Showing posts with label Emma Hamilton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emma Hamilton. Show all posts

Friday, March 8, 2013

Horatio Nelson, Not That Hamilton Man, But Emma Hamilton's Man

Previously I have written about Emma Hamilton, that Hamilton Woman, and her husband Sir William Hamilton, that Hamilton Man. Emma was regarded as the most beautiful British woman of the time, so she had some notoriety, but her affair with Horatio Nelson, the greatest Naval hero of the Napoleonic Wars, gave her even greater notoriety.


Horatio Nelson
September 29 1758-October 21 1805



He was born the sixth of eleven children to Edmund and Catherine Nelson. He was the Great-Grandnephew of the the Robert Walpole, the 1st Earl of Orford and who was the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. At the age of twelve he went to sea under his uncle, Sir Maurice Suckling, Captain of the HMS Raisonnable. At first an Ordinary Seaman and coxswain, he was quickly appointed midshipman. He found that he suffered from seasickness.

Suckling found himself transferred and no longer in need of Nelson’s services, so Horatio went to serve on a West Indiaman. He crossed the Atlantic twice and then returned to Suckling’s service in command of the longboat. Learning of a survey of the Arctic under Constantine Phipps, Nelson joined the expedition as coxswain aboard the Carcass under Lutwidge. Lutwidge later touted a story that Nelson had pursued a polar bear saying “I wished, Sir, to get the skin for my father.”

Suckling arranged for Nelson to transfer to the HMS Seahorse in 1773 that was to sail to the East Indies. In February of 1775 Hyder Ali’s ketches attacked the Seahorse during the first Anglo-Maratha war. Nelson’s first combat. In 1776 he contracted malaria and returned to England aboard the Dolphin. By the end of the six month voyage to England he had recovered. Suckling was now Comptroller of the Navy and used his influence to see Nelson promoted to Lieutenant aboard HMS Worcester under Captain Mark Robinson. Nelson later passed his exam for lieutenant, his uncle serving as one of the three examining officers. The day after he was appointed into HMS Lowestoffe under William Locker.



The ship took several prizes for the American War of Independence was on. One prize was the tender Little Lucy which Nelson was given command of for 2 cruises. Locker recommended Nelson to the commander-in-chief in Jamaica, Sir Peter Parker who placed Nelson in his flagship, HMS Bristol. By the end of 1778 Nelson had earned about £400 in prize money. Nelson was appointed Master and Commander of the brig HMS Badger. Nelson cruised the Central American coast during early 1779 but did not succeed in capturing prizes. He did find that he was promoted to Post-Captain in June of 1779.

Now Nelson was given command of the 28 gun frigate HMS Hinchinbrook. He took command on September 1 of 1779 (DWW-I’ll have to remember that date. September 1 is my BD.) In the Hinchinbrook Nelson was successful at acquiring prizes, but his malaria began to flare up again. He stayed with his command to take part in John Dalling’s attempts to capture Spanish colonies, including the attack on San Juan in Nicaragua. After this Sir Peter Parker gave Nelson the command of the larger 44-gun frigate HMS Janus. But Nelson was too sick to take command. The mistress of William Cornwallis nursed him back to health. He was sent back to England to further recuperate. In August of 1781 he was able to return to duty and given command of the Albermarle.

At this time, he was ordered to escort a convoy back to England and two other Naval ships were placed under his command to protect the convoy. Nelson had to sail through a storm after the convoy was delivered safe. He was now ordered to join a convoy from England to Canada. After which he was sent to hunt American privateers. He retook captured british merchant ships and small craft. He sailed with a convoy from Canada to New York, where Nelson asked to be attached to Admiral Hood’s fleet. Nelson now executed his plan in 1783 to take Turks Islands. It was not successful. He spent the rest of the war capturing prizes in the West Indies.


In 1784 he was back in England and received command of HMS Boreas. He was enforcing the Navigation Acts and this caused him to come in conflict with the American legal system which sued him. He was confined to the Boreas for eight months and could have faced imprisonment but things came out in his favor. During this time he met Frances Nisbet, a widow. They were married in 1787 on Nevis.




