Lot 310
  • 310


5,000 - 7,000 GBP
16,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nelson
  • Autograph letter signed ("Nelson & Bronte") to Emma Hamilton
  • ink on paper
BEGINNING WITH AN OUTBURST AGAINST THE PRINCE OF WALES ("...I...am sorry that you cannot go to a Public place without being tormented by that fellow who has not the smallest regard for Sir William, I hate and detest all the Great and I would not associate with such Company for the World..."), EXPRESSING HIS DESIRE TO RETURN TO HER AS HE AWAITED THE CONCLUSION OF PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITH FRANCE, explaining that the Prime Minister had written to him explaining that "it is of the utmost Importance to the Interests of the Country that your flag should be flying 'till the Definitive treaty is signed", but assuring Emma that he will "not stay one hour after hostilitys cease", also with family news including her move to Merton, 3 pages, 4to, integral address panel, endorsement, remains of black wax seal, H.M.S. Amazon, 10 October 1801, seal tear and two other tears with loss of a few letters, slight browning


Catherine Matcham (née Nelson), thence by descent; Sotheby’s London, Trafalgar: Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars, 5 October 2005, lot 16


APPARENTLY UNPUBLISHED: not in The Dispatches and Letters, Morrison catalogues or The New Letters.

Catalogue Note

Nelson had written a number of "hysterically jealous" letters to Emma earlier in the year on his fear that the Prince of Wales wished to have her as his mistress (Knight, The Pursuit of Victory, pp.355-61), and this jealousy resurfaced as Nelson waited impatiently for the conclusion of the Peace of Amiens so he could return to his lover. He had written five days earlier that he was "vexed but not surprized, my dear Emma, at that fellow's wanting you for his mistress ... the meanness of the titled pimps does not surprize me in these degenerate days. I suppose he will try to get at Merton, as it lays in the road ... to Brighton; but I am sure you will never let them into the premises" (Morrison, The Hamilton and Nelson Papers, vol. II, pp.171-72). See also lot 134. 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.