Nelson, Horatio, Lord (17581805)

Nelson, Horatio, Lord, great English admiral, born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk; entered the navy as a midshipman in 1770, and after voyages to the West Indies, the Arctic regions, and the East Indies, was promoted to a lieutenancy in 1777; three years later he headed the expedition against San Juan, was invalided home, and in 1781 acted under Lord Hood in American waters; in command of the Boreas on the Leeward Islands station, here he involved himself in trouble through his severe and arbitrary enforcement of the Navigation Act against American traders, and there also he met and married in 1787 the widow of Dr. Nesbit; returning home he lived for five years in retirement, but on the eve of the French Revolutionary war he was again summoned to active service, and in command of the Agamemnon, advanced his reputation by gallant conduct in the Mediterranean operations of Lord Hood, losing his right eye during the storming of Calvi, in Corsica; conspicuous bravery at the engagement with the Spaniards off Cape St. Vincent (1797) brought him promotion to the rank of rear-admiral; in the same year he lost his right arm at Santa Cruz, and in the following year, with an inferior force, annihilated the French fleet in the Bay of Aboukir, for which he was raised to the peerage as Baron Nelson, and created Duke of Bronte by the King of Naples; at this time began his lifelong liaison with Lady Hamilton (q.v.); involving himself in Neapolitan affairs, he went beyond his commission in suppressing the rebel Jacobins, and especially in executing their leader Caracciolo; in 1800 he returned home, his never robust strength considerably impaired; as vice-admiral nominally under Sir Hugh Parker, he in 1801 sailed for the Baltic and inflicted a signal defeat on the Danish fleet off Copenhagen; for this he was made Viscount and commander-in-chief; during the scare of a Napoleonic invasion he kept a vigilant watch in the Channel, and on the resumption of war he on October 21, 1805, crowned his great career by a memorable victory off Trafalgar over the French fleet commanded by Villeneuve, but was himself mortally wounded at the very height of the battle (17581805).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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