Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB

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Horatio Nelson, Admiral, 1st Viscount Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe

Also Known As: "Horace Nelson", "Lord Nelson", "Duke of Bronte", "Viscount Nelson"
Birthplace: Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Aboard HMS 'Victory' during the Battle of Trafalgar, near Gibraltar.
Place of Burial: City of London, Greater London, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Edmund Nelson, Rector pf Burnham Thorpe and Catherine Nelson
Husband of Frances Herbert Nelson, Viscountess Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe
Partner of Emma Hamilton
Father of Horatia Ward (Nelson)
Brother of Edmund Nelson; Horatio Nelson; Maurice Nelson, Rev; Susannah Bolton; William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson and 5 others

Occupation: Vice-Admiral & Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, Naval Admiral, England, Naval Officer, Seaman, vice admiral of the white, Naval officer, Viscount & Duke of Bronte
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB,_1st_Viscount_Nelson

See The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson, by Roger J.B. Knight (2005), the most highly regarded biography of Lord Nelson, for extensive details of his personal and professional life. According to this book, Horatio was born "Horace", and did not call himself Horatio until 1777. In his 'Sketch of My Life' which he wrote when he was 41, as he saw it, his life began when he went to sea at the age of 12. Summing up at the end of this work, the author mentions Nelson's "extraordinary self-belief", which inspired others. It says he was above all the product of the 18th C navy that formed him. Wiht professional if not social advantages, he had to strive for recognition and riches within a system in which promotion demanded some advantage and that was not yet designed to distribute fair and systematic reward... He reached the peak of his career in the first years of the 19th C, when Britain was under almost constant threat of invasion... 200 years later the evidence reveals a driven, flawed, tough-spirited man of exceptional intelligence and talent, whose success can be attributed to reasons far more complex than those represented by an heroic, all encompassing figure; and he becomes infinitely more understandable and interesting. for basic details.

Nelson was born at the Rectory of Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, East England, UK, the son of the village rector Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine. He attended schools at Norwich and North Walsham before entering the Royal Navy at Chatham in 1770. Under the patronage of an uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, his naval experience widened rapidly; first by his attachment to a Caribbean-bound merchant ship, and in 1773 by an arduous expedition to the Arctic. A voyage to India followed, but he had to be invalided home after a near fatal malarial fever which left him with recurrent partial paralysis for the rest of his life, in addition to his incurable sea-sickness.

In 1779 at the age of 20, he became captain of a frigate ship in the West Indies, and during the American War served under Admiral Robert Digby and later Lord Samuel Hood. In 1784 he returned to the West Indies to enforce the Navigation Acts prohibiting direct trade between the new American States and the remaining British colonies. His rigid and direct enforcement of the law soon brought him into conflict with the traders, his commander-in-chief, and the Governor of the Leeward Is. However, their attempts to have Nelson removed or court-martialled rebounded on them following his successful petitions to the Admiralty and King George III.

While on the island of Nevis, Nelson met and, in 1787, married Frances (Fanny) Nisbet (1761-1831), a widow with a son, Josiah. Returning to England, he found himself out of favour both with the Admiralty, which was embarrassed by his zealous execution of duty in the West Indies, and with George III for associating with his disreputable son, Prince William Henry. He was refused another ship, but five years later was recalled at the outbreak of the Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) with France. In 1794 he was given the task of securing Corsica as a Mediterranean base for the Royal Navy. While in Naples gathering recruits, he met William Harrison who, in his capacity as British minister, helped Nelson. The campaign was a major success but, during the attack on Calvi, he was blinded in the right eye by stone splinters from a parapet struck by an enemy shell. Despite his injury, he returned to duty the following day.

On leaving the Mediterranean, the British fleet encountered a Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent, and inflicted a decisive defeat (1797). Much of the credit for the success of the heavily outgunned British fleet was due to Nelson's bold and unorthodox tactics, for which he received a knighthood. Later promoted to rear-admiral, he held the blockade of Cadiz before being detached to Santa Cruz in the Canary Is. His ill-founded mission to capture rumoured Spanish treasure ships failed when all element of surprise was lost. His right arm was shattered by grapeshot, and had to be amputated.