Nelson and his wife spent time between Bath and London, then in 1788 settled in his home at Burnham Thorpe. He was in reserve on half pay doing his best to try and get a sea command. He also tried to get his former crew members employment as well. He was called back to service after the French Revolution began, in 1793. He was given command of the HMS Agamemnon on January 1st 1783.

In May of 1794, Nelson sailed under William Hotham and Lord Hood. First to Gibraltar then into the Mediterranean to establish superiority, and support Toulon. Nelson was sent to carry despatches to Sardina and Naples. At Naples he met Sir William Hamilton and his wife Emma.



Nelson was to get reinforcements for Toulon. He returned to Toulon and found it besieged by the revolutionaries. Hood sent Nelson to join a squadron near Cagliari. Here on October 22 he saw five ships, which proved to be a French Squadron. He attacked the Melpomene and did considerable damage but the other ships attacked and he was outnumbered. 

Nelson made repairs and joined Commodore Robert Linzee who gave Nelson command of his own squadron. The Agamemnon, three frigates and a sloop, ordered to blockade Corsica. Hood meanwhile failed at Toulon and 18 French Ships-of-the-line dell into republican hands. Nelson now needed to succeed at Corsica and Hood sent additional ships to Nelson.

On February 7, 1794 an assault force was landed on the Island. It captured all but Bastia fearing that the city was too well defended. Nelson argued otherwise and Hood finally agreed that Nelson should try and take the town. After a 45 day siege, Nelson was victorious. Then they were onto Calvi. Here, while at one of the forward batteries, a shot sprayed stones and sand into Nelson’s eye. The British took Calvi, but Nelson eventually lost sight in the eye.

Hood sent Nelson to Genoa to open diplomatic relations. Hood then returned to England and William Hotham succeeded him. Nelson then went to Leghorn for repairs to his ship and had an affair with Adelaide Correglia. (DWW-Emma Hamilton then was not the first to tempt him from his marriage.)

The fleet arrived and from late 94 to early 95 the fleet cruised the Mediterranean. Then on March 8 news came that the enemy fleet was loose and headed for Corsica. The english set out to meet them. The French did not want to fight and the two fleets shadowed each other. On march 13th, Nelson engaged the 84-gun Ça Ira, much larger than the Agamemnon, but two additional french ships came and Nelson had to retreat. The 14th saw the battle of Genoa, and here, the Ça Ira badly damaged from the day before, was being towed by the Censeur which Nelson captured.



The French retreated and gave up plans to recapture Corsica. Nelson was given a small command bound for Genoa in July but they ran into the much larger French fleet and had to retreat to St Fiorenzo alerting the entire British Fleet. This caused the French to veer off. The British came out to pursue the French but could not bring their enemy to an engagement.

Nelson now operated out of Genoa and formulated plans to thwart the French, but Hotham did not want to do so. In November Sir Hyde Parker replaced Hotham, the Italy was being lost. The French succeeded and the allies retreated towards Genoa, Nelson able to cover the withdrawing army and prevented them from being surrounded. But not more than that.

In January 1796 Sir John Jervis took command of the Mediterranean and allowed Nelson and independent command as a commodore. He was now successful at frustrating French advances and bolstering the Italian allies. But Nelson felt that despite small successes, the British were becoming useless in saving the Italian peninsula.  Agamemnon needed to return to England for repairs and Nelson was given the 74-gun Captain. The Allies lost Leghorn and Nelson transported British nationals to Corsica. He was then ordered to blockade Leghorn, now an enemy port. 

In July of 96 he oversaw the occupation of Elba, but in September the Genoese broke their neutrality and allied with the French. The British fleet was now returned to Gibraltar. 

