The Life of Nelson: The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain - Vol. 2

By A. T. Mahan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI.
NELSON'S LAST STAY IN ENGLAND.

AUGUST 19 - SEPTEMBER 15, 1805. AGE, 46.

THE "Victory" was delayed in quarantine twenty-four hours, when orders from London directed her release. At 9 P. M. of the 19th of August, Nelson's flag was hauled down, and he left the ship for Merton, thus ending an absence of two years and three months. His home being but an hour's drive from the heart of London, the anxieties of the time, and his own eagerness to communicate his views and experience, carried him necessarily and at once to the public offices -- to the Admiralty first, but also to the Secretaries for Foreign Affairs and for War, both of whom had occasion for the knowledge and suggestions of so competent and practised an observer. The present head of the Admiralty, Lord Barham, had succeeded to the office, unexpectedly, upon the sudden retirement of Melville the previous May. He was a naval officer, eighty years of age, who since middle life had exchanged the active sea-going of the profession, for civil duties connected with it. He had thus been out of touch with it on the military side; and although Nelson was of course well known to him by reputation and achievement, he had not that intimate personal experience of his character and habit of thought, upon which was based the absolute confidence felt by St. Vincent, and by all others who had seen the great warrior in active service. " Lord Barham is an almost entire stranger to me," wrote Nelson; but after their interview he left with him the journals

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