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.RATTLES OF THE BRITISH NAVY," " ENGLAND'S WOODEN WALLS," ETC. ETC.
“ All agree there is but one Nelson.”
Earl St. Vincent.
THE RT. HON. SIR GEORGE COCKBURN, G.C.B.
ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET AND REAR-ADMIRAL OF ENGLAND, ETC.
ADMIRAL THE HON. SIR THOMAS BLADEN CAPEL,
ADMIRAL JOSEPH BULLEN,
VICE-ADMIRAL SIR EDWARD CHETHAM STRODE,
REAR-ADMIRAL JOHN PASCO,
REAR-ADMIRAL SIR GEORGE WESTPHAL, KT.
AND THE OTHER SURVIVING
OF THE IMMORTAL NELSON,
THE FOLLOWING PAGES,
PURPORTING TO DEPICT THEIR LATE HEROIC COMMANDER'S
ARE HUMBLY DEDICATED
BY THEIR DEVOTED SERVANT,
It may at first sight appear a work of supererogation to add another life of Nelson to the many biographies of the hero already before the public; but that it is not altogether so, the author trusts the following unpretending pages will show.
The publication of Lord Nelson's letters and despatches by the late indefatigable author, Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas, left, it is true, nothing new or important to be adduced. If Sir Harris Nicolas's work, in seven large and expensive volumes, could find its way everywhere, there would be no need of any other life of Nelson. The letters of the hero given in that work most faithfully pourtray his character, and admirably show his undiminished energy, his vast mental resources, and fervent love of country up to the last hour of his existence. There is nothing wanting but an attentive perusal of Sir Harris Nicolas's seven volumes to make the reader perfectly
izant of all that is essential for a just estimate of the hero's character.
The publication of Mr. Pettigrew's life of Nelson, which immediately followed Sir Harris's work, was not only a superfiuity, it was infinitely worse. After the battle of the Nile, scarcely a line-a note-a scrap of paper bearing Nelson's writing upon it was lost sight of. Everything relating to him was carefully treasured up. Letters to his wife, his father, brothers, shipmates, friends---everybody, no matter what the subject, were jealously hoarded, and such was the enthusiasm of the world respecting the hero of Trafalgar after his glorious death, that scarcely anything, however crude and ill-considered, has been kept back. Letters written in his most unguarded moments, and under the seal of unbounded confidence, have been recklessly torn from their hiding-places to gratify thé cupidity of their grovelling holders, and the morbid taste of thoughtless readers. Absurd poetry, which Nelson's hand is supposed to have penned, has been not simply made public, but presented to the world in fac simile! But not only has Mr. Pettigrew done thus much (with a good intention, possibly, but with the most damnatory effect upon Nelson's fame), he has endeavoured to stamp his memory with infamy, by alleging that a lady whom Lord Nelson adopted as his daughter was his lordship's child by Lady Hamilton ! An assertion more injurious to Nelson's character, or more inimical to the innocent lady whose origin is thus doubly covered with shame, was never advanced by his most inveterate enemy. The whole range of his lordship's letters and actions give the flattest contradiction to the unauthorized assumption.
The object of this little work, however, is chiefly to place Nelson's unparalleled achievements upon the ocean before the world in the cheapest possible form to spread the recital of his heroic deeds among the million. The details of his home have been purposely excluded--the public have no right to pry too deeply into the sanc.