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HISTORY OF WISCONSIN.
IN THREE PARTS,
Historical, Documentary, and Descriptive.
COMPILED BY DIRECTION OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE.
WILLIAM R. SMITH,
PRESIDENT OF THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF WISCONSIN.
THE Documentary History of Wisconsin, as its title implies, necessarily promises to embrace all such matters. as tend in any degree to elucidate the true history of the country in its civil and political aspect; also to embody and preserve all local statistics, to which a reference may in future be had, when the mere preservation of such materials will be appreciated very far beyond their present apparent value or significance.
The character of such a compilation is also necessarily desultory, diffuse, and unconnected; except in such degree as that each separate material may at some time, and for some purpose, be considered, if not essential, at least explanatory of, or ancillary to, the true records of a general history.
In gathering together such materials of a Documentary history, a fastidious observer in directing his views solely to the present time, might have reason to complain of the apparent unimportance of the facts exhibited or related; but history itself is no more than a compilation of facts; every matter relative to the age, the locality, the personages, and the events, of which the future historian may
write, becomes to him essentially important; and the combination of these matters, accompanied by philosophical views and just observations, consequently form the history of the country and of the time.
In England, the chronicles of Bede, Matthew Paris, Roger de Wendover, Hollinshead, Baker and others, the Fœdera of Rymer, Rushworth's Collections, the Harleian Miscellany, the State Trials, and various other works, in their character apparently desultory, are still the sources. to which the historian must resort, in order to frame an accurate account of personages and events, which in its compilation, arrangement, and comment on the whole, may be dignified with the name of history. The facts collected by Froissart comprise a mine for the historian. Private letters, personal adventures, philosophical opinions of the age, law suits, and religious controversies, often form as proper material for future history, as the details of the more momentous occurrences of the intrigues of courts and the quarrels of rulers; and the perusal of such matters will always afford as much satisfaction, and convey more. useful information than any contemplation of the destruction of human life in wars, and the devastation of fertile regions, for whose cultivation man had laboured, and in whose prosperity nations had rejoiced.
Many of our States at this day have abundant reason to regret the want of an embodiment in writing, of the occurrences in the progress of their early settlement, at the time when such matters transpired. The truthful accounts of those events are now sought for with avidity, but often unsuccessfully. Every ancient document and memoran