In 1798 he was sent on a reconnaissance mission to locate the French fleet. It was eventually found in Abu Qir (Aboukir) Bay near Alexandria, where he executed a daring attack as night fell. The British fleet inflicted a massive defeat (the Battle of the Nile), leaving Napoleon's army stranded in Egypt. Nelson, who had again been wounded, returned to Naples, there to be nursed by Emma, the wife of Sir William Hamilton. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Nelson of the Nile, and appointed principal military adviser to the Court of Ferdinand IV, King of the Two Sicilies. This period was marked by controversy. His advice to send an army to recapture Rome from the French resulted in a humiliating defeat, while his public affair with Lady Hamilton exposed him to criticism. In 1800 he relinquished his command because of ill health, and escorted the Hamiltons overland to England.

Following his return, estrangement from his wife soon resulted in separation. With Emma pregnant with their daughter Horatia, and faced with difficult financial circumstances, he applied for active service. In 1801 he was promoted to vice-admiral and appointed second-in-command to Admiral Sir Hyde Parker in an expedition to break the 'armed neutrality' of the Baltic States. The fleet sailed for Denmark and, despite the irresolute Parker, engaged the Danish fleet at anchor off Copenhagen. During the course of battle, which inflicted heavy losses on both sides, Nelson ignored Parker's signal to disengage from the fighting by putting his telescope up to his blind eye and claiming that he had seen no such signal. An hour later the battle was won. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet following Parker's recall, and elevated to viscount.

Renewed hostilities with France saw his return to active service as commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet on board the flagship HMS Victory. In this capacity, his questionable tactics in enforcing a loose blockade of the French-held ports, encouraging the enemy to leave the port and fight, allowed a French fleet under Admiral Villeneuve to escape from Toulon (Jan 1805). A futile chase ensued across the Atlantic to the West Indies and back. This was part of Napoleon's plan to decoy the Royal Navy from the Channel in order to allow him to invade England unmolested. However, Napoleon's combined Spanish and French fleet sweeping through the channel to cover for the invasion was devastated by Nelson's eventual engagement of Villeneuve's fleet off Cape Trafalgar (21 Oct 1805). At the height of the battle, and with victory in sight, Nelson was mortally wounded as he paced the quarter-deck with Captain Hardy; he died some three hours later as the battle ended, and his body was brought back to England. He was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, and a column erected to his memory in Trafalgar Square. Despite the adulation he received after his death, Emma was ignored, and died in abject poverty in Calais nine years later. Horatia, however, returned to Norfolk, and married a clergyman.

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was an English flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He won several victories, including the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he was killed.

Nelson's fame reached new heights after his death, and he came to be regarded as one of Britain's greatest military heroes, ranked alongside the Duke of Marlborough and the Duke of Wellington. In the BBC's 100 Greatest Britons program in 2002, Nelson was voted the ninth greatest Briton of all time.

Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805) was an English flag officer famous for his service in the Royal Navy, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He won several victories, including the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he was killed.

Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family, and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling. He rose rapidly through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command in 1778. He developed a reputation in the service through his personal valour and firm grasp of tactics, but suffered periods of illness and unemployment after the end of the American War of Independence. The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars allowed Nelson to return to service, where he was particularly active in the Mediterranean. He fought in several minor engagements off Toulon, and was important in the capture of Corsica and subsequent diplomatic duties with the Italian states. In 1797 he distinguished himself while in command of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent.

Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, and was forced to return to England to recuperate. The following year he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples against a French invasion. In 1801 he was dispatched to the Baltic and won another victory, this time over the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen. He subsequently commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon, and after their escape chased them to the West Indies and back but failed to bring them to battle. After a brief return to England, he took over the Cádiz blockade in 1805. On 21 October 1805 the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port and Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar. The battle was Britain's greatest naval victory, but Nelson was hit by a French sharpshooter and mortally wounded. His body was brought back to England where he was accorded a state funeral.

Nelson was noted for his ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men: the 'Nelson touch'. His grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics produced a number of decisive victories. Some aspects of his behaviour were controversial during his lifetime and after: he began a notorious affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton while both were married, which lasted until his death. Also, his actions during the Neapolitan campaign resulted in allegations of excessive brutality. Nelson could at times be vain, insecure and overly anxious for recognition, but he was also zealous, patriotic and dutiful, as well as courageous. He was wounded several times in combat, losing one arm and the sight in one eye. His death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of England's most heroic figures. Numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains highly influential.


