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nity of human expectations. He who may be disposed to censure error with severity, should remember that truth is often obtained with dif. ficulty. Perhaps he is passing judgment upon labours he has not tried and would be unwilling to encounter.
The labour of compiling a duodecimo volume would indeed be trivial, were the objects of our research not often involved in obscurity or enveloped in darkness. That mist which overspreads ages past and gone, often bewilders the diligent inquirer after truth, and defeats the ingenuous efforts of the historian.
But whatever be the merit or demerit of the work, the subject is certainly important to all:-To the statesman who wishes to trace from their foundations our political institutions and the great fabric of our government;—to the philosopher who delights to review the gradations of civil society and the progress of human knowledge;—to the less enlightened, though not less important, citizen who supports by his labour the nation, and protects her constitution by his sword. While they pos.
sess the inheritance transmitted by their fathers, they may learn to emulate their deeds. While they review the wars and hardships of their ancestors, they may know how to appreciate the blessings themselves enjoy.
The history of Virginia is on many accounts of more importance than that of her sister colonies. The early date of her origin, and the singular adventures and achievements of her first settlers: the important part she acted in the great struggle for liberty, and the illustrious characters she has given to our councils and our armies: her central situation and commercial advantages, conspire to give her a preponderance in the national scale, and render her history well worth the attention of her citi
Nor will the utility of this work be confined to Virginia alone, whose history is interwoven with that of the other states, and whose name for many years served to designate the whole of the English settlements on our coast.
The author cannot dismiss his prefatory re. marks without tendering his thanks to those gentlemen who have endeavoured to aid him in the prosecution of his work. From that very worthy patriot and enlightened citizen who directs the department of state, he received an invitation which did him much honour and which he regrets he was unable to accept. In his office are many documents of importance to the historian, who may have leisure to examine and patience to select. To others he is indebted for aid, which, although he may have neglected to acknowledge, he is not willing to forget.
HISTORY OF VIRGINIA.
The origin of Virginia is not, like that of most nations, involved in fable and obscurity, Not much more than two centuries have elapsed since our shores were first visited by Eu. ropean adventurers. We are able to trace our history from the first movements of colonial infancy, and can mark with precision our moral and physical progress. If a paucity of interesting materials sometimes check our research, we are compensated for the deficiency of mat. ter by the recency of the events, and the interest they are calculated to excite. To observe the rise of society and the changes and revolutions of states and empires, is the most pleasing, and not the least profitable employment of the hu. man mind. But we must feel a peculiar interest in reviewing the conduct and marking the policy of our ancestors. We shall behold our state from the very embryon of her existence rising amidst enemies, and progressing amidst difficulties towards her present grandeur and population. It was during the reign of queen
Elizabeth, that the celebrated sir Walter Raleigh projected a settlement on our coast. This illustrious statesman having obtained letters patent empowering him to discover and settle remote lands, fitted out with the assistance of his friends two small vessels for this purpose. These, under the command of captains Philip Amydas and Arthur Barlow, sailed from the Thames on the 27th of April 1584. About the middle of July they cast anchor at a place called Wococon* on the coast of North Carolina.
* Wococon, or Wokoken is supposed by Stith to be that now called Ocracock. Beverly says, “they anchor. ed at an inlet by Roanoke;" and this opinion is confirm.