History of Louisiana: or of The Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina

History of Louisiana: or of The Western Parts of Virginia and Carolina

PREFACE

The History of Louisiana, which we here present to the public, was wrote by a planter of sixteen years experience in that country, who had likewise the advantage of being overseer or director of the public plantations, both when they belonged to the company, and afterwards when they fell to the crown; by which means he had the best opportunities of knowing the nature of the soil and climate, and what they produce, or what improvements they are likely to admit of; a thing in which this nation is, without doubt, highly concerned and interested. And when our author published this history in 1758, he had likewise the advantage, not only of the accounts of F. Charlevoix, and others, but of the Historical Memoirs of Louisiana, published at Paris in 1753, by Mr. Dumont, an officer who resided two-and-twenty years in the country, and was personally concerned and acquainted with many of the transactions in it; from whom we have extracted some passages, to render this account more complete.

But whatever opportunities our author had of gaining a knowledge of his subject, it must be owned, that he made his accounts of it very perplexed. By endeavoring to take in every thing, he descends to many trifles; and by dwelling too long on a subject, he comes to render it obscure, by being prolix in things which hardly relate to what he treats of. He interrupts the thread of his discourse with private anecdotes, long harangues, and tedious narrations, which have little or no relation to the subject, and are of much less consequence to the reader. The want of method and order throughout the whole work is
still more apparent; and that, joined to these digressions, renders his accounts, however just and interesting, so tedious and irksome to read, and at the same time so indistinct, that few seem to have reaped the benefit of them. For these reasons it was necessary to methodize the whole work; to abridge some parts of it; and to leave out many things that appear to be trifling. This we have endeavored to do in the translation, by reducing the whole work to four general heads or books; and {ii} by bringing the several subjects treated of, the accounts of which lie scattered up and down in different parts of the
original, under these their proper heads; so that the connection between them, and the accounts of any one subject, may more easily appear.

This, it is presumed, will appear to be a subject of no small consequence and importance to this nation, especially at this time. The countries here treated of, have not only by right always belonged to Great-Britain, but part of them is now acknowledged to it by the
former usurpers: and it is to be hoped, that the nation may now reap some advantages from those countries, on which it has expended so many millions; which there is no more likely way to do, than by making them better known in the first place, and by learning from the experience of others, what they do or are likely to produce, that may turn to account to the nation……..

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