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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: September 2011
  • First published in: 1840



The year 1793, when the eventful contest commenced between the commercial power of Great Britain and the military strength of France, is also remarkable as being the first of those twelve remaining years in the life of Nelson, throughout which he maintained a career of glory that is almost without a parallel in history. It is hardly possible to conceive that, in so short a period, an individual in the British navy, who had remained for nearly five years in obscurity, unable to procure the command of a ship, should from this time gradually rise, by his professional exertions alone, to such a height as gave him a decided pre-eminence over the many and renowned warriors of the British nation.

From his youth upwards, his zealous character, both as an officer and a man, had been formed in the old anti-gallican school; and that at a time, when the specious revolutionary principles of France had taught many of his countrymen to consider as prejudices, what their ancestors had long cherished as the most salutary truths. The loyalty and patriotism of Nelson, therefore, uniformly displayed a marked abhorrence and detestation of the French character. Like Hannibal, he seemed to have taken an oath of eternal hostility against them, on the altars of his country. Against that nation, and its overwhelming ambition, whether as a republican, consular, or imperial power, we shall now accompany him through a series of perilous and fatiguing services, with a shattered and emaciated frame, covered with honourable wounds, and struggling to the last to support the honour of his king, and the independence of his country.

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