NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Letter signed ('Nelson') to Sir John Acton, Vanguard, Palermo, 18 March 1799, requesting confirmation of his note sent to Nelson and William Hamilton proclaiming that 'His Sicilian Majesty must consider those once beloved subjects as Rebels' in order to grant the agents to the captors of [French vessel] La Grazia the right to 'the sale of the Vessel and Cargo as a lawful Prize', one page, folio (323 x 200mm), bifolium; [With, enclosed:] Letter to Nelson from the aforementioned agents, 13 March 1799, stating that they have 'undoubted proof' that the vessel belongs to enemies of the British and Sicilian crowns and asking him to confirm the legality of taking their prize, two pages, folio, bifolium.
John Acton was at this time holding the positions of secretary of state for the Neapolitan navy and Minister of War, having impressed the royal family of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the British ambassador, William Hamilton, with his efforts to rejuvenate their lacklustre marine force and re-instill order within the territory. As the country most exposed to French aggression, the Kingdom had welcomed Nelson at the end of 1798, following his victory on the Nile. At the time of the present letter, Nelson's fleet was engaged in blockading Naples, then in the hands of the French, in anticipation of its recapture by royalist forces in June of the same year.