name Horatio Nelson usually evokes such phrases as "England
Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty", or the "Nelson Touch".
On the island of Nevis Horatio Nelson brings to mind "Fanny
Nisbet", "Fig Tree Church", "Montpelier", "Nelson Spring", or
" Nelson's Lookout at Saddle Hill".
Horatio Nelson was born in England on September
29, 1758, along the Norfolk shore at Burnham Thorpe. With the
loss of his mother, Catherine Suckling Nelson in 1767, rearing
of the eight Nelson children was left to Horatio's father, Reverend
Edmund Nelson. This, added to the heavy workload of overseeing
the Parish at Burnham Thorpe and farming the 30 acres of farmland
surrounding the parsonage, probably led to the early enlistment
of young Horatio in the Royal Navy.
On January 1, 1771, at the age of 12 years,
Nelson joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman aboard the Raisonnable
commanded by his uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling. At the young
age of 20 years, Lt. Nelson became Captain Nelson and took command
of the frigate Hitchinbroke in 1779.
It was not until 1784, however, that Nelson made his mark
on the Caribbean as a staunch enforcer of England's Navigation
Acts. Assigned to English Harbour in Antigua, Nelson soon established
himself as a force to be reckoned with when it came to illegal
trading between the English colonies in the Caribbean and traders
from the United States. His early assignment to Antigua, in command
of H.M.S. Boreas, first brought him to Nevis in 1785.
culmination of Nelson's time in the area occurred in 1785 when
passing near Nevis he spotted four American ships trading just
off Charlestown in violation of the Navigation Acts. Nelson proceeded
to board the ships and seize them and all their cargo. Shortly
after this altercation Nelson was sued by the ships' captains,
supported by the Charlestown merchants and traders, for assault
and imprisonment in the amount of £40,000. In the ensuing trial,
which Nelson did not attend, the judge upheld Nelson's right to
seize the American ships.
It was at Montpelier estate in the late spring
of 1785 that he finally met a young widow named Frances Nisbet
and her son Josiah. Nelson was quite taken by her refinement and
resourcefulness in operating a large house. She was reported to
have been an accomplished musician and to have spoken fluent French.
"Nelson and Fanny quickly fell in love and by the time Nelson left for Antigua in August of 1785 the couple were betrothed. They were married on March 11, 1887 at Montpelier with the future King of England Prince William Henry (William IV) acting as father giver"
Nelson was assigned to the Agamemnon in 1793 and soon moved into
the time period of his life that brought his greatest triumphs
and established him as England's great naval hero. Horatio Nelson
had a skill at naval tactics that has been called a genius by
some. The "Nelson Touch" has been used in the years since his
death to refer to many instances in which Nelson was successful
in battle. The "Nelson Touch" went beyond military plans and became
the phrase used to refer to the ability of one man to touch the
lives of many and command an almost unwavering loyalty. To include
those same captains in the refinement of the tactics that they
would be using in the upcoming battle was something that was rarely
done by an admiral at the time. Any captain who left a record
of his feelings after meeting with Nelson at that time in 1805
thought of Nelson as his personal friend.
On October 21, 1805, off of the coast of Spain
near Cape Trafalgar the battle took place that would keep the
memory of Admiral Horatio Nelson alive and revered even today.
The combined effort of the France and Spain was not enough to
overcome Nelson's battle plan, since dubbed the "Nelson Touch".
Issued by Admiral Nelson just as the English fleet was moving
into position for battle, "England Expects That Every Man Will
Do His Duty." was broadcast by signal flags to the fleet. The
message was met by cheers from all ships and became a rallying
cry for many generations of England. This short message, along
with the "Nelson Touch", have become the two things most often
associated with Nelson.
At approximately 1:15 that afternoon, in the middle
of the battle, Nelson fell to the deck of the Victory, hit in
the shoulder by a sniper aboard a French ship The ball had been
fired from above and struck him in the left shoulder, entered
his chest, and lodged in his spine. Once carried belowdecks, he
reported breathing to be difficult and that there was no feeling
in the lower part of his body. Shortly after 4 p.m. Nelson was
dead; England had lost her most famous naval hero. But the "Nelson
Touch" lived on and the English fleet emerged victorious over
the forces of Napoleon at Trafalgar. The Battle of Trafalgar,
Nelson's most decisive victory, was also the battle that led to
his death at 47 years of age. The memorial artifacts produced
after Nelson's death is perhaps the largest for any human being
and continues to grow even today.
The Museum of Nevis History, is a rare treat for
persons of all ages and is the largest collection of Nelson memorabilia
in the western hemisphere. It is the Caribbean's newest museum
presenting a story of Nevis and Nelson in a sensitive and professional
manner. It sets the stage for Nelson's many glorious accomplishments
by briefly telling the story of Nevis' history- Amerindian, European
dominance, slavery and sugar. Many pieces of china, figurines,
vases, models, prints and paintings along with hundreds of prints
and paintings depict Nelson's life and afterlife that dominated
English Naval history for two centuries.
shop has Nelson and Nevis memorabilia for sale.