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40
  • Nelson, Horatio by John Knox Laughton
  • NELSON, HORATIO, Viscount Nelson (1758–1805), vice-admiral, third surviving son of Edmund Nelson (1722–1802), rector of Burnham-Thorpe, in Norfolk, and of his wife Catherine (1725–1767), daughter of Dr. Maurice Suckling, prebendary of Westminster, was born at Burnham-Thorpe on 29 Sept. 1758. His father was son of Edmund Nelson (1693–1747), rector of Hilborough, in Norfolk, of a family which had been settled in Norfolk for several generations. His eldest brother William [q. v.] is separately noticed. His mother's maternal grandmother, Mary, wife of Sir Charles Turner, bart., was the sister of Robert Walpole, first earl of Orford [q. v.], and of Horatio, first lord Wal- pole, whose son Horatio, second lord Walpole, was Horatio Nelson's godfather. Nelson received his early education at the high school at Norwich; he was also at school at North Walsham and at Downham, in Norfolk, and in November 1770 entered the navy on board the Raisonnable, under the care of his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling [q. v.] A few months later, on the settlement of the dispute with Spain, he followed his uncle to the Triumph, guardship at Chatham, and, while borne on her books as ‘captain's servant,’ was sent for a voyage to the West Indies on board a merchant ship commanded by John Rathbone, who had been a master's mate with Suckling in the Dreadnought some years before. After a rough lesson in practical seamanship he rejoined the Triumph in July 1772. His uncle then made him work steadily at navigation, and encouraged him in the practice of boat sailing, so that he became familiarly acquainted with the pilotage of both Medway and Thames from Chatham or the Tower down to the North Foreland, and was trained to a feeling of confidence among rocks and sands.
  • .... etc.
  • In May the Agamemnon sailed for the Mediterranean with the fleet, under Lord Hood, and after touching at Cadiz and Gibraltar, arrived off Toulon in the middle of July. On 23 Aug. Toulon was occupied by the allies; and on the 25th, Nelson, in the Agamemnon, was sent to Naples to bring up a convoy of Neapolitan troops. It was at this time that he first made the acquaintance of the English minister, Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803) [q. v.], and of his wife Emma, lady Hamilton [q. v.]; but the details of their meeting, and the conversations as afterwards related by her, are demonstrably apocryphal (Harrison, i. 108; Memoirs of Lady Hamilton, p. 137). It was arranged that the Agamemnon was to escort six thousand troops to Toulon; .... etc.
  • Though not dangerous, Nelson's wound was serious. A piece of langridge or scrap-iron had struck him on the forehead, inflicting a severe bruise and cutting a large flap of skin, which, hanging over his eyes, together with the gush of blood, blinded him for the time. For many months he suffered much from headache, and it is very doubtful whether the effects of the blow were not in some degree permanent. When the ships were sufficiently refitted on 15 Aug. 1798, seven, with six of the prizes, were sent to Gibraltar, under the command of Sir James Saumarez (afterwards Lord de Saumarez) [q. v.] The other three prizes, old ships and much battered, were burnt; and leaving Hood, with three ships of the line and three frigates, to blockade the coast of Egypt, Nelson in the Vanguard, with the Culloden and Alexander, sailed for Naples, where he arrived on 22 Sept. The Mutine, carrying Captain Capel with despatches, had brought the news of the victory thither three weeks before, and the court and populace had then indulged in an outburst of frenzied joy. This was repeated with redoubled enthusiasm on the arrival of Nelson. Sir William Hamilton and his wife were the first to go on board the Vanguard, but were immediately followed by the king, who pressed the admiral's hand, calling him ‘deliverer and preserver.’ On his birthday the Hamiltons gave a grand entertainment in his honour, and wherever he went he was greeted as Nostro Liberatore!
  • .... It was, however, alleged against him that he allowed himself, for love of Lady Hamilton, to be made the instrument of the queen's vengeance. Current scandal had indeed for several months accused Nelson and Lady Hamilton of an undue intimacy, but it is well attested that with the annulling of the capitulation and with the death of Caracciolo Lady Hamilton had absolutely nothing to do.
