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HE Editor of the following Sheets having refided several years on the Continent of America, and in different Iflands in the Weft Indies, he flatters himself that he is not altogether unqualified for the present Undertaking.
When he had determined on going abroad in 1762, he in vain fought for fome Book that would afford him an infight of the Conftitution and Mode of Proceeding in the Colonies he was equally unfuccessful in his fearch after Colony Precedents; for in all the English Law Books he met with, he does not remember to have found half a score Colony Forms. Thefe difappointments early fuggefted to him the utility of a Compilation of this fort, and he foon began to collect Precedents for that purpose.
The Editor having taken a decided part in the cause of Great Britain against her Revolted Colonies, he was, on the breaking out of the Troubles in the Southern Provinces, made a Prisoner by the Americans; and after being confined some weeks, he was exchanged, with liberty to leave the Country; on which he returned to Great Britain, and then began to
digeft the Precedents he had collected, with an intention of making them public; but before that was done, he received an order to go abroad, and resume the exercise of his office, in confequence of the reduction, by his Majesty's Forces, of the Province from whence he came. The King's fhip in which he embarked having received fome damage in an action with the enemy on the coaft of France, she returned to Great Britain to be refitted, which afforded the Editor an opportunity of revising his Work: and, on his fecond embarkation, he left directions to have it printed; but a Bookseller having declined to do fo, the Editor is now enabled to notice fuch alterations as have taken place between the year 1779, and May 1783.
The Province in which the Editor refided being evacuated by the King's forces, he hurried home to his native Country, in hopes of fpending the remainder of his days in the enjoyment of his family and friends, after efcaping many dangers, and undergoing much ficknefs, by a long refidence in unwholefome climates; but when he arrived at his own door, he was informed of the death of his only fon, a young man of the most promising hopes, whofe moral qualities fo thoroughly kept pace with his literary acquirements, that it was doubtful in which he excelled. At the age of twenty-two, he died esteemed and lamented by all that knew him; and he never occafioned his parents any grief but what they experienced
at his death. The Reader will pardon this digreffion, as a tribute due from a father to the memory of the best of fons; in compari fon of whofe death, all the Editor's other misfortunes are become trifles light as air.
The tears being wiped away, I resume the fubject. During the fiege of Savannah, the Editor's quarters were burned by a fhell from the enemy's lines, and moft of his papers were deftroyed: but he has fince met with other Precedents, fome of which are inferted herein.
The Editor is but too fenfible of the numerous imperfections of this Effay; however he flatters himself, that as it is the first attempt of the kind, the Public will fhew him fome indulgence; fince this feeble endeavour may induce an able hand to undertake the subject.
In this Work there are a few ftrictures on the conduct of fome Colony Officers; but the Editor could not prevail on himself to mention the names of thofe Colony Officers, nor of the Countries where they refided: Christianity enjoins charity and benevolence towards all men; his refentment, therefore, is levelled at the misconduct, and not at the individual.
There are other Colony Officers whom the Editor wishes to notice with great respect; and particularly Sir James Wright (Governor of Georgia, from the fecond year of his prefent Majefty's reign, down to the Evacuation of that Province in the fummer of 1782), A 2
whofe fidelity to the Crown, and unwearied attention to the welfare of the Colony in which he prefided, are too well known to need the Editor's mention of them. He alfo begs leave to express his esteem for Sir Ralph Payne, formerly Governor of the Leeward Islands; General Tonyn, Governor of Eaft Florida; and Colonel Martyn, Governor of North Carolina. The great humanity which Governor Tonyn fhewed to the loyal Refugees, who went from Georgia to St. Auguftine in 1776 and 1782, must endear him to all thofe who feel for the virtuous under misfortunes: and it is defired that the Reader will not apply to either of the Governors above named, any inftance of mifconduct or mistake which this Work mentions to have been committed by Colony Officers. The character and conduct of most of the Colony Governors, and other Officers, the Editor is unacquainted with, and he would be forry to give offence to any of them.
In order to confine the Publication to one Volume, it was found necellary to omit feveral Conveyances, and other Colony Precedents. Some inaccuracies are difcovered to have efcaped the Editor, which it is hoped the Reader will excufe, when he reflects, that a polished style, which is only to be derived from an intimate acquaintance with the Belles Lettres, cannot be expected from a man whofe profeffion leads him to the ftudy of LawFrench Reports, and Law-Latin Entries, in the Black Letter.