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LIFE AND TRAVELS
JOURNALS AND CORRESPONDENCE.
BY JARED SPARKS.
HENRY COLBURN, NEW BURLINGTON STREET,
Soon after the death of John LEDYARD, the subject of the following Memoir, some progress was made in collecting materials for an account of his life, by Dr. Isaac Ledyard, then of New York. The biographer's task was never begun, however, and the project was abandoned ; but the papers procured for the purpose have been preserved by the family of Dr. Ledyard, and have furnished the facts for much the larger portion of the present narrative. Researches have also been made in other quarters, and important original letters obtained. Particular acknowledgment is due to Mr. Henry Seymour, of Hartford, Connecticut, for the aid he has rendered in this respect. All the papers that have been used are entitled to the credit of unquestionable authenticity.
Wherever it could be done, without deviating too much from a regular and proportionate train of events, the traveller has been allowed to speak for himself. His manner of thinking, as well as of acting, was so peculiar,
that a true picture of his mind and genius, his motives and feelings, could with difficulty be exhibited in any other way with so much distinctness, as through the medium of his own language. Free and full selections from his letters and journals are interspersed. His incessant activity, want of leisure, and few opportunities of practising composition as an art, afford an apology for the imperfections of his style, which the candid reader will regard in the favourable light it deserves. His diction is never polished, and his words are not always well chosen; but his ideas are often original, copious, well coinbined, and forcibly expressed.
In executing this work, the only aim has been to bring together a series of facts, which should do justice to the fame and character of a man, who possessed qualities and performed deeds, that rendered him remarkable, and are worthy of being remembered. If the author has been successful in this attempt, he is rewarded for the labour it has cost him,