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A Heroic Point of View - 2


Today, on the 201st anniverary of the Battle of Trafalgar, we recall again the very interesting features of Horatio Nelson's heroic point of view.

Horatio Nelson was born on September 29, 1758, spent a few, brief years in school, and went to sea at the age of twelve. By the age of twenty he had risen to ship's captain. One modern view of the world would call Nelson's early life a prime example of child abuse. The other view would marvel that mere boys were once given so much scope and responsibility.

In Nelson's view, he would never trade the sheer excitement of walking a deck at sea for any other occupation, no matter how lucrative or easy. Going to sea as a boy was bliss, even if he did get seasick quite a bit.

Nelson's career was advanced by his uncle, his mother's brother, because his mother had died when Horatio was nine. In the modern view of the world, Nelson was the recipient of gross nepotism. In another view, his uncle was looking out for the motherless boy, and helping the boy's harassed father, who had ten other children in his care.

In Nelson's view, it didn't matter what helpful boosts you received. It only mattered whether you could command men, defy hardships, and imagine and implement new and successful strategic thinking.

As a commander Nelson was known for bold, unorthodox action, deep respect for his men, and an occasional disregard for orders. In various engagments he lost the sight in his right eye and his right arm. In the modern view of the world, his injuries made him a victim, a "handicapped" or "challenged" person. In another view, his war wounds made him a hero.

In Nelson's view they meant nothing whatsoever. What counted was not his injuries, but his actions.

Nelson's victories prevented the invasion of Britain by Napoleon, and contributed to an unexpected outcome: The Royal Navy took charge of the world's sea lanes, and stopped the slave trade, as described HERE.

That would have pleased him. In his last dispatch before he died in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805, Nelson prayed: "May humanity after Victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet."