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A M E R I CA.
PRINCIPAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH,
HISTORY AT MADRID
THE EIGHTH EDITION,
In fulfilling the engagement which I had come
under to the Public with respect to the Históry of America, 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 ancient forms of policy and laws, which exift no longer, cannot be interesting. The attention and expectation of mankind are now turned towards their future condition. In what. ever manner this unhappy contest
terminate, a new order of things must arise in North America, and its affairs will assume another aspect. I wait, with the solicitude of a good citizen, until the ferment subside, 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 fee veral nations of Europe in the West India islands, will complete my plan.
The three volumes which I now publish, con. tain 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
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 atchievements 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 such 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 bex nefactors, who have honoured me with their countenance and aid in
researches. As it was from Spain that I had to expect the most important information, with regard to this
my work, I considered it as a very fortunate circumftance for me, when lord Grantham, to whom I had the honour of being per. fonally known, and with whose 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 moft proper manner, in order to obtain the gratification of my wishes; and I am perfectly sensible, that