“When we put on this uniform, Mr. Hornblower, we entered into a life of adventure and adversity, but above all, a life of duty. A duty to our people, our king, our country, but also, a duty to our men. We must always be a source of inspiration to them, Mr. Hornblower, and whatever may befall us, whatever, we must never forget we are officers in his majesty’s navy.”
I am truly sensible of the honor you do me in expressing a wish to serve under me, but you have always, my dear Sir Edward, proved yourself so equal to command a fleet that it would be a sin to place you in any other situation
Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson to Admiral Sir Edward Pellew on Pellew’s request to serve under him in the Mediterranean.
Sir Edward Pellew:
- Sends his awesome steward to his fave as a gift
- has a fave
- Doesn’t save the best friend of the fave
- cHOOSES TO SAVE A DEAD MANS STANDING IN SOCIETY OVER A LIVING PERSON
- Gets seasick when his job is a t s e a
- falls in love with girls in like two days
- wow so much duty such honour many bad decisions
- Is the Pellew’s fave
- Literally did one exam ever and failed it then somehow became the best dude to ever do sailing
- Becomes bffs with literally everyone even the guys holding him prisoner
- Sparkles like freshly fallen snow
- Is fighty at the wrong time
- Too pure for the navy
- … probably snores
- Bad at threats. Like “do this and I’ll do it to you” isn’t original or witty
- Still has all his shit when on half pay. Probably was selling his soul
- Replaced Archie as Horatio’s true bff.
- will never /truely/ replace Archie.
- Is really The Doctor. Should have used the TARDIS
-jk he’s not problematic
- has done nothing wrong
- is too old to be called my son
- is my son
Things Hornblower never taught me about Sir Edward Pellew
Since that one book I read a while back wasn’t an autobiography, its accounts of most parts of Pellew’s life are much less exciting and pithy than Cochrane’s, so here is a summary of some of the more unexpected bits.
Grew up functionally an orphan (father dead, mother remarried away from her 6 children)
Started his naval career as a regular seaman and was promoted to Midshipman
Twice, because he managed to piss off his captain and got demoted again
Entered the service three weeks before probably the tiniest midshipman: Horatio Nelson. In retrospect, this was probably the best month the Royal Navy ever had.
Very strong swimmer who leapt off the deck to save fallen seamen at least 4 times
Had godawful handwriting
Was a fantastic dancer
Because of his childhood, took care of the widows and children of his friends who were killed in battle and also sometimes those of enemy captains he himself killed
Won the first naval action of what would end up being the Napoleonic Wars
Said his commanding admiral was “scarcely worth drowning”
Only left the Indefatigable (“it has long been my determination, My Lord, to serve the War out in my present command.”) because he mouthed off to his superiors too many times and got himself “promoted” to a larger ship he didn’t want, where the previous captain’s discipline was non-existent, leading to…
Once fought off a mutiny in his dressing gown
Got into a pissing match with the Admiralty, who sent another admiral out to his command to “share” the East India station. Assigned that Admiral one 18-gun sloop as his command.
Was nepotastic, which was both good and bad, since he was extremely loyal to underlings who showed promise (a la Hornblower) and promoted them whenever possible, but also did the same for family and friends’ families, regardless of real ability. Most hilarious example: trying to make his 18 year old son Captain of a 74 gun ship of the line. To Pellew’s credit, when a later crew nonviolently mutinied against said son, Pellew successfully appealed for pardon at their court martial instead of the hangings and floggings to which they had been sentenced.
Was stopped by a highwayman on the road and chased him off with an unloaded pistol
Brought his wife a leopard as a present from India. She was not amused. Also brought her one of the Elgin marbles, which she was somehow also not impressed by. Similarly monkeys. Tough crowd, Susan Pellew.
Once attended a fancy party that was interrupted by a riot due to his (conservative) political views. He went out and asked the mob to go home, and when that didn’t work, he led the rest of the party out to fight the riot off and won.
Although I find myself consumed by jealousy whenever the Indefatigable sails past my quarterdeck, Pellew himself is a capital, capital man.
In addition, his lovely blue uniform coat looks significantly better on my cabin floor, if you catch my drift.