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GENERAL COLLECTION OF INTERESTING FACTS, TRADITIONS,
AUTHOR OF CONNECTICUT HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS, ELEMENTS OF GENERAL HIS-
PUBLISHED BY DORR, HOWLAND & CO.
P R E F A СЕ.
A traveller in foreign
Ix view of the great variety of subjects introduced into this work, and the almost impossibility of producing a publication of this kind without errors and imperfections, it is with a degree of diffidence that it is laid before the public. This is felt in an especial manner when the author considers who will be his readers. places may make statements at random, in order to finish up his picture, which may pass for truth, when there is no one at hand who is able to correct his errors. This publication will come before persons many of whom have better means of information, and more knowledge on some subjects introduced, than can be reasonably expected from the author of this work.
Massachusetts may justly claim an elevated rank among the states of this Union. She is the "mother state" of.New England, and the birthplace of American freedom. A nobler ancestry no people ever yet possessed. "The Puritans (says a celebrated foreign writer, in no wise partial to them) were the most remarkable body of men, perhaps, which the world has ever produced. They were men whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal interests. Not content with acknowledging in general terms an overruling providence, hey habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose inspection, nothing was too minute. To know him, to serve him, to enjoy him, was with them the great end of existence. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious homage which other sects substituted for the homage of the soul.-On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, they looked down with contempt; for they esteemed themselves rich in a more precious treasure, and eloquent in a more sublime language;-nobles by the right of an earlier creation, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand." Let those who sneer at such an ancestry go back to the titled robbers of the middle ages, and claim affinity, if they will, with those felons of the human race, who fatten on the sweat and blood of suffering humanity.
Travellers who have heard of the "cold and sterile soil of New England" are surprised on finding it the "Garden of the United States." On every hand he sees smiling and prosperous villages, and, to a very great extent, the appearance of public and private happiness. To whatever cause blind politicians may ascribe this, it is because "the Pilgrim spirit has not fled." Under no other system but Christianity does true liberty exist, or are human rights properly respected. By it, the existence of man is invested with dignity and importance; by this levelling and exalting system every human being, in whatever circumstances of degradation he may be placed, stands on an equality with the mightiest potentate of earth, and to his fate is attached a mysterious and inconceivable importance.