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Nelson, Samuel - History

Nelson, Samuel - History

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Associate Justice


Nelson was born in Hebron, New York on November 10, 1792. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1813. He readl law in Salem New York and was admitted to the bar in 1817. Nelson served as postmaster of Cortaln from 1820 to 1823. In 1823. Nelson was appointed to the Sixth Circuit of New York. From 1831 to 1845 Nelson served on the New York Supreme Court. During eight of those years Nelson served as Chief Justice of that court. In 1845 President Tyler nominated Nelson to the Supreme Court. He served there for 27 years. Nelson died in 1873.

A post office called Nelson was first established in 1858. [3] The village was named for Samuel Nelson, a pioneer settler. [4]

According to the 2010 census, Nelson has a total area of 0.244 square miles (0.63 km 2 ), of which 0.24 square miles (0.62 km 2 ) (or 98.36%) is land and 0.004 square miles (0.01 km 2 ) (or 1.64%) is water. [6]

Historical population
Census Pop.
189048 −41.5%
1940265 −8.6%
1950289 9.1%
1960283 −2.1%
1970263 −7.1%
1980215 −18.3%
1990200 −7.0%
2000163 −18.5%
2010170 4.3%
2019 (est.)159 [2] −6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [7]

As of the census [8] of 2000, there were 163 people, 64 households, and 49 families residing in the village. The population density was 719.0 people per square mile (273.6/km 2 ). There were 70 housing units at an average density of 308.8 per square mile (117.5/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the village was 96.32% White, 0.61% African American, 0.61% Native American, and 2.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.13% of the population.

There were 64 households, out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 17.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the village, the age distribution of the population shows 24.5% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 111.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $35,833, and the median income for a family was $37,500. Males had a median income of $33,125 versus $21,250 for females. The per capita income for the village was $15,043. About 15.9% of families and 30.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 60.0% of those under the age of eighteen and 9.1% of those 65 or over.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

And moving on we come to Samuel who was the first of Israel's great prophets, and the last of the judges. Samuel's mother Hannah (who was barren) had prayed for a son.

1 Sam 1:10-11 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life. . ."

She praised God when He answered her prayer and gave her a child. Hannah gave Samuel to the priest, Eli, so he could be taught to serve the Lord. As a child, Samuel, heard from God that he was going to be a prophet and judge in Israel. Before Samuel's time, a prophet was called a "seer." But Samuel was not just a forecaster of the future but became a "mouthpiece" for God. He was used by God to inform Eli that his house would be punished for the abuses and the perversions of his sons who were the priests of the people. The priest was a mediator for God to the people and for the people to God. But they were completely corrupt. Samuel also rebuked the nation about their evil ways.

The Philistines and other enemies oppressed Israel so severely that they became disheartened. They complained that the nation had no hope of survival as long as it remained a collection of tribes. They were tired of being a theocracy under God. They wanted something more tangible. They wanted a monarchy. They cried for a king. They longed for a strong nation headed by a warrior king. The more Samuel tried to wed them closer to Jehovah and His direct rule over them, the more discontent they became. They wanted what the other nations had, an earthly king. At last, a broken-hearted Samuel let them have their way. (1 Sam 1-8).

1 Sam 8:4-22 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. "According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day-- with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods-- so they are doing to you also. "Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. "He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. "He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. "And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. "He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. "And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. "He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. "And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel and they said, "No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. So the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed their voice, and make them a king."


Lynching in the United States Edit

Historian Amy Louise Wood writes about lynchings:

Compared to other forms of terror and intimidation that African-Americans were subject to under Jim Crow, lynching was an infrequent and extraordinary occurrence. Black men and women were much more likely to become victims of personal assault, murder, or rape than lynching . Despite, or even because of, its relative rarity, lynching held a singular psychological force, generating a level of fear and horror that overwhelmed all other forms of violence. [13]

Lynching could involve victims being hanged furtively at night by a small group or during the day in front of hundreds or even thousands of witnesses the latter are known as "spectacle lynchings". The whole community might attend newspapers sometimes publicized them in advance, and special trains brought in more distant community members. [14] An audience of 10,000, including the mayor and chief of police, was said to have attended the lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas, in 1916. [15] As well as being hanged, victims were sometimes tortured first and burned alive body parts were removed and kept or sold as souvenirs. [16] [17] Most perpetrators were white and the victims black. The political message—the promotion of white supremacy and black powerlessness—was an important element of the ritual, so that even the quieter lynchings might be photographed and the images published as postcards. [18] [19]

According to the Tuskegee Institute, 4,745 people are recorded as having been lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1964 3,446 (72.7 percent) of them were black. [20] [21] Lynching came to be associated with the Deep South 73 percent of lynchings took place in the Southern United States. [22] [23] Between 1882 and 1903, 125 black-on-black lynchings were recorded in 10 southern states, as were four cases of whites being lynched by blacks. [24] There were 115 recorded cases of women lynched between 1851 and 1946 90 were black, 19 white, and six Hispanic or uncertain. Women were usually lynched as associates of men who were being lynched of 97 incidents examined by historian Kerry Segrave, 36 were of women lynched alone. [25]

In Oklahoma Edit

Oklahoma Territory was said in 1892 by the governor of Oklahoma to be "about 85 per cent white, 10 per cent colored and 5 per cent Indians". It was awarded statehood in 1907, with laws that enshrined racial segregation (Jim Crow laws). [26] In 1911 the local school had 555 white students and one black. [27] There were 147 recorded lynchings in Oklahoma between 1885 and 1930. Until statehood in 1907, most victims were white cattle rustlers or highwaymen. In all, 77 victims were white, 50 black, 14 American Indians, five unknown, and one Chinese. [28] Five women—two black, two white, and one other—were lynched in Oklahoma in four incidents between 1851 and 1946. [29]

Nelson family Edit

The Nelsons lived on a farm six miles north of Paden, Oklahoma, a largely African-American town. [30] [b] Austin Nelson was born in Waco, Texas, in 1873. According to historian Frances Jones-Sneed, his parents, Dave and Rhoda Nelson, had been born into slavery in Georgia Dave Nelson worked as a molder in Waco. [26]

Austin and Laura married in 1896 L. D. was born around the next year. [26] (L. D. was regularly referred to after the lynching as L. W. or Lawrence.) [c] In 1900 the extended family moved to Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. According to Jones-Sneed, Laura and Austin were listed in the 1910 census as having two children, L. D., aged 13, and Carrie, aged two. It is not known what became of Carrie. She was probably the baby one witness said survived the lynching several sources said she was found floating in the river. [34]

George Loney Edit

Around 35 years old when he died, Deputy Sheriff George H. Loney had lived in Paden for several years and was held in the highest regard, according to The Okemah Ledger. Described by the newspaper as a fearless man, he was known for having helped to stop the practice of bootlegging in Paden, on behalf of supporters of the local temperance movement. Later he became a state enforcement officer, then deputy sheriff. He was buried in Lincoln County near Paden on May 4, 1911. The Ledger wrote that every office in the courthouse closed for an hour during his funeral. [31]

Shooting Edit

George Loney formed a posse consisting of himself, Constable Cliff Martin, Claude Littrell and Oscar Lane, after a steer was stolen from Littrell's property in Paden on May 1. [31] [35] Littrell obtained a search warrant from A. W. Jenkins, a Justice of the Peace, which allowed the men to search the Nelson's farm. They arrived there on May 2 at around 9 pm, and read the warrant to Austin Nelson before entering the house. [30] The steer's remains were found in either the barn or house. [31] [30]

When the men entered the Nelson's home, Loney asked Constable Martin to take the cap off a muzzle-loading shotgun that was hanging on the wall. The Independent reported that, as Martin reached for the gun, Laura Nelson said: "Look here, boss, that gun belongs to me!" Martin said he told her that he wanted only to unload the gun. [30]

The Independent and Ledger offered different versions of events. According to the Independent, which was more sympathetic to the Nelsons, Laura grabbed another gun, a Winchester rifle hidden behind a trunk. L. D. took hold of the Winchester at the same time, and during the struggle for the gun, it went off. A bullet passed through Constable Martin's pant legs, grazing him in the thigh, then hit Loney in the hip and entered his abdomen. He walked outside and died a few minutes later. [30]

According to the Ledger, L. D. had grabbed the Winchester, pumped a shell into it and fired. Austin had then taken hold of the rifle and tried to shoot Littrell, the newspaper said. During the ensuing gunfight, Loney had taken shelter behind a wagon. No one realized he had been hit until he asked for water according to the newspaper, Laura responded: "Let the white ____ [sic] die." Loney reportedly bled to death within minutes. The Ledger described his death as "one of the most cold blooded murders that has occurred in Okfuskee county". [31]

Arrests and charges Edit

Austin was arrested by Constable Martin on the evening of the shooting he arrived with Martin in Okemah at 4 am on Wednesday, May 3. [30] The Okfuskee county jail was in Okemah, a predominantly white town. Laura and L. D., described by the Ledger as "about sixteen years old, rather yellow, ignorant and ragged", were arrested later that day. [31] Sheriff Dunnegan found them at the home of the boy's uncle. According to The Independent, they made no effort to escape and were brought to the county jail on the night train. [30]

Austin admitted the theft of the cow, saying he had had no food for his children. [30] According to his undated charge sheet, witnesses for the state were Littrell, Martin, Lane, and Lawrence Payne. [35] (Lawrence Payne was also the name of the jailer on duty the night the Nelsons were kidnapped from the jail.) Austin's account of what happened tallied with that of the posse, except that he said he was the one, not Laura, who had objected to the shotgun being removed from the wall. He said Laura had been trying to take the rifle away from her son when it was fired. [30]

During a hearing on May 6 before Justice Lawrence, Austin was held on a bond of $1,500, which he was unable to pay. [36] After pleading guilty to larceny, he was sentenced on May 12 to three years in Oklahoma State Penitentiary. [37] On May 16 he was sent to the state prison in McAlester 59 miles (95 km) away, which according to the Ledger probably saved his life. [38] [39] On May 10, before the same judge, Laura and L. D. (named by the Ledger as Mary and L. W. Nelson) were charged with murder and held without bail in the Okemah county jail. The Nelsons hired Blakeley, Maxey & Miley, a law firm in Shawnee, to represent them. [36] The Ledger reported on May 18, under the headline "Negro Female Prisoner Gets Unruly", that on May 13 Laura had been "bad" when the jailer, Lawrence Payne, brought her dinner. She had reportedly tried to grab his gun when he opened the cell door, and when that failed she tried to throw herself out of a window. Payne "choked the woman loose", according to the newspaper, and after a struggle returned her to her cell. [39] The Ledger wrote on May 25 that during the incident she had "begged to be killed". [38]

Kidnap Edit

Laura and L. D. were due to be arraigned on May 25. [1] Between 11:30 and midnight on May 24, a group of between a dozen and 40 men arrived at the jail. They entered it through the front door of the sheriff's office. Payne, the jailer, said he had left it unlocked to let in a detective from McAlester, who was looking for an escaped prisoner. [38] He said the men had bound, gagged and blindfolded him at gunpoint, taken his keys, and cut the telephone line. He was unable to identify them. [1]

The boy was "stifled and gagged", according to the Ledger, and went quietly prisoners in adjoining cells reportedly heard nothing. The men went to the women's cells and removed Laura, described by the newspaper as "very small of stature, very black, about thirty-five years old, and vicious". [38] According to a July 1911 report in The Crisis (the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and a female witness who said she had seen the lynching or its aftermath, the men also took the baby. [6] [5]

The jailer said that, after struggling for two hours, he escaped and raised the alarm at Moon's restaurant across the road from the jail. Sheriff Dunnegan sent out a search party to no avail. [38] According to the Ledger, a fence post suspended on two chairs across a window was found in the jury room just after the lynching, near the cell where Laura had been held. It was thought that the men had intended to hang her out the window but had been deterred by an electric light burning nearby. [38]

Lynching Edit

Laura and L. D. were taken to a bridge over the North Canadian River, six miles west and one mile south of Okemah it was described as on the old Schoolton road and at Yarbrough's crossing. [40] According to the Associated Press and The Crisis, Laura was raped. [6] [41] The Ledger reported that the men gagged her and L. D. with tow sacks and, using rope made of half-inch hemp tied in a hangman's knot and hanged them from the bridge. [38] They were found in the morning hanging 20 ft below the middle span. A local resident, John Earnest, reported the discovery to the sheriff's office. [1] The front page of The Okemah Ledger on May 25, 1911, said the lynching had been "executed with silent precision that makes it appear as a masterpiece of planning":

The woman's arms were swinging by her side, untied, while about twenty feet away swung the boy with his clothes partly torn off and his hands tided with a saddle string. The only marks on either body were that made by the ropes upon the necks. Gently swaying in the wind, the ghastly spectacle was discovered this morning by a negro boy taking his cow to water. Hundreds of people from Okemah and the western part of the county went to view the scene. [38]

The bodies were cut down from the bridge at 11:00 on May 25 by order of the county commissioner, then taken to Okemah. [38] The Nelsons' relatives did not claim the bodies, and they were buried by the county in the Greenleaf cemetery near Okemah. [11] Quoting the Muskogee Scimitar, The Crisis wrote that Laura had had a baby with her: "Just think of it. A woman taken from her suckling babe, and a boy—a child only fourteen years old—dragged through the streets by a howling mob of fiendish devils, the most unnameable crime committed on the helpless woman and then she and her son executed by hanging." [42] According to William Bittle and Gilbert Geis, writing in 1964, Laura had been caring for a baby in jail and had the child with her when she was taken from her cell. They quoted a local woman: "After they had hung them up, those men just walked off and left that baby lying there. One of my neighbors was there, and she picked the baby up and brought it to town, and we took care of it. It's all grown up now and lives here." [d]

Photographs Edit

The scene after the lynching was recorded in a series of photographs by George Henry Farnum, the owner of Okemah's only photography studio. [43] There are four known extant images taken from a boat. Photographs nos. 2894 and 2898 are close-up shots of L. D. and Laura nos. 2897 and 2899 show the bridge and spectators. In no. 2899, 35 men and six women are on the bridge, along with 17 children, from toddlers to mid-teens. [44] The photographs are marked with the photographer's name: "COPYRIGHT—1911—G. H. FARNUM, OKEMAH, OKLA." [43]

It was common practice to turn lynching photographs into postcards. In May 1908, in an effort to stop the practice, the federal government amended the United States Postal Laws and Regulations to prevent "matter of a character tending to incite arson, murder or assassination" from being sent through the mail. The cards continued to sell, although not openly, and were sent instead in envelopes. [45] [17] Woody Guthrie said he recalled seeing the cards of the Nelsons for sale in Okemah. [e] James Allen bought the photo postcard of Laura Nelson, a 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch gelatin silver print, for $75 in a flea market. The back of the card says "unmailable". [48] [49] [17]

Seth Archer wrote in the Southwest Review that lynching photographs were partly intended as a warning, in the Nelson's case to the neighboring all-black Boley—"look what we did here, Negroes beware" [43] — but the practice of sending cards to family and friends outside the area underlined the ritualistic nature of the lynchings. [50] Spectators appearing in lynching photographs showed no obvious shame at being connected to the events, even when they were clearly identifiable. Someone wrote on the back of one card, of the 1915 Will Stanley lynching in Temple, Texas: "This is the Barbecue we had last night My picture is to the left with a cross over it your son Joe." [51]

The Independent wrote on May 25, 1911, that "[t]here is not a shadow of an excuse for the crime", and later called it a "terrible blot on Okfuskee County, a reproach that it will take years to remove". [1] The Okemah Ledger took the view that "while the general sentiment is adverse to the method, it is generally thought that the negroes got what would have been due them under due process of law." [38] One newspaper, the Morning Phoenix, apparently tried to blame the black community, writing that the Nelsons had been "mobbed by Negroes". [6] African-Americans expressed outrage. One black journal lamented:

Oh! where is that christian spirit we hear so much about

– What will the good citizens do to apprehend these mobs

– Wait, we shall see – Comment is unnecessary. Such a crime is simply Hell on Earth. No excuse can be set forth to justify the act. [52]

There were rumors that the nearby black town of Boley was organizing an attack on Okemah. Okemah's women and children were sent to spend the night in a nearby field, with the men standing guard on Main Street. [53] Oswald Garrison Villard of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), wrote in protest to Lee Cruce, governor of Oklahoma. Cruce assured Villard he would do everything he could to bring the Nelson's killers to justice. In a reply to Villard dated June 9, 1911, Cruce called the lynching an "outrage", but he defended the laws of Oklahoma as "adequate" and its juries "competent", and said the administration of justice in the state proceeded with little cause for criticism, "except in cases of extreme passion, which no law and no civilization can control". [54] He added:

There is a race prejudice that exists between the white and Negro races wherever the Negroes are found in large numbers. . Just this week the announcement comes as a shock to the people of Oklahoma that the Secretary of the Interior . has appointed a Negro from Kansas to come to Oklahoma and take charge of the supervision of the Indian schools of this State. There is no race of people on earth that has more antipathy for the Negro race than the Indian race, and yet these people, numbering many of the best citizens of this State and nation, are to be humbled and their prejudices and passions are to be increased by having this outrage imposed upon them . If your organization would interest itself to the extent of seeing that such outrages as this are not perpetrated against our people, there would be fewer lynchings in the South than at this time . [54]

The NAACP argued that nothing would change while governors like Cruce sought to excuse lynching as the product of the "uncontrollable passion" of white people. [55] District Judge John Caruthers convened a grand jury in June 1911 to investigate, telling them it was the duty of people "of a superior race and of greater intelligence to protect this weaker race from unjustifiable and lawless attacks", but no one would identify the lynchers. [f]

Photographs Edit

James Allen, an Atlanta antiques collector, spent years looking for postcards of lynchings for his Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (2000). "Hundreds of flea markets later," he wrote, "a trader pulled me aside and in conspiratorial tones offered to sell me a real photo postcard. It was Laura Nelson hanging from a bridge, caught so pitiful and tattered and beyond retrieving—like a paper kite sagged on a utility wire." [49]

The book accompanied an exhibition of 60 lynching postcards from 1880 to 1960, Witness: Photographs of Lynchings from the Collection of James Allen, which opened at the Roth Horowitz Gallery in New York in January 2000. [56] Allen argued that lynching photographers were more than passive spectators. They positioned and lit the corpses as if they were game birds, he wrote, and the postcards became an important part of the act, emphasizing its political nature. [49]

Allen's publication of the images encountered a mixed reception. Julia Hotton, a black museum curator in New York, said that, with older blacks especially: "If they hear a white man with a Southern accent is collecting these photos, they get a little skittish." [57] Jennie Lightweis-Gof was critical of the "profoundly aestheticized readings" of Laura's body, arguing that writers tried to garner empathy for the Nelsons by focusing on Laura's appearance, producing empathy qua eroticism. Allen, for example, referred to Laura's "indissoluble femininity". Leightweis-Gof offered this as an example of "the Gaze": "the sense that every function of the female body is sexualized and aestheticized". [58] Wendy Wolters argued that whenever Laura Nelson is viewed as a "fetishized and feminized object", she is violated again. [59]

Guthries Edit

One of the lynchers may have been Charley Guthrie (died 1956), father of the folk singer Woody Guthrie, who was born in Okemah in 1912, [60] 14 months after the lynching. Charley was an Okemah real-estate agent, district court clerk, Democratic politician, Freemason, and owner of the town's first automobile. [61] According to Joe Klein, he was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. [62] There is no documentary evidence to support this [63] the allegation stems from his younger brother, Claude, whom Klein interviewed on tape in 1977 for his book Woody Guthrie: A Life (1980). [64] Klein published that Charley had been part of the lynching mob, but without referring to the interview. [47] [65] Seth Archer found the tape in 2005 in the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York, and reported Claude's statement in the Southwest Review in 2006. [65] During the interview, Claude Guthrie told Klein:

