To the public the following work is with respectful deference submitted by its author, who trusts that it will be found to comprise much information interesting in its nature, and that has not been anticipated by any former productions on the same subject. If he should be thought to have been sometimes too minute in his detail, he hopes it will be considered, that the transactions here recorded were penned as they occurred, with the feelings that at the moment they naturally excited in the mind; and that ...
To the public the following work is with respectful deference submitted by its author, who trusts that it will be found to comprise much information interesting in its nature, and that has not been anticipated by any former productions on the same subject. If he should be thought to have been sometimes too minute in his detail, he hopes it will be considered, that the transactions here recorded were penned as they occurred, with the feelings that at the moment they naturally excited in the mind; and that circumstances which, to an indifferent reader, may appear trivial, to a spectator and participant seem often of importance. To the design of this work (which was, to furnish a complete record of the transactions of the colony from its foundation), accuracy and a degree of minuteness in detail seemed essential; and on reviewing his manuscript, the author saw little that, consistently with his plan, he could persuade himself to suppress.
For his labours he claims no credit beyond what may be due to the strictest fidelity in his narrative. It was not a romance that he had to give to the world; nor has he gone out of the track that actual circumstances prepared for him, to furnish food for sickly minds, by fictitious relations of adventures that never happened, but which are by a certain description of readers perused with avidity, and not unfrequently considered as the only passages deserving of notice.
Though to a work of this nature a style ornamental and luxuriant would have been evidently inapplicable, yet the author has not been wholly inattentive to this particular, but has endeavoured to temper the dry and formal manner of the mere journalist, with something of the historian's ease. Long sequestered, however, from literary society, and from convenient access to books, he had no other models than those which memory could supply; and therefore does not presume to think his volume proof against the rigid censor: but to liberal criticism he submits, with the confidence of a man conscious of having neither negligence nor presumption to impute to himself. He wrote to beguile the tedium of many a heavy hour; and when he wrote looked not beyond the satisfaction which at some future period might be afforded to a few friends, as well as to his own mind, by a review of those hardships which in common with his colleagues he had endured and overcome; hardships which in some degree he supposes to be inseparable from the first establishment of any colony; but to which, from the peculiar circumstances and description of the settlers in this instance, were attached additional difficulties.
In the progress of his not unpleasing task, the author began to think that his labours might prove interesting beyond the small circle of his private friends; that some account of the gradual reformation of such flagitious characters as had by many (and those not illiberal) persons in this country been considered as past the probability of amendment, might be not unacceptable to the benevolent part of mankind, but might even tend to cherish the seeds of virtue, and to open new streams from the pure fountain of mercy*.
* "It often happens," says Dr. Johnson, "that in the loose and thoughtless and dissipated, there is a secret radical worth, which may shoot out by proper cultivation; that the spark of heaven, though dimmed and obstructed, is yet not extinguished, but may, by the breath of counsel and exhortation, be kindled into flame . . . "Let none too hastily conclude that all goodness is lost, though it may for a time be clouded and overwhelmed; for most minds are the slaves of external circumstances, and conform to any hand that undertakes to mould them; roll down any torrent of custom in which they happen to be caught; or bend to any importunity that bears hard against them."