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PRE FACE.

IN fulfilling the engagement which I had come under to the Publick with respect to the History 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 exist no longer, cannot be interesting. The attention and expectation of mankind are now turned towards their future condition. In whatever manner this unhappy contest may terminate, a new order of things must arise in North America, and its affairs will afsume another aspect. I wait, with the folicitude of a good citizen, until the ferment sub

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side, and regular government be reestablished, 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 feveral 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 fplendid portion of the American ftory, but fo 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 lefs, interesting than curious.

In .describing the atchievements and infti. tutions 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 Publick,, to

mention the sources from which I have derived · such intelligence, as juftifies me either in plac

ing 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 honoured me with their countenance and aid in my researches.

As it was from Spain that I had to expect the moft important information, with regard to this part of my work, I considered it as a very fortunate circumstance for me, when Lord

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Grantham, to whom I had the honour of being personnally 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 fatisfied 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 fen

fible, that what progress I have made in my "inquiries among the Spaniards, ought to be afcribed chiefly to their knowing how much his Lordship interested himself in my success. 1. But did I owe nothing more to Lord Gran'tham, than the advantages which I have derived from his attention in engaging Mr. Waddilove, the chaplain of his embafiy, to take the conduct of my literary inquiries in Spain, the obligations I lie under to him would be very great. During five years, that gentleman has carried on researches for my behoof, with

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