NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed twice ('Nelson & Bronte' and 'N & B'), to Lady Hamilton ('My Dearest friend'), n.p.,'10 o'clock March 6th at night' , 3½ pages, 4to, autograph address panel, franking initials, fragment of red wax seal (seal tear in blank margin of 2nd leaf, small splits in centre fold, slightly browned, traces of guard). Provenance: Edwin Wolf 2nd Collection (Christie's sale, 21.6.1989, lot 240).
A FURIOUS AND ALMOST INCOHERENT DENUNCIATION OF THE MEN WHO WOULD BETRAY HER: 'What a rascal that fellow must be ... and what bitches and pimps those folk must be. I have always been taught that a pimp was the most despicable of all wretches and that chap [Charles Greville] who once treated Emma so infamously ill ought to have, even before Sir William, one of your rebukes in your best & most legible hand ... God forbid that I should deprive you of innocent amusements, but never meet or stay in any damned whore or pimp bring that fellow [the Prince of Wales] to you. Let no temptation deviate you from your oath ... I worship - nay adore you and if you was single and I had found you under a hedge I would instantly marry you. Sir W[illia]m has a treasure and does he want to throw it away'.
Charles Greville had taken Emma as his mistress in 1786, later transferring her to Sir William Hamilton, his uncle. Nelson's suspicions that the latter planned to serve his own purposes by presenting her to the Prince of Wales, although somewhat appeased after his visit to London two weeks earlier, were easily revived.
The introductory paragraphs of the letter refer optimistically to the forthcoming campaign, 'Our expedition must be very short I don't think at most more than six weeks ... and if necessity should call me to England I will come directly'. In a continuation written the following day he discloses that he has sent a letter to Sir William for her, 'but how different to these It kills me to write cold letters to you'.