  • A much more serious imputation on Nelson's conduct, because it is one of which it is impossible wholly to acquit him, is the charge of having been unduly influenced by his passion for this woman to disobey the orders of the commander-in-chief. On 19 July Nelson received a letter from Lord Keith, who had succeeded St. Vincent, acquainting him with the movements of the French. Keith had reason to believe the French had no design of attempting anything against Sicily, and he ordered Nelson to join him at once at Port Mahon with the whole of his force, or at least to send him the greater part of it. Nelson deliberately and distinctly refused to obey. ‘I have no scruple,’ he wrote, ‘in deciding that it is better to save the kingdom of Naples, and risk Minorca, than to risk the kingdom of Naples to save Minorca.’ .... There can, indeed, be no question that at this time he was infatuated by his passion for Lady Hamilton, and was extremely likely to have his judgment warped on any measure which would separate him from her. His disobedience, however, was not to produce any good or ill effects. In due time he received a letter from the admiralty expressing grave disapproval of his conduct; but long before, on a second and more stringent order from Keith, he had detached a strong squadron to Minorca, against which, indeed, the French do not seem to have entertained any hostile intentions.
  • .... An attempt of the French to break the blockade was expected, and to prevent this Keith spread his force round the island with such good effect that at daybreak on 18 Feb. a French squadron, consisting of the 74-gun ship Généreux, one of the two which had escaped from the Nile, with three frigates and a corvette, came into a cluster of English ships commanded by Nelson himself in the Foudroyant, when the Généreux and one of the frigates were captured. Nelson was very well satisfied with the result, the more so as he had always spoken of the two Nile ships as his; but he was overcome by his passion for Lady Hamilton, and could not remain away from Palermo, and on 24 Feb. he wrote to Keith: ‘My state of health is such that it is impossible I can much longer remain here. Without some rest I am gone. I must therefore, whenever I find the service will admit of it, request your permission to go to my friends at Palermo.’ Very reluctantly Keith gave him the required permission, but it was 16 March before he arrived at Palermo, and on the 20th he wrote to Troubridge: ‘It is too soon to form an opinion whether I can be cured of my complaint … Probably my career of service is at an end, unless the French fleet should come into the Mediterranean, when nothing shall prevent my dying at my post.’ On 4 April he was cheered by the news of the capture of the Guillaume Tell [see Berry, Sir Edward; Blackwood, Sir Henry], the last of the Nile ships. In announcing the event to the secretary of the admiralty he added: ‘My task is done, my health is finished, and probably my retreat for ever fixed, unless another French fleet should be placed for me to look after.’
  • ..... During May he had been at Malta, and the Hamiltons had accompanied him on board the Foudroyant. He now determined to take advantage at once of the permission to go home. He wished to return to England in his flagship; but as Keith pronounced this quite impossible, he resolved to go overland with the Hamiltons, who were also returning to England. Accordingly, he quitted the Foudroyant at Leghorn on 26 June, left Leghorn on 17 July, and, travelling by easy stages to Ancona, and thence in a Russian frigate to Trieste, reached Vienna towards the end of August. Everywhere he was the lion of the hour, and at Vienna was royally fêted, though his friends regretted the publicity which he gave to his subjection to Lady Hamilton (Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot, iii. 114, 147). The party left Vienna on 26 Sept., and, passing through Prague, were received for a few days at Dresden by Hugh Elliot, and fell under the observation of Mrs. St. George, whose satirical comments on the admiral and his companions were many years afterwards given to the world by her son, Archbishop R. C. Trench (Journal kept during a Visit to Germany, pp. 76–81). It is quite possible that these were somewhat exaggerated; but there is no reason to doubt that the unfavourable and painful sketch is substantially true. From Dresden they passed on to Hamburg, and landed at Yarmouth on 6 Nov. 1800, when Nelson wrote to the admiralty that, his health being perfectly re-established, it was his wish to serve immediately.
  • In London he joined his wife, who received him with a chilling coldness which widened the gulf that was opening between them. After a few weeks of acrimonious intercourse, to which Nelson afterwards referred with horror (Nicolas, vii. pp. 392, ccix), they separated early in 1801; and, with the exception of a short interview a few days afterwards, they did not again meet. At this time, indeed, Nelson seems to have desired a reconciliation (ib. iv. 272); but his wife made no response, and they had no further communication, though he made her the very liberal allowance of 1,200l. a year.
  • .... etc.
