This letter is physically marked by the scandal of Horatia's parentage. As is well known, her unmarried parents maintained a fiction that Horatia was an orphan over whom they had taken a benevolent interest. They wrote impassioned love letters as Mr and Mrs Thompson, and Nelson did not sign this letter presumably in order to protect his identity. Nelson acknowledged his paternity as he lay dying, imploring that his family be protected with the words that "I leave Lady Hamilton and my daughter, Horatia, as a legacy to my country". Horatia grew up believing that Emma Hamilton was only her guardian and was never to acknowledge that she was her mother. Many of the Nelson-Emma Hamilton letters were doctored, like this one, to hide content that proved Emma's parentage of the girl.
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