Page images
[blocks in formation]

ENTERED according to the Act of Congress,

in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-three; BY HENRY SHERMAN,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York..

[graphic][merged small][merged small]


In preparing this work for the press, the Author's design has been to place within the reach of our common Schools, and the Libraries for the young throughout the country, a plain and simple history of the origin of our government and institutions, with the causes which have given to them their characteristic qualities. It is impossible for the mind of man to fix a limit to the advancement of this great and growing nation, in all the arts which contribute to the improvement of society, the sciences which expand and liberal the mind, or in the further development of those great principles of civil and religious liberty which are destined, in their ultimate maturity, to harmonize the world. It is essential that the young, who are hereafter to be entrusted with this proud heritage, should be prepared for the important and interesting duties which it may devolve upon them. If they would be useful to their country and to their raceif they would preserve, and conduct to maturity and perfection, a system of government so wisely planned, and institutions so well founded, they must become acquainted with their history from their earliest origin. They should be familiar with the causes which led to the first settlement of the several colonies planted by our forefathers in America— which transformed those colonies into independent stateswhich united those states into a federal community-which again dissolved this confederacy, and led to their more perfect, permanent, and happy union under the present constitution.

In looking into our libraries the Author found no work calculated particularly to aid them in making these acqui

sitions, while those whence this information was to be derived were either too ponderous, or too voluminous, or too expensive, to fall into the hands of the mass of juvenile readers. This volume has been prepared, during the intervals of leisure from professional avocations, with a view to supply this deficiency. Yet the object aimed at in its compilation, has not been merely to furnish a library-book for general reading; but also a class-book for the use of schools. The letters, addresses, and other documents of the several Colonies, and of the Congress, during the progress of our revolution, as also the speeches delivered in the British Parliament, which have been incorporated into the work, are excellent specimens of English composition, well adapted to improve the pupil in the exercises of reading, recitation, or declamation, while at the same time they contain the most valuable information as to the origin and progress of our liberties and institutions. Thus, it is hoped, while the work of elementary education is going forward, the young mind will be made familiar with the most interesting portion of our history, become acquainted with those fundamental principles of civil and religious faith and freedom which are the basis of our union and prosperity as a people, as well as our happiness as individuals; and imbibe a deeper reverence for, and a lasting attachment to, the government and institutions which have been reared upon them.

The following works have been consulted by the Author, and are recommended to those who wish to acquire more extended information on this subject, viz.: Russell's Modern Europe. Bigland's View of the World. Robertson's History of America. Irving's Columbus. Bissett's England. Winterbotham's America. Butler's History of the United States. Pitkin's History of the United States. Hutchinson's Hist. of Massachusetts. Marshall's Colonies. Burke's Works. Journals of Congress. The Federalist. Story on the Constitution. Kent's Commentaries, etc.


[ocr errors]



Introduction.-General view of the progress of Naval Science in the world.

-Christopher Columbus-his early career-his schemes for discovery-ne-

gociations for patronage-His voyages and their results-effect of his dis-

coveries in England.-State of Naval Science in England. -The expedition

of Cabot.-The discovery of the continent of North America.-Expeditions

to settle America during the reign of Elizabeth.-Division of the Continent

by James into North and South Virginia.-South Virginia Company-its

charter provisions of government.-Its first expedition to America. Settle-

ment of Jamestown-condition of the Colonists-progress of the settlement

under Capt. Smith.-Decline of the Colony on his return to England.--Ar-

rival of Lord De La War and resettlement of Jamestown.-Publication of a

New Charter to the Company.-Further arrivals from the mother coun-

try.-Permament settlement of the Colony.-Changes in the condition

of Settlement.-Their effect upon its growth and prosperity.-Government

of the Colony under Sir George Yeardley.-Administration of Capt. Argal.

-Argal removed and Yeardley reappointed Governor.-First representative

assembly in America.-New Charter issued.-Reformations in policy and

forms of government, in the administration of justice-Inferior courts es-

tablished.-Interference of the Crown.-The company in England dissol-

ved, and the affairs of the Colonies temporarily in the hands of a council of

commissioners.-Death of James I.-Changes in the government of the

Colony, and its progress after the succession of Charles I. ...... ..... .Page

Subdivisions of the Southern Colony of Virginia.-General characteristics of
the Colonial Governments.-Their differences.-Their similarity.--Their re-
lations with each other. Their relations to the mother country at the
peace of 1763.-Proceedings in Parliament.-The Revenue Acts.-Causes

of discontent thereby originated in the Colonies.-The Stamp Act.-Its re
ception in America.-Resolutions in the Colony of Virginia.-In the other
Colonies.-Proceedings in Plymouth, Mass.-The first Colonial Congress
meets in New York.-Its proceedings.-Declaration of Rights.-Its adjourn-
ment.-State of feeling throughout the Colonies-Proceedings in England.
-Repeal of the Stamp Act.-How viewed in America.-The reasons given
for its repeal revive discontent.-Further proceedings in Parliament.-In the
Colonies. Circular Letter of Massachusetts to the other Colonies.-Associ-
ations for non-importation in America.-Their effect in England.-Partial
repeal of the Revenue Act.-Act licensing the importation of Tea direct
to America by the East India Company.-Proceedings in Boston on their
arrival.-Parliament enacts the Boston Port Bill-Its reception in the Colo-
nies. Further Acts of Parliament.-Congress of the Colonies meets at
Philadelphia. Its proceedings, resolutions.-Letter to General Gage at Bos-
ton. Declaration of Rights.-Articles of association for non-importation,
&c.-Address to the King. To the People of Great Britain.--To the People
of the Colonies.-To Canada.-Adjournment.-Proceedings in England.—
Affairs in the Colonies.-Commencement of hostilities.-Battles of Lexington
and Concord.-The Congress meets again at Philadelphia.-Its proceedings.
-Manifesto on taking up arms.-Congress of 1775-6.-Declaration of Inde-
.......Page 102


Position of the Colonies after the declaration of their Independence.-The
General Government of the Revolution.-Definitive treaty of Peace between
Great Britain and the United States.-Union of the States under the Confed-
eracy. Circumstances under which it took place.-Importance, necessity,
and nature of the Union.-The early Confederation of the Colonies of New
England.-Articles for a General Union of the Colonies proposed and adopt-
ed by the Convention at New York in 1754.-Defects of the present Articles
of Confederation.-Resolutions respecting them in the Legislature of New
York-In Congress.-In Washington's address on resigning his command
of the armies of America.-Appeal of Congress to the States touching the
Confederacy.-Convention of Delegates at Annapolis in 1786.-Its proceed-
ings-Resolutions of Congress recommending a Convention to revise the
Articles of Confederation.-Meeting of the Convention.-Their position.-
Their report to Congress of the present Constitution.-Proceedings of Con-
gress thereupon.-The Constitution.-Its adoption.-Government goes into
operation under it.-Election of Washington to the Presidency. His pro-
gress to New York, and his Inauguration.-His inaugural address to both
Houses of Congress.-Reply by the House of Representatives.-Amend-
ments to the Constitution.-Its final adoption by all of the States.-Conclu-

...Page 217

« PreviousContinue »