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Page xi


The title[1] of these volumes will render their
readers liable to a disappointment, from which a few
prefatory words may save them. It was chosen simply
to mark the period of the story, and that period
was selected as one to which an American always
gratefully recurs, and as affording a picturesque
light for domestic features. The writer has aimed
to exhibit the feeling of the times, and to give her
younger readers a true, if a slight, impression of the
condition of their country at the most—the only


Page xii
suffering period of its existence, and by means of
this impression to deepen their gratitude to their
patriot-fathers; a sentiment that will tend to increase
their fidelity to the free institutions transmitted
to them. Historic events and war details
have been avoided; the writer happily being aware
that no effort at

“A swashing and a martial outside”

would conceal the weak and unskilled woman.

A very few of our “immortal names” have been
introduced, with what propriety the reader must
determine. It may be permitted to say, in extenuation
of what may seem presumption, that whenever
the writer has mentioned Washington, she
has felt a sentiment resembling the awe of the
pious Israelite when he approached the ark of the

For the rest, the author of these volumes is
most happy in trusting to the indulgent disposition
which our American public constantly manifest
towards native literature.


It has been suggested, that the title might be deemed ambitious;
that it might indicate an expectation, that “this sixty years
since in America” would take place with the “sixty years since” of
the great Master. I have not yet forgotten the literature of my
childhood—the fate of the ambitious frog. To those who know
me, I need not plead “not guilty” to a charge of such insane vanity,
and those who do not will believe me when I say, that the only
moment when I could wish the benefactor of the universal reading
public to be forgotten, is when my humble productions are
under perusal.