no previous Next next

 image pending iii


THE second volume of the American Register is now presented
to the public. Its contents are designed to relate to the last half year of
1807. The Editor hopes the impartial reader will not find it inferior to the
former volume in any material circumstance.

In his historical career, the Editor has endeavoured to proceed with the
utmost vigilance and caution, particularly with regard to domestic affairs.
His own zeal and impatience would have carried him much farther onward
in our domestic history than he has as yet gone, and have plunged him at
once into the history of factions and intrigues; but he has been checked by
reflecting on the extreme difficulty of managing these topics with imparti-
ality, and the necessity of waiting till time has in some degree unfolded
the true nature of public measures. In some respects he may disappoint
the reader's curiosity, by still deferring his entry upon subjects which may
seem to be in a finished state, and of which the materials are fully in pos-
session of the public. We must beg him, however, to reflect, that the true
state of our transactions with the British government was not known till we
had somewhat advanced into the year 1808, and that we are not yet in pos-
session of such a full and authentic history of Aaron Burr's trial as merits
the attention of a faithful historian; of one who aspires, with whatever rea-
son, to deserve the attention of the next generation as well as the present.
Such a history is promised us, and will enable us, when it comes, to bring
the history of Burr to a legitimate close.

The writer is sensible how little hope of present popularity can be rea-
sonably entertained by him who does not enlist under the banners of a fac-
tion, and set out on a systematic plan of praising or condemning public mea-
sures, merely on account of the persons who perform them; of assigning
to one political party all manner of wisdom and excellence, and to the other
the simple and unmixed meed of wickedness and folly. He is sensible
that this spirit extends to the transactions of foreign nations, even between
themselves; that almost every reader is the warm and zealous advocate of

 image pending iv

either France or England. What indulgence, therefore, can be hoped for
a work which bestows censure and praise without respect to persons or
nations; which considers political events merely in relation to justice and
truth, and distributes blame sometimes to one party, and sometimes to the
other, and sometimes to both in the same page? who, in writing the his-
tory of a war between France and England, never forgets that he is neither
Frenchman nor Englishman, nor is bound to shut his eyes upon the faults
or merits of either?

Of those, therefore, who are dissatisfied with his history, he can only che-
rish the hope that they will forgive the faults of this part of his volume for
the sake of the manifest utility of the rest. A collection of public and offi-
cial documents in this convenient form, together with what we may call
the private or internal history of the nation, in the Chronicle, is no where
else to be found, and may hope to gain consideration from the enlightened
part of the community.

Such is the extensive supply of matter which the circumstances of the
times afford to a work of this kind, that the present volume has unavoidably
extended more than sixty pages beyond the limits which were assigned to
it by the original plan. This circumstance would almost justify us in
adopting a plan of greater simplicity, and reducing our work to a mere de-
pository of history and politics, were not the former year particularly rich
in historical and political materials, and could we expect the same bustling
scene to continue long on the theatre of Europe or America.

no previous Next next