3 December 2003
HAMILTON, Emma, Lady (1761?-1815). Autograph letter signed to the Prince Regent (from 1820 King George IV), n.p. [12 Temple Place], 28 February 1813, 4 pages, 4to (the two leaves separated, breaking a few words of the text, small split in fold on 2nd leaf touching 2 words, tear repaired by a slip of paper laid down on blank portion of verso).
LADY HAMILTON'S APPEAL FOR HELP FOR HERSELF AND HORATIA, HER DAUGHTER BY NELSON.
'Most humbly do I beseech forgiveness for my again intruding on your Royal Highness but my necessity is such and so peculiar is my imediate [sic] situation that no other mode of seeking Relief appears to me left. I have no doubt but that your Royal Highness's ministers have been directed to pay attention to my memorial God knows they cannot complain that I have been troublesome as ever since the Death of Lord Nelson I never urged the Consideration of my case before now that I am harassed by extreme embarrassments'.
Emma Hamilton's financial problems after Nelson's death were notorious, although largely caused by her own extravagance rather than the failure of the government to provide her with the income requested in Nelson's will. She had repeatedly to appeal to various quarters, using Horatia's needs as one of the justifications for her demands, declaring in the present letter that the 'slender provision left by Lord Nelson for the bringing up of his daughter Horatia comes short of which I deem necessary for the Education of one of her descent the only Living Blood of that glorious man'.
The letter was preceded by a lengthy memorial addressed to the Prince Regent, listing her services to the country, and her grievances. Early in February 1813 she had been arrested, and taken to the Kings Bench Prison, where she was permitted to lodge in accomodation at 12 Temple Place 'Within the Rules of the Prison'. She was released on 6 March, through the intervention of a friendly Alderman, but was turned down.
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