Historical Divisions of Narragansett History

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IT can be claimed decidedly that no section of Rhode Island can be named where the history of that section divides itself so sharply and clearly as that of the Narragansett Country. A historian can go to work here and write up several independent divisions and have each complete in itself. Each of these great divisions would be rich in details, and worthy the attention of every American historian and scholar. In our own researches in the early annals, we were surprised at how much could here be gathered, and our surprise deepened when we ascertained how little this field had been worked, and how little had been done to concentrate this matter under one publication. The early history of Narragansett down to the period of the Revolution would make a volume that could truly be called “National,” and truly merit a place in the library of every American historian, and worthy of his reading.

1. The Indian question is indeed a grand one in itself, and affects vitally the whole of New England. A volume of absorbing interest could be written of the above.

2. The contest by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island for the possession of the soil, is another question that would be deeply interesting. If this could be written in an able manner a flood of light would be thrown upon the peculiar characteristics of the Puritans and Early Settlers.

3. The early white settlers of this section of Rhode Island and their annals gives a fine subject for another volume, and furnishes a fitting finale to that which had gone before.

Truly it can be said of the historian who takes these subjects “That he has chosen wisely.” He has a worthy subject, and if ably written he is justly entitled to a measure of fame.

We are daily becoming more and more impressed with the importance of this subject, and more anxious therefore that it should have that attention which it merits. We decided when we started this magazine not to lose sight of our first conception to write the Annals of Ancient Kings Towne, We realized at the commencement we had chosen a grand subject, but we were not aware how far it extended, and how important were many of its features, and how national some in their character. When these facts dawned upon us we discovered we had a time work on our hands, that to hurry would be to spoil, and not to search as thoroughly as the subject demanded would be a labor to end only in adding another careless and disorderly author to the long list of literary failures. We resolved therefore not to neglect an opportunity to add to our knowledge on this subject, and not to place our work upon the shelves of history until we were in a position to place there a work that could remain as one of more or less an authority. To do this we must take time, and we intend to do so, and to do our work in as clear and as able a manner as the talents nature has placed at our disposal will permit.

SOURCE: Page(s): 85-87; The Narragansett, Volume 1. October, 1882 Number 2

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