A History of the United States The lamented death of President Adams entails on me the duty of writing the preface to our joint work,—a duty which, had he lived, would naturally have fallen to him, since to his initiative and energy the volume owes its existence. Fortunately, the entire manuscript had the benefit of his wisdom and experience as teacher and investigator, and the proofs of about half the book passed under his watchful supervision.
Five years ago, in a letter to me proposing the book, Dr. Adams gave, among his reasons for wishing to add to the long list of school histories of the United States, three principal objects:—
First, to present fully and with fairness the Southern point of view in the great controversies that long threatened to divide the Union.
Second, to treat the Revolutionary War, and the causes that led to it, impartially and with more regard for British contentions than has been usual among American writers.
Third, to emphasize the importance of the West in the growth and development of the United States.
These objects have been kept constantly in view. We felt, moreover, that the development of institutions and government may justly be considered of great importance, although naturally lacking in picturesqueness, and we have endeavored to set in relief this evolutionary process. How far we have succeeded in accomplishing the objects sought remains for others to judge.
I cannot forbear to place on record here my appreciation of the fortitude with which Dr. Adams bore his protracted sufferings and did his work; of his conscientiousness in matters of minutest detail; of his fairness and sympathy toward those with whom he did not agree, and of the unfailing courtesy that marked every line of his correspondence.
Acknowledgment is due to the highly competent services of Miss May Langdon White of New York, whom Dr. Adams selected to assist in the revision of the work.
W. P. TRENT.