Horatio Nelson quotes

Horatio Nelson photo
38   2

Horatio Nelson

Birthdate: 29. September 1758
Date of death: 21. October 1805
Other names: Lord Horatio Nelson

Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for his inspirational leadership, grasp of strategy, and unconventional tactics, which together resulted in a number of decisive British naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. He was wounded in combat, losing sight in one eye in Corsica at the age of 36, and most of one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife when he was 40. He was fatally shot during his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling, a high-ranking naval officer himself. He rose rapidly through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command at the age of 20 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 the 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 became one of Britain's greatest naval victories, but Nelson, aboard HMS Victory, was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter. His body was brought back to England where he was accorded a state funeral.

Nelson's death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain's most heroic figures. The significance of the victory and his death during the battle led to his signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty", being regularly quoted, paraphrased and referenced up to the modern day. Numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, and the Nelson Monument in Edinburgh, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains highly influential.

„Now I can do no more. We must trust to the Great Disposer of all Events and the Justice of our Cause. I thank God for this great opportunity of doing my Duty.“

—  Horatio Nelson

In response to the cheer that was raised after he sent the signal "England expects every Man will do his Duty.", as quoted in The Life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. from His Lordship's Manuscripts (1810) by James Stanier Clarke and John McArthur, p. 667
The Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

„Thank God, I have done my duty.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Statement among his final dying words. [citation needed]
The Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

„My character and good name are in my own keeping. Life with disgrace is dreadful. A glorious death is to be envied,“

—  Horatio Nelson

Letter from Agamemnon at sea (10 March 1795), in Nelson's letters to his wife and other documents, 1785-1831 edited by Navy Records Society, p. 199
1790s
Context: The lives of all are in the hands of Him who knows best whether to preserve it or no, and to His will do I resign myself. My character and good name are in my own keeping. Life with disgrace is dreadful. A glorious death is to be envied, and, if anything happens to me recollect death is a debt we must all pay, and whether now or in a few years hence can be but of little consequence.

„Wherever there is anything to be done, there Providence is sure to direct my steps.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Letter to his wife, Frances Nelson (2 August 1796), as published in The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes (1845) edited Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Vol. II : 1795-1797, p. 203
1790s
Context: !-- Had all my actions, my dearest Fanny, been gazetted, not one fortnight would have passed during the whole war without a letter from me: one day or other I will have a long Gazette to myself; I feel that such an opportunity will be given me. --> I cannot, if I am in the field for glory, be kept out of sight. Probably my services may be forgotten by the great, by the time I get Home; but my mind will not forget, nor cease to feel, a degree of consolation and of applause superior to undeserved rewards. Wherever there is anything to be done, there Providence is sure to direct my steps. Credit must be given me in spite of envy. <!-- Even the French respect me: their Minister at Genoa, in answering a Note of mine, when returning some wearing apparel that had been taken, said, ‘Your Nation, Sir, and mine, are made to show examples of generosity, as well as of valour, to all the people of the earth.

„I cannot, if I am in the field for glory, be kept out of sight.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Letter to his wife, Frances Nelson (2 August 1796), as published in The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes (1845) edited Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Vol. II : 1795-1797, p. 203
1790s
Context: !-- Had all my actions, my dearest Fanny, been gazetted, not one fortnight would have passed during the whole war without a letter from me: one day or other I will have a long Gazette to myself; I feel that such an opportunity will be given me. --> I cannot, if I am in the field for glory, be kept out of sight. Probably my services may be forgotten by the great, by the time I get Home; but my mind will not forget, nor cease to feel, a degree of consolation and of applause superior to undeserved rewards. Wherever there is anything to be done, there Providence is sure to direct my steps. Credit must be given me in spite of envy. <!-- Even the French respect me: their Minister at Genoa, in answering a Note of mine, when returning some wearing apparel that had been taken, said, ‘Your Nation, Sir, and mine, are made to show examples of generosity, as well as of valour, to all the people of the earth.

„To leave off action"? Well, damn me if I do! You know, Foley, I have only one eye,— I have a right to be blind sometimes . . . I really do not see the signal!“

—  Horatio Nelson

At the battle of Copenhagen, Ignoring Admiral Parker's signal to retreat, holding his telescope up to his blind eye, and proceeding to victory against the Danish fleet. (2 April 1801); as quoted in Life of Nelson, Ch. 7
1800s
Context: To leave off action"? Well, damn me if I do! You know, Foley, I have only one eye,— I have a right to be blind sometimes... I really do not see the signal!

