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troops. ' A Frenchman is contented to boast, that the best soldiers of his country have beaten 'an equal number of ours. But an American historian will gravely tell you, that about 200 raw, undisciplined, American mulitia, entirely routed 600 veteran British regulars;' aye, and that with the bayonet' too : or, if the Americans are described as the routed party, it is,_after a desperate struggle with five times their number.' None of these gentlemen think it worth their while to advance any authority for even the most improl pable fact. In despite of our reason we are to c redit their naked assertions; and to confess, that the heroes of the new, are giants in proi ness, compared to the heroes of the old world. Scarcely is a battle recorded, wherein the superiority of numbers was
the British side; unless, indeed, an opposite statement would serve to heap disgrace up on a certain commander, because he happen as to differ, in political tenets, from that part.y, to
whose sinister purposes the writer has devoted his talents and his conscience.
When a national officer does, as he always should, explicitly state the amount and quality of his own force, no one has a right to dispute his word; but his assertions respecting the force of an enemy, unless nearly the whole number that engaged him became his prisoners, ought to be received with caution. A general may find it convenient to show an extended front, of only one or two files deep; and thus deceive his opponent. A few stragglers in a wood may be considered as part of a larger body; or a severe unexpected repulse may induce the retreating troops, from their fears alone, to magnify the number of their foes. For this reason chiefly it is, that the author has resolved to take each party's positive enumeration of his own force, in preference to the loose statements and vague conjectures, too often admitted into the opposite official accounts.
In a work of details like the present, many facts must be admitted, having no official foundation on either side. Here the reader, beyond the rule of probability, has only the author's veracity to trust to. Upon that point, he deems it proper to state, that, in his military, as in his naval work, his unofficial facts are the result of direct applications to officers of rank and respectability; but whose names (as must be obvious) he is not, in all cases, at liberty to disclose. Should, however, any mistatement have incautiously crept into his narrative, military or naval, the author would be happy to receive, and, when an opportunity offers, to make public, an authenticated correction.
A woody battle-ground is not the best calculated for a display, even on paper, of military evolutions; the author, therefore, in selecting his plates, has, in most cases, preferred a sketch of the country traversed by the contending armies, to a plan of their fluctuating positions during an engagement. One important exception is the battle near New Orleans. Here, without a plan of the natural, as well as'artificial, military obstacles, the most minute verbal description would fall short. Fortunately, he can present Plate VII, with confidence in its general correctness; not weakened, he trusts, by his having wholly framed it out of the engravings in two American publications on the subject *. For Plates I, III, V, and VI, he is indebted, also, (some slight alterations excepted,) to an American work, majorgeneral James Wilkinson's Memoirs of my own Time,' published in 1816; a work that will be frequently consulted in the course of the investigation.
As Great Britain and the United States of America are now, happily, at peace, a strong motive exists for describing the events of the late war between them, in language, if not courteous, temperate at least; and this, with out any reference to the notorious fact,
* Latour's War in Louisiana, and Eaton's Life of Jackson,
that all American histories from · general Wilkinson's huge Memoirs down to the • Grub-street * • Analectic,' pursue quite an opposite course The author, much as he has, while scrutinizing the American accounts, endeavoured to command his feelings, may, upon unravelling any design of marked atrocity, have been betrayed into a warmth of expression below the dignity of an historical subject. To the general reader, in that case, some apology is due: as to the American, let him vent his rage upon those of his countrymen, who, disgracing the name of historians,' are the authors or abettors of all the calumnies which gave the provocation.
He who shall succeed in teaching American writers to venerate truth, as much as their readers idolize vain-glory, will have achieved, for the republic of America, a ten-fold greater service, than the whole pantheon of demi-gods,
Analectic Magazine and Nava! Chronicle, Vol. VII,