"The war with France had just commenced. Vice- Admiral Lord Hood hoisted his flag on board the Victory, of one hundred guns ; and, with the English fleet under his command, sailed from Spithead.
Amongst the many midshipmen on board the Victory, were two youths, who will occupy prominent places in our story ; — one, William Thornton, our intended hero, was at this period between sixteen and seventeen years of age, and was known on board the Victory as the Admiral's protege. He was a high-spirited and generous youth, and had, thus early in life, distinguished himself on several occasions, and was a general favourite ; but all that was known of his parentage was, that his supposed father had been formerly Lord Hood's favourite coxswain, and that the Admiral had taken him on board the Victory as one of his midshipmen."
Author: Francis Claudius Armstrong
Title: The Sailor Hero, or The Frigate and the Lugger
First Published by: T. Cautley Newby