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WILLIAM JENKS, D. D.
I HOPE I shall not be thought ostentatious in dedicating my labors in Indian History to you. But I had rather hazard such unkindness, than to deprive myself of the gratification of appearing before the public under the countenance of one who justly commands the respect of all. Therefore, to forego an opportunity to show respect for eminent learning; of bearing testimony to great worth, true benevolence, and the most exemplary piety; would be a far greater source of regret to me, than any thing that fastidious critics could say upon the motive.
Moreover, I am aware, that, to every antiquary, it must be exceedingly gratifying, to see an ancient custom adhered to; more especially, when its object is solely to bestow honor where it is so eminently due.
S. G. DRAKE.
Boston, 25 Nov. 1833.
In the second edition of this work, it was intended that few corrections or ad. ditions should be necessary to others in future, if any should be required by the public. It was soon seen, however, that several errors were scattered here: and there in the work; and as the printing was going on at the time of writing, they were not discovered until it was too late to correct them.
Moreover, it sometimes happened, that all was not said upon a subject that would have been said, if more information, at the time of writing, had been at hand. Hence it often happened, that a further notice of a former subject was necessary, and may seem out of place. The author was perfectly aware, that this would subject him to the charge of a want of method, but as it was intended to accompany the work with a tolerably complete index, it was thought that such seeming immethodical arrangement would in a measure be compensated for; at least, in proportion to the perfection of that indispensable accompaniment.
Those unacquainted with the nature of such an undertaking, may complain that we should publish before we had filled up all vacancies in our documents, and hence have been able, not only to have been completely full upon every head, but at the same time have given a more continuous narrative of the whole. This object, could it have been attained, would have been as gratifying to the author as to the reader. But we can assure all such as are disposed to censure us upon this score, that, had they been obliged to turn over, compare, examine and collate one fourth as many volumes
and defaced records as the author has in compiling Indian BIOGRAPHY, they would abandon their cen. sures by the time they had well entered upon their labors.
Works of this kind will always appear premature in some respects, (to their authors, if no others,) for the reason that there is no end to the accumulation of materials. A writer may think himself in possession of every material necessary for his undertaking, may write and print his work, and the next day discover facts of so much importance, as to make it appear to his mind, that all he has done is of no value, compared with his last discovery. This should not deter us from putting into a state of preservation, by printing, from time to time, valuable matters, even though they might be much improved by withholding them for a time; because, from various occurrences, the best collections are extremely liable to be scattered, and irrecoverably lost.
Should an author resolve not to write upon a subject until every thing upon it should be collected, and in his possession, it is pretty certain he never would begin; and his labors, however well directed or long exerted, or however valuable to himself, might, by a common accident, be lost to the world in even a shorter space of time than an hour.
The first edition of Indian Biography was issued in June, 1832, and the second in September, 1833. Of the former, there were 1500 copies, and of the latter 2000. The first was a small duodecimo, of 348 pages. The second was in the same form and type as the present.
When 400 pages of the second edition were printed, there remained a large amount of valuable matter untouched; therefore forty pages more were added, and this was the extent of that edition. Even this extension did not carry as through with all our materials ; but it was concluded to issue the edition, and wait until another should be required by the public, in which event it was determined that such additions and corrections should be made, as a constant examination of materials would enable the author. In the mean time, many rare and curious works came into his possession, by means of which we are able considerably to enrich our additions.
There have also fallen into our hands several of the most rare portraits of distinguished Indians, several of which have been engraved expressly for this edition. They may be relied upon as exact copies of the originals. That of the “Lady Rebecca," the savior of Virginia, more properly Mrs. Rolfe, who was no other than the renowned POCAHONTAS, must gladden the heart of every antiquary.--Few could have known that such existed; but it has existed, and we lay it before the public with high gratification : all, we feel confident, will treasure it up as a pearl of great price.
The likeness of 'SAGOYEWATHA may be relied upon as a faithful one. Several of the author's friends, who have seen him, attest the fact. All we can say of NEAMATALA and OuTacite, is, they are faithful copies, and doubt not they are correct likenesses.
Some have called our portrait of the great Wampanoag sachem, a “sorry" one. We are not to blame for it. We wish our fathers had left us a better; but it is not our manner to slight a book because it is small, or because its covers are defaced, or a portrait because it does not exactly correspond with our idea of a man. We had an exact copy made of the old print which accompanied Dr. Stiles's edition of Church's History of Philip's War,* which it is supposed he had copied from an original painting of King Philip, still said to be in existence. If this be true, and our copy be a faithful one, we want no other. At any rate, we do not like to part with it until we can substitute a better one.
In regard to the wood engravings interspersed throughout the work, it may be observed, that those representing Indian habits, costume, and some peculiar manners and customs, have been selected from a large collection; and it is hoped the selection will be approved. The portraits done in the same material preserve the likenesses of the originals with great exactness. Several of these deserve to be executed in the best manner, and they were not cut in wood from any other cause than that required by economy: They were engraved as they came into our hands, without regarding their celebrity
We have mentionedł the existence of portraits of the four Iroquois chiefs who visited England in 1710;—these the author is exceedingly happy in possessing; and although not being able, on account of the expense, to enrich this edition with copies of them, he hopes they will be engraved in due time; which if they are, persons possessing the work may procure them separately.
The author submits his work with some confidence, from a consciousness of having used great exertions to make it useful, and of having treated his subject with the strictest impartiality. All verbiage has been avoided, in as far as practicable, and plain matters of fact have been arrived at by the shortest and most direct course. Circumlocution, the offspring of verbiage, is a fault of modern book-makers; and every observer must have been forcibly struck by the contrast of a modern title-page and the rest of the book; in the former, multum in paroo is true to the letter, and that page is too often the only one in which it is to be found, throughout a performance.
There may be some, probably, who will look into our book to see what we have said upon some facts known to them, and be much disappointed in finding that we have not noticed them at all. ' To such we can only say, we have given other facts instead of them ; in other words, we have filled our book as full as it would hold. And although we may not always have selected the best matter, we thought, at the time of writing, we had : and when our information is farther extended, we may agree better with those who shall find fault with us.
Extract from the Preface of the First Edition. The following notices have been thrown together within a few months, although many years have elapsed since the author began the collection of materials, and set about gaining a knowledge of this kind of history.
The first adventurer in any untrodden path, must often find himself embarraised for want of land-marks, by which to direct his course. This will be ap
* Printed at Newport, R. I. by SOLOMON SOUTHWICK, 1772.--The first edition had no plates. It was printed at Boston, by B. Green, in the year 1716. Copies of both editions are in pos session of the author.
+ See book v. chap. i, and a note to chan. vii book iv.
parent to the reader. But he will not be the first to whom it has been thus apparent. A small edition is now offered, which, if well received, will be much improved and enlarged, and placed at the public disposal.
It will be remembered by some, that, in an edition of Church's History of Philip's War, published by the author five years ago, he advertised in a note upon page ninety-seven of that work, that he had it in contemplation to publish a work of this kind. This he considers, a redemption of that pledge.
The edition of Hubbard's Indian Wars, which he some time since announced as preparing with large notes, is in a forward state.
The reader should be reminded, that where the “ History of New-England" is cited, reference to Mr. Hubbard's is understood.
Acknowledgments are due to several individuals, who have, directly or indirectly, aided the author in his work; and he can only express his regret that he is not indebted to more, equally eminent in this branch of American antiquities. The reverend Dr. Jenks, to whom, by permission, his work is dedicated, has many thanks for his kindness in facilitating his researches in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; as also Mr. Joshua Coffin, of Boston, and the reverend Dr. Harris, of Dorchester, who have obligingly loaned him several valuable manuscripts ; and Edward D. Bangs, Esq. Secretary of State, for his politeness in accelerating the examination of our State Papers.
Extract from the Preface to the Second Edition. Accuracy, and ininuteness of detail, where the subject seemed to require it, have been our land-mark throughout this laborious performance. We say laborious; but were all readers antiquarians, even so much need not have been said. Although we have been very minute, in numerous instances, in our lives of chiefs, yet there are many others in which we gladly would have been more so, if materials could, at the time of writing, have been had. However, we do not presume that we arrogate to ourselves too much, when we promise to give the reader a much greater amount of Indian history, than he can elsewhere find in any separate work.
The merits or demerits of INDIAN BIOGRAPHY rest solely upon its author, whose various cares and avocations, could they be known to the critical reader, would cause him to be sparing of his criticisms. We call this the second edition, although we have treated the subject under a new arrangement. The method of books and chapters was adopted mainly for the benefit of combining history with biography. Besides containing all of the first edition which was important, this will be found to contain, in addition, three times as much new matter.
Many names of the same persons and places will, perhaps, be found spelt differently in various parts of the work; but this our plan could not obviate, because we wished to preserve the orthography of each author from whom we extracted, in that particular. Except in quotations, we did intend to have been uniform; but we are aware that we have not been entirely so, from several causes, which need no explanation.
In general, the notes give due credit to all such as have assisted the author in any way in his work. As to the works of deceased authors, we have made use of them as public property, taking care always to cite them, except where the same facts were common to many.
There is no work before the public upon Indian BIOGRAPHY, unless, indeed, some juvenile performances be so considered, recently published in New York. Those we have not found time particularly to examine.