Nelson Day (23 october 1897)
See also the first letter on the same topic: Nelson Day (20 october 1897).
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, — I regret to find myself at variance with Admiral Hamilton and the other gentlemen who have replied to my letter, but I am still of opinion that a day to celebrate Nelson — his birthday for choice - is in better taste than an annual celebration of a victory over what are now two friendly neighbours. It is beside the question, as it seems to me, to argue whether the French ought or ought not to resent it. What we have to recognize is the fact — amply proved by their Press comments - that they do resent it, as we should most certainly do if the cases were reversed. If we can attain our ends of honouring the memory of the hero and of stimulating public interest in the Navy in an inoffensive manner, why should we resort to a provocative one? It is a sound old British maxim never to hit a man when he is down, and all celebrations of days which are to our foemen days of disaster appear to me to be an infringement of this. With all sympathy for the general aims of the Navy League, I still feel that the great words of Lord Rosebery at Stirling, when he said that Britain had so many victories that she had neither the time nor the memory to celebrate them, strike a higher and a nobler note.
A. CONAN DOYLE.
Reform Club, Pall-mall, S.W., Oct. 22.