Nelson was at this time anchored on the Thames Estuary as peace negotiations with the French moved slowly towards their conclusion. He was being used by Henry Addington's new administration as, in Knight's words, "a military icon to achieve diplomatic ends" (The Pursuit of Victory, p.418). As on other occasions in Nelson's life, inaction soon left him frustrated and prone to outbreaks of petulance, worsened in this case as he suspected the authorities of conspiring to keep him away from a lover of whom they disapproved. Nelson was eventually granted leave on 23 October.
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