During the retreat from Corsica, he captured the Spanish frigate Santa Sabina.  He placed Thomas Hardy and Jonathan Culverhouse in charge of the prize. The next day, 2 Spanish Ships-of-the-line which now outnumbered Nelson came into view. He thought to fight as he could not outrun them. Hardy and Culverhouse though raised their colours and drew off the 2 Spanish ships allowing Nelson to escape even as his prize was recaptured. Later, after Christmas, he learned the Spanish had sailed from Cartagena and so he stopped to collect his captured prize crew, then sailed to join Sir John Jervis off Cadiz. 

Nelson joined Sir John Jervis’ fleet and was present when they met the Spanish on February 14th. Nelson and Captain were towards the rear of the line and it would be a long time before they could engage. Nelson disobeyed orders and wore his ship, heading to engage the Spanish van, which consisted of the 112-gun San Josef, 80-gun San Nicolas and 130-gun Santisima Trinidad. Captain engaged all three assisted by Culloden. The two british ships were heavily damaged. Nelson led a boarding action against San Nicolas crying “Westminster Abbey! or glorious victory!” and captured her. San Josef  tried to come to aid the other Spanish ship and became entangled, and Nelson continued on to the San Josef and captured her as well. As night dell the Spanish fled, leaving 4 ships in british hands, two captured by Nelson.

Jervis liked Nelson and so did not reprimand him for disobeying orders. As punishment Nelson was nor mentioned in the official report of the battle. Jervis did write a private letter to George Spencer of how Nelson contributed to the victory. Nelson wrote many letters about his own actions and clapped himself on the back saying the fleet referred to his way of capturing ships involved Nelsons Patent Bridge for boarding first rates. (DWW-Ships were rated six degrees, first rates had the most guns) Nelson’s account was challenged by William Parker. But Nelson’s account prevailed. Jervis was made an Earl, and Nelson was made a Knight of the Bath. Then on February 20th, due to seniority (He had now served longer as a Captain then any other Captain in the service) he was promoted to Admiral of the Blue.


Nelson received the surrender of the San Nicholas

Nelson was not given Theseus and ordered to lie off Cdiz, watching the Spanish fleet and waiting for treasure ships. He carried out a bombardment and let an assault on July 3rd. His barge collided with that of the Spanish commander and they engaged in hand to hand fighting. Nelson was almost killed twice, a seaman named John Sykes took the blows and was badly wounded. Now Nelson developed a plan to capture Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the treasure ship Principe de Asturias.

Nelson wounded during the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife


Nelson’s plan called for a bombardment and a landing. The first attempt was stopped because of the currents, and the element of surprise was lost. Nelson ordered another assault but it was beaten back. He prepared a 3rd attempt, to take place at night. He led one of the battalions and the operation failed. The Spanish were ready for it. He was wounded in the right arm and rowed back to the Theseus to be attended to by the surgeon. He declared “Let me alone! I have got my legs left and one arm.” Most of his right arm was amputated, and then within half an hour Nelson was back to issuing orders. He would later apologize about his letters saying he was not naturally left-handed. Nelson also had the sensation of Phantom Limb for his missing right arm.

A force under Sir Thomas Troubridge fought their way to the main square at Santa Cruz de Tenerife but could go no further. They also could not return to the fleet as their boats had been sunk. He had to enter into negotiations with the Spanish commander and the British were allowed to withdraw. The expedition had failed. Eventually they rejoined Jervis off Cadiz.  Nelson wrote, that as he had lost his arm, he had best retire and make way for men with two arms. He transferred to Seahorse and made his way back to England. He was greeted as a hero. He was not tarnished with failure at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. That was laid against Jervis, the Secretary of War and even William Pitt.

Nelson and Fanny went to Bath and then moved to London in October to get better medical advice about his arm. News came that Adam Duncan had defeated the Dutch at Camperdown. Nelson said he would have given his other arm to have been present. He spent the end of 1797 in London and was awarded the Freedom of the City of London and an annual pension of one thousand pounds. (DWW-A very nice sum allowing him to live as a very rich man) Nelson bought Round Wood Farm with the money though he never lived there.

The surgeons tried to remove a ligature, but failed yet it came out of its own accord. Nelson now began to recover. He was promised the 80-gun Foudroyant but she was not ready for sea. Instead he was given the 74-gun Vanguard and appointed Edward Berry as his flag captain. On March 28th, 1798 Nelson sailed to join Earl St. Vincent (John Jervis) in the Mediterranean.

Nelson took position off Toulon by mid May, but a strong gale blew his squadron off the blockade. Napoleon was able to sail with his invasion fleet, and now Nelson went in pursuit. While Nelson looked for the French, they had arrived at Malta and took it. When Nelson reached Malta, Napoleon had already sailed. Nelson was able to determine that Egypt was the destination of the French and headed to Alexandria. There was no sign of the French when Nelson arrived. Nelson left looking for the French and that was when the French did arrive.

The French anchored in Aboukir bay, and Nelson having missed the French went to Naples to resupply. Returning to the Eastern Med, he thought to go to Cyprus but one last look at Alexandria led him to capture a French merchant ship and get news of the French fleet. He now hurried to Alexandria and found the enemy.



As an Admiral, Nelson had several great victories, Trafalgar being the victory that saved England, but the first was the Battle of the Nile. Playing on his statement when taking ships at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, he said, “Before this time tomorrow, I shall have gained a peerage or Westminster Abbey”  The French were in a better position and had more firepower than the English. The French were lined up close to the shoals, securing their port side from the English. 

Captain Thomas Foley, in Goliath found a gap and took his ship into the channel. Now the French found themselves attacked from both sides. Nelson engaged and he in Vanguard took on the Spartiate and came under fire from Aquilon About 8 o’clock he was with Berry on deck when a piece of French shot struck him in the forehead. A flap of skin now covered his good eye. He cried out “I am killed. Remember me to my wife.” The surgeon applied a temporary bandage and said the wound was not threatening.

The French van, pounded by the British from both sides, now began to surrender. The French flagship Orient took heavy fire. It caught fire and later exploded. Nelson came back on deck to see this and then returned to the surgeon. The French obviously lost and this was a major setback to Napoleon. He had lost his fleet. Two ships and two frigates destroyed, seven 74-gun ships and two 80-gun ships captured. Four ships escaped. The French army was stranded in Egypt.  The Turks and Captain Sir Sidney Smith defeated the French at the Siege of Acre. Napoleon abandoned his army and sailed back to France, evading British ships.



Some actually think the Battle of the Nile is Nelson’s greatest achievement. (DWW-Trafalgar kept the French from England, that has to be a greater achievement. Should an invasion reached England, the British citizen would have learned the horrors of this war. Killed, displaced, starved, it would have changed the fate of the world.)

Nelson sent to England the results of the battle and then sailed to Naples where he was met with celebrations. The King of Naples and the Hamiltons greeted him and he lodged at the Hamiltons house. Officers also began to notice the attention Emma Hamilton gave him. Even as suspicions grew about the attachment, word reached London of his victory. Earl Spencer, the First Lord of the Admiralty feinted. In England there was great celebrations.  The City of London awarded the captains of the fleet swords, while the King ordered special medals. The Tsar of Russian sent a gift, and Selim III, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire made him a member of the Order of the Turkish Crescent. Some thought Nelson should be made a Viscount, but he was only made Baron Nelson of the Nile, since he commanded only a Squadron and not a full fleet.

Nelson was not happy that he had been just given a barony by political manipulation. He was however cheered by the treatment that the citizens of Naples gave him. And his reception at the Hamilton’s home. He having fallen in love with Emma Hamilton at this time as well.



Orders that came from the Admiralty, he delegated to his captains Sir Samuel Hood and Alexander Ball. He began to think of returning to England, but the King of Naples declared war on France. Supporting the Austrian General Mack who commanded the armies of Naples, Nelson and his fleet helped retake Rome, but they in turn were routed in disarray. The French now came after the Neapolitans and Nelson evacuated the Royal Family and the Hamiltons. They reached Palermo on December 26th, 1798. By January of 1799 Naples had fallen to the French and the Parthenopaean Republic was proclaimed.

In February Nelson was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red, and now blockaded Naples. A force under Cardinal Ruffo marched to retake the city, forcing the French out. There was so much bloodshed that Cardinal Ruffo allowed the French safe conduct back to France. Now a stain comes upon Nelson. Those Neapolitans who had switched sides and served the French had been granted amnesty by Ruffo, but Nelson had them arrested and several of them tried. Tried by vindictive Neapolitan Royalists who sentenced many to death. Here Nelson would not intervene but seems to have supported such actions. Many were executed at this time. Nelson was now made Duke of Bronte by the King of Naples, Ferdinand, which is a title that his brother took after his death, and the brother’s descendants still hold. (DWW-Though there is no Kingdom of Naples any longer.)

Ferdinand I, Portrait by Angelica Kauffmann

Lord Keith was now in charge in the Mediterranean but he chased French and Spanish fleets into the Atlantic which left Nelson in charge in the Sea. He stayed at Palermo at the Neapolitan court until February of 1800 when Keith returned. In February, Nelson caught sight of the French ship Genereux and captured her. Keith and Nelson did not get along. Nelson was spending most of this time at Palermo in the company of Emma Hamilton.

Earl Spencer now wrote to Nelson that he return to England. Yet it was the recall of Sir William Hamilton that gave Nelson a reason to return home. By way of Malta in April of 1800 (where Nelson’s only child-Horatia was conceived) they started their cruise home. First in Foudroyant and then in HMS Alexander, Nelson refused Keith’s orders to join the fleet. There was such a todo, that Nelson struck his flag. Now they travelled overland, though Florence, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Dessau and Hamburg, finally catching a ship for England.

Nelson once again was given a hero’s welcome. He was feted everywhere and now Emma and Fanny met. His attention to his mistress being given a great deal of gossip. At Christmas in 1800 things came to ahead and Nelson and his wife never lived together again.

Now Nelson was made second in command of the Channel Fleet under St Vincent, and also made Vice Admiral of the Blue on January 1st, 1801. Horatia was born on January 29th and then he was commanded to move his flag from the HMS San Josef to the HMS St. George. The Baltic nations were tired of their ships being searched and so had formed an alliance. Now Nelson was to join Sir Hyde Parker’s fleet who just wanted to blockade the opening of the Baltic, while Nelson urged to attack the Danish fleet in Copenhagen.



On April 2nd, 1801 they attacked, the british seeing three ships running aground at the start, Agamemnon, Bellona and Russell. The Danish also sent very heavy fire against the rest. Parker ordered a withdrawal. Nelson was aboard HMS Elephant ignored the signal saying to Thomas Foley ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.’ The battle lasted three hours and both sides were heavily damaged. Nelson called for a truce, which led to a 14 week armistice. Parker was recalled in May and Nelson became commander in the Baltic. Nelson was rewarded for this victory by being made a Viscount.

Nelson sailed onto Russia and found that the alliance against the English searching of their ships was being disbanded. He returned to England on the 1st of July, 1801.

Napoleon was now massing his own forces to invade England. Nelson was placed in command of the English Channel to prevent such an invasion. In October the Peace of Amiens was signed and Nelson who was in poor health retired to Britain to stay with the Hamiltons. He began to attend the House of Lords. He and the Hamiltons toured about the country where they were greeted warmly. In 1802 he brought Merton Place where he lived with the Hamiltons until war broke out again.


And once the war had started again in May of 1803, it would be inevitable that the French would seek an engagement for control of the sea with the British. Nelson was now made commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean and placed in command of the 104-gun HMS Victory. He sailed from Portsmouth to Malta and blockaded Toulon again. He was promoted to Vice Admiral of the White in April 1804 which was about half way up the ranks of Admirals. In January of 1805 the French escaped Toulon and Nelson set off in pursuit. The French though were blown back into Toulon. But they got out again in April and made their way though the Strait of Gibraltar into the Atlantic.

Nelson gave chase to the Caribbean but could not find them. The French in the meantime were headed back to Europe but met another fleet under Sir Robert Calder and they engaged in the Battle of Cape Finisterre in July of 1805. The French suffered minor losses. Nelson returned to Gibraltar and then went to England. He thought he had failed, not having engaged the enemy, but he was greeted with a rapturous reception and congratulated by senior officials believing he had saved the West Indies from invasion. He went to Merton to see Emma and entertained friends and relations. He also thought how to engage the enemy fleet and force them to battle.

Admiral Sir Robert Calder’s action off Cape Finisterre, 23 July 1805

In September, Henry Blackwood arrived at Merton informing Nelson that the combined French and Spanish fleets were at anchor at Cadiz. Nelson left to London and was given command of the fleet blockading Cadiz. In London on September 12th, Nelson, Viscount Castlereagh and Arthur Wellesley met. Wellington said of the meeting, ‘He (Nelson) entered at once into conversation with me, if I can call it conversation, for it was almost all on his side and all about himself and, in reality, a style so vain and so silly as to surprise and almost disgust me.’ But then Nelson was informed who he had been speaking to and returned to discuss for a quarter hour, in earnest, the state of the war, the colonies, and the geopolitical situation which impressed Wellesley.

Nelson returned to Merton and took his farewells of Emma and then made his way to Portsmouth. He was breakfasting with George Rose and George Canning when word spread he was at the George Inn. Crowds gathered outside and cheered him. He said ‘I had their huzzas before: I have their hearts now.’ Robert Southey said of this, ‘Many men were in tears and many knelt down before him and blessed him as he passed.’

Victory joined the fleet on September 27th. He refined his plan of attack, believing the enemy would maneuver into line of battle, the traditional way to conduct a fight. Nelson instead planned to split his command into squadrons that would cut the enemy line to allow a pell-mell battle and the British to overwhelm and destroy the enemy formation.

The Battle of Trafalgar

There were 33 ships of the line in the enemy fleet. It was to sail to the English Channel and cover the invasion of Britain. Austria and Germany’s entry into the war called off plans for invasion, though. The invaders were to be sent against Naples now instead.

The enemy left Cadiz and the british went to intercept on the 21st of October. Nelson had 27 ships against the more numerous enemy force. Nelson turned to his signal lieutenant to send the famous ‘England confides that every man will do his duty’ message. Pasco changed this to England expects since that was in the signal book and confides would have to spelt out each letter. Nelson though agreed.

‘England expects that every man will do his duty’

Thomas Hardy, the captain of the Victory said that Nelson should remove his coat as it identified him as the admiral, and sharpshooters could more easily tell him apart from the others. Nelson said it was too late for that. Captain Blackwood of the Euryalus suggested that Nelson go aboard his frigate to better see the battle. He also refused to board Eliab Harvey’s Temeraire.

Victory did come under fire, one cannon killing John Scott, Nelson’s secretary. Nelson’s clerk took over the position but he was cut down, as were eight marines. Captain Hardy had his shoe buckle dented by a splinter. Nelson said of the fighting, ‘this is too warm work to last long.’ Reaching the enemy line, Nelson asked Harvey to engage first and they attacked the stern of the Bucentaure. The Redoutable  then fired at the Victory, an the snipers began to shoot at them.

The Death of Nelson

Shortly after one Hardy noticed that Nelson was not at his side and he turned to see that Nelson had been shot. ‘Hadry, I do believe they have done it at last… my backbone is shot through.’

This was indeed the case. A sniper from the Redoutable from 50 feet away had hit the Admiral. The bullet had hit the left shoulder, passed through the spine at the sixth and seventh thoracic vertebrae and was lodged two inches below the right shoulder blade. He was carried below by a sergeant-major of marines and two seamen. Nelson had them pause though so he could give advice to a midshipman handling the tiller. He also had a handkerchief cover his face so the crew would not take alarm. 

