CHAPTER VIII. HOW THE FORT GOED HOOP WAS FEARFULLY BELEAGUERED -- HOW THE RENOWNED WOUTER FELL INTO A PROFOUND DOUBT, AND HOW HE FINALLY EVAPORATED.

BY this time my readers must fully perceive what an arduous task I have undertaken -- collecting and collating, with painful minuteness, the chronicles of past times, whose events almost defy the powers of research -- exploring a little kind of Herculaneum of history, which had lain nearly for ages buried under the rubbish of years, and almost totally forgotten -- raking up the limbs and fragments of disjointed facts, and endeavouring to put them scrupulously together, so as to restore them to their original form and connexion -- now lugging forth the character of an almost forgotten hero, like a mutilated statue -- now deciphering a half-defaced inscription, and now lighting upon a mouldering manuscript, which, after painful study, scarce repays the trouble of perusal.

In such case, how much has the reader to depend upon the honour and probity of his author, lest, like a cunning antiquarian, he either impose upon him some spurious fabrication of his own, for a precious relic from antiquity -- or else dress up the dismembered fragment with such false trappings, that it is scarcely possible to distinguish the truth from the fiction with which it is enveloped! This is a grievance which I have more than once had to lament, in the course of my wearisome researches among the works of ray fellow-historians, who have strangely disguised and distorted the facts respecting this country; and particularly respecting the great province of New-Netherlands; as will be perceived by any who will take the trouble to compare their romantic effusions, tricked out in the meretricious gauds of fable, with this authentic history.

I have had more vexations of this kind to encounter, in those parts of my history which treat of the transactions on the eastern border, than in any other, in consequence of the troops of historians who have infested those quarers, and have shown the honest people of Nieuw-Nederlandts no mercy in their works. Among the rest, Mr. Benjamin Trumbull arrogantly declares, that "the Dutch were always mere intruders." Now to this I shall make no other reply than to proceed in the

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