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As this volume represents a conscious departure from the customary method of dealing with State history, a word of explanation, as to my object, is necessary. The real aim of the study of State history, as I conceive it, should be to add to our knowledge of the nation, as the day for the cultivation of a purely local patriotism—if, indeed, that day ever existed—has passed forever. To write of the history of a State as though it were something apart from the nation is not only to violate the “unity of history,” but also to deprive the nation of a valuable source of information concerning national events. In making historical investigations, from time to time, I have been impressed by the fact that much material, bearing upon the nation's history, lies buried in local archives and private collections. For the student of purely local history, most of this material is of little value, relating, as it does, to distinctly national questions, while, to the national historian, it is inaccessible, it being obviously impossible for the investigator, in such broad fields, to delve very deeply into local treasuries.
In the preparation of the present volume, I have studied the local collections from the point of view of one primarily interested in the nation. Such local events as have had a distinctly national influence, as well as such national events as have particularly affected local conditions, have been my concern. A typical example of the first is presented in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, and, of the second, in the purchase of Louisiana.
I have been primarily aided, in my work, by the fact that, for over half a century, Colonel Reuben T. Durrett, the father and president of the Filson Club, has devoted himself to the task of collecting and preserving all available material, bearing upon Kentucky. His priceless collection has been placed at my disposal, and I have, also, freely drawn upon his unexcelled knowledge of Kentucky history, in all of its phases; while a large portion of my manuscript, when completed, was carefully examined and criticised by him.
For information, given in personal interviews, I am particularly indebted to General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston, and Mr. Justice Harlan of the United States Supreme Court, of whom the latter rendered me the great service of reading the major part of the proof sheets of the book. “WODONEYO,” North New CASTLE, MAINE,
September 23, 1909.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Henry Clay as a young man
From a sketch by John Trumbull, now in the possession of Colonel
Reuben T. Durrett, of Louisville, Kentucky. General James Wilkinson.
From a life-size portrait by Jarvis, now in the possession of Colonel
Reuben T. Durrett, of Louisville, Kentucky. George Rogers Clark
From a life-size portrait by Matthew Harris Jouett, now in the posses
sion of Colonel Reuben T. Durrett, of Louisville, Kentucky. Fac-simile of letter from Thomas Jefferson to J. Cabell
Breckinridge regarding the Kentucky Resolutions
Reproduced by the courtesy of Mr. Desha Breckenridge and his sister,
Dean Breckenridge, of the University of Chicago.
Resolutions of 1798, as printed and distributed by
order of the Legislature Map of Battle of the Thames . Henry Clay as an old man .
From a daguerreotype now in the possession of Mrs. Robert Dick Wilson,
of Princeton, N. J.
by President Lincoln, stating his attitude toward
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