An etching by James Gillray (1756–1815), considered the leading British caricaturist of the late eighteenth century: “Immortality—the Death of Admiral Lord Nelson—in the moment of Victory!—this Design for the Memorial intended by the City of London . . . humbly submitted by the Lord Mayor.” It appeared on 22 December 1805, the day the body of Nelson, killed on 21 October at Trafalgar, was transferred from his flagship, HMS
Victory, on its way to the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, where it would lie in state. The veneration for the admiral evident even in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek image, and still strong in the United Kingdom today at the bicentennial of his death, has not been afforded by Americans to any of their own great naval leaders—for reasons, and with implications, explored in our lead article by James Holmes.
Reprinted by permission of the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, through the kind assistance of its curator, Dr. Peter Harrington, and of the Naval War College’s Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History and Maritime History Department chairman, Dr. John B. Hattendorf. The Naval War College Museum, operated by the Maritime History Department, has planned an exhibit on the battle of Trafalgar, to be displayed October–December 2005.