For the French, it was their first experience of Nelson large. He had never before existed for them as absolute commander of any action, least of all a figure one might recognize as a potential determinant of the whole course of war, which he now decidedly had become. That recognition went far beyond Napoleon and his staff. It reached all over Europe. For everyone [the Battle of the Nile] stipulated to whom Napoleon now should look as his first true protagonist in this war. No one else that he so far had to contend with, whether at land or sea, had possessed the same stature and gift of being someone with the ability to decide the fate of Buonaparte's ambitions. But such Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson had become. As Nelson himself wrote, "Bonaparte had never yet to contend with an English officer, and I shall endeavour to make him respect us."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
From Noel Mostert's A Line Upon A Wind: The Great War at Sea, 1793-1815 (2008) at 276: