NELSON, William, 1st Earl Nelson (clergyman, 1757-1835). Autograph letter signed (‘Wm. Nelson’) to [Emma], Lady Hamilton, Hilborough, 19 March 1801.
3 pages, 4to (247 x 192mm), bifolium, address docket (repaired loss, chiefly to second page, sustained during seal removal, slits).
Heartily agreeing with Emma Hamilton, for ‘there never was a truer character given of any Person than the one you have sent me of Tom Tit ... it generally turns to their own shame & confusion as it has happily done in this instance’, Nelson then turns to the only ‘one person & one thing we can all think of at present’, praying that [his brother, Horatio, Lord Nelson] remains safe. He is ‘in great hopes that the Danes will give in without a battle’, having received a report that day, apparently from Yarmouth, ‘that a Cutter had been dispatched to recall the Fleet. I dare say there was no foundation for it, tho' I should not be very much surprised at it, as my Brother told me that there was certainly a Party in this Country which wished to prevent its sailing at all, & wanted to try conciliatory measures once more - 'tis all one to me what they do provided our great Hero returns safe’.
Having rejoiced only briefly in some misfortune encountered by ‘Tom Tit’, Emma Hamilton’s nickname for Fanny Nelson, William Nelson turns to the fate upon the seas of Emma’s lover, his brother, Horatio. Vice Admiral Nelson was soon to take part in the Battle of Copenhagen on the 2 April, having urged his superior, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, that a bold plan of attack on the Danes was preferable to blockading the city.