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Horatio Nelson

Data de nascimento: 29. Setembro 1758
Data de falecimento: 21. Outubro 1805
Outros nomes:Lord Horatio Nelson

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Horatio Nelson, 1.º Visconde Nelson KB , foi um oficial britânico da Marinha Real Britânica, famoso pelas suas intervenções nas Guerras Napoleónicas. Ganhou várias batalhas da qual se destaca a Batalha de Trafalgar, em 1805, durante a qual foi morto.

Nelson nasceu no seio de uma família moderadamente próspera de Norfolk, e ingressou na Marinha pela mão do seu tio, Maurice Suckling. Evoluiu rapidamente na carreira militar, servindo com alguns dos principais comandantes militares, antes de obter o seu próprio comando em 1778. Ganhou uma reputação de firmeza e bravura, e de desenvolver tácticas inovadoras mas, após o final da Guerra da Independência Americana, adoeceu por diversas vezes, e ficou desempregado. A eclosão da Revolução Francesa permitiu a Nelson retornar o serviço, sendo particularmente activo na região do Mediterrâneo. Participou em pequenas batalhas ao largo de Toulon, e teve um papel importante na captura da Córsega, e posteriormente nas funções diplomáticas com os estados italianos.

Em 1797, durante a Batalha do Cabo São Vicente, distinguiu-se ao comando do navio de guerra HMS Captain. Pouco tempo depois desta batalha, Nelson participou na Batalha de Santa Cruz de Tenerife, onde foi ferido gravemente e forçado a regressar a Inglaterra para recuperar. No ano seguinte, obteve uma decisiva vitória sobre os franceses na Batalha do Nilo, permanecendo no Mediterrâneo para apoiar o Reino de Nápoles contra a invasão francesa. Em 1801, foi enviado para o mar Báltico, conquistando outra vitória, desta vez sobre os dinamarqueses na Batalha de Copenhaga. Posteriormente comandou o bloqueio das frotas espanholas e francesas em Toulon e, após a fuga destes, perseguiu-os até às Índias Ocidentais numa tentativa de travar uma batalha, sem no entanto, o ter conseguido. Depois de um breve regresso a Inglaterra, assumiu o comando do bloqueio a Cádis, em 1805. Em 21 de outubro de 1805 a frota franco-espanhola saiu do porto desta cidade tendo pela frente a frota de Nelson; o encontro de ambas as frotas deu origem à Batalha de Trafalgar. Esta batalha foi uma das maiores vitórias navais da Grã-Bretanha; no entanto, Nelson seria mortalmente atingido por um atirador francês. O seu corpo foi trazido de volta à Inglaterra, onde foi sepultado com honras de estado.

Nelson ficou conhecido pela sua capacidade de inspirar e motivar os seus homens: o "Toque de Nelson". A sua forma inovadora de conceber estratégias e táticas não convencionais resultou em várias vitórias decisivas. Alguns aspectos do seu comportamento pessoal foram considerados controversos ainda em vida, e depois da sua morte: teve um caso amoroso com Emma, Lady Hamilton, enquanto ambos eram casados, que durou até sua morte, e do qual resultou uma filha, Horatia. Além disso, as suas acções durante a campanha de Nápoles foram acusadas de brutalidade excessiva. Nelson poderia, por vezes, ser vaidoso, inseguro e ansioso por ser reconhecido, mas também era zeloso, atencioso e patriótico, bem como corajoso. Seria ferido em combate por diversas vezes, perdendo um braço e um olho. A sua morte em Trafalgar garantiu-lhe ficar reconhecido para sempre como uma das grandes personalidades de Inglaterra. Em sua honra, foram erigidos vários monumentos, destacando-se a Coluna de Nelson, na Praça de Trafalgar, em Londres.

Citações Horatio Nelson

„Thank God, I have done my duty.“

—  Horatio Nelson
Statement among his final dying words.

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„I have not shed a tear for years before the 21st of October and since, whenever alone, I am quite like a child.“

—  Horatio Nelson
Context: Let the country mourn their hero; I grieve for the loss of the most fascinating companion I ever conversed with — the greatest and most simple of men — one of the nicest and most innocent — interesting beyond all, on shore, in public and even in private life. Men are not always themselves and put on their behaviour with their clothes, but if you live with a man on board a ship for years; if you are continually with him in his cabin, your mind will soon find out how to appreciate him. I could for ever tell you the qualities of this beloved man. I have not shed a tear for years before the 21st of October and since, whenever alone, I am quite like a child. Alexander Scott, the chaplain who attended to Nelson at his death, as quoted in Trafalgar: An Eyewitness History (2005) edited by Tom Pocock, p. 154; also in Seize, Burn, Or Sink: The Thoughts and Words of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (2007) edited by Steven E. Maffeo, p. 588

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

—  Horatio Nelson
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. 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

„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
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! 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

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

—  Horatio Nelson
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. 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

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

—  Horatio Nelson
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. 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

„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

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„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

„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 <!-- the Danish 74-gun Syaelland commanded by a Danish Commodore who happened to be an old friend of Nelson's from the West Indies was captured, but refused to surrender to anyone other than Lord Nelson. This was Nelson's famous remark after boarding the ship. Oman, Carola (1946). Nelson first published by London: Greenhill Books. 1996, p. 447 -->

„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<!-- Henry Colburn, Publisher, London -->

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„I am myself a Norfolk man.“

—  Horatio Nelson
On being welcomed on arrival in Great Yarmouth, in his home county

„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)

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