Mirror for Americans: Likeness of the Eastern Seaboard, 1810

Mirror for Americans: Likeness of the Eastern Seaboard, 1810

Mirror for Americans: Likeness of the Eastern Seaboard, 1810

Mirror for Americans: Likeness of the Eastern Seaboard, 1810

Excerpt

"It will not be expected, after volumes upon volumes that have been published concerning the Bri[t]ish colonies on the eastern shore of the American continent, that any thing materially new can be related of them. The only thing I mean to attempt with regard to this is, to collect such facts and circumstances, as, in a political and commercial view, appear to me to be most interesting; to reduce them to an easy and familiar method, and contract them within such narrow limits, that the whole may be seen as it were at once, and every thing material be collected from a few pages, concerning seventeen Provinces; a minute and circumstantial account of which would fill so many considerable volumes." 1765.

The foregoing words of Robert Rogers, famous leader of the Rangers, will serve, despite the altered political situation, to preface a work which is intended as a short-cut to an understanding of American geography in 1810. To learn a great deal about this subject one may consult these "volumes upon volumes" of original matter, and much that is less conveniently arranged, but to do so requires a command of time which few possess.

The America of that period seems well worth knowing. For one thing, certain men who lived then had much to say about their country, and they said it very well indeed. Included among them were a few now revered as the great men of their generation, but for the most part our records were made by the average, but discerning, man. In the midst of their occupations as physicians or clergymen, as politicians or statesmen, as merchants, or professors of many subjects, a surprising number found opportunity to record what they knew or believed regarding some phase or phases of American geography. To these individuals, many of them talented, the first acknowledgments are to be made. My responsibility with respect to such of their data as have been discovered is not unlike that of an editor to whom many persons, upon request, have submitted observations on a common theme. It has been necessary to exercise broad powers of editorship since, naturally enough, the offerings of sev-

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