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FENIMORE COOPER was born in Burlington, New Jersey, 15th September, 1789; and while still an infant was transported to the wilds of the Susquehanna river, in New York State. There his father, having acquired a large tract of land (where Cooperstown presently arose), established a homestead; and there,— with the forest and the wild shores of Otsego Lake and frequent opportunities of watching and talking to the Indians who came to trade with or spy on the white settlers, to colour his days,—the boy grew up. In due course he went to Yale College, where his love of nature and a wild life helped to make him a rebel. In his third year, he was expelled; but his father thought him not wholly to blame, and decided that the sea was the best outlet for his exuberance. In preparation for the navy, he was shipped at seventeen as a sailor before the mast, and sailed in a trading vessel, the “Sterling," to England. In 1808 he was duly qualified as a midshipman in the American navy; had many varied experiences on the great lakes and at sea; and then, having married, was persuaded by his wife to give up the sea. He settled first near Cooperstown, took to farming, managing an estate, and house-building. It was some years later when he wrote his first novel, "Precaution," which was published in 1820. His second book, "The Spy," was an immense advance on this, and written from personal knowledge and love of the scenes—in Westchester county-where its story takes place. Some six years more and his fame was finally secured on both sides of the Atlantic by "The Last of the Mohicans"-one of the five "Leatherstocking Tales." The present book, "The Pathfinder,” first appeared in 1840. Cooper died at Cooperstown, 14th.

September, 1851. The following is a list of his works as first published:

Precaution, 1820; The Spy, 1821; The Pioneers, 1823; The Pilot, 1823; Lionel Lincoln, or the Leaguer of Boston, 1825; The Last of the Mohicans, 1826; The Prairie, 1827; The Red Rover, 1828; Notions of the Americans, 1828; The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish, 1829; The Water-witch, 1830; The Bravo, 1831; The Heidenmauer, or the Benedictines, 1832; The Headsman, 1833; A Letter to his Countrymen, 1834; The Monikins, 1835; Sketches of Switzerland, 1836; Gleanings in Europe: 1837; (England) 1837; (Italy) 1838; The American Democrat, 1838; Homeward Bound, 1838; The Chronicles of Cooperstown, 1838; Home as Found (Eve Effingham), 1839; History of the U.S. Navy, 1839; The Pathfinder, or the Inland Sea, 1840; Mercedes of Castile, 1841; The Deerslayer, or the First Warpath, 1841; The Two Admirals, 1842; The Wing-and-Wing (Jack o' Lantern), 1842; The Battle of Lake Erie, or Answers to Messrs. Burges, Duer and Mackenzie, 1843; The French Governess; or, The Embroidered Handkerchief, 1843; Richard Dale, 1843; Wyandotte, 1843; Ned Myers, or Life before the Mast, 1843; Afloat and Ashore (Miles Wallingford, Lucy Hardinge), two series, 1844; Proceedings of the Naval Court-Martial in the Case of Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, etc., 1844; Satanstoe, 1845; The Chainbearer, 1846; Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers, 1846; The Red Skins, 1846; The Crater (Mark's Reef), 1847; Captain Spike; or the Islets of the Gulf, 1848; Jack Tier, or the Florida Reefs, 1848; The Oak Openings, or the Bee-Hunter, 1848; The Sea Lions, 1849; The Ways of the Hour, 1850.


THE plan of this tale suggested itself to the writer many years since, though the details are altogether of recent invention. The idea of associating seamen and savages, in incidents that might be supposed characteristic of the Great Lakes, having been mentioned to a Publisher, the latter obtained something like a pledge from the Author to carry out the design at some future day, which pledge is now tardily and imperfectly redeemed.

The reader may recognise an old friend, under new circumstances, in the principal character of this legend. If the exhibition made of this old acquaintance, in the novel circumstances in which he now appears, should be found not to lessen his favour with the Public, it will be a source of extreme gratification to the writer, since he has an interest in the individual in question that falls little short of reality. It is not an easy task, however, to introduce the same character in four separate works, and to maintain the peculiarities that are indispensable to identity, without incurring a risk of fatiguing the reader with sameness; and the present experiment has been so long delayed, quite as much from doubts of its success as from any other cause. In this, as in every other undertaking, it must be the "end" that will “crown the work."

The Indian character has so little variety, that it has been my object to avoid dwelling on it too much on the present occasion; its association with the sailor, too, it is feared, will be found to have more novelty than interest.

It may strike the novice as an anachronism, to place vessels on Ontario in the middle of the eighteenth century; but, in this particular, facts will fully bear out all the licence of the fiction. Although the precise vessels mentioned in these pages may never have existed on that water or any where else, others so nearly resembling them are known to have navigated that inland sea, even at a period much earlier than the one


just mentioned, as to form a sufficient authority for their introduction into a work of fiction. It is a fact not generally remembered, however well known it may be, that there are isolated spots, along the line of the great lakes, that date, as settlements, as far back as many of the older American towns, and which were the seats of a species of civilisation, long before the greater portion of even the older states was rescued from the wilderness.

Ontario, in our own times, has been the scene of important naval evolutions. Fleets have manœuvred on those waters, which, half a century ago, were as deserted as waters well can be; and the day is not distant, when the whole of that vast range of lakes will become the seat of empire, and fraught with all the interests of human society. A passing glimpse, even though it be in a work of fiction, of what that vast region so lately was, may help to make up the sum of knowledge by which alone a just appreciation can be formed of the wonderful means by which Providence is clearing the way for the advancement of civilisation across the whole American continent.

December, 1839.

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