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May 07 , 2011

The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson (Complete)


Never, perhaps, was a greater panegyric pronounced on any human being, than that which is comprised in the motto to this biographical account of Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, delivered from the lips of the Sovereign who had experienced his worth; and who, with a noble gratitude, deigned thus publicly to acknowledge, and record, the transcendent heroism of his Lordship’s meritorious services: heroism and services, the recollection of which, His Majesty generously anticipates, must not only exist for ever in the memory of the people; but, by continually stimulating future heroes, prove a perpetual source of strength, security, and glory, even to the country itself. A reflection worthy of a King! Inciting to heroism, by the consideration of a more enlarged motive than seems to have been heretofore sufficiently regarded; and thus entitling himself to participate the very praise he is so liberally bestowing. The expressive voice of gratitude is thus, sometimes, surprised by a similar unexpected but grateful echo; and the rays of royalty, beaming with their fullest lustre on a brilliant object, are in part reflected back to their source. The general history of the world, to almost every part of which the influence of Lord Nelson’s services may be considered as having in some measure extended, must most assuredly preserve the remembrance of one of it’s chiefest heroes; and the future historian of our own country, in particular, will not fail exultingly to dwell on each of his Lordship’s great and glorious victories, with all the animated and enegertic glow of conscious dignity and truth. Still, however, we are desirous to know more of so exalted a character than any general history can with propriety supply. We wish to see him not only as a hero, but as the hero of a respectable historian; and are anxious, with a laudable zeal, for such minuteness of detail, in the developement of every circumstance, not only relative to his public and professional character, but even to his private and domestic transactions, as is to be alone expected from what may be denominated the more humble labours of the biographer: who, nevertheless, must not be permitted to boast much of extraordinary humility, if he pretends to combine, in a single picture, any tolerable portion of that sublime grandeur, and that delicate simplicity, which constitute the Iliad and the Odyssey of literature. To produce a work not altogether unworthy the hero whose life it records, is the utmost that his present biographer can reasonably hope to accomplish. Even this, he freely confesses, he must have despaired of ever effecting, had he not been indulgently honoured by the kindest communications from some whose near affinity to the immortal Nelson, is evidently more than nominal; who not only have the same blood flowing in their veins, but whose hearts possess a large portion of the same unbounded goodness, generosity, and honour: as well as from Other dear and intimate friends, professional and private, who were united to his Lordship by the closest ties of a tender reciprocal amity
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