Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Today is the 204th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, possibly the most decisive naval engagement in history. The French and Spanish lost 22 ships; the British none, and Britain gained a century of maritime supremacy, though at the cost of the life of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, the widely-esteemed British commander. English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was walking the streets of Naples when the news arrived there:
and I can never forget the sorrow and consternation that lay on every countenance . . . Numbers stopped me and shook hands with me, because they had seen the tears on my cheek, and conjectured that I was an Englishman; and several, as they held my hand, burst, themselves, into tears.
Roger Knight, The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson at 528 (2005).

No comments: