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“Sweet Memory! wasted by thy gentle gale,
Oft up the stream of Time I turn my sail,
CAPTAIN WILLIAM WARREN,
COMPANION OF THE MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF THE BATH,
AND FORMERLY COMMANDER OF H.M.S. HYACINTH,
WITH THE WARMEST FEELINGS OF
LOVE AND RESPECT,
BY HIS NAVAL NOMINEE AND MIDSHIPMAN,
The majority of naval officers are self-taught men : the world their book—the midshipman's dingy berth their “Alma Mater.” The author is no exception to the rule ; and as his confession may be profitable to others, he makes the public sufficiently a confidant to say, that to a steady habit of journalising, noting down all he saw, read, or felt, and, in spite of defective spelling and worse grammar, still educating himself with his journal, he is mainly indebted for being able to fight his way up an arduous and emulative profession.
This fact he would fain impress upon the younger branches of the Royal Navy: it will cheer and encourage the humble youth who dons the blue jacket, relying on his head and hand to win those honours and advancement which, in the natural course of things, appear only to have been created for the influential; and should the author have thrown some bright lights on the character of a people much maligned and misunderstood, he and
others will see that, in practising habits of observation, not only does the officer discover a source of amusement and instruction for himself, but that, at some time or other, he may be able to serve his fellow-man, or add, at any rate, in a humble way, to the fund of human knowledge.
The general reader will be best able to judge whether the author was justified in troubling them with this series of “Stray Leaves” from his journals. In transcribing them, the original character of the MS. has been adhered to as much as possible; and, as far as lay in his power, the author has identified himself with that sunny period of life in which the tale of the Blockade of Quedah was originally written.
Some apology is perhaps due to those persons whose names are introduced in the narrative; but forgiveness may be expected where no harm is said of them.
Aspiring to no lofty niche in the temple of literary fame, the author launches the good ship “Quedah,” confident that, while telling his sailor's yarn in a sailor's way, he will be sure of sympathy and kindly criticism from his countrymen and countrywomen.
LONDON, January 1857.