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exclaims: "Would to God, I could do so in instances more deeply interesting! I never exerted myself, on any occasion in my life, more with my whole heart, and I deeply lament my want of success."
Lady Charlotte Nelson, wrote from Canterbury, to Lady Hamilton: "Sir William Scott came on Friday, and left us on Monday. He slept at our house. He talked a great deal about you, and says that you have great claims on Government, and we all sincerely wish they would do what they ought."
Lady Hamilton petitioned the Prince Regent, in 1813, and received the following from Lord Sidmouth:—
"Whitehall, March 6th, 1813. "Madam, "It is very painful to me, to acquaint your Ladyship, that after a full communication, with Lord Liverpool, on the subject of your memorial to his Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, 1 am unable to encourage your hopes, that the object of it can be accomplished. His Lordship sincerely regrets the embarrassments which you have described, but upon comparing them with representations now before him of difficulty and distress, in many other quarters, and upon view of the circumstances with which they are attended, he finds it impossible so to administer the scanty means of relief and assistance, which, under the authority of the Prince Regent, are at his disposal, as to satisfy his own sense of justice to others, and at the same time give effect to your Ladyship's application.
"I have the honour to be, Madam,
"Your Ladyship's obedient humble servant,
Notwithstanding the apparent justice of Lady Hamilton's claims, and the interests with which they were urged upon the Government, no success resulted. She, therefore, presented a petition to the King, but its prayer was disregarded.1
1 The Memorial of Dame Emma Hamilton, widow of hU Excellency, the late Sir William Hamilton, K.B. your Majesty's most faithful Ambassador at the Court of Naples.
That her late husband, Sir William Hamilton, in his liberal and munificent discharge of the honourable duties of that elevated situation to which he was exalted by the goodness of your most gracious Majesty, had so considerably encumbered his private fortune that he was incapable of making a sufficient provision for your Majesty's Memorialist to maintain, after his decease, the rank to which be had indulgently raised her; and wbich it was her constant study as much as possible to merit, by anxiously entering into all her husband's zealous
The expenses Lady Hamilton had incurred at Merton, and by her mode of living, compelled her now to seek some method
and enlarged views of diplomatic devotion to the true interests of our dear country, and the beloved Sovereign who had thus benignantly vouchsafed to honour him.
That it was the good fortune of your Majesty's Memorialist to acquire the confidential friendship of that great and august Princess, the Queen of Naples, your Majesty's most faithful and ardently attached Ally, at a period of peculiar peril; and when her august Consort, the Sovereign of the Two Sicilies, was unhappily constrained to profess a neutrality but little accordant with the feelings of his own excellent heart: by which means, your Majesty's Memorialist, among many inferior services, had an opportunity of obtaining, and actually did obtain, the King of Spain's letter to the King of Naples, expressive of his intention to declare war against England. This important document your Majesty's Memorialist delivered to her husband, Sir William Hamilton, who immediately transmitted it to your Majesty's Ministers.
That your Majesty's Memorialist, on a subsequent occasion, by means of the same confidential communication with that great and good woman, the Queen of Naples, bad the unspeakable felicity of procuring a secret order for victualling and watering, at the port of Syracuse, the fleet of your most gracious Majesty, under the command of Admiral Nelson; by which means, that heroic man, the pride and glory of his King and country, was enabled to proceed the second time for Egypt, with a promptness and celerity which certainly hastened the glorious Battle of the Nile, and occasioned his good and grateful heart to admit your humble Memorialist, as well as the Queen of Naples, to a participation in the honour of that important victory.
That during the long blockade of Malta, your Majesty's humble Memorialist is well known, by all Europe, to have contributed her best assistance, as well as influence, in furnishing and procuring various necessaries for the distressed natives, that they might thus be animated and encouraged to resist as well the artifices as the arms of the enemy, and thereby prevent that important fortress from fatally falling under the entire domination of the French: services with which the Emperor of all the Russias, as your Majesty's Ally, and Grand Master of Malta, was so perfectly satisfied, that he actually transmitted to your Majesty's humble Memorialist, soon after the surrender of that island, the title and insignia of Lady of Malta, of the honourable order of the Petit Croix, accompanied by a cross of that order, and a very flattering letter signed by his Imperial Majesty's own hand.
That, in short, your Majesty's Memorialist, on all occasions—of which she possesses innumerable proofs, under the hands of Sovereign Powers in amity with your Majesty, as well as of the most exalted public and private characters of the age—has endeavoured to merit tue regard of her King and country, by fostering every principle which might tend to promote their honour and welfare, as far as it was possible for her influence to accomplish this primary desire of her heart. In the Royal British Navy, your Majesty's Memorialist humbly presume*, where sincerity as well as valour is always pre-eminently found, the zeal and attachments to its glory which she has at all times peculiarly manifested, is a theme on which it may not become your Majesty's Memorialist to enlarge; but which many of the most illustrious characters by whom it has ever been graced, your Memorialist may be permitted proudly to assert, have generously acknow
of retrieving her fortune. Her embarrassments were great, nnd in April, 1808, a valuation of the villa at Merton, of the furniture, &c. exclusive of books and wines, was made by Mr. Willock, of Golden Square, and estimated by him at the sum of £ 12,930.
In her embarrassment, she wrote the following to the Duke of Queensberry:—
"Richmond, September 4th, 1808.
"My dear Lord and friend, "May I hope, that you will read this, for you are the only hope I have in this world, to assist and protect me, in this moment of unhappiness and distress. To you, therefore, I appeal. I do not wish to have more than what 1 have. I can live on that at Richmond, only that I may live free from fear —that every debt may be paid. I think and hope £15,000 will do for every thing. For my sake, for Nelson's sake, for the good I have done my country, purchase it [i. e. Merton]; take it, only giving me the portraits of Sir William, Nelson, and the Queen. All the rest shall go. I shall be free and at liberty. I can live at Richmond on what I have; you will be doing a deed that will make me happy, for lawyers will only involve me every day more and more—debts will increase new debts. You will save me by this act of kindness—the title deeds are all good, and ready to deliver up, and I wish not for more than what will pay my debts. I beseech you, my dear Duke, to imagine, that I only wish for you to do this, not to lose by it, but I see that I am lost, and most miserable, if you do not help me. My mind is made up to live on what I have. If I could but be free from Merton—all paid, and only one hundred pounds in my pocket, you will live to see me blessing you, my mother blessing you, Horatia blessing you. If you would not wish to keep Merton, perhaps it will sell in the spring better—only let me pass my winter without the idea of a prison. 'Tis true my imprudence has brought it on me, and villany and ingratitude has helped to involve me, but the sin be on them. Do not let my enemies trample on me; for God's sake, then, dear Duke, good friend, think 'tis Nelson who asks you to befriend
ledged, promulged, and applauded, in every part of the world where the British flag is triumphantly borne.
That the solemn recognition of such services, by that immortal man, the late Lord Viscount Nelson, and his pathetic call for their kind remuneration, at the moment when he was about to commence his last and fatal conflict with the enemies of his King and country, in whose battle, at the moment of victory, he so gloriously fell; bequeathing to the generosity of your Majesty and his country, the future fortunes of your humble Memorialist, must afford an everlasting proof that she is not altogether unworthy of being enabled, by the condescending bounty of your Majesty, with the generous concurrence of her country, to maintain that rank and dignity which she derived from the affections of a beloved husband; and which, it is humbly presumed, your Majesty's Memorialist has not, in any single instance, ever disgraced or abused.
And your Majesty's most humble Memorialist, and in duty she is bound to do, shall ever ardently pray, &c.
In vain, however, she attempted to dispose of Merton, and at length, by repeated applications to her friends, a meeting was held at the house of Alderman Sir John Perring, Bart, on the 25th of November, at which were present Sir John Perring, Sir Robert Barclay, Mr. Davison, Mr. Moore, Mr. Gooch, Mr. Macklew, Mr. Abraham Goldsmid, Mr. Nichol, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Lavie, when Mr. Dawson, Lady Hamilton's solicitor, laid before them a list of debts, amounting to £8000, exclusive of £10,000 required to pay off annuities, and a valuation of her property at Merton, and elsewhere, (taken at a low rate) amounting to £17,500. An assignment of Merton and her effects was made to Sir John Perring, Mr. Alexander Davison, Mr. Abraham Goldsmid, Mr. Richard Wilson, and Mr. Germain Lavie, and to afford immediate relief, Mr. Davison and Mr. Goldsmid each advanced £1000, Sir Robert Barclay, Mr. John Gooch, and Mr. Wilson, each £500, and Sir John Perring, £200. The Trustees were to go to market at the time and manner they might think most advantageous, and they formed themselves into a Committee to follow up her claim on Government. Their efforts in the latter respect were unavailing. Lady Hamilton removed to Richmond, and afterwards took lodgings in Bond Street. She was, however, soon obliged to secrete herself from the pursuit of her creditors, but in 1813 was imprisoned in the King's Bench. From this confinement, after ten months, she was liberated by the kind assistance of Mr. Alderman Joshua Jonathan Smith, a man of most upright conduct, and kind heart and disposition. Threatened with an arrest on a coachmaker's bill, which was afterwards found to be a fictitious claim, she, however, fled to Calais, remained there in great obscurity, fell ill, of an attack of water in the chest, and other ailments, of which she died, January 15th, 1815. She is reported by an anonymous foreigner to have died in the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church, and to have taken the sacraments on her death-bed. This writer affirms Lady Hamilton to have embraced that faith a long time previous to her decease, and asserts also in the most positive manner, that a Roman Catholic priest had administered to her the sacrament during her confinement in the King's Bench.
This statement is, however, unconfirmed, and from an account given to me by an English lady, Mrs. Hunter, of Brighton, whose kindness of heart and benevolence brought her in contact with Lady Hamilton in the closing hours of her life, I am not disposed to credit it. This excellent lady tells me, that at the time Lady Hamilton was at Calais, she was also there superintending the education of her son at the Academy of Mr. Mills. She resided in the "Grande Place," and became acquainted with Monsieur de Rheims, the English interpreter, who persuaded Mrs. Hunter to take up her residence with him in his chateau, which was visited by many English. When Lady Hamilton fled to Calais, Monsieur de Rheims gave to her one of his small houses to live in. It was very badly furnished. Mrs. Hunter was in the habit of ordering meat daily at a butcher's for a favourite little dog, and on one of these occasions was met by Monsieur de Rheims, who followed her, exclaiming, " Ah! Madame, Ah! Madame! I know you to be good to the English; there is a lady here that would be glad of the worst bit of meat you provide for your dog." When questioned as to who the lady was, and promising that she should not want for anything, he declined telling, saying that she was too proud to see any one, besides, he had promised her secresy. Mrs. Hunter begged him to provide her with everything she required, wine, &c. as if coming from himself, and she would pay for it. This he did for some time, until she became very ill, when he pressed her to see the lady that had been so kind to her, and upon hearing that her benefactress was not a person of title, she consented, saw her, thanked her, and blessed her. A few days after she ceased to live. This lady describes her to me as exceedingly beautiful even in death. She was anxious to have her interred according to English custom, for which, however, she was only laughed at, and poor Emma was put into a deal box without any inscription. All that this good lady states she was permitted to do, was, to make a kind of pall out of her black silk petticoat, stitched on a white curtain. Not an English Protestant Clergyman was to be found in all Calais, or its vicinity, and so distressed was this lady to find some one to read the Burial Service over her remains, that she went to an Irish half-pay officer in the Rue du Havre, whose wife was a well-informed Irish lady. He was absent at the time, but, being sent for, most kindly went and read the Service over the body. Lady Hamilton, according to the Register of Deaths preserved in the Town Hall, died in a house situate in the Rue Franchise, and was buried in a piece of ground in a spot just outside the town, formerly called the Gardens of the Duchess of Kingston, which had been consecrated and was used as a public cemetery till 1816. This