THE author cannot better express the feelings which have prompted him to study and write the history of the Colony of New Haven, than by appropriating the following words of Dr. Trumbull: -
• " No man of genius and curiosity can read accounts of the origin of nations, the discovery, settlement, ijnd progress of new countries, without a high degree of entertainment. But in the settlement of his own country, in the lives of his ancestors^ in theu: adventures, morals, jurisprudence, and heroism, he feels himself particularly interested. He at once becomes a party in then- affairs, and travels and converses with them with a kind of filial delight. While he beholds them braving the horrors of the desert, the terrors of the savage, the distresses of famine and war, he admires their courage, and is pleased with all their escapes from danger, and all their progress in settlement, population, opulence, literature, and happiness."
Deeply interested in the early history of New Haven, he thought that by imparting the information which many desire, but few have leisure to glean from the wide field over which it is scattered, he might do some service to the community in which he lives. He feels assured that many descendants of the
Christian Englishmen.who first brought the light of civilization to these shores will be interested in his work. He hopes that some whose ancestors came hither at a later period, and others who though born in foreign lands have chosen New Haven as then- home, and learned to love it, will gkdly acquaint themselves with the men by whose toil and heroism this goodly heritage was cut out of a wilderness.
The fulness of the records, both of the town and of the colony of New Haven, makes it possible to present the first planters as, in large measure, the narrators of their own history. The author, preferring that they should speak for themselves, has made large extracts from their records and from other con temporary writings. The town records of New Haven for the first ten years are in print, and the manuscript records of the next sixteen years have been carefully read. The records of other towns within the colony, being less accessible to the author, have not been so thoroughly examined: they are, how ever, but meagre as compared with those of New Haven. Ralph D. Smith diligently searched those of Guilford, and Lambert those of Milford; and their, histories have been freely used.
' Introducing the fathers of the New Haven Colony, and forbearing for the most part both eulogy and censure, the author has left them to make, with their own words, such impression as they may. He does not conceal his admiration of them; he does not claim that they were faultless: he desires to present them just as they were.
His first thought was to allow every person to appear in his own orthography; but on further reflection, he concluded to give
a few specimens of the phonetic spelling of the seventeenth century, and then, by reducing all quotations to present usage, to deliver his readers from the difficulty of interpreting incident to the ancient lawlessness. Accordingly the certificate of conformity which Davenport received the first Sunday after his induction at St. Stephen's is printed on page 30 as it was written; as are also the first two documents in the Appendix.
In recording an event which took place between the first day of January and'the twenty-fifth day of March, the year has been' written according to New Style, or else both styles are given j but the days in a month are in all cases numbered according to the ancient computation. The use of Old Style as applied to days will occasion little if any trouble to the reader. Even if he forgets that, according to our way of reckoning, the event took place ten days later, his misconception will not be very important. But to record in Old Style an event which happened in the early part of the modern year, without intimating that the year needed correction, might seriously mislead.
Reference has not always been made to the original authority, in confirmation of a particular statement.. Such references' may be useful to the specialist, but when frequent are annoying to most readers. Public records have been sufficiently indicated as authority for information derived from that source, and any item acquired by gleaning from the collections of Historical Societies is definitely referred to the volume from which it was taken. But references to Winthrop's Journal, Hubbard's His-tory of New England, Mather's Magnalia, and Hutchinson's History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, have been for the most part omitted, for the reason that the specialist can readily
find whatever these writers have transmitted to us concerning any particular event.
To all who in answer to his inquiries have aided the author in the compilation -of this history, he presents his grateful acknowledgments. A special tribute is due to one who has passed suddenly and peacefully into 'the invisible world since this preface was begun. Henry White was, of all men, the most learned in antiquarian lore pertaining to New Haven. Other occupations obliged him to relinquish his long-cherished design of writing a topographical history of_ his native town; but historical inquiries were to the last his recreation and delight. He took a deep interest in the author's work as soon as he knew that it had been undertaken, encouraged him to believe that- it would be a pleasure to converse frequently concerning it, and on one occasion spent days in such a search of the land-records as only he was competent to make. In the last interview which the author had with him, he gave vocal expression to a desire already evident, exclaiming with animation, "I wish I could help you more."
NEW HAVEN, October, 1880.