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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 84

    NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed ('Nelson') to Sir William Hamilton, n.p. [Culloden at sea], 19 May 1799, one page, 4to, integral address leaf annotated in autograph '½ p[as]t 10 o'clock pray send the boat in the morning', docket, red wax seal (some damage to lower margin, seal tear, address leaf strengthened on verso, seal worn). Provenance: Alfred Morrison Collection, vol.II, no.386; Edwin Wolf II Collection; Christie's, 20 June 1990, lot 212; private collection.

    Price Realised  

    NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed ('Nelson') to Sir William Hamilton, n.p. [Culloden at sea], 19 May 1799, one page, 4to, integral address leaf annotated in autograph '½ p[as]t 10 o'clock pray send the boat in the morning', docket, red wax seal (some damage to lower margin, seal tear, address leaf strengthened on verso, seal worn). Provenance: Alfred Morrison Collection, vol.II, no.386; Edwin Wolf II Collection; Christie's, 20 June 1990, lot 212; private collection.

    SUBTERFUGE ABOUT LETTERS FOR EMMA HAMILTON. Nelson hastens to write to forward a note from Captain [Richard] Hallowell to Captain [Thomas] Troubridge, adding 'If Duckworth joins I shall have a respectable force[.] You may depend I will do my best'. He then gives a rather involved account of his reasons for writing to Emma Hamilton separately: 'I have wrote good Lady Hamilton a line this evening but sent it to Lieut[enan]t Lamb it being of no very particular consequence ... the moment I get my dispatches I shall write to her, although this will come to you very late yet it is of too much consequence to keep from you one moment'.

    Nelson had fallen in love with Emma Hamilton during the evacuation of the Neapolitan court to Sicily in December 1798, and they had consummated their relationship early in 1799. The letter dates from the midst of the crisis precipitated by the escape of the French fleet at Brest and its entry into the Mediterranean, where British forces were scattered -- including four ships of the line under Rear Admiral John Thomas Duckworth at Minorca. Captains Hallowell and Troubridge, referred to in the letter, were both veterans of the Battle of the Nile; four days after the present letter, the former was the author of one of the oddest gestures of Nelson's career, presenting him with a coffin made from wood and iron from the wreck of L'Orient.


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