NELSON, Horatio (1758-1805) Viscount, Hero of Trafalgar. Autograph letter signed ("Nelson & Bronte"), to Capt. Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839), n.p. [Plymouth], 30 January 1801. 1 page, 4to WITH AUTOGRAPH ADDRESS PANEL SIGNED ("N & B") remnant of wax seal. [With:] A facsimile edition of The Times of London, 7 November 1805, reporting Nelson's death and the victory at Trafalgar.
A RARE LETTER TO HARDY, IN COMMAND OF NELSON'S FLAGSHIP, THE San Josef, written two days after Nelson's promotion to Vice Admiral, and one day after Emma Hamilton gave birth to their daughter Horatia. "As I see it was the Earl's intention not to give me the one day's duty in Cawsand Bay, I have wrote to Sir Chs Cotton to carry it on as if I was not present." On the 28th, Nelson was promoted to Vice Admiral and named second in command of the Channel Fleet under John Jervis, the Earl of St. Vincent, to whom Nelson refers. St. Vincent delayed Nelson in Plymouth with dispatches and other naval business, while Nelson was eager to join Hardy aboard his captured prize, now his flag ship, the San Josef, which was being refitted at Cawsand Bay in preparation for the Baltic campaign.
Hardy commanded the San Josef, just as he would command HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar, where Nelson uttered his famous dying words--"Kiss me, Hardy"--after being struck by a French musket ball fired from the Redoutable at the climax of the battle. Nelson was taken below deck and lingered for some three hours, giving orders for the fleet to anchor in preparation for an approaching storm. In addition to his immortal words to Hardy, his surgeon, William Beatty, also heard him murmur, "Thank God I have done my duty." Hardy would go on to become First Lord of the Admiralty and Vice Admiral of the Blue. NO OTHER LETTER FROM NELSON TO HARDY HAS APPEARED AT AUCTION IN THE LAST 40 YEARS. Together 2 items. (2)