Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolution, 1760- 1776

By David S. Lovejoy | Go to book overview

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

AN ENCOURAGING factor about research in early Rhode Island history is that most of the sources rest within a small geographical area. Rhode Island as a colony was no larger than it is as a state, and the papers and documents which have remained there or which have since been collected there are available within a limited radius. The John Carter Brown Library, the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Brown University Library, and the State Archives, all in Providence, and the Newport Historical Society, less than thirty miles to the south, contain the bulk of manuscript and printed sources which were necessary for the preparation of this book. History does not write itself, nor do musty letters in crabbed writing and public records in official style scream interpretations in their margins. But when the letters and records are collected in a handful of places within walking distance of one another or at most within an hour's drive, geography, at least, has given the historian a welcome assist. To Roger Williams and the founders I am grateful for their restrained and tidy pretensions.


PUBLIC RECORDS

Manuscript : Rhode Island should be proud of the splendid manner in which its early records have been preserved in the Rhode Island Archives at the State House in Providence. The present archivist, Miss Mary T. Quinn, graciously presides over a magnificent collection of manuscripts, a number of which form a substantial basis for this volume. Miss Quinn's knowledge of these documents is only outdone by her ability to put her finger upon them at a moment's notice. Of first importance are the Rhode Island Colony Records, Journal, House of Deputies, and Journal of the Senate (Council), which are necessary for piecing together the intricate procedures, customs, and political habits of the Governor and Company of the Colony of Rhode Island. The Journals of the upper and lower houses give an intimate picture of the relations between the two houses, often including texts of messages passed and reasons for concurrence or nonconcurrence with the

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