Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
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 Post subject: Friday, September 13th, 1805. Journey to Portsmouth.
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:18 pm 
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Dear Forum,

I have read with interest the posts on the Post subject: Re: Burford Bridge? in this forum, and whilst reading the topic, I wondered if there was any account of Nelson having a Royal Marine guard for the journey down to Portsmouth - whatever route was taken?

We know that he left Merton, (on his own), around 10:30pm, in a hired/private Post-Chaise. Would that have been a two horse or four horse team?

Given the perilous nature of the times, and the fact that this was a road, (Brighton and Portsmouth), that was frequently traveled down by Admirals, sailors, merchants as well as bandits, (I know this is 100+ years after the great Highwaymen era, but robbers are robbers), surely, it must have crossed the minds of the French, or Spanish, to assassinate Nelson, given his reputation as a courageous and superior tactical leader at sea - and that he had spent the best part of the past 2 years blockading and harassing the enemy fleet back and forth across the Atlantic and Med.

It's not as if the British didn't suspect or in-fact, encourage this sort of thing themselves; Thomas Hickey, The plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise, and the The Despard Plot of 1802.

Travelling alone, at the reported 6 to 9mph, without an escort, would have been an incredibly risky endeavor.

ps Wasn't the order from the Admiralty for Nelson to get to Portsmouth as a consequence of the French and Spanish fleets combining at anchor in Cádiz. Given that news would reach England, and knowing Nelson was at Merton...etc etc etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Friday, September 13th, 1805. Journey to Portsmouth.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:28 am 
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I can't comment on your speculation re: assassination but it's not to be dismissed. Rumours that this practice was not unknown to the French have been aired: wasn't there some suspicion that Admiral de Villeneuve's 'suicide' was, in fact, an assassination? Welcome to the forum, by the way!

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 Post subject: Re: Friday, September 13th, 1805. Journey to Portsmouth.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:24 am 
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Many thanks Anna.

Yes, 'six stab wounds in the left lung and one in the heart' would take some doing to yourself.

I would find it extraordinarily odd, that The Admiralty would have sanctioned a lone, (un-guarded) trip, however, as his departure point was from Merton, around 10:30pm, and ordered in a but of a hurry, then I suppose one can accept he did.

Also, it's very easy to view those times with our own 21st century sensibilities. The fact may have been that as Nelson was a reasonable shot and swordsman, and prone to bad moods and temper, perhaps it was best to leave the Vice-Admiral well enough alone.


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