Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Letter from Nelson to Emma
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:11 am
Posts: 44
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
This letter has been put up for auction - it addresses the question of whether Emma was Horatia's mother that has been discussed here before.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... 5-000.html

I would very much like to hear any thoughts, especially from Mark.


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 Post subject: Re: Letter from Nelson to Emma
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:44 pm 
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Jesse

I'm not sure if you noticed but the sale of this letter was actually in 2014. I was still hoping to bring it up on Christie's website but for some reason I couldn't. However it made me think that I have never seen all the letters that refer to "Thomson" listed together. If I can find time over the next couple of weeks I will go through the various biographies etc. that I have here and list all Nelson's references to Thomson. That might make for an interesting discussion.

I'm sure you recall that in the past I have questioned whether Emma was actually Horatia's mother. I suppose I am just playing devil's advocate but I still maintain that it is a question that should be asked. I am not aware of a single contemporary description of Emma being pregnant. Even at 8 months when she was at Fonthill and that event was described in some detail in the Gentleman's Magazine. Horatia never acknowledged Emma as her mother. And as we saw on here a while back neither did various members of Nelson's family. None of these things may actually matter but I do think think that until there is cast iron proof this issue should still remain "not proven." If that proof does exist someone please post it here and I promise I will shut up!. LOL!! :)

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Letter from Nelson to Emma
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:11 am
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Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Thank you, Mark. Yes, I did miss that the date of that article was in 2014 - I actually was searching around and dreaming that perhaps if I sold my car and dog I could own a letter written from Nelson to Emma. Sigh.

There are no substantiating comments from the time, very true. But it was also the case that Emma was tall, the fashions allowed disguise, and there were numbers of comments as to her weight (like that famous Gilroy cartoon) I just reread Julie Peakman's description and explanation of the birth of Horatia in her Emma Hamilton (see https://books.google.com/books?id=Lzn6A ... on&f=false)

But there is certainly no proof - that the famous portrait of Horatia running in the field could be Emma's daughter is anything but conclusive. But I certainly like to think that Emma has some happy Tribe descendants and that does indeed color my judgment!


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 Post subject: Re: Letter from Nelson to Emma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:58 am 
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We can rehearse the arguments for and against till the cows come home (in fact, we've already done so, haven't we, Mark? :D) but I do think the final proof lies in the intimate letters that Nelson wrote to Emma when he revealed his innermost thoughts about their relationship. It was risky to put anything of the sort down on paper as their mail was intercepted, hence the Thompson subterfuge; but when he knows he is 'safe' because letters were transmitted personally by trusted hands, he drops all pretence of the Thompson involvement and makes it clear that Horatia is 'our little child'. I could quote several, but the one beginning, 'My dearest wife, for such you are in and the eyes of heaven,' is particularly telling. That sentence he wrote after the birth of Horatia, when he rejoiced effusively in fatherhood and referred to their daughter as the 'pledge of love' that Emma had given him is, I think, quite conclusive. There can be no other inference, I think, than that Emma was Horatia's mother.

As for the Thompson stories - they are riddled with inconsistencies: Thompson 'served in Victory with Nelson' - though I believe no Thompson is on the muster roll; he was the 'son of a sailmaker'; he served in the Elephant and was killed at Copenhagen etc. etc. The story of Thompson as Horatia's father was supported and propagated by Nelson's brother officers, Hardy and Berry in particular. Officers were always prepared to provide 'cover' for each other to disguise their extra-marital escapades. ('Every man is a bachelor after Gibraltar.')

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