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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1840, by

J. FENIMORE COOPER, in the clerk's office of the district court of the United States, in

and for the northern district of New York.

J. FAGAN, STEREOTY PER.
I ASHMEAD AND CO., PRINTERS.

MI

TOP?DILI

PREFACE.

So much has been written of late years, touching the discovery of America, that it would not be at all surprising should there exist a disposition in a certain class of readers to deny the accuracy of all the statements in this work. Some may refer to history, with a view to prove that there never were such persons as our hero and heroine, and fancy that by establishing these facts, they completely destroy the authenticity of the whole book. In answer to this anticipated objection, we will state, that after carefully perusing several of the Spanish writers, from Cervantes to the translator of the journal of Columbus, the Alpha and Omega of peninsular literature, and after having read both Irving and Prescott from beginning to end, we do not find a syllable in either of them, that we understand to be conclusive evidence, or indeed to be any evidence at all, on the portions of our subject that are likely to be disputed. Until some solid affirmative proof, therefore, can be produced against us, we shall hold our case to be made out, and rest our claims to be believed on the authority of our own statements. Nor do we think

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