  • .... He was disgusted with the turn affairs had taken; disgusted at the delay which had prevented his crushing the Russians; disgusted, too, at the non-observance by the Danes of the terms of the armistice; and now that there was no longer any probability of active service, he was depressed by absence from Lady Hamilton, who, a few weeks before he sailed for the Baltic, had made him the father of a daughter, whom he had only just seen.
  • On 18 June Nelson gladly bade farewell to the fleet in Kjöge Bay, returned to Yarmouth in the Kite brig, and joined the Hamiltons in London. His own services during the campaign were rewarded with the title of viscount; but neither then nor afterwards was there any direct recognition of the battle of Copenhagen, for which, as he always maintained, he and his brothers in arms ought to have been thanked by parliament, and by the city of London. The omission caused him much annoyance, and more than a year after (8 Nov. 1802) he declined to dine with the lord mayor and sheriffs while the wrong done to ‘those who fought under his command’ remained unredressed.
  • .... etc.
  • With the cessation of arduous work returned Nelson's desire to be on shore; it was not without grumbling and bitter railing that he consented to retain the command till the peace was concluded; and as soon as he was free he sought for rest and solace in the society of Lady Hamilton and her husband. He had already commissioned Lady Hamilton to look out for a country house. She had selected one at Merton, in Surrey, which Nelson had bought only a few weeks before. The next eighteen months were spent with the Hamiltons, for the most part at Merton, or at Hamilton's house in Piccadilly, the household expenditure being divided between them. During this time Nelson and Emma were necessarily much in each other's company, and at last Hamilton, feeling himself neglected, feeling that his comfort was sacrificed to Nelson's, and his desire for repose to his wife's love of gaiety, wrote her, after many altercations with her on the subject, a curious letter, complaining of the constant racket of society in which he was forced to live, and specifically objecting to the large company invited daily to dinner. ‘I well know,’ he said, ‘the purity of Lord Nelson's friendship for Emma and me,’ and how very uncomfortable a separation would make his lordship, ‘our best friend;’ but he was determined to be sometimes his own master, and to pass his time according to his own inclination; and, above all, to have no more of the silly altercations which ‘embitter the present moments exceedingly.’ The letter appears to have been written towards the end of 1802 or early in 1803, and a few months later Hamilton settled the little differences once for all. He died on 6 April 1803, his wife smoothing his pillow on one side, Nelson holding his hand on the other.
  • The death of Hamilton does not seem to have made any external difference in Nelson's mode of living. Emma remained at Merton, the ostensible mistress of the house, as she had been all along; and though there can no longer be any doubt as to the nature of her relations with Nelson, they were at the time kept strictly secret. Nelson's brother, with his wife and daughter, Nelson's sisters and their families, and numerous friends of both sexes were frequent visitors, staying often for several days, and not one seems to have suspected anything improper, anomalous as the position was. Among others, Lord Minto wrote (18 April 1803): ‘Lady Hamilton talked very freely of her situation with Nelson, and of the construction the world may have put upon it; but protested that their attachment had been perfectly pure, which I declare I can believe, though I am sure it is of no consequence whether it is so or not. The shocking injury done to Lady Nelson is not made less or greater by anything that may or not have occurred between him and Lady Hamilton’ (Life and Letters, iii. 284).
  • .... etc.
  • His own health, too, seems to have been better at this time than it had been while afloat since the battle of the Nile. It may be that the effects of the severe wound then received had worn off during the prolonged rest at Merton; it is perhaps more probable that his mind was now no longer racked by conflicting passions—jealousy, love, and a consciousness of wrongdoing—all of which seem to have torn him during his former command in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic. He was now commander-in-chief; his love for Emma was approximating to the calm devotion of married life; he had persuaded himself that his wife, after wilfully separating from him, had no longer anything to reproach him with, and he lived in hopes that either a divorce or her death would set him free to marry Lady Hamilton. His domestic relations ceased to trouble him. He was, therefore, able to give, and did give, his whole attention to the grim work before him.
