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In the execution of a purpose long and warmly cherished, the author and compiler of this volume offers to his countrymen, with all humility, this commencement of the history of their native State, North Carolina. The volume is complete in itself, as furnishing the most full account that existing materials at this day afford of the first attempts at colonization on our shores. The period embraced extends from the year 1584 to 1591, and includes the five voyages made, under the charter to Sir Walter Raleigh. It is a distinct portion of our history, an isolated chapter, having little connection with what is to follow: for, after the failure of all the efforts made under the Charter to Raleigh, a long interval of time, more than half a century, elapsed before any permanent settlement was made within our borders.
In entering upon his work, the writer avails himself of the opportunity briefly to explain his proposed plan, as in some of its features, it departs from established historical models. A mere chronologically accurate narrative of important public events does not in his view constitute history; though of it, such a narrative properly forms a part. He has supposed that the real history of a State is to be read in the gradual progress of its people in intelligence, refinement, industry, wealth, taste, civilization, &c. The public events that transpire are but the exponents of the condition of the inhabitants, in these and other particulars.
The “people” constitute a nation, not the legislature merely, nor the courts, not the army nor the navy. These are all but parts of the whole; and yet many so called histories tell us little else save the changes of dynasties, and “the wars and fightings” of ambitious rulers. We would gladly see there beside, something of the inner life of the people themselves. And the thought has occurred that in the effort to catch and present a picture of this, classification is a valuable auxiliary: its advantages are obvious in some of the earlier English histories, such, for instance, as those of Mortimer and Henry; while in the latest imitation of their example in Knight's Pictorial History of England, many portions are almost invested with the interest of an agreeable romance. Now it is true that in our short career, we cannot have had as much variety as is to be found on the broader field that spreads over centuries in the history of the other hemisphere ; and yet even we have room for classification. We must speak of various subjects. The “religion," “ laws and
, “education,” “ agriculture,” “industrial and mechanical pursuits," "commerce,” “ extent and advance of settlements,"
wars with native or foreign foes,” “ manners and customs of the people,” &c., all demand their share of notice, and will be better understood as well as remembered, if they receive distinct treatment. Hence we divide the time through which the State has passed, particularly in its more recent career, into periods or epochs, and endeavor to present in all respects, as full and perfect a picture, or rather series of pictures, as we can make of each period.
Another feature in our work, of which this volume will afford a specimen, is to be found in the reprint and consequent preservation of the rare and valuable old documents, tracts, &c., which furnish part of the material for our history. We know very
well that such documents generally have but little interest save for the historical antiquarian; but we are writing more especially for North Carolinians; and we cannot but believe that for them, such
early and authentic memorials of their country will possess an interest, independent of all antiquarian taste or study. To the extent of our humble abilities, we shall endeavor to enliven the dullness and relieve the quaintness of these worthy old chroniclers by such notes and remarks as may serve to link pleasantly together the past with the present. And if in this we fail, as we fear we sometimes shall, still an important end will be answered. The soul of history is Truth: the reader will have in the reprint of these old publications, all the means extant of eviscerating the truth for himself; while the writer voluntarily shuts out the possibility of his substituting invention for the sober realities of history: in his narrative of facts he must conform to the early testimony which he has placed in the hands of the reader; his deductions, suggestions, reflections, &c., are his own, and will pass for what they are worth with the intelligent, without the risk of being confounded with the facts of early records. But, of course, this use of earlier documents will be constantly diminishing as we travel upward in the story, through period after period, because of the diminished necessity of reprinting that which, beside being generally known, is easily accessible in other forms. One exception to this, however, will exist in the case of important and hitherto unpublished manuscripts.-An appendix of documents with notes is not an uncommon suffix to a volume of history; we merely make of them a prefix.
With this brief outline of the chief features of our work, it only remains to be added that we shall issue the volumes successively, as fast as they can be properly prepared; and, soliciting from all our countrymen such aid as they can render in furnishing us with family papers, local traditions, old documents, or otherwise, we can say no more than that, embarking in our undertaking as a labor of love, our first effort shall be to tell the simple truth; and our highest ambition, so to tell it that North Carolinians will not be ashamed of the narrative.
HISTORY OF NORTII CAROLINA.
GK A NTED BY THE QUEEN'S MAJESTY
M. WALTER RALEGH,
FOR THE DISCOVERING AND PLANTING OF NEW LANDS AND COUNTRIES :
TO CONTINUE THE SPACE OF SIX YEARS,
AND NO MORE.
[This grant was made in 1584, and constitutes the first step in the work
of English colonization in America, Our reprint is from the copy preserved by Hakluyt, and published on page 243 of the third volume of his “ Voyages” in the edition of 1600. It may also be found in Hazard's State Papers, vol. 1, page 33. In this as in all the early documents we reprint, we have accommodated the orthography to the usage of our own times.]
ELIZABETH, by the Grace of God of England, France, and Ireland, Queen, defender of the faith, &c. To all people to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know ye that of our special grace, certain science, and mere motion, we have given and granted, and by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, we give and grant to our trusty and well-beloved servant, WALTER