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I once lived in close familiarity with peculiar interest, and feel a triumph in their growing reputations, that is but little short of their own honest pride.

But neither time nor separation have shaken our intimacy: and I know that in dedicating to you these volumes, I tell you nothing new, when I add, that it is a tribute paid to an enduring friendship, by

Your old messmate,

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PREFACE.

The privileges of the Historian and of the wrter of Romances are very different, and it behooves them equally to respect each other's rights. The latter is permitted to garnish a probable fiction, while he is sternly prohibited from dwelling on improbable truths; but it is the duty of the former to record facts as they have occurred, without a reference to consequences, resting his reputation on a firm foundation of realities, and vindicating his integrity by his authorities. How far and how well the Author has adhered to this distinction between the prerogatives of truth and fic tion, his readers must decide; but he cannot forbear desiring the curious inquirers into our annals to persevere, until they shall find good poetical authority for every material incident in this veritable legend.

As to the Critics, he has the advantage of in cluding them all in that extensive class, which is known by the sweeping appellation of “ Lubbers.” If they have common discretion, they will beware of exposing their ignorance.

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If, however, some old seaman should happen to detect any trifling anachronisms in marine usages, or mechanical improvements, the Author begs leave to say to him, with a proper deference for his experience, that it was not so much his intention to describe the customs of a particular age, as to paint those scenes which belong only to the ocean, and to exhibit, in his imperfect manner, a few traits of a people, who, from the nature of things, can never be much known.

He will probably be told, that Smollet has done all this before him, and in a much better man

It will be seen, however, that, though he has navigated the same sea as Smollet, he has steered a different course; cr, in other words, that he has considered what Smollet has painted as a picture which is finished, and which is not to be daubed over by every one who may choose to handle a pencil on marine subjects.

The Author wishes to express his regret, that the daring and useful services of a great portion of our marine in the old war should be suffered to remain in the obscurity under which it is now buried. Every one has heard of the victory of the Bon-Homme Richard, but how little is known of the rest of the life, and of the important services of the remarkable man who commanded in our behalf, in that memorable combat. How little is known of his actions with the Milford and the Solebay; of his captures of the Drake and Tri

umph ; and of his repeated and desperate projects to carry the war into the island home of our powerful enemy. Very many of the officers who served in that contest were to be found, afterwards, in the navy of the confederation; and it is fair to presume that it owes no small part of its present character to the spirit that descended from the heroes of the revolution.

One of the last officers reared in that schoo. died, not long since, at the head of his profession; and now, that nothing but the recollection of their deeds remains, we should become more tenacious of their glory.

If his book has the least tendency to excite some attention to this interesting portion of our history, one of the objects of the writer will be accomplished.

The Author now takes his leave of his readers, wishing them all happiness.

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