Horatio Nelson

Nelson, Horatio, 1st Viscount Nelson

British admiral (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed. St. George, Revel Bay [Gulf of Finland]. 4to. 1 p. With fly-leaf bearing address in his handwriting, and his seal (head of Lady Hamilton).
$ 31,839 / 28.000 € (62319/BN45522)

Fine autograph letter to "Lady Hamilton, 23 Piccadilly, London". An important letter written when Nelson was Commander-in-Chief in the Baltic, six weeks after the Battle of Copenhagen. The political situation was complicated in that the Russians, while not now openly hostile, were definitely unfriendly. The cold air of the northern latitudes disagreed with Nelson, who had a severe cough and chill, and he was depressed at the separation from Lady Hamilton and concerned about their baby daughter Horatia, who had been born in January.

The letter is discreet, evidently because of Nelson's fear that it might fall into other hands, and he employs the deception previously arranged with Lady Hamilton of referring to himself as "Thomson". The tone of the letter is melancholy, and Nelson concludes by quoting the last portion of an equally unhappy letter he had written recently to the First Lord of the Admiralty Lord St. Vincent: "My Dearest Friend, / The Harpy Brig sails tomorrow for England, you will not receive this Line for a fortnight after her arrival. I cannot say a word on Politicks. I expect to find a new Admiral on my return which will be in a very few days, poor Thomson is return'd from Petersburgh he desires his kindest affections to his Wife and familiy [i. e. to Emma Hamilton herself and Horatia] - And ever believe me Your Most attach'd & affectionate / Nelson & Bronte. / Most probably you will never receive this letter I have 3 wrote for you now laying by me, firm as a Rock, finish of 8 lines to Lrd. St. V[incent]. I expect to find a new Ad[mira]l when I return off Bornholm, or most probably you will never see again aff[ectiona]te / N & B"..

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