London, South Kensington
9 July 2002
NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed to Captain [Thomas Blaydon] Capel, Victory, 9 December 1804, 2 pages, 4to (framed and glazed).
'I SUPPOSE I AM THE ONLY ADMIRAL AT WAR WITH SPAIN'. Nelson writes ironically of the inaction of Sir John Orde off Cadiz, who, although Capel might imagine 'the ships outside the Med[iterranea]n are making fortunes by the Capture of Spanish Vessels', has nevertheless failed to take any - 'therefore I suppose I am the only admiral at War with Spain, and either Sir John or myself must be doing wrong'; but the government will approve him, and he still hopes to see Capel 'with a long list of Spanish prizes'. He refers to his own unexpected delay in leaving for home and to the return of Admiral Campbell to England 'very ill in the ambuscade', noting that it is 'now 80 days since I have heard from England'.
A letter written whilst Nelson was awaiting permission to return home on the grounds of ill-health - a frailty which may be evident in the scrawled hand and disjointed syntax of this letter (a repeated phrase is deleted on the verso). Sir John Orde, appointed to replace Nelson, had placed himself on the blockade of Cadiz - a potentially lucrative station in expectation of a declaration of war by Spain. Though the formal declaration of war did not come until 12 December, Nelson had already issued orders to his fleet to detain all Spanish ships. Captain [later Vice-Admiral Sir] Thomas Blaydon Capel was an old companion of Nelson's, having been his Flag-Lieutenant at the Battle of the Nile; at the time of this letter he was stationed off Toulon, observing the activities of the French fleet.
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
From Wolfers Brothers via Henry Vever and Suzanne Belperron to Aldo Cipullo, a guide to some of jewellery’s hidden gems
Christie’s specialist Valérie Didier reveals the story behind one of Théo van Rysselberghe’s most progressive works