It was pretty bad back there in them days . The niggers was pretty bad over there in Boley, you know . Charley and them, they throwed this nigger and his mother in jail, both of them, the boy and the woman. And that night, why they stuck out and hung [laughter], they hung them niggers that killed that sheriff . I just kind of laughed [laughter]. I knew darn well that rascal [Charley] was—I knew he was in on it. [65]

Woody Guthrie wrote two songs, unrecorded, about the Nelson's lynching, "Don't Kill My Baby and My Son" [66] and "High Balladree". The songs refer to a woman and two sons hanging. [g] His work was not always historically accurate for example, he wrote elsewhere that he had witnessed some of the Nelsons' troubles, although he was born 14 months after their death. [69] Guthrie recorded another song, "Slipknot", about lynching in Okemah in general. In one manuscript, he added at the end of the song: "Dedicated to the many negro mothers, fathers, and sons alike, that was lynched and hanged under the bridge of the Canadian River, seven miles south of Okemah, Okla., and to the day when such will be no more" (signed Woody G., February 29, 1940, New York). [70] He also sketched a bridge in 1946 from which a row of lynched bodies hang the sketch is held by the Ralph Rinzler archives in the Smithsonian. [71]

  1. ^ Associated Press, 1911: "At Okemah, Oklahoma, Laura Nelson, a colored woman accused of murdering a deputy sheriff who had discovered stolen goods at her house, was lynched together with her son, a boy about fifteen. The woman and her son were taken from the jail, dragged about six miles to the Canadian River and hanged from a bridge. The woman was raped by members of the mob before she was hanged." [4]
  2. ^ According to The Okemah Ledger, the Nelsons were "a portion of the Lincoln County Nelsons that were terrors in their colony, and have lived north of Paden but a short time". [31]
  3. ^The Okemah Ledger called him "L. W. Nelson", [31] as did James Allen in his Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (2000). [8] Several secondary sources called him "Lawrence", without citing their sources. [32]

Several primary sources referred to Laura as "Mary". [33] The Okemah Ledger called Austin Nelson "Oscar". [31]

Jones-Sneed (2011): "Unlike other lynching photographs, the one of Laura Nelson and her son was not published in any newspapers or made into postcards. The photographer, G. H. Farnam, kept the negative and may have provided copies for those who wished to have a memento of the mother and son." [7]

Guthrie, "High Balladree": "A nickel postcard I buy off your rack / To show you what happens if / You're black and fight back / A lady and two boys hanging / down by their necks / From the rusty iron rigs / of my Canadian Bridge." [69]

NELSON Genealogy

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NELSON Genealogy

WikiTree is a community of genealogists growing an increasingly-accurate collaborative family tree that's 100% free for everyone forever. Please join us.

Please join us in collaborating on NELSON family trees. We need the help of good genealogists to grow a completely free shared family tree to connect us all.


Samuel Foster

Born in Boxborough, Massachusetts in 1765 he married Phoebe Teachout in early 1790. The couple moved to Packersfield from Williamstown, Massachusetts in the summer of 1790. Samuel grew his family (five children born in Packersfield) and his farm (almost 300 acres in the southeastern corner of the town by 1799. He sold in 1806 and moved briefly to Canada before settling in Chazy, New York where he died in 1831.

John Cummings of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts bought the place, but never lived there. It seems likely that he hired Nathaniel Abbott to manage the farm for him. Nathaniel’s wife Phoebe Cummings Abbott was surely related to John Cummings. Two deaths determined what happened next. John Cummings died and his son, Willard, inherited the Foster Place. Nathaniel Abbott died, in 1815 leaving Phoebe with as many as six of her twelve children still at home. Willard Cummings gave the use of the house, barns and three acres of land to Phoebe. The terms in the deed are as follows:

“Together with all the apprutenances thereto belonging… for and during her pleasure or during her natural life together with the privilege to take from my land so much wood as may be sufficient for her to burn in her house. Reserving to myself the privilege of turning in and taking out cattle at the said northeast corner of said pasture. And I hereby promise and engage whenever the said Phoebe Abbott shall quit said premises either by death or otherwise to pay to her or her heirs a fair price for all buildings or other betterments that the said Phoebe has or may make on the aforesaid premises.”

Phoebe’s daughter, Lucy Ann, married Cyrus Tolman in 1830. Phoebe’s oldest daughter, Sarah, probably lived there with her mother. Mother (age 77) and daughter (age 57) died within two months of eacother in 1843 and joined Nathaniel in the Village Cemetery. The house was abandoned then.

John Nelson

Texas DAR membership book (1976) shows John Nelson died in 1802. It also lists an additional son, Alexander, who married Elizabeth McFarland, but questions that this might be the son, Moses, who other researchers believe it to be.

John Nelson was shown as a Captain in the Revolution, 4th North Carolina Reg't. on April 16, 1776 Major, 1st NC Reg't, February 3, 1778. He was taken prisoner at Charleston on May 12, 1780 and exchanged March 1781, transferred to the 1st NC Line in February 1782. Retired January 1, 1783. Wife Lavinia is credited with moulding bullets Americans , abused by British when her project discovered .

Additional information about the family of John Nelson and his descendents from the DAR applications of: Annie Key (DAR #56196, page 67, vol. 57), Marie Garland (DAR #479258), Carrie Marshall Williams (DAR #56196), Beatrice Wheeler Peeler Kizziah Genealogical Report on the Nelson Family BUFFALO CHURCH.

"Concerning John being born ca 1749 in North Carolina. The earliest ownership of land in the area was that obtained by David as a grant from the Earl of Granville, May 23, 1758, proved in open court, Rowan County, May term, 1759, for 600 acres on the waters of South Buffalo Creek (now Guilford County). It is highly unlikely that John was born in North Carolina, probably in Pennsylvania. The McQuiston brothers came to the area from Pennsylvania, and the pioneers may have come together. There were three of the Nelson clan who came to the Guilford area of Rowan County, David, William and Alexander. Alexander had a large family of more than seven children, of which the second child was named John


Family Edit

Samuel's mother was Hannah and his father was Elkanah. Elkanah lived at Ramathaim in the district of Zuph. [3] [4] His genealogy is also found in a pedigree of the Kohathites (1 Chronicles 6:3–15) and in that of Heman the Ezrahite, apparently his grandson (1 Chronicles 6:18–33).

According to the genealogical tables in Chronicles, Elkanah was a Levite – a fact not mentioned in the books of Samuel. The fact that Elkanah, a Levite, was denominated an Ephraimite [5] is analogous to the designation of a Levite belonging to Judah (Judges 17:7, for example). [6]

According to 1 Samuel 1:1–28, Elkanah had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children Hannah did not. Nonetheless, Elkanah favored Hannah. Jealous, Penninah reproached Hannah for her lack of children, causing Hannah much heartache. The relationship of Penninah and Hannah recalls that between Hagar and Sarah. [7] Elkanah was a devout man and would periodically take his family on pilgrimage to the holy site of Shiloh. [7]

On one occasion Hannah went to the sanctuary and prayed for a child. In tears, she vowed that if she were granted a child, she would dedicate him to God as a Nazirite. [7] Eli, who was sitting at the foot of the doorpost in the sanctuary at Shiloh, saw her apparently mumbling to herself and thought she was drunk but was soon assured of her motivation and sobriety. Eli was the priest of Shiloh, and one of the last Israelite Judges before the rule of kings in ancient Israel. He had assumed the leadership after Samson's death. [8] Eli blessed her and she returned home. Subsequently, Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to Samuel. Hannah's exultant hymn of thanksgiving resembles in several points Mary's later Magnificat. [9]

After the child was weaned, she left him in Eli's care, [3] and from time to time she would come to visit her son. [8]

Name Edit

According to 1 Samuel 1:20, Hannah named Samuel to commemorate her prayer to God for a child. ". [She] called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord" (KJV). The Hebrew root rendered as "asked" in the KJV is "sha'al", a word mentioned seven times in 1 Samuel 1. Once it is even mentioned in the form "sha'ul", Saul's name in Hebrew (1 Samuel 1:28).

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, Samuel was a "[p]ersonal name in the Ancient Near East meaning, 'Sumu is God' but understood in Israel as 'The name is God,' 'God is exalted,' or 'son of God.'" [10]

Calling Edit

Samuel worked under Eli in the service of the shrine at Shiloh. One night, Samuel heard a voice calling his name. According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, Samuel was about 11 years old. [11] Samuel initially assumed it was coming from Eli and went to Eli to ask what he wanted. Eli, however, sent Samuel back to sleep. After this happened three times, Eli realised that the voice was the Lord's, and instructed Samuel on how to answer:

If He calls you, then you must say, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears". [12]

Once Samuel responded, the Lord told him that the wickedness of the sons of Eli had resulted in their dynasty being condemned to destruction. [3] In the morning, Samuel was hesitant about reporting the message to Eli, but Eli asked him honestly to recount to him what he had been told by the Lord. Upon receiving the communication, Eli merely said that the Lord should do what seems right unto him.

This event established that Samuel was now "established as a prophet of the Lord" and "all Israel from Dan to Beersheba" became aware of his prophetic calling. [13] Anglican theologian Donald Spence Jones comments that "the minds of all the people were thus gradually prepared when the right moment came to acknowledge Samuel as a God-sent chieftain". [14]

Leader Edit

During Samuel's youth at Shiloh, the Philistines inflicted a decisive defeat against the Israelites at Eben-Ezer, placed the land under Philistine control, and took the sanctuary's Ark for themselves. Upon hearing the news of the capture of the Ark of the Covenant, and the death of his sons, Eli collapsed and died. When the Philistines had been in possession of the Ark for seven months and had been visited with calamities and misfortunes, they decided to return the Ark to the Israelites. [8]

According to Bruce C. Birch, Samuel was a key figure in keeping the Israelites' religious heritage and identity alive during Israel's defeat and occupation by the Philistines. "[I]t may have been possible and necessary for Samuel to exercise authority in roles that would normally not converge in a single individual (priest, prophet, judge)." [15]

After 20 years of oppression, Samuel, who had gained national prominence as a prophet (1 Samuel 3:20), summoned the people to the hill of Mizpah, and led them against the Philistines. The Philistines, having marched to Mizpah to attack the newly amassed Israelite army, were soundly defeated and fled in terror. The retreating Philistines were slaughtered by the Israelites. The text then states that Samuel erected a large stone at the battle site as a memorial, and there ensued a long period of peace thereafter.

