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    Sale 7471

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    14 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 47

    NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed ('Horatio Nelson') to [Fanny Nelson's uncle] John Richardson Herbert, [Burnham, Norfolk], 28 February 1790, WRITTEN WITH THE RIGHT HAND, 3 pages, 4to, integral address panel (to Herbert at Nevis in the West Indies), docketed by recipient (seal tear approx 20 x 25mm not affecting text, splits at folds, especially around address panel).

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    NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed ('Horatio Nelson') to [Fanny Nelson's uncle] John Richardson Herbert, [Burnham, Norfolk], 28 February 1790, WRITTEN WITH THE RIGHT HAND, 3 pages, 4to, integral address panel (to Herbert at Nevis in the West Indies), docketed by recipient (seal tear approx 20 x 25mm not affecting text, splits at folds, especially around address panel).

    PROSPECTS FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY. Nelson has been in London 'to show myself to the Great World', and reports to a friend in the West Indies on the progress of the parliamentary slave trade committee: they 'go on but very slowly nor I believe have the most sanguine advocates for the abolition now any thoughts beyond regulations. My firm opinion is nothing serious will be done ... The Lords -- nor King would ever allow it to pass: The West India Colonies are too valuable for this Country to injure'; sugar prices have been increased by the independence struggle in Santo Domingo. Nelson gives news too of his stepson Josiah (who has measles) and his wife Fanny ('vastly well'). As for foreign news, 'it seems generally thought our close connection with Prussia will involve us in a War very soon & a fleet is expected to be sent up the Baltic this Summer'.

    John Richardson Herbert was the leading plantation owner on the island of Nevis -- a status which may explain Nelson's implied pro-slavery stance in this letter; his niece, Fanny, had kept house and acted as hostess for him after the death of her first husband. She and Nelson married at his plantation house, Montpelier, on 11 March 1787; at the time of this letter the young couple were half-way into a grim five years living on half-pay with Nelson's parents in Norfolk -- a situation which Fanny in particular, accustomed to black slaves and Caribbean weather, loathed.


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