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Members who have died since the last volume of Collections was issued, March 15, 1897 arranged in the order of their election, and with date of death
'HE documents and letters printed in this volume have been selected from a great mass of papers belonging to Sir William Pepperrell which came into the possession of Rev. Dr. Belknap while engaged in writing the "History of New Hampshire." He made careful and diligent use of them in the preparation of that work; and in October, 1791, he gave the greater part of them to this Society, of which he was the chief founder. A few, which were probably overlooked in the original gift, were afterward given by his representatives; and a few have been added from other sources. They furnish a mass of materials connected with the military and naval operations at Louisbourg, the most important military enterprise ever undertaken by the English Colonies in America, which leaves almost nothing to be desired.
In the first volume of the Collections, the Publishing Committee, of which Dr. Belknap was chairman, printed some of the official documents which had thus come into their hands; but they did not print any of the private letters. Many of the letters bear abundant marks of having been written under very unfavorable circumstances and in great haste; and many of the writers were persons of little school education, who spelled in a most erratic manner, especially when writing proper
names. It is not easy to recognize that the same person is probably meant under such diverse forms of phonetic spelling. The letters have all, however, historical value for the light they throw on the difficulties under which the siege was conducted, and on the personal characters of the officers and soldiers who were engaged in it, as well as on the aims and motives of the men who afterward sought to gain pecuniary advantage from the conquest. Our ancestors who fought or traded at Louisbourg differed in nothing from their descendants at the time of the Revolution, the Civil War, or the War with Spain.
These letters were used by Dr. Usher Parsons in the preparation of his "Life of Sir William Pepperrell," by Mr. Parkman, in his "Half-Century of Conflict," and by other writers, with the permission of the Society; but they have never before been printed in full.
Sir William Pepperrell was of English descent, and was born in Kittery, Maine, June 27, 1696. His father, who was a native of Devonshire, had, been settled here for about twenty years, first on the Isles of Shoals and afterward at Kittery, where he carried on an extensive mercantile business, and laid the foundations of the family fortune. At an early age the son was admitted as a partner in his father's business; and at the age of twenty-seven was married to Mary Hirst, a granddaughter of Judge Samuel Sewall. He had already, at the age of twenty-one, been appointed captain of a cavalry company, from which he was speedily advanced to the rank of major and lieutenant-colonel. At the age of thirty he was made colonel of the regiment, a position which carried with it the command of all the militia in Maine. About the same time he was elected representative for Kittery in the Massachusetts Legislature; and in 1727 he was elected one of the Council. In 1730, though
he had had no training in the law, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of York, which office he held until his death. When Governor Shirley planned the expedition against Louisbourg, the chief command was offered to Pepperrell, who was then in the full vigor of manhood, with an ample fortune, and a home which might be called luxurious for those days. After much hesitation he was induced to accept the command, and sailed from Boston with the Massachusetts troops March 24, 1744-5, and reached Canso, after a rough passage, April 4. A landing near Louisbourg was effected on the last day of the month. From that time the siege was pressed, with as much energy and promptness as were practicable under very adverse conditions, until the 16th of June, when the city capitulated to the combined military and naval forces. For his services Pepperrell was made a baronet, and was appointed colonel of one of two regiments which it was proposed to raise in America on the English establishment. He remained at Louisbourg through the following winter, and returned to Boston at the end of May, 1746. Not long after the peace he retired from business, with the reputation of being the richest man in the Colonies, but he continued to take an important share in public affairs nearly down to the time of his death. In September, 1749, he sailed for England, returning home in the following summer. He died at Kittery, July 6, 1759. He had had four children, of whom the youngest two died in infancy. The eldest child, Elizabeth, married Col. Nathaniel Sparhawk, and was the mother of William Pepperrell Sparhawk, the second baronet, who, in conformity with the conditions of his grandfather's will, dropped the name of Sparhawk. At the time of the Revolution the second baronet espoused the side of the mother country; and on the evacuation of