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Nuts for Future Historians to Crack   By: (1742-1786)

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[Transcriber's note: Many instances of misspelled words and inconsistent punctuation occur in this e book. They have been retained as printed in the original. The most obvious instances have been marked [TN].]



Future Historians to Crack.





etc., etc., etc.



For some years I had been engaged in collecting material for a life of my great grandfather, the Rev. William Smith, D. D., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and in doing so, I read all the Bibliographical and Historical works which I thought could in any way make mention of him. In no case did I find anything said against his character as a man, until I read Wm. B. Reed's Life of his grandfather, Gen. Joseph Reed. His remarks were uncalled for and ungentlemanly ; what they were, amount to nothing , as they were untrue ; and therefore not worth repeating. My first idea was to speak of Gen. Joseph Reed in the same manner, though with more truth; but finding the truth had been suppressed, and that to publish all I could wish in regard to Reed, would take up too much room in my work, and be departing from my original design, I therefore, concluded to publish all the historical facts in regard to Reed in a small volume by itself, and to publish such an edition, that it could not be bought up and destroyed.

I have taken the liberty of using the following extracts from an article published in the Fireside Visitor by J. M. Church. Whom it was written by I do not know, but the writer evidently understood his subject.

"When it was announced that Mr. Irving was about to present to the public a life of Washington, we hailed the information with feelings of delight, not unmingled with gratitude, that the illustrious author of 'Columbus,' the Sketch Book, and Knickerbocker should make the crowning work of his life and literary labors, the history of the greatest and purest of patriots, so dear to the hearts of all his countrymen, and one who, the more time and investigation develop and explain his motives and actions, the greater and nobler he appears. Our expectations were great when we contemplated the vast field that time had laid open to the historian; and though Marshall and Sparks had left but little to do, we felt there was still enough to make Mr. Irving's the greatest history of that greatest of men.

On the appearances of the first volume, a number of errors were noticed by the press, which were subsequently corrected. The most important one, that in relation to Major Stobo, we are glad to see fully explained and corrected in a note at the end of the second volume. In the early part of the second volume, however, a far graver error occurs, we mean Mr. Irving's estimate of the conduct and character of Gen. Reed, and is it mainly the object of this communication to set that matter in its true light.

Who can read without emotion of the trials and difficulties that beset Washington throughout the whole of his career? A Congress so corrupt, that Livingston writes, 'I am so discouraged by our public mismanagement, and the additional load of business thrown upon me by the villainy of those who pursue nothing but accumulating fortunes, to the ruin of their country, that I almost sink under it.' False friends and traitors intrigue against him even Gen. Reed, the very man Mr. Irving so delighted to honor, and an inmate of his household, writes a letter to Gen. Lee, the aspiring rival of Washington, reflecting, with harsh severity, on the conduct and character of his commander and benefactor. Lee's answer fell into the hands of Washington, and was read by him during the absence of Reed, who made no attempt at an explanation until Lee was taken prisoner. He then endeavored to explain the delay, by saying that he had been in the meantime endeavoring to get possession of his letter, in order that he might show to Washington that it contained nothing to call forth the violent answer of Gen... Continue reading book >>

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