« PreviousContinue »
FROM THE DISCOVERIES OF THE CONTINENT
THE CENTENNIAL YEAR
OF THE NATION'S INDEPENDENCE,
GIVING A CLEAR ACCOUNT OF THEIR POLITICAL, MILITARY, MORAL,
JACOB HARRIS PATTON, A.M.
WITH PORTRAITS, CHARTS, MAPS, ETC., AND CONTAINING MARGINAL
J. B. FORD & COMPANY.
ELABORATE histories of the United States have been ably written, while compends or school histories-well adapted to the place they are designed to fill—are numerBetween these compends and the works extending from three to ten volumes there is room, as well as necessity, for a history that shall be sufficiently elaborate to trace the direct influences that have had a power in moulding the character of the nation and its institutions, moral and political. In accordance with this view this volume is designed to present, as fully as consistent with the plan, those events which are interesting in themselves and characteristic of the times or people.
While the author has availed himself as much as possible of original authorities, and acknowledges his obligations to, the many elaborate United States and State histories, yet his main effort has been to set forth our history in his own language, wrought into a consecutive narrative, confining himself to what are the true elements of history—that is, only those events and principles that have had influence; making, occasionally, an informal summary of the less important facts to keep perfect the thread of the narrative. The earlier portions of this his
tory, issued during the years of bitterest sectional feeling precedent to the late civil war, had the good fortune to be received both in the North and in the South as a "lucid" and "impartial" narrative of facts; even the extreme political journals of both sides commended it as "accurate" and "discriminating." This fact has been a great encouragement to the author in his attempt to truthfully relate the story of the subsequent years.
In these latter days public documents are published to the world, and the materials of history become accessible to all. By this means the main and leading facts of the late War are as well known to-day as they ever will be, with the exception of a few instances in the career of individuals which will be revealed when the "Life and Times" of each comes to be written. This latter class of material, however, unfortunately often largely embellished and explained by after-thoughts, may throw light upon personal motives and actions, but will shed little upon the great events themselves. For in the late exciting period statesmen groped their way; no man saw the end from the beginning. An overruling Hand brought about the great result, not by the plannings of men, but in spite of them.
It is hoped that the intelligent reader will find in this volume a succinct as well as a comprehensive view of the history of the American people, and of the influences that have formed their characteristics and their Government. J. H. P.
NEW YORK, February 1, 1876.