Nelson Unpickled

Admiral Horatio Nelson unpickled figured in Canada's history.
Admiral Horatio Nelson unpickled heads a line of historical figures who played a role in Canada.

In Ottawa, Admiral Horatio Nelson unpickled heads a line of international figures all who somehow played a role in Canadian history. Visitors to Canada’s capital can find these a very short distance from Parliament, the nation’s War Memorial, and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel.

“England expects that every man will do his duty.” – Nelson’s motto.
Today these same words are still used by the British government, they were Nelson’s own words to his men just before going into battle.

Admiral Horatio Nelson’ dead body pickled in a cask of brandy mixed with camphor and myrrh to keep it for the voyage back to Britain after his death in battle at Trafalgar. His men secured it to his ship, Victory’s mainmast and placed armed guards until it arrived in Gibraltar. It was then transferred into a lead-lined coffin full of wine (alcohol).

Nelson a highly respected and very effective leader to his men gained their trust by being human with them instead of applying the usual authoritarian methods that were the defacto way of British command. He was fortunate to have this talent which when coupled with his developed, adept, grasp of superior military strategy made him the highly successful naval commander he was.

Nelson also had flaws, such as being extremely vain needing a steady supply of flattery because otherwise he became easily morose from a lack of continued praise. The man had great mood swings because of his insecurity which may be why he involved himself in adultery. His blatant disregard of rules of war allowing execution of prisoners that had already surrendered is another manifestation of that problem.

His legacy is also tarnished because he left a young mistress with his child penniless, the child without a father. This sort of thing occurs normally because the guilty is unthinking, uncaring, and emotionally immature.

Although Nelson allegedly was to have instructed his subordinates during his last moments of life, to take care of and intercede as much as possible in the care of mother and his child the British authorities forbade any sharing any of his estate to them.