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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 85

    NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph manuscript signed ('Nelson & Bronte'), 'Memorandums for Sir Richard Bickerton to carry into Execution at Malta', Victory, 17 December 1803, 4 pages, 4to, bifolium (minor browning, remnants of guards), separate address leaf, seal in red wax (seal tears, repaired, minor soiling). Provenance: Sir Richard Bickerton, and by descent (20th-century ownership stamp to p.1 and address leaf); Edwin Wolf II Collection; Christie's, 20 June 1990, lot 247; private collection.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph manuscript signed ('Nelson & Bronte'), 'Memorandums for Sir Richard Bickerton to carry into Execution at Malta', Victory, 17 December 1803, 4 pages, 4to, bifolium (minor browning, remnants of guards), separate address leaf, seal in red wax (seal tears, repaired, minor soiling). Provenance: Sir Richard Bickerton, and by descent (20th-century ownership stamp to p.1 and address leaf); Edwin Wolf II Collection; Christie's, 20 June 1990, lot 247; private collection.

    CONVOYS, TRANSPORTS, FRIGATES AND WEEVILS: a flurry of orders in the Mediterranean command. The first part of the memorandum is taken up with arrangements for the convoying of trade ships from the Levant, Patras, Zante, the Adriatic and Sicily as far as Gibraltar and beyond: 'Sir Richard is desired during his stay to give all the assistance in his power to our trade and in particular to take care that the fish ships are not delay'd for want of Convoy'. After giving instructions for the transfer of the Juno to Nelson's station, 'being much distressed for frigates', and for the refitting of the Renard '[if] judged fit for the service', Nelson delivers a strong complaint about the quality of his provisions: 'The Bread from Malta being very much infested with Weevils Sir Rich[ar]d Bickerton is requested to enquire into the reason and to take such steps as may in some measure prevent so great a destruction of that species of provisions, by either housing it in clean store houses, or putting it in clean transports'; the memorandum ends with instructions for a rendez-vous with the victuallers, and a sharp note 'Sir Richard is desired to make enquiry what could have occasioned the non arrival of the Transports long before this period'.

    Nelson had been appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean at in May 1803; his attention to the repair of his ships and to provisioning are typical of his approach to the successful maintenance of a blockade on Toulon, which lasted for 18 tedious months. Sir Richard Bickerton was his second-in-command at this period.


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