King-maker Edit

Samuel initially appointed his two sons Joel and Abijah as his successors however, just like Eli's sons, Samuel's proved unworthy. The Israelites rejected them. Because of the external threat from other tribes, such as the Philistines, the tribal leaders decided that there was a need for a more unified, central government, [16] and demanded Samuel appoint a king so that they could be like other nations. Samuel interpreted this as a personal rejection, and at first was reluctant to oblige, until reassured by a divine revelation. [15] He warned the people of the potential negative consequences of such a decision. When Saul and his servant were searching for his father's lost asses, the servant suggested consulting the nearby Samuel. Samuel recognized Saul as the future king.

Just before his retirement, Samuel gathered the people to an assembly at Gilgal, and delivered a farewell speech [17] or coronation speech [18] in which he emphasised how prophets and judges were more important than kings, that kings should be held to account, and that the people should not fall into idol worship, or worship of Asherah or of Baal. Samuel promised that God would subject the people to foreign invaders should they disobey. This is seen by some as a deuteronomic redaction [19] since archaeological finds indicate that Asherah was still worshipped in Israelite households well into the sixth century. However, 1 Kings 11:5, 33 and 2 Kings 23:13 note that the Israelites fell into Asherah worship later on. [20]

Critic of Saul Edit

When Saul was preparing to fight the Philistines, Samuel denounced him for proceeding with the pre-battle sacrifice without waiting for the overdue Samuel to arrive. He prophesied that Saul's rule would see no dynastic succession.

Samuel directed Saul to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites in fulfilment of the commandment in Deuteronomy 25:17–19:

When the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, . you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

During the campaign against the Amalekites, King Saul spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and the best of their livestock. Saul told Samuel that he had spared the choicest of the Amalekites' sheep and oxen, intending to sacrifice the livestock to the Lord. This was in violation of the Lord's command, as pronounced by Samuel, to ". utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass" (1 Samuel 15:3, KJV). Samuel confronted Saul for his disobedience and told him that God made him king, and God can unmake him king. Samuel then proceeded to execute Agag. Saul never saw Samuel alive again after this. [21]

Samuel then proceeded to Bethelehem and secretly anointed David as king. He would later provide sanctuary for David, when the jealous Saul first tried to have him killed.

Death Edit

Samuel is described in the biblical narrative as being buried in Ramah. [22] According to tradition, this burial place has been identified with Samuel's tomb in the West Bank village of Nabi Samwil. [23] [24]

Some time after his death, Saul had the Witch of Endor conjure Samuel's ghost in order to predict the result of an upcoming battle (1 Samuel 28:3-24). Samuel was angered by his recalling, and told Saul that the Lord had left him.

National prophet, local seer Edit

Some authors see the biblical Samuel as combining descriptions of two distinct roles:

  • A seer, based at Ramah, and seemingly known scarcely beyond the immediate neighbourhood of Ramah (Saul, for example, not having heard of him, with his servant informing him of his existence instead). In this role, Samuel is associated with the bands of musical ecstatic roaming prophets (Nevi'im) at Gibeah, Bethel, and Gilgal, and some traditional scholars have argued that Samuel was the founder of these groups. At Ramah, Samuel secretly anointed Saul, after having met him for the first time, while Saul was looking for his father's lost donkeys, and treated him to a meal.
  • A prophet, based at Shiloh, who went throughout the land, from place to place, with unwearied zeal, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the people to repentance. In this role, Samuel acted as a (biblical) judge, publicly advising the nation, and also giving private advice to individuals. Eventually Samuel delegated this role to his sons, based at Beersheba, but they behaved corruptly and so the people, facing invasion from the Ammonites, persuaded Samuel to appoint a king. Samuel reluctantly did so, and anointed Saul in front of the entire nation, who had gathered to see him.

Source-critical scholarship suggests that these two roles come from different sources, which later were spliced together to form the Book(s) of Samuel. The oldest is considered to be that marking Samuel as the local seer of Ramah, who willingly anointed Saul as king in secret, while the latter presents Samuel as a national figure, begrudgingly anointing Saul as king in front of a national assembly. This later source is generally known as the Republican Source, since it denigrates the monarchy (particularly the actions of Saul) and favours religious figures, in contrast to the other main source—the Monarchial Source—which treats it favourably. The Monarchial Source would have Saul appointed king by public acclamation, due to his military victories, and not by Samuel's cleromancy. Another difference between the sources is that the Republican Source treats the ecstatic prophets as somewhat independent from Samuel (1 Samuel 9:1ff) rather than having been led by him (1 Samuel 19:18ff).

The passage in which Samuel is described as having exercised the functions of a (biblical) judge, during an annual circuit from Ramah to Bethel to Gilgal (the Gilgal between Ebal and Gerizim) to Mizpah and back to Ramah, is foreshadowed by Deborah, who used to render judgments from a place beneath a palm between Ramah and Bethel. [25] Source-critical scholarship often considers it to be a redaction aimed at harmonizing the two portrayals of Samuel. [19]

The Book(s) of Samuel variously describe Samuel as having carried out sacrifices at sanctuaries, and having constructed and sanctified altars. According to the Priestly Code/Deuteronomic Code only Aaronic priests/Levites (depending on the underling tradition) were permitted to perform these actions, and simply being a nazarite or prophet was insufficient. The books of Samuel and Kings offer numerous examples where this rule is not followed by kings and prophets, but some critical scholars look elsewhere seeking a harmonization of the issues. In the Book of Chronicles, Samuel is described as a Levite, rectifying this situation however critical scholarship widely sees the Book of Chronicles as an attempt to redact the Book(s) of Samuel and of Kings to conform to later religious sensibilities. Since many of the Biblical law codes themselves are thought to postdate the Book(s) of Samuel (according to the Documentary Hypothesis), this would suggest Chronicles is making its claim based on religious motivations. The Levitical genealogy of 1 Chronicles 4 is not historical, according to most modern scholarship. [19]

Deuteronomistic Samuel Edit

According to the documentary hypothesis of Biblical source criticism, which postulates that "Deuteronomistic historians" redacted the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings), the Deuteronomists idealized Samuel as a figure larger than life, like Joshua. For example, Samuel's father Elkanah is described as having originated from Zuph, specifically Ramathaim-Zophim, which was part of the tribal lands of Ephraim, while 1 Chronicles states that he was a Levite. [26] Samuel is portrayed as a judge who leads the military, as the judges in the Book of Judges, and also who exercises judicial functions. In 1 Sam 12:6–17, a speech of Samuel that portrays him as the judge sent by God to save Israel may have been composed by the Deuteronomists. [27] In 1 Samuel 9:6–20, Samuel is seen as a local "seer". According to documentary scholarship, the Deuteronomistic historians preserved this view of Samuel while contributing him as "the first of prophets to articulate the failure of Israel to live up to its covenant with God." [27] For the Deuteronomistic historians, Samuel would have been an extension of Moses and continuing Moses' function as a prophet, judge, and priest, which makes the nature of the historical Samuel uncertain. [27]

Judaism Edit

According to the Book of Jeremiah [28] and one of the Psalms, [29] Samuel had a high devotion to God. Classical Rabbinical literature adds that he was more than an equal to Moses, God speaking directly to Samuel, rather than Samuel having to attend the tabernacle to hear God. [30] Samuel is also described by the Rabbis as having been extremely intelligent he argued that it was legitimate for laymen to slaughter sacrifices, since the Halakha only insisted that the priests bring the blood (cf Leviticus 1:5, Zebahim 32a). [31] Eli, who was viewed negatively by many Classical Rabbis, is said to have reacted to this logic of Samuel by arguing that it was technically true, but Samuel should be put to death for making legal statements while Eli (his mentor) was present. [31]

Samuel is also treated by the Classical Rabbis as a much more sympathetic character than he appears at face value in the Bible his annual circuit is explained as being due to his wish to spare people the task of having to journey to him Samuel is said to have been very rich, taking his entire household with him on the circuit so that he didn't need to impose himself on anyone's hospitality when Saul fell out of God's favour, Samuel is described as having grieved copiously and having prematurely aged. [32]

His yahrzeit is observed on the 28th day of Iyar. [33]

Christianity Edit

For Christians, Samuel is considered to be a prophet, judge, and wise leader of Israel, and treated as an example of fulfilled commitments to God. On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, as well as the Lutheran calendar, his feast day is August 20. He is commemorated as one of the Holy Forefathers in the Calendar of Saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 30. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the commemoration of the departure of Samuel the Prophet is celebrated on 9 Paoni.