  • .... etc.
  • It was during this time, about eleven o'clock, that Nelson, retiring to his cabin, wrote the so-called codicil to his will, setting forth the services which he believed Lady Hamilton had rendered to the state, and leaving her, ‘a legacy to my king and country, that they will give her an ample provision to maintain her rank in life;’ leaving also ‘to the beneficence of my country my adopted daughter, Horatia Nelson Thompson.’ The codicil, witnessed by Hardy and Blackwood, was afterwards taken to England by Hardy, and lodged with the government. At the time it was thought inexpedient to make it public, on account of the reference to the Queen of Naples; and as Lady Hamilton was already amply provided for, and the government knew that as to the services rendered by Lady Hamilton Nelson had been wrongly informed, they did not feel it necessary to make any further grant (cf. Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, ii. 291–301). It has often been spoken of as a scandal that such services should have gone without reward. But the only point to which exception can be taken in the conduct of the government is that they did not relieve the woman whom Nelson had loved, and who was the mother of his child, after she had squandered the handsome income bequeathed her by Hamilton and Nelson, but allowed her to drag through her latter years in very reduced circumstances.
  • .... For a short while it seemed to the French possible for them to board the English ship, and capture her in a hand-to-hand fight; but a storm of grape from the Victory's forecastle put a deadly end to the attempt. It was just at this moment that Nelson, walking the quarter-deck with Captain Hardy [see Hardy, Sir Thomas Masterman], was wounded by a musket-shot from the Redoubtable's mizen-top, which, striking the left epaulette, passed down through the lungs, through the spine, and lodged in the muscles of the back. He fell to the deck, and as Hardy attempted to raise him said, ‘They've done for me at last, Hardy.’ ‘I hope not,’ answered Hardy. ‘Yes,’ replied Nelson; ‘my backbone is shot through.’ He was carried below; but, though the wound was from the first recognised as mortal, he lived for three hours longer in great pain, expressing, between the paroxysms, the keenest anxiety about the action. When Hardy brought him word that fourteen or fifteen of the enemy's ships had surrendered, he exclaimed, ‘That is well; but I bargained for twenty.’ Later on he said, ‘Remember, I leave Lady Hamilton and my daughter Horatia as a legacy to my country;’ and, with the words ‘Thank God, I have done my duty,’ expired about half-past four, on 21 Oct. 1805, almost as the French Achille blew up and the Intrépide struck her flag.
  • Nelson's body, preserved in spirits, was brought home in the Victory, and, after lying in state in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, was taken to London, and in a public funeral buried on 9 Jan. 1806 in the crypt of St. Paul's. The sarcophagus which contains the coffin was made at the expense of Cardinal Wolsey for the burial of Henry VIII. The monument in the cathedral above is by Flaxman. Nelson is also commemorated in London by Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, commenced in 1829, and ornamented with the Nelson column, which was completed in 1849. It is surmounted by a colossal statue by E. H. Baily, 18 feet in height. The bronze lions, from Landseer's designs, were added in 1867. There is a Nelson monument on the Calton Hill, Edinburgh, and a Nelson pillar in Sackville (now O'Connell) Street, Dublin. Other monuments in many different parts of the country were erected to his memory, and poets and poetasters hymned his fame in many languages with but indifferent success. Neither then nor since has any happier threnody been suggested than Virgil's lines: <por,> In freta dum fluvii current, dum montibus umbræ Lustrabunt convexa, polus dum sidera pascet, Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt. (Æneid, i. 607–9). </poem> By his wife Nelson had no issue (for an account of the Nelson peerage see under Nelson, William, first Earl Nelson). By Lady Hamilton he had one daughter, Horatia, who grew up, married the Rev. Philip Ward, afterwards vicar of Tenterden, Kent, and died in 1881. Another daughter, Emma, born in the end of 1803 or beginning of 1804, survived only a few weeks.
