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Horatio Nelson

Date de naissance: 29. septembre 1758
Date de décès: 21. octobre 1805
Autres noms: Lord Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson, 1er vicomte Nelson, duc de Bronte, né le 29 septembre 1758 à Burnham Thorpe et mort le 21 octobre 1805 au large du cap de Trafalgar, est un vice-amiral britannique. Il s'est illustré pendant les guerres de la Révolution française et napoléoniennes notamment à la bataille de Trafalgar, où il remporte une victoire décisive pour la Grande-Bretagne, qui inaugure la suprématie de la Royal Navy, mais y perd la vie. Il est couramment appelé l’amiral Nelson par les Français et Lord Nelson par les Anglo-Saxons.

Nelson saura utiliser un large éventail de tactiques, sans rester prisonnier de schémas traditionnels au contraire de nombre de ses collègues, ce qui lui vaut une réputation d'officier insubordonné. Son coup d'œil et sa faculté d'adaptation lui permettent d'agir très rapidement, prenant souvent de vitesse ses adversaires. Il a le don d'inciter ses hommes à donner le meilleur d'eux-mêmes. Il attire le dévouement et la loyauté de ses subordonnés et en retour leur laisse une grande liberté d'action. Son courage physique dans les combats et l'image d'héroïsme que lui valent ses nombreuses blessures en font de son vivant même une figure vénérée par la population britannique.

En 1798, alors qu'il est marié depuis 1787, Nelson a une liaison passionnée avec Emma Hamilton, l'épouse de l'ambassadeur britannique à Naples, William Hamilton. Emma devient sa maîtresse, vit ouvertement avec lui à son retour en Angleterre et lui donne une fille, Horatia.

Au moment de sa mort en 1805, Nelson est considéré comme un héros et reçoit des funérailles nationales. De nombreux monuments célèbrent sa mémoire, notamment la colonne Nelson au cœur de Trafalgar Square à Londres.

Citations Horatio Nelson

„L’Angleterre attend de chacun qu’il fasse son devoir.“

—  Horatio Nelson

England expects that every man will do his duty (Nelson confides that every man will do his duty).
en
Ordre par pavillons à la flotte britannique avant la bataille de Trafalgar.

„Avant la même heure demain j'aurai gagné une pairie ou l'abbaye de Westminster.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Before this time tomorrow I shall have gained a peerage, or Westminister Abbey.
en
Avant la bataille d'Aboukir le 1 août 1798. « L'abbaye de Westminster » est utilisé pour signifier la mort.

„D'abord remportez la victoire, ensuite faites-en le meilleur usage.“

—  Horatio Nelson

First gain the victory, and then make the best use of it you can.
en
À ses capitaines avant la bataille d'Aboukir, le 1 août 1798.

„Avec honneur je les ai gagnées, et avec honneur je mourrai avec.“

—  Horatio Nelson

In honour I gained them, and in honour I will die with them.
en
Lorsqu'on lui demanda de cacher ses médailles lors d'une bataille.

„Notre pays, je crois, pardonnera plus rapidement un officier pour avoir attaqué un ennemi plutôt que l'avoir laissé seul.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Our Country will, I believe, sooner forgive an officer for attacking an enemy than for letting it [sic] alone.
en
À propos de l'attaque sur Bastia (3 mai 1794).

„Embrasse-moi, Hardy.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Kiss me, Hardy.
en
Destiné à Thomas Hardy, son capitaine, alors que Nelson est sur le point de mourir à la bataille de Trafalgar.

„J'ai seulement un œil, — J'ai le droit d'être aveugle parfois… Je ne vois vraiment pas le signal!“

—  Horatio Nelson

I have only one eye,— I have a right to be blind sometimes… I really do not see the signal!
en
À la bataille de Copenhague en 1801. Nelson n'obéit pas à l'ordre de se retirer prétextant ne pas le voir.

„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
Contexte: 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.

„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
Contexte: !-- 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
Contexte: 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!

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„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
Contexte: !-- 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 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

„The measure may be thought bold, but I am of the opinion the boldest are the safest.“

—  Horatio Nelson

Statement to Sir Hyde Parker urging vigorous action against the Russians and Danes (24 March 1801), quoted in "The Book of Military Quotations" by Peter G. Tsouras, p. 54
1800s

„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

„Thank God, I have done my duty.“

—  Horatio Nelson

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

„Drink, drink. Fan, fan. Rub, rub.“

—  Horatio Nelson

In his dying hours, Nelson was attended by his chaplain, Alexander Scott; his steward, Chevalier; and the purser, Walter Burke. Their accounts have been available to Nelson's modern biographers. This was a request to alleviate his symptoms of thirst, heat, and the pains of his wounds, as quoted in Horatio Nelson (1987) by Tom Pocock, p. 331
The Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

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

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