Herbert Lockyer and others have seen in Samuel's combined offices of prophet, priest, and ruler a foreshadowing of Christ. [34]

Islam Edit

Samuel (Arabic: صموئيل ‎, romanized: Ṣamūʾīl) is seen as a prophet and seer in the Islamic faith. The narrative of Samuel in Islam focuses specifically on his birth and the anointing of Talut. Other elements from his narrative are in accordance with the narratives of other Prophets of Israel, as exegesis recounts Samuel's preaching against idolatry. He is not mentioned by name in the Qur'an, but referred to as a "prophet" instead. [35] [36]

In the Islamic narrative, the Israelites after Moses wanted a king to rule over their country. Thus, God sent a prophet, Samuel, to anoint Talut as the first king for the Israelites. However, the Israelites mocked and reviled the newly appointed king, as he was not wealthy from birth. But, assuming Talut to be Saul, in sharp contrast to the Hebrew Bible, the Qur'an praises Saul greatly, and mentions that he was gifted with great spiritual and physical strength. In the Qur'anic account, Samuel prophesies that the sign of Talut's kingship will be that the Ark of the Covenant will come back to the Israelites. [37]

Actors who have portrayed Samuel include Leonard Nimoy in the 1997 TV-film David, [38] Eamonn Walker in the 2009 TV-series Kings [39] and Mohammad Bakri in the 2016 TV-series Of Kings and Prophets. [40] [41]


Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758 in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, England, the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine Suckling. [1] He was named "Horatio" after his godfather Horatio Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (1723–1809), [2] the first cousin of his maternal grandmother Anne Turner (1691–1768). Horatio Walpole was a younger grandson of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. [3]

Catherine Suckling lived in the village of Barsham, Suffolk, and married the Reverend Edmund Nelson at Beccles church, Suffolk, in 1749. Nelson's aunt, Alice Nelson was the wife of Reverend Robert Rolfe, Rector of Hilborough, Norfolk and grandmother of Sir Robert Monsey Rolfe. [4] Rolfe twice served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

Nelson attended Paston Grammar School, North Walsham, until he was 12 years old, and also attended King Edward VI's Grammar School in Norwich. His naval career began on 1 January 1771, when he reported to the third-rate HMS Raisonnable as an ordinary seaman and coxswain under his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, who commanded the vessel. Shortly after reporting aboard, Nelson was appointed a midshipman and began officer training. Early in his service, Nelson discovered that he suffered from seasickness, a chronic complaint that dogged him for the rest of his life. [5]

HMS Raisonnable had been commissioned during a period of tension with Spain, but when this passed, Suckling was transferred to the Nore guardship HMS Triumph and Nelson was dispatched to serve aboard the West Indiamen Mary Ann of the merchant shipping firm of Hibbert, Purrier and Horton, in order to gain experience at sea. [6] He sailed from Medway, Kent, on 25 July 1771 sailing to Jamaica and Tobago, returning to Plymouth on 7 July 1772. [7] He twice crossed the Atlantic, before returning to serve under his uncle as the commander of Suckling's longboat, which carried men and dispatches to and from the shore. Nelson then learned of a planned expedition under the command of Constantine Phipps, intended to survey a passage in the Arctic by which it was hoped that India could be reached: the fabled North-East Passage. [8]

At his nephew's request, Suckling arranged for Nelson to join the expedition as coxswain [8] to Commander Lutwidge aboard the converted bomb vessel HMS Carcass. The expedition reached within ten degrees of the North Pole, but, unable to find a way through the dense ice floes, was forced to turn back. By 1800 Lutwidge began to circulate a story that while the ship had been trapped in the ice, Nelson had seen and pursued a polar bear, before being ordered to return to the ship. Lutwidge's later version, in 1809, reported that Nelson and a companion had given chase to the bear, but on being questioned why, replied that "I wished, Sir, to get the skin for my father." [9]

Nelson briefly returned to Triumph after the expedition's return to Britain in September 1773. Suckling then arranged for his transfer to HMS Seahorse, one of two ships about to sail for the East Indies. [10]

Nelson sailed for the East Indies on 19 November 1773 and arrived at the British outpost at Madras on 25 May 1774. [12] Nelson and Seahorse spent the rest of the year cruising off the coast and escorting merchantmen. With the outbreak of the First Anglo-Maratha War, the British fleet operated in support of the East India Company and in early 1775 Seahorse was dispatched to carry a cargo of the company's money to Bombay. On 19 February, two of Hyder Ali's ketches attacked Seahorse, which drove them off after a brief exchange of fire. This was Nelson's first experience of battle. [13]

The rest of the year he spent escorting convoys, during which he continued to develop his navigation and ship handling skills. In early 1776 Nelson contracted malaria and became seriously ill. He was discharged from Seahorse on 14 March and returned to England aboard HMS Dolphin. [14] Nelson spent the six-month voyage recuperating and had almost recovered by the time he arrived in Britain in September 1776. His patron, Suckling, had risen to the post of Comptroller of the Navy in 1775, and used his influence to help Nelson gain further promotion. [3] [15] Nelson was appointed acting lieutenant aboard HMS Worcester, which was about to sail to Gibraltar. [16]

Worcester, under the command of Captain Mark Robinson, sailed as a convoy escort on 3 December and returned with another convoy in April 1777. [17] Nelson then travelled to London to take his lieutenant's examination on 9 April his examining board consisted of Captains John Campbell, Abraham North, and his uncle, Maurice Suckling. Nelson passed, and the next day received his commission and an appointment to HMS Lowestoffe, which was preparing to sail to Jamaica under Captain William Locker. [18] She sailed on 16 May, arrived on 19 July, and after reprovisioning, carried out several cruises in Caribbean waters. After the outbreak of the American War of Independence Lowestoffe took several prizes, one of which was taken into Navy service as the tender Little Lucy. Nelson asked for and was given command of her, and took her on two cruises of his own. [19]

As well as giving him his first taste of command, it gave Nelson the opportunity to explore his fledgling interest in science. During his first cruise, Nelson led an expeditionary party to the Caicos Islands, [20] where he made detailed notes of the wildlife and in particular a bird – now believed to be the white-necked jacobin. [21] Locker, impressed by Nelson's abilities, recommended him to the new commander-in-chief at Jamaica, Sir Peter Parker. Parker duly took Nelson onto his flagship, HMS Bristol. [22] The entry of the French into the war, in support of the Americans, meant further targets for Parker's fleet and it took many prizes towards the end of 1778, which brought Nelson an estimated £400 in prize money. Parker appointed him as Master and Commander of the brig HMS Badger on 8 December. [23]

Nelson and Badger spent most of 1779 cruising off the Central American coast, ranging as far as the British settlements at British Honduras (now Belize), and Nicaragua, but without much success at interception of enemy prizes. [24] On his return to Port Royal he learned that Parker had promoted him to post-captain on 11 June, and intended to give him another command. Nelson handed over the Badger to Cuthbert Collingwood while he awaited the arrival of his new ship, the 28-gun frigate HMS Hinchinbrook, [a] newly captured from the French. [25] While Nelson waited, news reached Parker that a French fleet under the command of Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing, was approaching Jamaica. Parker hastily organized his defences and placed Nelson in command of Fort Charles, which covered the approaches to Kingston. [26] D'Estaing instead headed north, and the anticipated invasion never materialised. Nelson duly took command of the Hinchinbrook on 1 September. [27]

Hinchinbrook sailed from Port Royal on 5 October 1779 and, in company with other British ships, proceeded to capture a number of American prizes. [28] On his return to Jamaica in December, Nelson began to be troubled by a recurrent attack of malaria. Nelson remained in the West Indies in order to take part in Major-General John Dalling's attempt to capture the Spanish colonies in Central America, including an assault on the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception, also called Castillo Viejo, on the San Juan River in Nicaragua. [29]

Hinchinbrook sailed from Jamaica in February 1780, as an escort for Dalling's invasion force. After sailing up the mouth of the San Juan River, Nelson, with some one thousand men and four small four-pounder cannon, obtained the surrender of Castillo Viejo and its 160 Spanish defenders after a two-week siege. [30] The British blew up the fort when they evacuated six months later after suffering many deaths due to disease and Nelson was praised for his efforts. [31]

Parker recalled Nelson and gave him command of the 44-gun frigate HMS Janus. [32] Nelson had fallen seriously ill in the jungles of Costa Rica, probably from a recurrence of malaria, and was unable to take command. During his time of convalescence he was nursed by a black "doctoress" named Cubah Cornwallis, the mistress of a fellow captain, William Cornwallis. [33] He was discharged in August and returned to Britain aboard HMS Lion, [34] arriving in late November. Nelson gradually recovered over several months, and soon began agitating for a command. He was appointed to the frigate HMS Albemarle on 15 August 1781. [35]

Captain of Albemarle Edit

Nelson received orders on 23 October 1781 to take the newly refitted Albemarle to sea. He was instructed to collect an inbound convoy of the Russia Company at Elsinore, and escort them back to Britain. For this operation, the Admiralty placed the frigates HMS Argo and HMS Enterprise under his command. [36] Nelson successfully organised the convoy and escorted it into British waters. He then left the convoy to return to port, but severe storms hampered him. [37] Gales almost wrecked Albemarle as she was a poorly designed ship and an earlier accident had left her damaged, but Nelson eventually brought her into Portsmouth in February 1782. [38] There the Admiralty ordered him to fit Albemarle for sea and join the escort for a convoy collecting at Cork in Ireland to sail for Quebec in Canada. [39] Nelson arrived off Newfoundland with the convoy in late May, then detached on a cruise to hunt American privateers. Nelson was generally unsuccessful he succeeded only in retaking several captured British merchant ships and capturing a number of small fishing boats and assorted craft. [40]

In August 1782, Nelson had a narrow escape from a far superior French force under Louis-Philippe de Vaudreuil, only evading them after a prolonged chase. [41] Nelson arrived at Quebec on 18 September. [42] He sailed again as part of the escort for a convoy to New York. He arrived in mid-November and reported to Admiral Samuel Hood, commander of the New York station. [43] At Nelson's request, Hood transferred him to his fleet and Albemarle sailed in company with Hood, bound for the West Indies. [44] On their arrival, the British fleet took up position off Jamaica to await the arrival of de Vaudreuil's force. Nelson and the Albemarle were ordered to scout the numerous passages for signs of the enemy, but it became clear by early 1783 that the French had eluded Hood. [45]

During his scouting operations, Nelson had developed a plan to attack the French garrison of the Turks Islands. Commanding a small flotilla of frigates and smaller vessels, he landed a force of 167 seamen and marines early on the morning of 8 March under a supporting bombardment. [46] The French were found to be heavily entrenched and after several hours Nelson called off the assault. Several of the officers involved criticised Nelson, but Hood does not appear to have reprimanded him. [47] Nelson spent the rest of the war cruising in the West Indies, where he captured a number of French and Spanish prizes. [48] After news of the peace reached Hood, Nelson returned to Britain in late June 1783. [49]

Island of Nevis and marriage Edit

Nelson visited France in late 1783, stayed with acquaintances at Saint-Omer, and briefly attempted to learn French. He returned to England in January 1784, and attended court as part of Lord Hood's entourage. [50] Influenced by the factional politics of the time, he contemplated standing for Parliament as a supporter of William Pitt, but was unable to find a seat. [51]

