Blind Determination

During the battle of Copenhagen in 1801, admiral Horatio Nelson's forces were bombarded by the Danish for several hours. At last, Sir Hyde Parker, Nelson's commander, issued a signal commanding him to stop fighting and retreat.

Nelson, determined to continue, peered through a telescope and truthfully declared that he could see no signal. His officers insisted that he was wrong. The problem? Nelson had deliberately held the telescope to the sightless eye which he had lost at Calvi in 1794.

"I have only one eye," he declared. "I have a right to be blind sometimes -- I really do not see the signal!"

[According to many historians, Parker had in fact told Nelson to use his own discretion vis-a-vis disregarding the signal.]

[Nelson might easily have chosen another profession. He often suffered from seasickness, and (like some 5% of the seagoing population) never developed immunity to it.]

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