  • Nelson's portraits are very numerous, and many of them have been engraved. Among the best are a full-length, by Hoppner, in St. James's Palace, and a half-length, by Lemuel F. Abbot, in the Painted Hall at Greenwich. Another, also by Abbot, closely resembling this, is in the National Portrait Gallery, as well as a painting by Heinrich Füger, for which Nelson sat while at Vienna in 1800. A portrait by Zoffany is at the admiralty; one by J. F. Rigaud, R.A., which Nelson presented to Captain William Locker in 1781, belongs to Earl Nelson, who owns another painted by L. Guzzardi in 1799. (See also Catalogue of the Naval Exhibition of 1891.) Arthur William Devis [q. v.] painted after Nelson's death the well-known ‘Death of Nelson in the Cockpit of H.M.S. Victory,’ which is now at Greenwich Hospital. The engraving by W. Bromley (dated 1812) has long been popular. [The bibliography of Nelson is enormous, but comparatively little of it has any real value. Even before his death a memoir had been published by Charnock, from materials supplied by Captain Locker, which in any other hands than Charnock's would have been a useful and interesting work. Other memoirs were published in quick succession as soon as the news of his death reached England. Of these, one only calls for any mention: that by Harrison, an obscure writer engaged by Lady Hamilton to exalt her claims on the government. It is in execrable taste, of no authority, and crowded with statements demonstrably false. And yet some of them, through the influence of other writers, and more especially of Southey, have passed current as facts; among which may be mentioned the celebrated ‘If there were more Emmas there would be more Nelsons,’ a story which is entirely without authority, and is contradicted by the natural and connected account of the conversation given by Blackwood (Nicolas, vii. 26). Clarke and McArthur's Life of Nelson, in two most unwieldy 4to vols., is the fullest, and in many respects the best biography. It is largely based on original documents and letters entrusted to the authors—many of which have never been seen since—but it is crowded with childish and irrelevant stories, resting on hearsay or tradition, and very probably not true. The only work treating of Nelson's professional career which is to be implicitly trusted is the collection of his Despatches and Letters, edited by Sir N. Harris Nicolas, in seven vols. 8vo; a selection from which, with a few additional documents and notes, has been edited by the present writer. The celebrated life by Southey, interesting as it always will be as a work of art, has no original value, but is a condensation of Clarke and McArthur's ponderous work, dressed to catch the popular taste, and flavoured, with a very careless hand, from the worthless pages of Harrison, from Miss Williams's Manners and Opinions in the French Republic towards the Close of the Eighteenth Century, i. 123–223, and from Captain Foote's Vindication. There is no doubt that Southey's artistic skill gave weight and currency to the falsehoods of Miss Williams, as it did to the trash of Harrison and the wild fancies of Lady Hamilton. Of other works that have some biographical value may be especially named the Life, by the Old Sailor (M. H. Barker), and the Vindication of Lord Nelson's Proceedings in the Bay of Naples, by Commander Jeaffreson Miles. Parson's Nelsonian Reminiscences are the recollections of his boyhood by an elderly man, and not to be implicitly trusted. Pettigrew's Life of Nelson, principally interesting from the Nelson-Hamilton correspondence which it first announced, loses a great deal of its value from the writer's ignorance of the naval history of the time, and the confusions into which he allowed Lady Hamilton to lead him; but still more from his reticence as to the documents he quoted. It is only within the last few years that the papers referred to were discovered and added to the collection of Mr. Alfred Morrison, who has increased the obligation under which students of Nelson's history already lay by having a full transcript of them printed. In Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson, and the Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson, based to a great extent on these valuable papers, Mr. J. C. Jeaffreson has traced the relations of Nelson and Lady Hamilton. (See art. Hamilton, Emma, Lady.) A valuable examination of Nelson's services, and more especially of his chase of Villeneuve to the West Indies, is in Mahan's Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire; and, from the French point of view, in Chevalier's Histoire de la Marine française (1) sous la première République, et (2) sous le Consulat et l'Empire. The well-known Guerres Maritimes, by Admiral Jurien de la Gravière, is based almost entirely on Nicolas or James, and has no independent value.]
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Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, KB's Timeline

September 29, 1758
Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Age 12
HMS Raisonnable
- 1776
Age 12
Great Britain
- March 14, 1775
Age 14
HMS Seahorse
December 8, 1778
Age 20
HMS Badger
Age 20
HMS Hithchinbrook
October 29, 1800
Age 42
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
January 1, 1801
- October 21, 1805
Age 42
Great Britain