the stamp of truth, and his descriptions are free from false ornament.

This author throws most valuable light upon the state and condition of the Indians at the time when North America was first discovered.

The second historian to consult is Beverley, who commences his narrative with the year 1585, and ends it with 1700. The first part of his book contains historical documents properly so called, relative to the infancy of the colony. The second affords a most curious picture of the state of the Indians at this remote period. The third conveys very clear ideas concerning the manners, social condition, laws, and political customs of the Virginians in the author's lifetime.

Beverley was a native of Virginia, which occasions him to say at the beginning of his book that he entreats his readers not to exercise their critical severity upon it, since, having been born in the Indies, he does not aspire to purity of language. Notwithstanding this colonial modesty, the author shows throughout his book the impatience with which he endures the supremacy of the mother-country. In this work of Beverley are also found numerous traces of that spirit of civil liberty which animated the English colonies of America at the time when he wrote. He also shows the dissensions which existed among them and retarded their independence. Beverley detests his Catholic neighbours of Maryland even more than he hates the English Government: his style is simple, his narrative interesting and apparently trustworthy.

I saw in America another work which ought to be consulted, entitled The History of Virginia, by William Stith. This book affords some curious details, but I thought it long and diffuse.