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This able writer has arrived at this conclusion, after a perusal of some of the letters and documents which formed a part of the collection embraced in these volumes. The examination of the entire correspondence leads me to adopt a totally different opinion, and one which permits of no question, as the parentage of the child Horatia is admitted by the parties concerned. Considering the mystery attaching to the child, whom Lord Nelson so solemnly "bequeathed to the beneficence of his country," I cannot but agree with Sir N. Harris Nicolas that all of her history which has been discovered ought to be stated.1 The publication of a part leading to a conclusion contrary to truth on such a subject, and furnished to Sir Harris Nicolas by the Lady herself, relieves me of a delicacy I should otherwise have felt in printing any letters or portions of letters relating to this particular matter; nor do I now feel it at all either necessary or desirable to publish the whole, but merely sufficient to dispose of the question, and not unnecessarily or wantonly to expose the weakness of an otherwise noble, spotless, and heroic character. Justice to others demands this statement, as narratives have been put forth leading to the inference that an illustrious personage (unquestionably meaning the Queen of Naples), one "Too Great to be mentioned," was the mother of the child.
Sir Harris Nicolas' has stated that he "is authorised by Mr. Haslewood, long the confidential friend and professional adviser of Lord Nelson, to declare, in the most positive manner, that Lady Hamilton was not its mother. The name of the mother (he adds) is known to Mr. Haslewood; but he is prevented by a sense of honour from disclosing it. Lady Hamilton always said that the child's mother was a person of high birth, and she has left a written declaration that she was "too great to be mentioned." Mrs. Salter possesses this paper which has been examined by Sir H. Nicolas, and is as follows:
"She is the daughter, the true and beloved daughter of Viscount Nelson, and if he had lived, she would have been all that his love and fortune could have made her; for nature has made her perfect, beautiful, good, and amiable. Her Mother was TOO GREAT To Be Mentioned, but her father, mother, and Horatia had a true and virtuous friend in Emma Hamilton."3
That Horatia was the daughter of Nelson no one has been disposed to entertain a doubt, but the evidence in connection with the birth of the child has been purposely obscured and mystified.
1 Dispatches and Letters, Vol. vii. p. 369.
a Ibid. p. 369. 3 Ibid. p. 389.
The intimacy from which resulted the illegitimate issue under consideration, appears to have taken place in the month of April, 1800, when Lord Nelson conveyed Sir William and Lady Hamilton, on board the Foudroyant, from Palermo to Syracuse, and thence to Malta. The voyage was passed with great festivity, and Lady Hamilton's birth-day, April 26th, was celebrated by music and singing. Miss Knight,1 who was also on board, composed the following song on the occasion : —
Song, addressed to Lady Hamilton, on her Birthday, April the 26th, 1800. on board the Foudroyant, in a gale of wind.
BY MISS KNIGHT.
Come, cheer up, fair Emma, forget all thy grief,
Chorus—Hearts of oak, &c.
Behold yonder fragment, 'tis sacred to fame,
Hearts of oak, &c
These arms the San Josef once claimed as her own,
Hearts of oak, &c.
Then, cheer up, fair Emma! remember thou'rt free,
Hearts of oak, &c.
Miss Knight also wrote three additional verses to God save the King:—
1 Miss Knight was the daughter of Rear-Admiral Sir Joseph Knight. She was many years at Naples and Palermo, and returned to England with Lord Nelson and Sir William and Lady Hamilton, in the autumn of 1800. She was afterwards the Preceptress of Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and is favourably known as the author of "Marcus Flaminius," " Dinarbas," and a " Description of Latium." Sir N. Harris Nicolas has given some extracts from her Diary in his collection of the Dispatches and Letters of Lord Nelson.
* The cabin of the Foudroyant was ornamented with the Flagstaff of L'Orient, the Arms of the San Josef, and the Plume of the Guillauuie Tell.
1. For the Battle of the Nile.
Join we great Nelson's name
Him let us sing!
God save the King!
2. For Le CMntreux.
Lord, thou hast heard our vows!
Of him we sing.
God save the King!
3. For Le Guillaume Tell.
While thus we chaunt bis praise.
New trophies spring!
To George our King.
And Sir Edward Berry also contributed the following :—
Then let's join hand in hand,
Crown him and sing:
God save the King I
France 1 haul thy standard down:
Of him we sing.
And George our King!
