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he fails to prove that their purposes were elevated and patriotic, and that they were most efficient in weakening the arm of our powerful and inveterate adversary, he has failed to do justice to his theme, and to the truth of history. He could have wished that the subject had fallen into abler hands ; but he can, at least, bring to it fidelity of statement, and knowledge derived from his personal intimacy and frequent communication, both at home and abroad, with many of the commanders of Privateers and Letters-of-Marque, during the war, and since.
He has been aided much in his collection of facts by information received from the Captains and Officers of the United States Navy, especially from Commodores Hull and Stewart, as well as from other intelligent gentlemen who bore an active part in the great conflict between the two nations. He has also found in
many the newspapers and other periodicals of 1812, 1813, and 1814, valuable official and statistical documents, especially in the excellent and accurate Register of Mr. Niles, published at Baltimore. Many of the facts recorded in these pages will also be found verified by Cooper's History of the United States Navy.
The author. himself, commanded, during the war, two Letters-of-Marque, the Schooners “ David Porter” and
Leo,” and at this late day, recollects almost all the important incidents of the war as distinctly as though they had occurred within the last two years.
It has been the author's aim to give the name of every Privateer and Letter-of-Marque which sailed from
our ports during the war, and he believes that he has done so, though a few may have been employed of which he finds no record.
He has also endeavored to give the names of the commanders of each vessel, but probably has not succeeded in every instance, as the Captains were sometimes changed during cruises, or were killed in action, and succeeded by others, and in many instances promoted to other vessels.
Many prizes were destroyed at sea, and many a gallant" brush” with an enemy of superior force occurred, of which no official record was made ; but which, had it been in the national service, would have entitled those who conducted it to promotion and fame.
The author has also endeavored, in his introduction, to show the justice of the war on our part, and to prove that it was waged purely in obedience to the great law of nations, as well as nature-self-defence.
England had virtually warred on our commerce for six or eight years, without our being able to obtain redress. Negotiation and remonstrance were finally exhausted, and we were compelled to resort to war as the last alternative of civilized nations.
The reader will pardon the assurance that whatever other deficiencies may be found in this volume, there has been no lack of a sincere intention to adhere to the strictest truth in its statements, and rather to incur the charge of scanty than exaggerated description of the exploits of our private armed service.
CRUISES OF THE SCOURGE AND RATTLESNAKE—THEY TAKE NUMEROUS PRIZES-FRI-
GATE PRESIDENT, COMMODORE RODGERS, CRUISING OFF THE NORTH CAPE-DRONTHEIM,