In 1784, Nelson received command of the frigate HMS Boreas with the assignment to enforce the Navigation Acts in the vicinity of Antigua. [52] The Acts were unpopular with both the Americans and the colonies. [53] Nelson served on the station under Admiral Sir Richard Hughes, and often came into conflict with his superior officer over their differing interpretation of the Acts. [54] The captains of the American vessels Nelson had seized sued him for illegal seizure. Because the merchants of the nearby island of Nevis supported the American claim, Nelson was in peril of imprisonment he remained sequestered on Boreas for eight months, until the courts ruled in his favour. [55]

In the interim, Nelson met Frances "Fanny" Nisbet, a young widow from a Nevis plantation family. [56] Nelson developed an affection for her and her uncle, John Herbert, offered him a massive dowry and both uncle and niece hid the fact that the famed riches were a fiction, and that Fanny was no longer fertile due to a womb infection. Once engaged, Herbert offered nowhere near the money he had promised. Breaking an engagement was dishonourable, [57] so Nelson and Nisbet were married at Montpelier Estate on the island of Nevis on 11 March 1787, shortly before the end of his tour of duty in the Caribbean. [58] The marriage was registered at Fig Tree Church in St John's Parish on Nevis. Nelson returned to England in July, with Fanny following later. [59]

While Nelson was in the Caribbean he developed friendships with various plantation owners and grew to believe that the islands' economies relied heavily on the Atlantic slave trade. He is said by Grindal (2016) to have attempted to use his influence to thwart the abolitionist movement in Britain. [60] One of these friends was Simon Taylor, the wealthy owner of a sugar plantation in Jamaica employing slaves, at whose request to intervene in the public debate Nelson replied in 1805 that "while he had a tongue", he would "launch my voice against the damnable and cursed (sic) [61] doctrine of Wilberforce and his hypocritical allies". [62]

The letter was published in 1807 by the anti-abolitionist faction, some eighteen months after Nelson's death and therefore completely out of context, in an apparent attempt to bolster their cause prior to the parliamentary vote on the Abolition Bill. The wording of the letter as published in 1807 (not in Nelson's handwriting, and with a poor facsimile of his signature) appears quite out of character for Nelson whose many other surviving letters never express racist or pro-slavery sentiments. Comparison with the "pressed copy" of the original letter (now part of the Bridport papers held in the British Library) shows that the published copy had 25 alterations [63] distorting it to give a more anti-Abolitionist slant. Many of Nelson's actions indicate his position on the matter of slavery, most notably:

  • Any West Indian slave escaping to a navy ship (including Nelson's) were signed on, paid, and treated the same as other crew members. At the end of their service they were discharged as free men. In fact, the bronze relief at the base of Nelson's column clearly shows the black George Ryan aged 23, with musket shooting the French alongside the dying Admiral. [64]
  • In 1799 Nelson intervened to secure the release of 24 slaves being held in Portuguese galleys off Palermo. [65][66]
  • In 1802 when it was proposed that West Indian plantation slaves should be replaced by free, paid industrious Chinese workers Nelson supported the idea. [67]
  • In 1805 Nelson rescued the black Haitian General Joseph Chretien and his servant from the French. They asked if they could serve with Nelson, and Nelson recommended to the Admiralty that they be paid until they could be discharged and granted passage to Jamaica. The General's mission was to end slavery, a fact of which Nelson was well aware. The general and his servant were well treated and paid. [68]
  • The Nelson family used to have a free black servant called Price. Nelson said of him he was ‘as good a man as ever lived’ and he suggested to Emma that she invite the elderly Price to live with them. In the event Price declined. [69]

During the peace Edit

Nelson remained with Boreas until she was paid off in November that year. [70] He and Fanny then divided their time between Bath and London, occasionally visiting Nelson's relations in Norfolk. In 1788, they settled at Nelson's childhood home at Burnham Thorpe. [71] Now in reserve on half pay, he attempted to persuade the Admiralty and other senior figures he was acquainted with, such as Hood, to provide him with a command. He was unsuccessful as there were too few ships in the peacetime navy and Hood did not intercede on his behalf. [72]

Nelson spent his time trying to find employment for former crew members, attending to family affairs, and cajoling contacts in the navy for a posting. In 1792 the French revolutionary government annexed the Austrian Netherlands (modern Belgium), which were traditionally preserved as a buffer state. The Admiralty recalled Nelson to service and gave him command of the 64-gun HMS Agamemnon in January 1793. On 1 February France declared war. [73]

Mediterranean service Edit

In May 1793, Nelson sailed as part of a division under the command of Vice Admiral William Hotham, joined later in the month by the rest of Lord Hood's fleet. [74] The force initially sailed to Gibraltar and, with the intention of establishing naval superiority in the Mediterranean, made their way to Toulon, anchoring off the port in July. [75] Toulon was largely under the control of moderate republicans and royalists, but was threatened by the forces of the National Convention, which were marching on the city. Short of supplies and doubting their ability to defend themselves, the city authorities requested that Hood take it under his protection. Hood readily acquiesced and sent Nelson to carry dispatches to Sardinia and Naples requesting reinforcements. [76]

After delivering the dispatches to Sardinia, Agamemnon arrived at Naples in early September. There Nelson met King Ferdinand IV of Naples, [77] followed by the British ambassador to the kingdom, William Hamilton. [78] At some point during the negotiations for reinforcements, Nelson was introduced to Hamilton's new wife, Emma Hamilton, the former mistress of Hamilton's nephew Charles Greville. [79]

The negotiations were successful, and 2,000 men and several ships were mustered by mid-September. Nelson put to sea in pursuit of a French frigate, but on failing to catch her, sailed for Leghorn, and then to Corsica. [80] He arrived at Toulon on 5 October, where he found that a large French army had occupied the hills surrounding the city and was bombarding it. Hood still hoped the city could be held if more reinforcements arrived, and sent Nelson to join a squadron operating off Cagliari. [81]

Corsica Edit

Early on the morning of 22 October 1793, Agamemnon sighted five sails. Nelson closed with them, and discovered they were a French squadron. He promptly gave chase, firing on the 40-gun Melpomene. [82] During the action of 22 October 1793, he inflicted considerable damage but the remaining French ships turned to join the battle and, realising he was outnumbered, Nelson withdrew and continued to Cagliari, arriving on 24 October. [82] After making repairs, Nelson and Agamemnon sailed again on 26 October, bound for Tunis with a squadron under Commodore Robert Linzee. [83]

On his arrival, Nelson was given command of a small squadron consisting of Agamemnon, three frigates and a sloop, and ordered to blockade the French garrison on Corsica. [83] The fall of Toulon at the end of December 1793 severely damaged British fortunes in the Mediterranean. Hood had failed to make adequate provision for a withdrawal and 18 French ships-of-the-line fell into republican hands. [84] Nelson's mission to Corsica took on added significance, as it could provide the British a naval base close to the French coast. [84] Hood therefore reinforced Nelson with extra ships during January 1794. [85]

A British assault force landed on the island on 7 February, after which Nelson moved to intensify the blockade off Bastia. For the rest of the month he carried out raids along the coast and intercepted enemy shipping. By late February St Fiorenzo had fallen and British troops under Lieutenant-General David Dundas entered the outskirts of Bastia. [86] However, Dundas merely assessed the enemy positions and then withdrew, arguing that the French were too well entrenched to risk an assault. Nelson convinced Hood otherwise, but a protracted debate between the army and naval commanders meant that Nelson did not receive permission to proceed until late March. Nelson began to land guns from his ships and emplace them in the hills surrounding the town. On 11 April the British squadron entered the harbour and opened fire, whilst Nelson took command of the land forces and commenced bombardment. [87] After 45 days, the town surrendered. [88] Nelson prepared for an assault on Calvi, working in company with Lieutenant-General Charles Stuart. [89]

British forces landed at Calvi on 19 June, and immediately began moving guns ashore to occupy the heights surrounding the town. While Nelson directed a continuous bombardment of the enemy positions, Stuart's men began to advance. On 12 July Nelson was at one of the forward batteries early in the morning when a shot struck one of the sandbags protecting the position, spraying stones and sand. Nelson was struck by debris in his right eye and was forced to retire from the position, although his wound was soon bandaged and he returned to action. [90] By 18 July most of the enemy positions had been disabled, and that night Stuart, supported by Nelson, stormed the main defensive position and captured it. Repositioning their guns, the British brought Calvi under constant bombardment, and the town surrendered on 10 August. [91] However, Nelson's right eye had not been irreparably damaged and he eventually regained sight in it.

Genoa and the fight of the Ça Ira Edit

After the occupation of Corsica, Hood ordered Nelson to open diplomatic relations with the city-state of Genoa, a strategically important potential ally. [92] Soon afterwards, Hood returned to England and was succeeded by Admiral William Hotham as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. Nelson put into Leghorn, and while Agamemnon underwent repairs, met with other naval officers at the port and entertained a brief affair with a local woman, Adelaide Correglia. [93] Hotham arrived with the rest of the fleet in December Nelson and Agamemnon sailed on a number of cruises with them in late 1794 and early 1795. [94]

On 8 March, news reached Hotham that the French fleet was at sea and heading for Corsica. He immediately set out to intercept them, and Nelson eagerly anticipated his first fleet action. The French were reluctant to engage and the two fleets shadowed each other throughout 12 March. The following day two of the French ships collided, allowing Nelson to engage the much larger 84-gun Ça Ira for two and a half hours until the arrival of two French ships forced Nelson to veer away, having inflicted heavy casualties and considerable damage. [95]

The fleets continued to shadow each other before making contact again, on 14 March, in the Battle of Genoa. Nelson joined the other British ships in attacking the battered Ça Ira, now under tow from Censeur. Heavily damaged, the two French ships were forced to surrender and Nelson took possession of Censeur. Defeated at sea, the French abandoned their plan to invade Corsica and returned to port. [96]

