Partial ALS signed “Nelson & Bronte,” one page, 7.25 x 9.25, no date [circa 1803–04]. The final page of a longer letter reads, in full: “However, what I have will be certain. I am glad Hazlewood has rented Merton farm to Linton for another year, it will give me time to think about my own affairs, for God knows I have never done that justice to myself which I ought all my time and thoughts have been for the Public. I have not been so well as usual these several days past and I sincerely hope my successor is upon his rout, for if they force me to stay here the Winter I shall certainly go home instead of coming out in the Spring, but a Spanish war which I fear it will be will produce plenty of Candidates. I think Lord Keith will try. God Bless you my Dearest beloved Emma. Kiss dear H[orati]a for me. Ever for ever, Yours most faithfully & affecty.” The reverse bears the address panel in Nelson’s hand, to “Lady Hamilton, Merton, Surry” [sic], with an additional “Nelson & Bronte” signature. Also included is an letter from the librarian of the National Maritime Museum regarding the letter, as well as an explanatory typescript (evidently from the same museum) referencing a letter of September 22, 1804, in which Nelson requests “Don’t fix anything about Linton’s farm till my arrival”; and copies of e-mails from Dr. Colin White, director of the Nelson Letters Project at the museum, who states that “it certainly seems to be the ‘continuation’ of the 26 Sept. 1803 letter.” In fair to good condition, with seal-related losses to left and right margins (confined to blank portions), a few holes and tears (one near but not touching first letter of signature), and scattered soiling, toning, and staining.
Born the daughter of a humble blacksmith, the model, entertainer and courtesan Emma (nee Amy) Lyon ascended the ranks of British society, marrying the British Envoy to Naples, Sir William Hamilton, in 1791. Nearly four decades her senior, he was unconventionally open to her budding interest in the heroic Horatio Nelson when he came to stay with them after losing his arm in battle in 1798. The two soon fell in love and began an infamous affair, having their first daughter, Horatia, in 1801. When Sir William died in 1803, Emma was pregnant with Nelson’s second child and desperate to turn Merton Place into the home that he wanted. Returning to sea to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, Nelson regularly wrote to Emma to discuss domestic affairs and assure her that he would return shortly. This letter offers a wonderful glimpse into that hopeful period in the couple’s life, unfortunately cut short by the disastrous Battle of Trafalgar. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.