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In offering the following work to the public, an apology perhaps is due from the author.
DR. WILLIAMS's History of Vermont is good, but fifty years have elapsed since its publication. Great changes have since taken place; and some things relative to its early settlement were omitted by him, deeming them too well known, perhaps, even to incur the danger of being forgotten. Others were omitted by him, as if more proper for the statute book, and secretary and town clerk's office, than for common libraries. But the late changes in the manner of detailing historical events, have proved that many facts and transactions, long buried in the lumber rooms of records, are highly interesting to readers in general. Besides, this work has become scarce, and difficult to be obtained. It is an able work on the “natural and civil history" of the state ; and the writer has relied on him as the best authority, relative to the difficulties in the way of its being admitted into the union.
A work has recently been published by the Rev. ZADOCK THOMPSON, bringing the narrative of events down to this time, combining the details of history and the statistics of a gazetteer. It is a meritorious work, and well deserving of patronage. And the writer here acknowledges with pleasure, valuable hints derived from it, especially the historical part first printed in a small volume. This late publication is voluminous and expensive; and on that account many, it is apprehended, will think themselves unable to avail themselves of it, who would wish to own a work giving some general description of the state.
This then is the apology for the following volume, occupying ground left between Dr. Williams and Mr. Thompson, infringing on neither, but taking a way of its own, differing from both. It wishes their works a prosperous course; and only asks the privilege of sliding around among the hills, defiles, and valleys of Vermont, visiting now and then the neighboring states, where its predecessors, either on account of age, or more bulky dimensions might meet with obstructions.
It declines being called a compilation, because it is a work essentially original. Transcriptions are credited to the authors from whom they are taken ; or by marks of quotation. To one of the judges of the supreme court, the writer here acknowledges his indebtedness for several pages of valuable communications. Endeavoring to consult the best authority, he has generally, for the sake of brevity, preferred abridging and translating to copying. But this composes but a small part of the work; the great body of “ the descriptions" being from personal observation and reflection.
They claim in their behalf truth and conformity to fact; but not exemption from mistakes; for what work of this nature can plead undeviating accuracy. They disclaim an intermixture of reality and fiction. . A medium they would hold between the dryness of mere statistics, and the lightness of the journalist, selecting the most important circumstances, and combining the connexion and attractiveness of history without its formality and minuteness.
May the volume meet with a kind reception in this cold world, to which it is reluctantly, and not without ill foreboding, dismissed to take its chance with other similar adventurers. With a Roman poet the author would rather see it wearing the marks of hard usage, than snugly perched upon the shelf for ornament, or food for worms and moths.