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STATE OF NEW YORK;
Å GENERAL COLLECTION OF THE MOST INTERESTING FACTS, BIOGRAPHICAL
SKETCHES, VARIED DESCRIPTIONS, &c.
RELATING TO THE
PAST AND PRESENT;
COUNTIES, CITIES, AND PRINCIPAL VILLAGES,
THROUGHOUT THE STATE.
Illustrated by numerous Engravings.
BY JOHN W. BARBER,
AUTHOR OF THE ELEMENTS OF GENERAL HISTORY, AND THE CONNECTICIT
AND MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS.
[Arms of the State of New York.]
PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR,
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1851,
BY JOHN W. BARBER,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticist.
The design of this volume is to give an account of the most important and interesting events relating to the history of the State of New York, from its settlement to the present time, with geographical descriptions, illustrated by numerous engravings. In preparing the first edition of this work, the author was assisted by Mr. Henry Howe, the author of the Historical Collections of Virginia and Ohio.
The first edition of this work was published ten years since. Several editions have been issued since that period ; the most recent was by Messrs. H. & E. Phinney, of Cooperstown, in 1846.
This was a condensed work from previous editions, and left out much dry detail, which could be found in several other works published in the State. The present edition is a reprint from the last, with the addition of valuable matter, and statistical information brought down to the present time.
In collecting the materials and preparing them for publication, and in making the drawings for the engravings, each of the compilers of the original work spent more than a year of close and laborious application. They visited every part of the state, and besides travelling thousands of miles in the public conveyances, journeyed many hundreds on foot.
Although conscious of having used every effort which could be reasonably expected, in order to have the work accurate in every respect, yet experience has taught us not to claim an entire exemption from those imperfections ever attendant on works of this kind. Travellers, in giving accounts of foreign countries, their history, &c., may make statements at random, which may pass for truth when there is no one at hand able to correct their errors. This volume will come before many persons, who, on some subjects introduced, have better means of information than the compilers of the original work. A certain writer defines history to be merely “an approximation towards truth." Although this humiliating statement will not be allowed to its full extent, yet, when the imperfection of every thing human is considered, it must be confessed to have some foundation in truth,
In the prosecution of this work, the compiler has availed himself of the labors of those who have preceded him. The historian of necessity derives his information from others. It will be observed that quotations have been made from a great variety of publications, to which, in most instances, credit has been given. It was thought advisable to have each author give his testimony in his own words, from which the reader can draw his own inferences. Truth ought always to be preferred before elegance of language. In the geographical department, much information has been derived from Spafford's and Gordon's Gazetteers. Spafford may be considered as the pioneer in furnishing geographical descriptions of the state ; his first Gazetteer was published in 1813, the second in 1824. The Gazetteer by Mr. Gordon, an able work of 800 closely printed octavo pages, was published in 1836. A valuable, though smaller work of the same kind, was published by Mr. Disturnell in 1842.
The numerous engravings interspersed throughout this volume, were, with few exceptions, copied from original drawings taken on the spot. The principal object was to give faithful representations, rather than picturesque views, or beautiful specimens of art. Before deciding that any of these representations are incorrect, our readers should consider that the appearance of any place will be materially altered by viewing it from different points of observation. In order to form an entirely correct judgment, it will be necessary to stand on the spot from whence the drawing was taken.
J. W. B.