Page images
PDF
EPUB

last wishes, I shall consider it a sacred duty not to disappoint that expectation.

"You will learn from the Captain that Lord Nelson within the hour preceding the commencement of the action, in which he immortalized his name, made an entry in his Pocket Book,1 strongly recommending a remuneration to you for your services to the country when the fleet under his command was in Sicily, after his first return from Egypt, on which subject he had spoken to me witli great earnestness more than once. I cannot therefore delay assuring yon 1 will take the earliest opportunity of a personal communication with Mr. Pitt, to enforce that solemn request upon him; and I am sure his respect for the memory of one of the greatest men that ever lived in any country, and his sense of what is right to be done in such a case, will- incline him to listen attentively, and 1 trust favourably to the claim made for you, of which 1 never heard any thing till he went out of office in 1801.

*' When I last had the honour of seeing you, during Mr. Addington's Administration, more than two years ago, I suggested the length of time since the service was performed as an obstacle; that objection is certainly not weakened; but considering the time when the solemn and earnest recommendation already alluded to, and the strong attestation of the importance of your interposition were given; and having in view the highly beneficial effect produced to the country so satisfactorily ascertained, I am not without a hope of success. 1 am extremely anxious, however, to guard you against entertaining a sanguine expectation on the subject, that 1 may not have the self-reproach of occasioning a disappointment to you. My application must be to Mr. Pitt, but the reward (to which I have not the slightest hesitation in saying, I think you are, both on principle and in policy, well entitled,) must, I conceive, be from the Foreign Secretary of State, on account of the nature of tho service. I can promise nothing but zeal; how far that, acting upon the conviction of my mind, of the justice of your pretensions will be effectual, you shall know within a few days at the latest, after I shall see Mr.Pitt either at Bath or in London. "I trouble you with no particulars about Mr. Bolton, as I have written to himself; the earnest manner in which Lord Nelson repeatedly spoke and wrote to me respecting him, will ensure to him my liveliest attention; he knows from me Mr. Pitt's positive engagement to provide for him. i' I have the honour to be, "Madam, "Your most obedient and very humble servant,

1 The following is in the Earl Nelson's writing:—" Before Mr. Pitt's death it was determined that the memorandum book should be given or sent to him;— after that took place, as soon as convenientlj could be, after Lord Granville was fixed in his office of Prime Minister, it was the opinion of many persons of consequence, that as the said memorial contained secret matters relative to the part the Queen of Naples privately took in assisting our fleet at Syracuse before the Battle of the Nile, that no other person ought to have it but the Minister, accordingly Lord Nelson took it from Sir William Scott and gave it to Lord GrenviUe on the 15th of February last, and at the same time he read it to his Lordship, and strongly pointed out to him the parti relative to Lady Hamilton and the child, and in doing this Lord Nelson observed to Lord GrenviUe that he thought he was most effectually promoting the interest of Lady Hamilton, and doing his duty, in which Lord GrenviUe acquiesced."

"george Rose." "Madam, "Deeply as I am affected by the recent loss I have sustained in the death of Mr. Pitt, I cannot omit to express to you my sincere and deep regret that I had not a possible opportunity of fulfilling the engagement which the veneration I have for the memory of Lord Nelson induced me to make to you in my letter from Cuffnells, after I had seen Captain Hardy.

"I had no alarm about Mr. Pitt's health, till it was decided he should leave Bath; but on my seeing him at Putney Heath I found him so ill as to preclude my talking to him on any business whatever; Sir Walter Farquhar, indeed, had positively prohibited any one from doing so.

"I shall certainly not remain in office, and, respecting arrangements that are about to take place, I know nothing, no one can be in more utter ignorance of them than I am; but if it shall happen that any representation of mine to any of those who may fill the departments of government can have the remotest chance of being useful to you, it shall not be wanting. I am persuaded, however, Lord Nelson's last and solemn appeal to his country for justice to be done to your claim will be the best possible support to it.

"I will have the honour of waiting on you some morning in the course of next week.

"I have the honour to be, "Madam, "Your faithful and most obedient humble servant,

"george Rose.

"Old Palace Yard, January 27th, 1806."

"Dear Madam, "I have made arrangements for to-morrow that would render it reallv inconvenient for me to wait on you while you are in town; I would, however, break in upon those, and call in Clarges-street, if I could have a chance of being useful to you, but I am certain I cannot. What I have repeatedly suggested to you I am more and more confirmed in, that the difficulty in affording you relief is increased, to a great extent, by the length of time that has elapsed since your claim arose, in which period there have been three administrations. If you cannot obtain attention to it now, I am sure you had better think no more of it. I do not say this from indifference on the subject, but from an anxiety that you should not continue to entertain a hope that must (if you do not immediately obtain relief) end in disappointment. Lord Nelson's codicil, I think, affords a ground for making a last attempt.

"I am, dear Madam,

"Your very faithful humble servant,

"George Rose.

"Old Palace Yard, July 3rd, 1806."

"Dear Madam,

"I had an opportunity of a very quiet conversation with Mr. Canning, ou Sunday last, about the paper written by Lord Nelson just before he went into his last action, which has led to a further conversation on the subject. I repeat what I think I before said, that there is a perfect disposition in Mr. Canning's mind to give effect to that paper, but the difficulties are, I fear, insurmountable.

