3 December 2003
NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed ('Nelson & Bronte') to Lady Hamilton, San Josef, 4 February 1801, 2 pages, 4to, autograph address panel signed ('Nelson'), seal bearing an impression of Lady Hamilton's head (cracked), seal-tear repaired (small splits in centre fold at top and bottom, slight wear in folds of 2nd leaf, lightly soiled and creased, traces of guard).
A discussion of the terms of his will gives way to an impassioned passage at the thought of the Prince of Wales's apparent designs upon Lady Hamilton. 'Sir William should say to the Prince that situated as you are it would be highly improper for you to admit H.R.H. That the Prince should wish it I am not surprized at and that he will attempt every means to get into your house and into any place where you may dine but Sir W[illia]m should speak out and if the Prince is a man of honor he will quit the pursuit of you for I know his aim is to have you as a mistress. The thought so agitates me that I cannot write, I had wrote a few lines last night but I am in tears I cannot bear it'. The first half of the letter explains the 'memorandums' which Nelson is making to his will. 'if you disapprove of any part say so and I will alter it, but I think that you must approve'.
The letter also contains the first reference to Horatia (then about a week old) by name ('Tell Mrs T[homson] her friend is grateful for her goodness and make my kindest regards to Mrs Jenkins & Horatia'). Nelson's pathological suspicion of the Prince was prompted particularly by Sir William's speculations on the approaching Regency, and references in his and Emma's letters to the Prince's wish to be invited to dine. A codicil to Nelson's will was witnessed by Captains Hardy and Thesiger on 6 March, in which he made provision for Fanny, and placed Sir William Hamilton's unpaid debts to himself in trust for Emma, leaving her also £3,000 and three diamond boxes.
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