by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
William Pitt the Younger already knew the full horror of Britain’s predicament in November 1805, even as he celebrated the victory of Trafalgar in his last poignant but unyielding words to the nation.
Toasted as the “Saviour or Europe” at the Lord Mayor’s banquet, he gently sought to deflate the misguided mood of triumphalism . “Europe is not to be saved by any single man. England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example,” he replied.
Pitt had learned of Austria’s crushing defeat at Ulm three days before Admiral Nelson sank the French and Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar. This was soon to be followed by the allied catastrophe at Austerlitz.