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of Connecticut from the fury of the ocean waves; and they have heard a thousand exaggerated stories of the ignorance and simplicity of its inhabitants. And it must be confessed, that the insular situation and other physical obstacles, have necessarily operated to limit the views and retard the progress of the mind, when confined to such narrow boundaries. In this respect it is true, that in the views of the islanders generally, the affairs of this wide world are drawn on a somewhat contracted scale. And it is equally true, that from their nonintercourse with the cunning and dishonest men of the world, (for be it known, that a consummate rogue is about as rare an animal as a wolf on Long Island,) they are an unsuspecting people, and are perhaps more easily over-reached than those, who are more conversant with the ways of the world. But for good common sense, sound judgment, and general information, so far as it may be obtained trom books and oral instruction, they are not inferior to the mass of population, in any equal portion of the state.
In this connexion, and in confirmation of the preceding remarks, it is worth while to correct another common mistake, in regard to the ignorance even of letters, that is supposed to exist on Long Island. For this purpose, reference is made to the United States census of 1840, from which it appears, that of the entire white population of the nation, amounting to 14,169,108, there are 549,693 persons over 20 years of age, who cannot read and write. The average of these for Suffolk County would be more than 1250. And yet according to the same census, there are only 14 individuals of this unhappy class, in this whole county. The number is indeed greater in the other two counties, where there has been a greater influx of foreign population; viz., in Queen's 458, and in King's 958, of whom 881 are in the city of Brooklyn. But this tells a story for Suffolk County, which is generally regarded as the chief seat of ignorance, that is told of no other county in the State of New York, and of very few counties of equal population in the most favoured parts of New England.
While therefore such incorrect views of the people of Long Island are entertained abroad, and very extensively too, such a history as is here contemplated, is more important for nonresidents, if they really wish correct information on the subject, than for the inhabitants of the island themselves.
General histories of the early settlement and progress of this territory are indeed extant. The Honourable Silas Wood, whom the writer is proud to acknowledge as his townsman, and the friend and counsellor of his childhood and youth, we are indebted for the first detailed history of this interesting field. The track thus ably struck out, has been laboriously pursued by Benjamin F. Thompson, Esq, who, in addition to much important information, has laid before the public eye, a great mass of ancient documents, which cannot fail to be both interesting and useful.
When this work was first undertaken, it was the writer's intention to confine himself exclusively, to the ecclesiastical, or moral and religious history of the island. But after pursuing his researches, for some time, with reference to this specific object, he became convinced, that some general outline of the physical features, civil divisions, progressive improvement, and other topics of secular history were indispensable, to enable the reader to appreciate the condition, and form a correct opinion of the intellectual, moral and religious state of the inhabitants. In addition to this, it is believed, that some of these topics have never received that attention, which their peculiarity and importance demand; while others are sufficiently indicative of the genius and character of the people, to merit notice in their religious history. Under this conviction, remarks have been extended on these several topics, to such a length, as to suggest the propriety of dividing the work into two distinct parts ; devoting the one to matters chiefly of a secular character, and the other more directly, though not exclusively, to the ecclesiastical annals of the several towns.
But unfortunately for the writer, if not for the public, the work has undergone yet another modification, which he feels bound to state, as an apology for the present form in which it appears. After committing it to the press, he found, that by a previous miscalculation as to the amount of the manuscript, it could not be comprised within the bounds of a reasonable volume. It therefore became necessary to remodel entirely the Second Part of the work. In doing this, as the least loss to the reader, the detailed history of the rise and progress of the various religious denominations on the island, which would have occupied more than 100 pages, was necessarily compressed into the brief abstract, which appears on pages 125— 30. In addition to this, the annals of the towns, were in many particulars abbreviated, to make room for the introduction of some historical sketches, which are essential to a correct view of their religious condition.
It was originally intended, to give a brief outline of the
life and character of the various ministers who have spent their lives in the services of these churches, in years gone by. But a deficiency of the materials furnished, and the necessity of contracting the work, have prevented the execution of the design, except in a few instances.
It will be observed, that in this compilation, no reference is made, except incidentally, to the events of the American revolution. Though many of these, of a deeply interesting character, occurred on the island, they are faithfully recorded in almost every history of the country. For this simple reason, it was deemed needless to burden the present work with their detail. Here and there, a fact has been noticed, as illustrative of the position of a place, or the condition of its inhabitants.
In collecting his materials, the author acknowledges his indebtedness to the laborious works already referred to, and also to a number of his clerical brethren, who have contributed important aid. Of these he feels bound to name the following gentlemen :—the Rev. Jonathan Huntting—the Rev. Abraham Luce—the Rev. Christopher Young i—the Rev. Joseph A. C"pp—the Rev. Hugh N. Wilson —the Rev. James C. Edwards—the Rev. Marmaduke Earle—the Rev. Henry M. Heart—-the 14ev. James MacDonald —the Rev. Jonathan Greenleaf—and the Rev. Samuel M. Haskins. But without depreciating the kindness of any, the author is constrained to acknowledge himself under special obligations to Alexander Gakihxkh, Esq. of the city of New York, both for the value of his aid, and the very kind and polite manner in which it was rendered. This gentleman, upon barely seeing the author's circular in a newspaper, immediately transmitted to him a MSS. history under the title of the "Chronicles Of Easthamptox," which had been compiled with great labour and research, by his lamented father. From this source, have been derived some of the most interesting annals of aboriginal history, as well as many important facts in relation to the eastern towns.
In addition to the works previously named, the author acknowledges his indebtedness to Smith's—Dunlap's, and Von Der Donk's Histories of New York—Moulton's View of New Orange, in 1673—Dr. Strong's History of Flathush—Furman's Notes of Brooklyn—Gen. Johnson's Lectures, translations and communications in manuscript—the Rev. Mr. Faitoute's MSS. History of Jamaica—the Rev. Mr. Garretson's Sermon, and several other pamphlets that cannot be particularly mentioned.
In availing himself of the aid of these and other sources of information, it has been impracticable to give distinct credit for every fact or sentiment derived from previous writers, especially where it appeared desirable to abridge, or make a slight variation of language, or different arrangement of ideas. For these reasons, quotations have not been distinctly marked, except where a sentence or paragraph has been taken entire.
Though the author has particularly aimed at correctness in regard to dates, of which he has detected not a few errors in former publications, he will not venture even to hope, that he has been entirely successful in this particular. There may be also mistakes in point of fact, though he assures his readers, that he has made no statement, but upon his own personal knowledge, or on information which he had reason to believe was entitled to full credit. But as different minds admit facts on different degrees of evidence, it is possible, that even here, some errors may be detected. The correction of these, from any authentic source, will be esteemed a favour.
The writer has been at the expense of having a Miniature 'Map of Long Island engraved, (which will be found fronting the title page,) to enable the reader to form a correct idea of the relative position of the several towns and counties.
Relying on the indulgence of the reader, this humble attempt, to record the annals of this island of the sea, is submitted with all its imperfections, to the attention of the public.
N. S. PRIME. WiUiamsburgh, L. I., Oct. 10th, 1845.
In consequence of the haste with which these sheets have passed through the press, a number of small typographical errors have escaped notice, which the knowledge of the reader will readily correct. Two, only have been observed, which need to be distinctly pointed out.
In the schedule, on page 121, the population of King's County, in 1815, should read 78,691, and the aggregate population of Long Island, 145,119. On page 290, in the last line of the note at the bottom, for word, read wonder.