Skirmishes and the retreat from Italy Edit

Nelson and the fleet remained in the Mediterranean throughout the summer of 1795. On 4 July Agamemnon sailed from St Fiorenzo with a small force of frigates and sloops, bound for Genoa. On 6 July Nelson ran into the French fleet and found himself pursued by several much larger ships-of-the-line. He retreated to St Fiorenzo, arriving just ahead of the pursuing French, who broke off as Nelson's signal guns alerted the British fleet in the harbour. [97] Hotham pursued the French to the Hyères Islands, but failed to bring them to a decisive action. A number of small engagements were fought but to Nelson's dismay, he saw little action. [97]

Nelson returned to operate out of Genoa, intercepting and inspecting merchantmen and cutting-out suspicious vessels in both enemy and neutral harbours. [98] Nelson formulated ambitious plans for amphibious landings and naval assaults to frustrate the progress of the French Army of Italy that was now advancing on Genoa, but could excite little interest in Hotham. [99] In November Hotham was replaced by Sir Hyde Parker but the situation in Italy was rapidly deteriorating: the French were raiding around Genoa and strong Jacobin sentiment was rife within the city itself. [100]

A large French assault at the end of November broke the allied lines, forcing a general retreat towards Genoa. Nelson's forces were able to cover the withdrawing army and prevent them from being surrounded, but he had too few ships and men to materially alter the strategic situation, and the British were forced to withdraw from the Italian ports. Nelson returned to Corsica on 30 November, angry and depressed at the British failure and questioning his future in the navy. [101]

Jervis and the evacuation of the Mediterranean Edit

In January 1796 the position of commander-in-chief of the fleet in the Mediterranean passed to Sir John Jervis, who appointed Nelson to exercise independent command over the ships blockading the French coast as a commodore. [102] Nelson spent the first half of the year conducting operations to frustrate French advances and bolster Britain's Italian allies. Despite some minor successes in intercepting small French warships (e.g., in the action of 31 May 1796, when Nelson's squadron captured a convoy of seven small vessels), Nelson began to feel the British presence on the Italian peninsula was rapidly becoming useless. [103] In June the Agamemnon was sent back to Britain for repairs, and Nelson was appointed to the 74-gun HMS Captain. [103]

In the same month, the French thrust towards Leghorn and were certain to capture the city. Nelson hurried there to oversee the evacuation of British nationals and transported them to Corsica, after which Jervis ordered him to blockade the newly captured French port. [104] In July he oversaw the occupation of Elba, but by September the Genoese had broken their neutrality to declare in favour of the French. [105] By October, the Genoese position and the continued French advances led the British to decide that the Mediterranean fleet could no longer be supplied they ordered it to be evacuated to Gibraltar. Nelson helped oversee the withdrawal from Corsica, and by December 1796 was aboard the frigate HMS Minerve, covering the evacuation of the garrison at Elba. He then sailed for Gibraltar. [106]

During the passage, Nelson captured the Spanish frigate Santa Sabina and placed Lieutenants Jonathan Culverhouse and Thomas Hardy in charge of the captured vessel, taking the Spanish captain on board Minerve. Santa Sabina was part of a larger Spanish force, and the following morning two Spanish ships-of-the-line and a frigate were sighted closing fast. Unable to outrun them, Nelson initially determined to fight but Culverhouse and Hardy raised the British colours and sailed northeast, drawing the Spanish ships after them until being captured, giving Nelson the opportunity to escape. [107] Nelson went on to rendezvous with the British fleet at Elba, where he spent Christmas. [108] He sailed for Gibraltar in late January, and after learning that the Spanish fleet had sailed from Cartagena, stopped just long enough to collect Hardy, Culverhouse, and the rest of the prize crew captured with Santa Sabina, before pressing on through the straits to join Sir John Jervis off Cadiz. [109]

Battle of Cape St Vincent Edit

Nelson joined Jervis's fleet off Cape St Vincent, and reported the Spanish movements. [110] Jervis decided to give battle and the two fleets met on 14 February 1797. Nelson found himself towards the rear of the British line and realised that it would be a long time before he could bring Captain into action. [110] Instead of continuing to follow the line, Nelson disobeyed orders and wore ship, breaking from the line and heading to engage the Spanish van, which consisted of the 112-gun San Josef, the 80-gun San Nicolas and the 130-gun Santísima Trinidad. Captain engaged all three, assisted by HMS Culloden which had come to Nelson's aid. [111]

After an hour of exchanging broadsides which left both Captain and Culloden badly damaged, Nelson found himself alongside San Nicolas. He led a boarding party across, crying "Westminster Abbey or glorious victory!" and forced her to surrender. [111] San Josef attempted to come to the San Nicolas's aid, but became entangled with her compatriot and was left immobile. Nelson led his party from the deck of San Nicolas onto San Josef and captured her as well. [110] As night fell, the Spanish fleet broke off and sailed for Cadiz. Four ships had surrendered to the British and two of them were Nelson's. [112]

Nelson was victorious, but had disobeyed direct orders. Jervis liked Nelson and so did not officially reprimand him, [112] but did not mention Nelson's actions in his official report of the battle. [113] He did write a private letter to George Spencer in which he said that Nelson "contributed very much to the fortune of the day". [112] Nelson also wrote several letters about his victory, reporting that his action was being referred to amongst the fleet as "Nelson's Patent Bridge for boarding first rates". [111]

Nelson's account was later challenged by Rear Admiral William Parker, who had been aboard HMS Prince George. Parker claimed that Nelson had been supported by several more ships than he acknowledged, and that San Josef had already struck her colours by the time Nelson boarded her. [114] Nelson's account of his role prevailed, and the victory was well received in Britain: Jervis was made Earl St Vincent and Nelson, on 17 May, [115] was made a Knight of the Bath. [116] [117] On 20 February, in a standard promotion according to his seniority and unrelated to the battle, he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue. [118]

Action off Cadiz Edit

Nelson was given HMS Theseus as his flagship, and on 27 May 1797 was ordered to lie off Cadiz, monitoring the Spanish fleet and awaiting the arrival of Spanish treasure ships from the American colonies. [119] He carried out a bombardment and personally led an amphibious assault on 3 July. During the action Nelson's barge collided with that of the Spanish commander, and a hand-to-hand struggle ensued between the two crews. Twice Nelson was nearly cut down and both times his life was saved by a seaman named John Sykes who took the blows and was badly wounded. The British raiding force captured the Spanish boat and towed her back to Theseus. [119] [120] During this period Nelson developed a scheme to capture Santa Cruz de Tenerife, aiming to seize a large quantity of specie from the treasure ship Principe de Asturias, which was reported to have recently arrived. [121]

Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife Edit

The battle plan called for a combination of naval bombardments and an amphibious landing. The initial attempt was called off after adverse currents hampered the assault and the element of surprise was lost. [122] Nelson immediately ordered another assault but this was beaten back. He prepared for a third attempt, to take place during the night. Although he personally led one of the battalions, the operation ended in failure: the Spanish were better prepared than had been expected and had secured strong defensive positions. [123]

Several of the boats failed to land at the correct positions in the confusion, while those that did were swept by gunfire and grapeshot. Nelson's boat reached its intended landing point but as he stepped ashore he was hit in the right arm by a musketball, which fractured his humerus bone in multiple places. [123] He was rowed back to Theseus to be attended to by the surgeon, Thomas Eshelby. [124] On arriving at his ship he refused to be helped aboard, declaring "Let me alone! I have got my legs left and one arm." [123]

He was taken to surgeon Eshelby, instructing him to prepare his instruments and "the sooner it was off the better". [123] Most of the right arm was amputated and within half an hour Nelson had returned to issuing orders to his captains. [125] Years later he would excuse himself to Commodore John Thomas Duckworth for not writing longer letters due to not being naturally left-handed. [126] He developed the sensation of phantom limb in his lost arm later on and declared that he had "found the direct evidence of the existence of soul". [127]

Meanwhile, a force under Sir Thomas Troubridge had fought their way to the main square but could go no further. Unable to return to the fleet because their boats had been sunk, Troubridge was forced to enter into negotiations with the Spanish commander, and the British were allowed to withdraw. [128] The expedition had failed to achieve any of its objectives and had left a quarter of the landing force dead or wounded. [128] [129]

The squadron remained off Tenerife for a further three days and by 16 August had rejoined Jervis's fleet off Cadiz. Despondently Nelson wrote to Jervis: "A left-handed Admiral will never again be considered as useful, therefore the sooner I get to a very humble cottage the better, and make room for a better man to serve the state". [130]

He returned to England aboard HMS Seahorse, arriving at Spithead on 1 September. He was met with a hero's welcome: the British public had lionised Nelson after Cape St Vincent and his wound earned him sympathy. [131] They refused to attribute the defeat at Tenerife to him, preferring instead to blame poor planning on the part of St Vincent, the Secretary at War or even William Pitt. [131]

Return to England Edit

Nelson returned to Bath with Fanny, before moving to London in October to seek expert medical attention concerning his amputated arm. Whilst in London news reached him that Admiral Duncan had defeated the Dutch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown. [132] Nelson exclaimed that he would have given his other arm to have been present. [132] He spent the last months of 1797 recuperating in London, during which he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and a pension of £1,000 a year. He used the money to buy Round Wood Farm near Ipswich, and intended to retire there with Fanny. [133] Despite his plans, Nelson was never to live there. [133]

Although surgeons had been unable to remove the central ligature in his amputated arm, which had caused considerable inflammation and poisoning, in early December it came out of its own accord and Nelson rapidly began to recover. Eager to return to sea, he began agitating for a command and was promised the 80-gun HMS Foudroyant. As she was not yet ready for sea, Nelson was instead given command of the 74-gun HMS Vanguard, to which he appointed Edward Berry as his flag captain. [134]

French activities in the Mediterranean theatre were raising concern among the Admiralty: Napoleon was gathering forces in Southern France but the destination of his army was unknown. Nelson and the Vanguard were to be dispatched to Cadiz to reinforce the fleet. On 28 March 1798, Nelson hoisted his flag and sailed to join Earl St Vincent. St Vincent sent him on to Toulon with a small force to reconnoitre French activities. [135]

Hunting the French Edit

Nelson passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and took up position off Toulon by 17 May, but his squadron was dispersed and blown southwards by a strong gale that struck the area on 20 May. [136] While the British were battling the storm, Napoleon had sailed with his invasion fleet under the command of Vice Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers. Nelson, having been reinforced with a number of ships from St Vincent, went in pursuit. [137]

