Letter from Nelson to Emma Hamilton, March 1805
Written during Nelson's long period of command in the Mediterranean, this letter to Emma clearly displays how the separation from the 'wife of his heart' was praying on his mind: the couple had not seen each other since May 1803. Nelson writes of his desire to 'embrace the substantial part' of her, but he would have to chase the French fleet across the Atlantic and back before being able to return to 'Paradise Merton'. This was the house the couple had purchased in Surrey, with Sir William Hamilton, when their living arrangements had scandalized society. Nelson's letter contains what appears to be a prophetic statement (possibly preparing Emma for the worst) that he will come home for only a short time, before returning to sea; he returned to Emma for barely a month, in August, before being recalled to face Villeneuve's fleet.
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson
- Image reference: F4376-2
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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