In 1783, indifferent sailor Horatio Nelson cut his losses, declaring his intention to resign his Royal Navy commission and stand for Parliament in a letter dated this day and addressed to his former commanding officer and mentor Captain William Locker.
This post is an article from the Midshipman George Washington thread.
Midshipman George Washington #6As the Captain of the Frigate HMS Albemarle, he had led a largely unsuccessful mission to the Caribbean which left him and his crew deeply out of pocket. Nevertheless, he had escaped any form of direct criticism and because his reputation was intact he was able to enter the court entourage of Admiral Samuel Hood. Influenced by the factional politics of the time, he contemplated standing for Parliament as a supporter of William Pitt, and after a few months of frustration, was fortunate to find a safe seat.
Within six months, Pitt the Younger was invited by the King to serve as the First Minister. Although he departed just two years later, he would return and serve continously for seventeen years. This period neatly overlapped two crises of vital strategic interest to the British Government. He would call upon Nelson as an able Minister to meet head-on the dual challenges from North America and France.
In the United Provinces, General Bendict Arnold had refused to relinquish supreme authority. And the Continental Army was refusing to disband until unpaid wages were settled in full by the Continental Congress. The outcome of this standoff was that Arnold not only seized power and ruled as a tyrant, but he turned his troops on the Congress and emulated Cromwell's control of the Long Parliament.
The emergence of this militaristic dictatorship was a shocking development to the intelligentsia in France. Certainly the rising force of Republicanism was sharply checked. And as the future of the Bourbon Family tottered in the balance, the British Government had to make a difficult choice. Ironically, the decision was taken by another charismatic military leader, a young officer by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte; his order to give the Parisian mob a "whiff of grapeshot" settled the matter.