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PRINCIPAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, HISTORIO-
GRAPHER TO HIS MAJESTY POR SCOTLAND, AND
MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF

HISTORY AT MADRID.

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Printed for j. J. TOURNEISEN; and J. L. LEGRAND.

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PREF A C E.

IN fulfilling the engagement which I had come under to the Public with respect to the History of Americà, it was my intention not to have published any part of the work until the whole was completed. The present state of the British Colonies has induced me to alter that resolution. While they are engaged in civil war with Great Britain, inquiries and speculations concerning their åncient forms of policy and laws, which exist no longer, ĉannot be interesting. The attention and expectation of mankind are now. turned towards their future condition. In whatever manner this unhappy contest may termi. nate , à new order of things must arise in NorthAmerica, and its affairs will assume another aspect. I wait, with the folicitude of a good citižen, until the ferment sublide, and regular government be re-established, and then I shall return to this part of my work, in which I had

made some progress. That, together with the history of Portuguese America, and of the settlements made by the several nations of Europe in the West-India-islands, will complete my plan.

The three volumes which I now publish , contain an account of the discovery of the New World, and of the progress of the Spanish arms and colonies there. This is not only the most splendid portion of the American story, but so much detached, as, by itself, to form a perfect whole, remarkable for the unity of the subject. As the principles and maxims of the Spaniards in planting colonies, which have been adopted in some measure by every nation, are unfolded in this part of my work, it will serve as a proper introduction to the history of all the European establishments in America, and convey such information concerning this important article of policy, as may be deemed no less interesting than curious.. * In describing the achievements and institutions of the Spaniards in the New World, I have departed in many instances from the accounts of preceding historians, and have often related facts which seem to have been unknown to them. It is a duty I owe the Public, to mention the sources from which I have derived fuch

intelligence, as justifies me either in placing transactions in a new light, or in forming any new opinion with respect to their causes and effects. This duty I perform with greater satisfaction, as it will afford an opportunity of expressing my gratitude to those benefactors, who have honored me with their countenance and aid in my researches.

As it was from Spain that I had to expect the most important information, with regard to this part of my work, I considered it as a very fortunate circumstance for me, when Lord Grantham , to whom I had the honor of being personally known, and with whofe liberality of sentiment, and disposition to oblige, I was well acquainted, was appointed ambassador to the court of Madrid. Upon applying to him, I met with such a reception as satisfied me that his endeavours would be employed in the most proper manner, in order to obtain the gratification of my wishes; and I am perfectly sensible, that what progress I have made in inquiries among the Spaniards, ought to be ascribed chiefly to their knowing how much his Lordship interested himself in my success.

But did I owe nothing more to Lord Grantham, than the advantages which I have derived from

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