History of New England - Vol. 1

By John Gorham Palfrey | Go to book overview
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PREFACE.

I PROPOSE to relate, in several volumes, the Iiidory of the people of Now 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 boon educated for the part which they have ohtea 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 eighteenth century, that those swarms began to depart, which have since occupied' so largo 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

-vii-

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