NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805), British Vice-Admiral. Autograph letter signed ("Nelson & Bronte"), to Thomas Lloyd, "St. George Koije [Kjöge] Bay near Copenhagen," 24 April 1801. 2 pages, 4to, integral address leaf, written with his left hand, small seal hole (not affecting text), WITH A FINE EXAMPLE OF NELSON'S PERSONAL SEAL on red sealing wax (oval, 29 x 24 mm (1 x ¾ in.), palm tree and crossed horns or torches, two small birds at bottom), in a double-sided giltwood frame.
NELSON AFTER COPENHAGEN: "I STAND BY MYSELF A PERFECTLY FREE INDEPENDANT [SIC] MAN AND HAVE SEEN TOO MUCH OF THE WORLD TO BECOME THE TOOL OF ANY PARTY".
Written just after the naval battle off Copenhagen (April 1, 1801). Disregarding a discretionary order from Sir Hyde Parker (1739-1807) to "discontinue the action", Nelson continued to fight, ultimately forcing an armistice with the Northern Confederation. A month later, on May 5, Nelson was appointed commander-in-chief of the squadron. Aboard his ship and as yet unpromoted, Nelson writes a cordial but opinionated letter to Thomas Lloyd, whose friendship "will be the pleasure of my life." Expressing breezy contempt for the changing winds of political opinion in England, he writes "let the World either Smile or frown upon me. I know the envy of many both in the late & present Ministry are on me, but whilst my heart tells me I do my business like an honest man I can Smile at their dirty attempts to pull me down. I stand by myself a perfectly free Independant Man and have seen too much of the World to become the tool of any party." Nelson informs Lloyd of his uncertain status: "We are I suppose on the Road home for the Emperor of Russia has ordered I can give no other name to his paper Sir Hyde Parker & the Danes to be quiet and for us not to enter the Sound but to stay in the Cattegat."
Nelson concludes with thoughts of home and his desire "to go to England and get if possible, a little rest, the moment Peace comes, I shall go to Bronte & live under the shade of my Great Chestnut tree." Four years later, Nelson led the British fleet in its dramatic victory over Napoleon's ships at the Battle of Trafalgar, in which he was mortally wounded.