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Thanks Given - Pellew
by Inzevar

 

HMS Tonnant
At sea
May 1804

My Dear Sir,

This letter is long overdue, but in truth it could not have been written until now. I must try to express the depth of the gratitude that I owe you. I do not refer to any services to myself but to the countless unselfish acts that you performed for one who is as dear to me as my own son. I am speaking of course of your friend, Horatio Hornblower. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that he is once again in command of his own ship, the Hotspur. He is attached to my squadron at present, but I have allowed him to sail away his on own and do what he does best. He has devised some daring plans for raiding military installations on the French coast. I have no doubt that England will be reading of his success in the Naval Gazette in the very near future!
The fact that he is a commander today is due to your sacrifice at the court martial in Kingston. I deeply regret that I could say nothing to you at the time but I hope you will believe me now when I say that I have never seen an act of courage to match yours. We both know he would have taken the blame on himself to spare others. You chose to damn yourself in the eyes of the world to save him. For this act you have my undying admiration.
The very qualities that make Horatio so fit for the life of a commander are also those which make it difficult for him to easily seek friendship. Your personal qualities made it possible for him to lavish on you the consideration and affection that he would never have asked for himself. You were able to return these gifts in ways that he found acceptable and which enhanced his life. I venture to say that he will never have another friendship like the one he enjoyed with you. I am also convinced that the memory of your shared youth will give him comfort every day for the rest of his life.
In a moment, my dear Mr. Kennedy, I will take this letter up on deck. I have a couple of grapeshot in my pocket to wrap it around. I shall cast it into the sea, under the cover of darkness, (after all, I cannot have the crew thinking that the commodore has taken leave of his senses!) and hope that in some way my words and sentiments may reach you.
I pray that you rest in peace,
Ever your servant,

Edward Pellew.