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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Lord Nelson

  • [Horatio Nelson; born in Norfolk, England, Sept. 29, 1758; went to sea at the age of thirteen; served in the East Indies, and in the American war; obtained a ship, 1793; rear-admiral after the victory of St. Vincent, 1797; lost his right arm in an attack on Teneriffe; gained the battle of the Nile against the French, 1798, and created Baron Nelson of the Nile; won the battle of the Baltic, 1801, and made Viscount Nelson and Brontë; took command of the Mediterranean fleet, 1803; mortally wounded at the battle of Trafalgar, Oct. 21, 1805.]
  • I’ll have a gazette of my own.

  • The English besieged the town of Calvi in Corsica, June 12, 1794, which surrendered after fifty-nine days. Nelson’s services were overlooked in the official report; and his name was not even mentioned in the list of wounded, though he lost an eye. Writing to Lord Hood, he said, “They have not done me justice, but never mind, I’ll have a gazette of my own.”—SOUTHEY: Life. His bravery and energy enabled him to say of himself, “If I am in the field of glory I cannot be kept out of sight.”—Ibid.
  • After the battle of the Nile, Aug. 1, 1798, being unable to pursue the enemy for want of means, he exclaimed, “Were I to die at this moment, want of frigates would be found stamped on my heart;” in imitation of Queen Mary’s bitter regret for the loss of the last English possession in France: “When I die, ‘Calais’ will be found written on my heart.”
  • When rising from table on the eve of the battle, Nelson said, “Before this time to-morrow I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey.”
  • On being apprised of a signal to stop firing at the battle of the Baltic, March 3, 1801, where he was second in command, Nelson put his blind eye to the glass, saying, “I really do not see the signal. I have only one eye: I have a right to be blind sometimes.” The firing continued, and resulted in a victory. “He had won the day,” says Southey, his biographer, “by disobeying orders.”
  • England expects every man to do his duty.

  • Nelson’s signal to the fleet before the battle of Trafalgar, Oct. 21, 1805. The narrative of Capt. Pasco, Nelson’s flag-lieutenant on “The Victory,” is as follows: “His lordship came to me on the poop, and, after ordering certain signals, about a quarter to noon, said: ‘Mr. Pasco, I wish to say to the fleet, “England confides that every man will do his duty;”’ and he added, ‘You must be quick: for I have one more to make, which is for close action.’ I replied, ‘If your lordship will permit me to substitute “expects” for “confides,” the signal will soon be completed; because the word “expects” is in the vocabulary, whereas the word “confides” must be spelled.’ His lordship was satisfied with the change.” Capt. Blackwood, who commanded “The Euryalus” in the battle, says that the correction suggested by the signal-officer was from “Nelson expects” to “England expects;” but Capt. Pasco’s account is preferred.
  • In honor I gained them, and in honor I will die with them.

  • Of his decorations in the battle of Trafalgar. Some writers have asserted that Nelson put on a full-dress uniform, the stars and orders of which were so brilliant as to attract the enemy’s musketeers; but Dr. Scott, his friend and chaplain, in whose arms he died, says that the admiral wore the same undress coat as on the previous day; that four stars were embroidered on it in the form of a diamond, and not fixed temporarily with clasps as is now the custom. This coat passed into the hands of a curiosity-dealer, but was purchased by the late Prince Consort, and given to Greenwich Hospital. No sword was worn at Trafalgar, the only action in which Nelson appeared without it. It had been left on his table, and was never called for.
  • Having been struck through the left epaulet, at a quarter after one in the afternoon, Nelson soon perceived that his wound was mortal, and gave his last orders and requests. After asking Capt. Hardy to kiss him, he said, “Now I am satisfied. Thank God, I have done my duty.” These words he repeatedly pronounced, and they were the last which he uttered.