Nelson began searching the Italian coast for Napoleon's fleet, but was hampered by a lack of frigates that could operate as fast scouts. Napoleon had already arrived at Malta and, after a show of force, secured the island's surrender. [138] Nelson followed him there, but the French had already left. After a conference with his captains, he decided Egypt was Napoleon's most likely destination and headed for Alexandria. On his arrival on 28 June, though, he found no sign of the French dismayed, he withdrew and began searching to the east of the port. While he was absent, Napoleon's fleet arrived on 1 July and landed their forces unopposed. [139]

Brueys then anchored his fleet in Aboukir Bay, ready to support Napoleon if required. [140] Nelson meanwhile had crossed the Mediterranean again in a fruitless attempt to locate the French and had returned to Naples to re-provision. [141] He sailed again, intending to search the seas off Cyprus, but decided to pass Alexandria again for a final check. In doing so his force captured a French merchant ship, which provided the first news of the French fleet: they had passed south-east of Crete a month before, heading to Alexandria. [142] Nelson hurried to the port but again found it empty of the French. Searching along the coast, he finally discovered the French fleet in Aboukir Bay on 1 August 1798. [143]

The Battle of the Nile Edit

Nelson immediately prepared for battle, repeating a sentiment he had expressed at the battle of Cape St Vincent that "Before this time tomorrow, I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey." [144] It was late by the time the British arrived and the French, anchored in a strong position with a combined firepower greater than that of Nelson's fleet, did not expect them to attack. [145] Nelson however immediately ordered his ships to advance. The French line was anchored close to a line of shoals, in the belief that this would secure their port side from attack Brueys had assumed the British would follow convention and attack his centre from the starboard side. However, Captain Thomas Foley aboard HMS Goliath discovered a gap between the shoals and the French ships, and took Goliath into the channel. The unprepared French found themselves attacked on both sides, the British fleet splitting, with some following Foley and others passing down the starboard side of the French line. [146]

The British fleet was soon heavily engaged, passing down the French line and engaging their ships one by one. Nelson on Vanguard personally engaged Spartiate, also coming under fire from Aquilon. At about eight o'clock, he was with Berry on the quarter-deck when a piece of French shot struck him in his forehead. He fell to the deck, a flap of torn skin obscuring his good eye. Blinded and half stunned, he felt sure he would die and cried out "I am killed. Remember me to my wife." He was taken below to be seen by the surgeon. [147] After examining Nelson, the surgeon pronounced the wound non-threatening and applied a temporary bandage. [148]

The French van, pounded by British fire from both sides, had begun to surrender, and the victorious British ships continued to move down the line, bringing Brueys's 118-gun flagship Orient under constant heavy fire. Orient caught fire under this bombardment, and later exploded. Nelson briefly came on deck to direct the battle, but returned to the surgeon after watching the destruction of Orient. [149]

The Battle of the Nile was a major blow to Napoleon's ambitions in the east. The fleet had been destroyed: Orient, another ship and two frigates had been burnt, seven 74-gun ships and two 80-gun ships had been captured, and only two ships-of-the-line and two frigates escaped, [150] while the forces Napoleon had brought to Egypt were stranded. [146] Napoleon attacked north along the Mediterranean coast, but Turkish defenders supported by Captain Sir Sidney Smith defeated his army at the Siege of Acre. Napoleon then left his army and sailed back to France, evading detection by British ships. Given its strategic importance, some historians regard Nelson's achievement at the Nile as the most significant of his career, even greater than that at Trafalgar seven years later. [151]

Rewards Edit

Nelson wrote dispatches to the Admiralty and oversaw temporary repairs to the Vanguard, before sailing to Naples where he was met with enthusiastic celebrations. [152] The King of Naples, in company with the Hamiltons, greeted him in person when he arrived at the port and William Hamilton invited Nelson to stay at their house. [153] Celebrations were held in honour of Nelson's birthday that September, and he attended a banquet at the Hamiltons', where other officers had begun to notice his attention to Emma. Jervis himself had begun to grow concerned about reports of Nelson's behaviour, but in early October word of Nelson's victory had reached London. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl Spencer, fainted on hearing the news. [154]

Scenes of celebration erupted across the country, balls and victory feasts were held and church bells were rung. The City of London awarded Nelson and his captains swords, whilst the King ordered them to be presented with special medals. The Tsar of Russia sent him a gift, and Selim III, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, awarded Nelson the Order of the Turkish Crescent for his role in restoring Ottoman rule in Egypt. Lord Hood, after a conversation with the Prime Minister, told Fanny that Nelson would likely be given a Viscountcy, similar to Jervis's earldom after Cape St Vincent and Duncan's viscountcy after Camperdown. [155] Earl Spencer however demurred, arguing that as Nelson had only been detached in command of a squadron, rather than being the commander in chief of the fleet, such an award would create an unwelcome precedent. Instead, Nelson received the title Baron Nelson of the Nile. [156] [157]

Neapolitan campaign Edit

Nelson was dismayed by Spencer's decision, and declared that he would rather have received no title than that of a mere barony. [157] He was however cheered by the attention showered on him by the citizens of Naples, the prestige accorded him by the kingdom's elite, and the comforts he received at the Hamiltons' residence. He made frequent visits to attend functions in his honour, or to tour nearby attractions with Emma, with whom he had by now fallen deeply in love, almost constantly at his side. [158]

Orders arrived from the Admiralty to blockade the French forces in Alexandria and Malta, a task Nelson delegated to his captains, Samuel Hood and Alexander Ball. Despite enjoying his lifestyle in Naples, Nelson began to think of returning to England, [158] but King Ferdinand of Naples, after a long period of pressure from his wife Maria Carolina of Austria and Sir William Hamilton, finally agreed to declare war on France. [159]

The Neapolitan army, led by the Austrian General Mack and supported by Nelson's fleet, retook Rome from the French in late November. The French regrouped outside Rome and after being reinforced, routed the Neapolitans. In disarray, the Neapolitan army fled back to Naples, with the pursuing French close behind. [159] Nelson hastily organised the evacuation of the Royal Family, several nobles and the British nationals, including the Hamiltons. The evacuation got under way on 23 December and sailed through heavy gales before reaching the safety of Palermo on 26 December. [160]

With the departure of the Royal Family, Naples descended into anarchy and news reached Palermo in January that the French had entered the city under General Championnet and proclaimed the Parthenopaean Republic. [161] Nelson was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red on 14 February 1799, [162] and was occupied for several months in blockading Naples, while a popular counter-revolutionary force under Cardinal Ruffo known as the Sanfedisti marched to retake the city. In late June Ruffo's army entered Naples, forcing the French and their supporters to withdraw to the city's fortifications as rioting and looting broke out amongst the ill-disciplined Neapolitan troops. [163]

Dismayed by the bloodshed, Ruffo agreed to a capitulation with the Jacobin forces that allowed them safe conduct to France. Nelson arrived off Naples on 24 June to find the treaty put into effect. His subsequent role is still controversial. [164] Nelson, aboard Foudroyant, was outraged, and backed by King Ferdinand he insisted that the rebels must surrender unconditionally. [165] They refused, Nelson appears to have relented and they marched out to the waiting transports. Nelson then had the transports seized. [164]

He took those who had surrendered under the treaty under armed guard, as well as the former Admiral Francesco Caracciolo, who had commanded the Neapolitan navy under King Ferdinand but had changed sides during the brief Jacobin rule. [166] Nelson ordered his trial by court-martial and refused Caracciolo's request that it be held by British officers, nor was Caracciolo allowed to summon witnesses in his defence. Caracciolo was tried by royalist Neapolitan officers and sentenced to death. He asked to be shot rather than hanged, but Nelson, following the wishes of Queen Maria Carolina (a close friend of his mistress, Lady Hamilton) also refused this request and even ignored the court's request to allow 24 hours for Caracciolo to prepare himself. Caracciolo was hanged aboard the Neapolitan frigate Minerva at 5 o'clock the same afternoon. [167]

Nelson kept the bulk of the Jacobins on the transports and now began to hand hundreds over for trial and execution, refusing to intervene despite pleas for clemency from the Hamiltons and the Queen of Naples. [168] When transports were finally allowed to carry the Jacobins to France, less than a third were still alive. [169] On 13 August 1799, a reward for his support of the monarchy, [170] King Ferdinand gave Nelson the newly created title Duke of Bronté in the Peerage of the Kingdom of Sicily, as perpetual property, together with the estate of the former Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria di Maniace, situated between the communes of Bronte and Maniace, known later as the "Duchy of Nelson", which he transformed into the Castello di Nelson. [171]

In 1799, Nelson opposed the mistreatment of slaves held in Portuguese galleys off Palermo and intervened to secure their release. Nelson petitioned the Portuguese commander Marquiz de Niza, 'as a friend, as an English admiral – as a favour to me, as a favour to my country – that you will give me the Slaves'. The marquis acquiesced to the unusual request, allowing twenty-four slaves to be pulled across to Bonne Citoyenne, their blessings to their English saviour then ringing out across the harbour as their names were added to the sloop's already crowded muster book. [65] [66]

Nelson returned to Palermo in August and in September became the senior officer in the Mediterranean after Jervis' successor Lord Keith left to chase the French and Spanish fleets into the Atlantic. [172] Nelson spent the rest of 1799 at the Neapolitan court but put to sea again in February 1800 after Lord Keith's return. On 18 February Généreux, a survivor of the Nile, was sighted and Nelson gave chase, capturing her after a short battle and winning Keith's approval. [173] Nelson had a difficult relationship with his superior officer: he was gaining a reputation for insubordination, having initially refused to send ships when Keith requested them and on occasion returning to Palermo without orders, pleading poor health. [174] Keith's reports, and rumours of Nelson's close relationship with Emma Hamilton, were also circulating in London, and Earl Spencer wrote a pointed letter suggesting that he return home:

You will be more likely to recover your health and strength in England than in any inactive situation at a foreign Court, however pleasing the respect and gratitude shown to you for your services may be. [175]

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