"I can most truly assure you that I have most anxiously and conscientiously discharged all that Lord Nelson could have expected from me if he were now alive, and I am most sincerely grieved that I have failed of success. The point is not absolutely decided, but I should be inexcusable if I were to give you any hope. I leave London to-morrow, and from Cuffhells I will write to Mr. Bolton on the affairs which interest him.

"I am your very faithful humble servant,

"G. Kobe.

"Old Palace Yard, July the 21st, 1808."

Lord Grenville,upon beingreferred to, he havingbeen Foreign Secretary of State, at the time Lady Hamilton's services were rendered to the country, observed, that had the application for remuneration been made during the period, it would, certainly, have met with his attention. Lady Hamilton sought for remuneration from the Foreign Secret Service Fund, and she addressed the Earl of St. Vincent, to induce him to move a Parliamentary consideration of her claims. The following exhibits the effort she made on this occasion:—

"My dear Lord,

"A strong sense of the deep regard which you have ever shewn, for all that relates to the welfare of our country in general, and consequently to its naval glory in particular; with the tender recollection, how dear you thus rendered yourself to the heart of our immortal and incomparable heio, whose ardant wish it was to see your Lordship always at the head of the Admiralty, a sentiment that still pervades the bravest bosoms in the navy; have awakened in my heart a hope, after so many years of anxiety and cruel disappointment, that the public services of importance, which it was my pride as well as duty to perform, while the wife of his Majesty's Minister at the Court of Naples, may, possibly, through your Lordship's friendly and generous advice, and most able and active assistance, which 1 now most earnestly solicit, but a short time longer remain either unacknowledged, or unrewarded, by my King and country.

"1 will not agonize the extreme sensibility of your Lordship's feeling breast, by any attempt to detail the various vicissitudes of my hapless fortunes, since the fatal day when dying Nelson bequeathed myself and his infant daughter, expressly left under my guardianship, to the munificent protection of our Sovereign and the nation. I will not arouse the just indignation of your Lordship's great and honourable mind, by reciting the many petty artifices, mean machinations, and basely deceptive tenders of friendship, which hitherto have prevented Lord Nelson's dying request from being duly heard, by those to whom it is so peculiarly and pathetically addressed.

"You, my Lord, cannot be insensible of the value of my public services; since it is to them alone, I have been so many years indebted for the proud boast of possessing your friendship. As the widow of Sir William Hamilton, more than thirty years Ambassador at the Courts of Naples and Palermo, had I never seized the opportunity, or even felt the inclination, to perform any one act of public service, I might still have expected a reasonable pension would be granted, if duly applied for, by the benevolent Monarch whom my husband had so long, so ably, and so faithfully served. Even the widow1 of Mr. Lock, only about two years Consul at Palermo, a man not remarkable either for great loyalty, or the most correct attention to his official duties, had a pension assigned her, almost immediately on bis death, of £800 a year; while I, who have been seven years the widow of such a man as Sir William Hamilton, the foster brother of our Sovereign, and have constantly done all in my power to benefit my country, continue to be totally neglected. The widow of Mr. Fox, whose services to his country are, at best, very -problematical, had instantly a grant of .£1200, per annum; and even his natural daughter, Miss Willoughby, obtained a pension of .£300 a year. Yet this man of the people, did not shed his blood for his King and country; and neither asked, nor could have expected, from them, when dying, like the noble and confiding Nelson, any such posthumous national support, as has humanely been extended to those who had thus lost their only protector. Surely, the daughter of Lord Nelson, now Miss Nelson, is not less an object worthy the attention of her King and country, than Aliss Willoughby, the daughter of Mr. Fox.

1 A daughter of the Duchess of Leinster, by Mr. Ogilvie.

"1 have said, perhaps, more than enough; but the goodness of your Lordship's heart will excuse whatever may flow from mine, however irregularly, in the act of addressing, as my assured friend, the greatest stateman that the death of Mr. Pitt has left behind.

"Lamenting, as I feelingly, perhaps selfishly do, in common with all who have a just sense of your Lordship's transcendent abilities, and the exigencies of our country at this eventful period, that you are not in the proper situation to act more effectually for the national security and glory, 1 shall, in a few days, transmit you a printed copy of Lord Nelson's dying request, prefaced by his admirable prayer for his King and country, and accompanied by the Reverend Dr. Scott's attestation, as registered with this remarkable Codicil, in Doctors' Commons; and relying, with the most unbounded confidence, on your Lordship's judgment, as to what measures may be most advisable to be pursued, for the attainment of objects so important to Miss Nelson, as well as to myself, and so dear to the heart of Britain's greatest naval hero, "I am, my dear Lord, "With every sentiment of veneration, "Esteem, and gratitude,

"Your Lordship's most affectionate,

"and obedient humble servant,
"Emma Hamilton."

Mr. Rose, in a letter addressed in 1807 to Lady Hamilton, among other things, and after having obtained the promise of a Pursership of an Indiaman, for some one who had suffered by the death of Lord Nelson, and in whom she was interested,

« PreviousContinue »