« ZurückWeiter »
of the revolution, which has attended the latter. The storm will, however, ere long pass away, and returning peace will leave the other nations of Europe at liberty to contemplate without prejudice, not only their own situation, but the resources of France drawn forth into action under the influence of an energetic government, founded on the will of the people, and administered at an expense far less than what the pensioned minions of its former corrupt court alone devoured. Whenever that period arrives, and arrive it will, it needs not a fpirit of inspiration to affert, that the other nations of Europe must submit to a thorough reformation, or be content to behold their commerce, agriculture, and population decline.
In the mean time the United States are profiting by the convulsed situation of Europe, and increasing, in a degree hitherto unparalleled in the history of nations, in population and opulence. Their power, commerce and agriculture, are rapidly on the increase, and the wisdom of the federal government has hitherto been such as to render the prospect of a settlement under its fostering influence truly inviting to the merchant, the manufacturer, the mechanic, and the industrious labourer: nor' have these alone found the United States advan, tageous; the persecuted in France or England have there found an asylum, where their lives, property and liberty are secure ; where they may almost say, the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Nor can any doubt be ente stained, but in a short period the man of science, as well as the contemplative and experimental philofopher, will find the lhores of Columbia equally propitious to their wishes. Education is sending forth its illuminating rays, and its influence on the rising generation will aid the Americans in all their other pursuits.
The inhabitants of Europe are not insensible of these favourable circumstances. The charms of civil and religious liberty, the advantages of an extensive and fertile, but uncultia. vated country, of an increasing commerce, unshackled and unencumbered by heavy and impolitic duties and imposts, have already invited numbers to leave its bofom-numbers, which the iron hand of persecution and the awful prospects of intertine division or abject savery, will continue to increase.
The attention of Europe in general, and of Great-Britain in particular, being thus drawn to the new world, the Editor, at the instigation of some particular friends, .undertook the talk, which he hopes he has in some degree accomplished in the following volumes, of affording his countrymen an opportunity of becoming better acquainted with its settlement by Europeans—the events that led to the establishment and independence of the United States--the nature of their government-their present situation and advantages, together with their future prospects in commerce, manufactures and agriculture. This formed the principal design of the work ; but he farther wished with this to connect a general view of the situation of the remaining European possessions in America and the West-India islands ; this has been therefore attempted, and nearly a volume is dedicated alone to this fubject. Connected with the above, une object has been conftantly kept in view, namely, to afford the emigrator to America a summary of general information, that may in some measure serve as a directory to him in the choice of a residence, as well as in his after pursuits. This suggested the propriety of adopting the plan which Mr. Morse had laid down in his American Geography; and this must plead in excuse for the miscellaneous matter introduced in the third volume, at the close of the history of the States.
How far the Editor has succeeded in the accomplishment of this object is not for him to determine ; he can only say, he has spared no pains, nor neglected any opportunity, which his situation permitted him to embrace to obtain information ; and he has to express his obligations for the obliging communica
tions of many, whose names the peculiarity of his own situation will not for obvious reasons permit hiin to mention, but for whose friendship he shall ever retain the most lively fentiments of esteem and gratitude. The Editor's thanks are likewise particularly due to several gentlemen of the society of Quakers, for the documents which have enabled him, with thorough convi&ion, to wipe off the odium which Mr. Chalmers, in his Annals, and the authors of the Modern Universal History, followed by Mr. Morse, had thrown on the character of William Penn and the first settlers of Pennsylvania,* and on whose authority they were by him inserted.
With respect to the printed authorities which the Editor has followed, he has not only borrowed their ideas, but, where he had not the vanity to conceive himself capable of correcting it, he has adopted their language, so that in a long narrative he has often no other claim to merit than what arises from selection and a few connecting sentences: as, however, by this method it has often become difficult for an author to know his own, the Editor at once begs leave to say, he has availed himself of the labours and abilities of the Abbé Raynal, Franklin, Robertfon, Clavigero, Jefferson, Belknap, Adams, Catesby, Buffon, Gordon, Ramsey, Bartram, Cox, Rush, Mitchel, Cutler, Imlay, Filson, Barlow, Brisot, Morse, Edwards, and a number of others of less import, together with the transactions of the English and American philosophical societies, American Mufeum, &c.
• The Editor has particularly to request, that those who have taken this Work in Numbers, will, in justice to himself, as well as to the character of William Penn, deltroy the half-sheet, signature P p vol. ii. page 289 to 296 inclusive, and substitute the half-sheet of the same signature, given in the last Number, in its stead-the same is requested re. specting the Constitution of Pennsylvania and the other cancels marked,
The Editor has now only to deprecate the severity of criticism. It was impossible, in selecting from such a variety of authors, to secure uniformity of language without immense trouble; and from his situation, which rendered an easy communication with the Printer not only often difficult, but in many cases impracticable, several typographical errors will, no doubt, occur to the reader, as well as some others of a literary kind. -As these, however, do not affect facts, he has not added an errata, but left the whole to the candour and good sense of the reader, to whom he wishes, with sincerity, as much pleafure in the perusal, as himself has experienced in collecting and arranging the materials.
State Side of Newgate,
Jan. 21st, 1795.
CON TENT S.