History's HEROES? 1758 - 1805

Horatio Nelson

Views and opinions

..the loss of a hero whose name will be immortal and his memory ever dear to his country
Vice-Admiral Collingwood, Commander-in-Chief of the fleet off Cadiz, in his despatch after the battle of Trafalgar, October 22, 1805

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Time is everything, five minutes makes the difference between victory and defeat.
Nelson

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I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humour.
Nelson
England expects that every man will do his duty.
Horatio Nelson, 21st October 1805
The way Nelson handled his publicity and the reports of his battles was very shrewd. After a great battle in which he was involved, he would write down his own version of events. He would then send this to a friend in England, who would deliver it to the popular press.
Colin White, The Independent
There is no way of dealing with the Frenchman but to knock him down - to be civil to them is to be laughed at. Why they are enemies!
Horatio Nelson, January 1798
Gentlemen, when the enemy is committed to a mistake we must not interrupt him too soon.
Horatio Nelson
Let me alone: I have yet my legs and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make haste and his instruments. I know I must lose my right arm, so the sooner it's off the better.
Horatio Nelson, 24 July 1797
I will take care that my name shall ever be most dear to you and Horatia, both of whom I love as much as my own life.
In a letter to Emma Hamilton from the Victory, 19th October, 1805
That foolish little fellow Nelson has sat to every painter in London. His head is turned by Lady Hamilton.
Nelson's former commander, Lord St. Vincent
What has poor Horatio done, who is so weak, that he, above all the rest, should be sent to rough it out at sea? But let him come, and the first time we go into action, a cannon ball may knock off his head and provide for him at once.
Captain Maurice Suckling, Nelson's Uncle on hearing of his wish to go to sea, 1770
He looks very old, has lost his upper teeth, sees ill of one eye and has a film coming over both of them.
Lord Elgin, describing Nelson when he was passing through Palermo, 1799
Lord Nelson thinks of nothing but Lady Hamilton, who is totally occupied by the same subject
A contemporary report about the relationship between Emma Hamilton and Nelson

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First gain the Victory and then make of it what you can

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I have only one eye, I have a right to be blind sometimes...really I did not see the signal
Horatio Nelson
My greatest happiness is to serve my gracious King and Country and I am envious only of glory; for if it be a sin to covet glory I am the most offending soul alive.
Horatio Nelson, letter to Emma Hamilton 1800
It is warm work; and this day may be the last to any of us at a moment. But mark you! I would not be elsewhere for thousands.
Horatio Nelson, Battle of Copenhagen
Firstly you must always implicitly obey orders, without attempting to form any opinion of your own regarding their propriety. Secondly, you must consider every man your enemy who speaks ill of your king; and thirdly you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.
Horatio Nelson, 1793
Bonaparte has often made his boast that our fleet would be worn out by keeping the sea and that his was kept in order and increasing by staying in port; but now he finds, I fancy, if Emperors hear the truth, that his fleet suffers more in a night than ours in one year.
Horatio Nelson
We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.
The Times, October 1805
No man has had more trouble or illness on a station, than I have experienced: but, let me lay a balance on the other side...I am married to an amiable woman, that far makes amends for every thing. Indeed, till I married her, I never knew happiness. I shall have great pleasure in introducing her to you.
Nelson in a letter to Captain Locker, 21st March 1787
I am delirious with joy and assure you I have a fever caused by agitation and victory. Good God what a victory! Never, never has there been anything half so glorious…I should feel it a glory to die in such a cause. No, I would not like to die until I see and embrace the victor of the Nile.
Emma Hamilton, After the Battle of the Nile, 1798
I have…use of all my limbs except my left arm, which I can hardly tell what is the matter with it. From the shoulder to my fingers’ ends are if half dead…I most sincerely wish to be employed, and hope it will not be long.
Nelson to Captain Locker, after his return to England, after being very ill, 1780
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