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Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1847,
BY DRINKER AND MORRIS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States in and for
the Eastern District of Virginia.
C. SHERMAN, PRINTER,
19 St. James Street, Philadelphia.
THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA,
THE REVOLUTIONARY AND MODERN HISTORY
OF THEIR STATE,
A REVIEW OF HER PRESENT CONDITION,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED,
171, 179, 182,
Page 49, line 25 from top, for perpetuate read perpetrate. 156, 6
trespasses trespassers. 162, " 23
" Makennie Makemie.
drunk. 380, 19
" insert "then" between “and” and “thee.”
The volume now presented to the public concludes the history of Virginia from 1763 to the year 1847, and contains also a review of her present condition. The Author has found the task more interesting and more difficult than the composition of the first volume; and as no one can estimate its difficulty more fully, so it is probable that none can perceive its defects more clearly than himself. But he has persevered in the plan of stating facts upon none but the best authorities, of giving the names of his witnesses to his readers, and of laying open his inferences to full inspection.
It will be at once remarked, that his plan has brought him in contact with many delicate subjects, and with individuals either now living themselves or having near relatives alive. He can hardly hope that he will give satisfaction to all. Were he to pretend that he has no preferences in politics, in religion, or in views of the social system, he would instantly forseit all right to public confidence. But preferences may be well founded. He has eagerly striven to divest his mind of all prejudice and undue prepossession, and to reach the truth wherever it could be attained. If, therefore, any reader shall find in this work any statement which does not please him, he is earnestly asked to pause, to reconsider his own opinion, to examine carefully the authorities cited for facts, and the deductions drawn from them. When he shall have bestowed as much labour in reviewing the statement as has been devoted to its original preparation, if his objections are not removed, the Author will be pleased to hear them from him.
The first volume of the work has been received with a degree of favour for which the Author is truly grateful. It has been
most kindly commented upon by many who were competent to judge of its merits. In confessing the pleasure he has derived from favourable criticisms, he would not forget to render his acknowledgments to those who have undertaken the important duty of pointing out his sins of omission and commission. He has endeavoured to give proper heed to their rebukes. Wherever the censure has seemed to him to be just, and not the result of inexperience, false taste, and undue self-esteem in the critic, he has allowed it full weight in his subsequent labours. Evidence of his willingness to correct what he has thought inaccurate in the first, will be found in the present volume.
There is a healthful philosophy to be learned from the history of Virginia, and the Author would be grieved to think that he had entirely failed in inculcating it. On this subject an immature critic will easily fall into errors. History must not teach her lessons by long courses of reflection and trains of argument, continued like the reasonings in a work on ethics or political economy. She must teach by a proper selection and arrangement of her basis of facts. To make a child hate national ingratitude, many laboured reflections on the subject might be administered to him without effect, but if the banishment of Aristides from Athens were related to him, with a single sharply-pointed comment, it would make an impression never to be erased. And men are but “children of an older growth.” If the reader of these volumes shall learn from them that idleness and profligacy will produce want and wretchedness; that perseverance against obstacles will insure success; that tyranny in government will lead to rebellion in its subjects; that ceaseless vigilance is the price of independence; that religion, in order to be pure, must be free; that weakness in government may be as dangerous as strength; that children will suffer because of the sins of their parents; and that education is necessary to national happiness,-he will learn lessons in philosophy such as Virginia should be glad to teach, and such as her people will act upon when they fulfil their proper duties as citizens of the oldest member of the American Confederacy.
November 11th, 1847.