Montcalm and Wolfe

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Author: Francis Parkman

Preface

The names on the titlepage stand as representative of the two nations whose final contest for the control of North America is the subject of the book.

A very large amount of unpublished material has been used in its preparation, consisting for the most part of documents copied from the archives and libraries of France and England, especially from the Archives de la Marine et des Colonies, the Archives de la Guerre, and the Archives Nationales at Paris, and the Public Record Office and the British Museum at London, the papers copied for the present work in France alone exceed six thousand folio pages of manuscript, additional and supplementary to the “Paris Documents” procured for the State of New York under the agency of Mr. Brodhead, the copies made in England form ten volumes, besides many English documents consulted in the original manuscript. Great numbers of autograph letters, diaries, and other writings of persons engaged in the war have also been examined on this side of the Atlantic.

I owe to the kindness of the present Marquis de Montcalm the permission to copy all the letters written by his ancestor, General Montcalm, when in America, to members of his family in France. General Montcalm, from his first arrival in Canada to a few days before his death, also carried on an active correspondence with one of his chief officers, Bourlamaque, with whom he was on terms of intimacy. These autograph letters are now preserved in a private collection. I have examined them, and obtained copies of the whole. They form an interesting complement to the official correspondence of the writer, and throw the most curious side-lights on the persons and events of the time.

Besides manuscripts, the printed matter in the form of books, pamphlets, contemporary newspapers, and other publications relating to the American part of the Seven Years’ War, is varied and abundant; and I believe I may safely say that nothing in it of much consequence has escaped me. The liberality of some of the older States of the Union, especially New York and Pennsylvania, in printing the voluminous records of their colonial history, has saved me a deal of tedious labor.

The whole of this published and unpublished mass of evidence has been read and collated with extreme care, and more than common pains have been taken to secure accuracy of statement. The study of books and papers, however, could not alone answer the purpose. The plan of the work was formed in early youth; and though various causes have long delayed its execution, it has always been kept in view. Meanwhile, I have visited and examined every spot where events of any importance in connection with the contest took place, and have observed with attention such scenes and persons as might help to illustrate those I meant to describe. In short, the subject has been studied as much from life and in the open air as at the library table.

These two volumes are a departure from chronological sequence. The period between 1700 and 1748 has been passed over for a time. When this gap is filled, the series of “France and England in North America” will form a continuous history of the French occupation of the continent.

BOSTON, Sept. 16, 1884.

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Chicago: Francis Parkman, "Preface," Montcalm and Wolfe Original Sources, accessed September 24, 2021, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=C4PRJKC6BN6PZLN.

MLA: Parkman, Francis. "Preface." Montcalm and Wolfe, Vol. 6, Original Sources. 24 Sep. 2021. originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=C4PRJKC6BN6PZLN.

Harvard: Parkman, F 1884, 'Preface' in Montcalm and Wolfe. Original Sources, retrieved 24 September 2021, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=C4PRJKC6BN6PZLN.