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of Congress, BY J. WINCHESTER, In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York, in the year 1844.
MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN
STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PRESENT AND FUTURE,
IN HOPES THAT THE SAME MAY BE USEFUL TO THEM, OR TO SOME OF THEM,
The following Work is respectfully Dedicated
BY THEIR MOST OBEDIENT AND HUMBLE SERVANT,
The position now occupied by the State of Illinois, in the American Confederacy—its present importance—its future hopes, and ultimate con sequence-render an excuse unnecessary for attempting its history. Whether the attempt shall succeed or not, remains to be seen.
Many have supposed, that a State so young can furnish nothing of interest deserving the historian. They seem, however, not to consider, that Illinois was settled at an early day—that the Spaniards once claimed -that the French once occupied—that the English once conquered—and the Americans afterward held “ this proud domain” by right of conquest ; that the Gaul, the Saxon, and the savage-the Protestant, the Jesuit, and the Pagan—for more than a century here struggled for mastery. They have also forgotten, or never knew, that John Law and his associates, in " the Mississippi Scheme,” once claimed the whole territory as theirs—that Fort Chartres was built by them at an expense of several millions, and that a portion of its soil is now held and occupied, under titles derived from that “eminent speculator.”
Considerations, growing out of the above circumstances, will explain the reason in part, why the author has introduced some apparently irrel. evant matter into his narrative. It will be discovered, however, upon reflection, that no such irrelevant matter has found a place in the volume now offered to the public; but, on the contrary, that the History of Illinois (as Sterne says in the middle of some one of his interninable digressions in Tristam Shandy,) has “all the while been progressing."
Should our explanation be thought defective, we, in that case, assure our readers, as the Roman pontiff did Boua parte, the young conqueror of Italy, when the former was about to give the latter his blessing-on perceiving an air of incredulity lurking in “the young conqueror's eye,” he at once changed his discourse, and dexterously observed ; "the blessing of an old man can do you no harm.” It is just so with our book. These digressions are not intended for the perusal of those who read merely to criticise, but for those who read for information. Such will derive “no harm,” and may; perhaps, derive some benefit from their perusal. By beginning however at the end, and reading backward,