„I cannot command winds and weather.“

—  Horatio Nelson

As quoted in Letters and Despatches of Horatio, Viscount Nelson, K.B. (1886) edited by John Knox Laughton, p. 99
1800s

„Let me alone, I have yet my legs left, and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make haste and get his instruments. I know I must lose my right arm, so the sooner it is off the better.“

—  Horatio Nelson

After being wounded during the attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife (24 July 1797), as quoted in The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes (1845) edited Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Vol. II : 1795-1797, p. 423
1790s

„Time is everything; five minutes make the difference between victory and defeat.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Frothingham, Jessie Peabody. Sea Fighters from Drake to Farragut New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902. p. 314
1800s

„The business of the English Commander-in-Chief being first to bring an Enemy's Fleet to Battle, on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his Ships close on board the Enemy, as expeditiously as possible;) and secondly, to continue them there, without separating, until the business is decided.“

—  Horatio Nelson

"Plan of Attack" (1805), drawn up during pursuit of the French fleet to the West Indies, as published in The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes (1866) edited by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Vol. VI : May 1804 - July 1805, p. 443
The Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„I am Lord Nelson. See, here's my fin.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Indicating his stub of his missing arm during the battle of Copenhagen, as quoted in Nelson and the Hamiltons (1969) by Jack Russell, p. 238
1800s

„Success, I trust — indeed have little doubt — will crown our zealous and well-meant endeavours: if not, our Country will, I believe, sooner forgive an Officer for attacking his Enemy than for letting it alone.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Statement regarding the attack on Bastia, Corsica (3 May 1794), as published in The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes (1845) edited by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Vol. I : 1777-1794, p. 393
1790s

„I am myself a Norfolk man.“

—  Horatio Nelson

On being welcomed on arrival in Great Yarmouth, in his home county [citation needed]
1790s

„England expects every Man will do his Duty.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Famous signal to the British fleet before the battle of Trafalgar, as quoted in Life of Nelson, Ch. 9; Initially dictated as: "England confides that every man shall do his duty." The signaller pointed out that "expects" was in the signals alphabet, but "confides" was not and so had to be spelt out, taking longer, and Nelson agreed to the change.
Variant:
England expects every officer and man to do his duty this day.
As reported in The London Times (26 December 1805)
The Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

„I had rather suffer death than alarm Mrs. Freemantle, by letting her see me in this state, when I can give her no tidings whatever of her husband.“

—  Horatio Nelson

After being wounded during the attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife (24 July 1797), as quoted in The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson with Notes (1845) edited Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Vol. II : 1795-1797, p. 423
1790s

„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 his mistress, Lady Hamilton (1800) [citation needed]; derived from "But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive." by William Shakespeare, in Henry V
1800s

„There is in the handling of these Transatlantic ships a nucleus of trouble for the Navy of Great Britain.“

—  Horatio Nelson

On American ships sighted sometime between 1801 and 1803, as quoted in The Royal Navy: Its Influence in English History and in the Growth of Empire https://books.google.com/books?id=mlNnAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA149 (1914) by John Leyland
1800s

„Desperate affairs require desperate measures.“

—  Horatio Nelson

As quoted in The Book of Military Quotations (1992) edited by Peter G. Tsouras, p. 54
1800s

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Molière photo
Molière68
French playwright and actor
Catherine the Great photo
Catherine the Great29
Empress of Russia
Marie Antoinette photo
Marie Antoinette3
last Queen of France prior to the French Revolution
Isaac Newton photo
Isaac Newton171
British physicist and mathematician and founder of modern c…
Miguel de Cervantes photo
Miguel de Cervantes172
Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright
Michel De Montaigne photo
Michel De Montaigne257
(1533-1592) French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, …
Michelangelo Buonarroti photo
Michelangelo Buonarroti25
Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet
Niccolo Machiavelli photo
Niccolo Machiavelli125
Italian politician, Writer and Author
Frederick II of Prussia photo
Frederick II of Prussia35
king of Prussia
George Washington photo
George Washington183
first President of the United States
Today anniversaries
Ozzy Osbourne photo
Ozzy Osbourne97
English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter 1948
Shiing-Shen Chern photo
Shiing-Shen Chern6
mathematician (1911–2004), born in China and later acquirin… 1911 - 2004
Pierre-Auguste Renoir photo
Pierre-Auguste Renoir44
French painter and sculptor 1841 - 1919
Joseph Conrad photo
Joseph Conrad127
Polish-British writer 1857 - 1924
Another 54 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Molière photo
Molière68
French playwright and actor
Catherine the Great photo
Catherine the Great29
Empress of Russia
Marie Antoinette photo
Marie Antoinette3
last Queen of France prior to the French Revolution
Isaac Newton photo
Isaac Newton171
British physicist and mathematician and founder of modern c…
Miguel de Cervantes photo
Miguel de Cervantes172
Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright