BY GEORGE BANCROFT
BOSTON: LITTLE, BROWN, AND CO:~IPANY. 1874
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 18H, by GEORGE BA~CHOFT, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington .
THE papers which i obtained from the French archives when l\Ir. l\Iignet h~d tliem in charge, have been of the greatest benefit in preparing this volume. Important aid has been derived from the exceedingly copious and as yet unedited cabinet correspondence of Frederic the Second of Prussia with his foreign ministers in England, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Russia. In choosing from this vast mass of materials, I received the most friendly assistance from the superintendent, l\Ir. Dunker, and from l\Ir. Friedlander. Extracts from these letters, which are all written in the French language, will be published in Paris. I sought for some expression, on the part of Frederic, of a personal interest in Washington; but I found none. The Chevalier von Arneth, so honorably known as historian, editor, and critic of integrity and acuteness, had the exceeding goodness to direct for me an examination of the archives at Vienna; very many reports from the Austrian ambassadors in London and Paris were copied for me under his direction. They assist to define exactly the pressure under which Vergennes entered upon measures for mediation and for peace. l\fr. Frederic Kapp rendered me the best service in negotiating on my behalf for the purchase of ample collections
of letters and journals of German officers who served in America. In Vienna are preserved the reports of an agent sent from Brussels to the United States in the interest of Belgian comme~ce. Of the best of these, Mr. De la Plaine, of the American legation in Austria, took copies of w}1ich he generously made me a present. Mr. Schuyler, lately of our legation at Petersburg, communicated to me all that he could find on earlier American affairs in the archives at l\Ioscow. l\Iy transcripts from the Dutch archives, for which I had formerly much occasion to feel obligecl to l\Ir. ,v. Groen van Prinsterer, have been largely increased through the intervention of my frien°d Count de Ilylandt. l\Iy request to make further 1:esearches in the English archives was cheerfully granted, and in the most liberal terms, by the Earl of Granville, and the permission was continued by the Earl of Derby. Indeed, there seemed to prevail in the foreign office a readiness to let every thing be investigated ancl made known respecting the past policy of Great Britain toward the United States. The American government has manifested the same disposition, and this I hold to be wise. The two great cosmopolitan nations are entering on a new era in their relations to one another; and their statesmen may mutually derive lessons alike from the errors which disturbed the past, and from what was done well. The rule in natural science that “life divides ” is equally true of nations. The United States and Great Britain will each live its great and divergent life; but it is to be hoped that the same ideas of freedom, truth, and justice will be developed in them both, and bring them nearer each other. I have specially to thank Lord Tenterden for having favored me with copies of papers which establish the correctness of my narrative where it had been unjustly called in questb!l.. My best thanks are also due to Mr Alfred Kingston