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The design of this little book is to submit the character and the more conspicuous of the features of the career of Horatio Nelson as they are described by his own pen. The slender dimensions of the volume rendered choice difficult by restriction. The Nelson literature is extraordinarily voluminous ; yet it is believed that most of the best of the plums which enrich it will be found in the following pages.
It would have been hopeless to attempt to connect the extracts into any sort of form of historic sequence. The best and most familiar of the narratives of the Battles of the Nile and of the Baltic are not Nelson's : his relations of them must be sought in dry and colourless dispatches ; yet the scheme of this little work would not admit of the inclusion of the accounts by other hands. The story, however, of the death of Nelson at Trafalgar must prove an exception. During his last hours he spoke often to those who were about him, and portions of Beatty's narrative contain so much of the hero's own words that the description could scarcely be more Nelson's had he himself dictated it.