It has long been the custom to begin the history of our country with the discovery of the New World by Columbus. To some extent this is both wise and necessary; but in following it in this instance the attempt has been made to treat the colonial period as the childhood of the United States; to have it bear the same relation to our later career that the account of the youth of a great man should bear to that of his maturer years, and to confine it to the narration of such events as are really necessary to a correct understanding of what has happened since 1776.

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