PREFACE prefixed to the first edition of the sixth volume of this history as published in 1854.
The present volume completes the History of the American Revolution, considered in its causes. The three last* explain the rise of the union of the United States from the body of the people, the change in the colonial policy of France, and the consequences of the persevering ambition of Great Britain to consolidate its power over America. The penal acts of 1774 dissolved the moral connection between the two countries, and began the civil war.
The importance of the subject justified comprehensive research. Of printed works my own collection is not inconsiderable; and whatever else is to be found in the largest public or private libraries, particularly in those of Harvard college, the Boston Athenæum—which is very rich in pamphlets—and the British Museum, have been within my reach.
Still greater instruction was derived from manuscripts. The records of the state paper office of Great Britain best illustrate the colonial system of that country. The opportunity of consulting them was granted me by the earl of Aberdeen, when secretary of state, and continued by Viscount Palmerston, by Earl Grey, and by the duke of Newcastle. They include the voluminous correspondence of all military and civil officers, and Indian agents employed in America; memorials of the American commissioners of customs; narratives, affidavits, informations, and answers of witnesses, illustrating the most important occurrences; the journals of the board of
* In this edition, volume ii from page 314 and the whole of volume iii