BRITISH BATTLE FLEET IN ACTION IN THE NORTH SEA. THE "LION" LEADING.
[vii] BECAUSE of the cordial welcome given by young readers to my preceding historical work, "Boys' Book of Battles," the publishers
have asked me to write a companion volume. Hence you are, in these pages, introduced to the "Boys' Book of Sea Fights."
That the sea has furnished its full quota of thrilling and important conflicts in the history of mankind, standing a
close second in this wise to the land, there can be no doubt; the consensus of opinion among students discloses it, the
archives of nations prove it. Moreover, for spectacular exploits of both individuals and small bodies of men, the sea
has ever been a leader. Its very structure is a constant threat of death or stirring adventure, presented at the most
unexpected moments; and when to this peril is added the chance of encountering hostile ships, we cannot wonder that
sailors have performed deeds of surpassing heroism, and accepted supreme sacrifices for the sake of their country that
thrill us to the very core of our bodies.
This book tells the tale of sailors at war. Its
[viii] heroes are real heroes—men who have lived, who have performed the very deeds recorded of them, so far as careful
research can verify. They are not the sailors of any one country or nation, but of many countries and nations—which
fact, it seems to me, really makes them no less brave and their deeds no less worthy of recounting. Valor and
patriotism, no matter by whom displayed, surely ought to meet with our admiration and stir us to like deeds for our own
people and our own country.