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.