Lord Nelson returned to Palermo on the 1st of June. At the middle of this month he was at Leghorn, where he struck his flag, and departed with the Queen of Naples, the three Princesses, Prince Leopold, Sir William and Lady Hamilton, for Vienna, whence he travelled with Sir William and Lady Hamilton to London, arriving at Yarmouth on the 6th of November. In the month of January, 1801, Sir William and Lady Hamilton inhabited a house, No. 23, in Piccadilly, while
VOL. II. 2 T
Lord Nelson was in Arlington-street with Lady Nelson, until the 13th, on which day he finally separated from her Ladyship. An eye-witness on this occasion has given the following account, addressed to Sir N. Harris Nicolas:
"Kemp Town, Brighton, 13th April, 1846.
"I was no less surprised than grieved, when you told me of a prevailing opinion, that Lord Nelson, of his own motion, withdrew from the society of his wife, and took up his residence altogether with Sir William and Lady Hamilton; and that you have never received from any member of his family an intimation to the contrary. His father, his brother, Dr. Nelson (afterwards Earl Nelson), his sisters, Mrs. Bolton and Mrs. Matcham, and their husbands, well knew, that the separation was unavoidable on Lord Nelson's part; and, as I happened to be present when the unhappy rupture took place, I have often talked over with all of them, but more especially with Mr. and Mrs. Matcham, the particulars which I proceed to relate, in justice to the memory of my illustrious friend, and in the hope of removing an erroneous impression from your mind.
"In the winter of 1800-1801,1 was breakfasting with Lord and Lady Nelson, at their lodgings in Arlington-street, and a cheerful conversation was passing on indifferent subjects, when Lord Nelson spoke of something which had been done or said by ' dear Lady Hamilton ;' upon which Lady Nelson rose from her chair, and exclaimed, with much vehemence, ' I am sick of hearing of dear Lady Hamilton, and am resolved that you shall give up either her or me.' Lord Nelson, witli perfect calmness, said, 'Take care, Fanny, what you say: I love you sincerely; but I cannot forget my obligations to Lady Hamilton, or speak of her otherwise than with affection and admiration.' Without one soothing word or gesture, but muttering something about her mind being made up, Lady Nelson left the room, and shortly after drove from the house. They never lived together afterwards. I believe that Lord Nelson took a formal leave of her Ladyship before joining the fleet under Sir Hyde Parker; but that, to the day of her husband's glorious death, she never made any apology for her abrupt and ungentle conduct above related, or any overture towards a reconciliation. I am, dear Sir, your faithful servant,
Lord Nelson gave to Lady Nelson an opportunity of reconciliation after the step she had taken, for he wrote from Southampton, that evening upon his arrival, the following
letter, of which, however, it does not appear that any notice was taken:—
"Southampton, 13th January, 1801. "My dear Fanny, "We are arrived, and heartily tired; and, with kindest regards to my father and all the family, believe me,
The last letter ever written by Lord Nelson to his wife is probably the following, from off Copenhagen:—
"St. George, March 4th, 1801. "Josiah is to have another ship, and to go abroad, if the Thalia cannot soon be got ready. I have done all for him, and he may again, as he has often done before, wish me to break my neck, and be abetted in it by his friends, who are likewise my enemies; but I have done my duty as an honest, generous man, and I neither want or wish for any body to care what becomes of me, whether I return, or am left in the Baltic. Living, I have done all in my power for you, and if dead, you will find I have done the same; therefore my only wish is, to be left to myself: and wishing you every happiness, believe that I am, your affectionate,
"Nelson And Bronte."
That Lady Nelson's suspicions were not groundless will be evident from what follows; but that they had been excited some time ere foundation existed for them, is apparent to me from an attentive perusal of Lord Nelson's correspondence, and a close examination of the circumstances which took place. Lady Hamilton's manners attracted the admiration of all who were introduced to her society. Earl St. Vincent was scarcely less enthusiastic in her praise than Lord Nelson, who felt grateful to her for her attention to his step-son, Josiah Nisbet, in 1793.
Five years elapsed before Nelson and Lady Hamilton again met, and then it was to aid in effecting that most important Battle of the Nile. The part Lady Hamilton took on this occasion could not fail to render her an object of admiration with Nelson; nor could the reception given to him after the battle, nor the care bestowed on his deranged state of health, a care admitted by the Earl of St. Vincent,1 serve otherwise than to demand his gratitude. Lord Nelson's unreserved and un
» See Letter, Vol. i. p. 165.