When he reached the surgeon, William Beatty he said, ‘You can do nothing for me. I have but a short time to live. My back is shot through.’ Nelson was then made comfortable. Fanned and brought lemonade and watered wine to drink, for he had complained of being hot and thirsty. He asked to see Captain Hardy, and to be remembered to Emma, Horatia and his friends.

Just after half past two, Hardy came below and told Nelson that they had captured a number of the enemy ships. Nelson told Hardy to pass his possessions to Emma as he knew he was to die. He also felt that a gale was coming and told Hardy to anchor. Again he reminded Hardy to ‘take care of poor Lady Hamilton. Nelson died at half past four. His last recorded words were, “God and my country.’

The great victory at the loss of Nelson caused many to mourn. 



The Prince of Wales had wished to attend the funeral as chief mourner, but royals did not do such and so attended privately. His funeral procession consisted of 32 admirals, more than 100 captains, an escort of 10,000 soldiers. A four hour service, and the sailors who were supposed to fold the flag that draped over the coffin instead tore it to pieces that they could have a memento of the great hero.




* * *


And Two Peas in a Pod, a madcap tale of identical twin brothers in Regency London who find they must impersonate each other to pursue their loves.He is published by Regency Assembly Press

Mr. Wilkin writes Regency Historicals and Romances, Ruritanian (A great sub-genre that is fun to explore) and Edwardian Romances, Science Fiction and Fantasy works. He is the author of the very successful Pride & Prejudice continuation; Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence. He has several other novels set in Regency England including The End of the World and The Shattered Mirror. His most recent work is the humorous spoof; Jane Austen and Ghostsa story of what would happen were we to make any of these Monsters and Austen stories into a movie.


The links for all locations selling Mr. Wilkin's work can be found at the webpage and will point you to your favorite internet bookstore: David’s Books, and at various Internet and realworld bookstores including the iBookstoreAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords.


And he maintains his own blog called The Things That Catch My Eye where the entire Regency Lexicon has been hosted these last months as well as the current work in progress of the full Regency Timeline is being presented.

You also may follow Mr. Wilkin on Twitter at @DWWilkin
Mr. Wilkin maintains a Pinterest page with pictures and links to all the Regency Research he uncovers at Pinterest Regency-Era



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sir William Hamilton (That Hamilton Man!)


My last post for the EHFA was on Emma Hamilton, so it seems apropos that we discuss one of her other two halves, the man who is not often discussed, Sir William Hamilton.

Sir William Hamilton

January 12 1731-April 6 1803


Now, 200 years after he has died, he is more famous for whom he was married to, than his achievements in life.


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For 36 years he was the British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples. From 1764 to 1800. Turbulent times that saw the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon.

Hamilton was also an antiquarian, an archaeologist and vulcanologist. (DWW-being Ambassador in Naples provided was access to Vesuvius and Etna.) He was a noted collector and became a member of the Royal Society. Born the fourth son of Lord Archibald Hamilton, who was Governor of Jamica, his mother was the daughter of the sixth Earl of Aberdeen. She was a mistress of the son of George II, George the Prince of Wales, who was the father of George III. George III called Sir William his foster brother.

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Sir William attended the Westminster School and then was commissioned into the 3rd Foot Guards in 1747. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1753. He married Catherine Barlow, daughter of a politician and left the army. She died in 1782, they had no children. In 1786, when he was 55 his nephew sent him a stunning young lady who had become the muse for George Romney. Sir William cancelled his nephew, Charles Greville’s debts for the introduction. Emma Lyon (Hart) captivated Sir William. They were married in 1791. He was 60 then and she was 26.

When Horatio Nelson crossed their path, a man he admired, he encouraged the notorious affair to develop. Eventually when they abandoned Naples, the three took up living all in the same houses in both Merton Place and London. Nelson refused to seek his own divorce and marry Emma until Sir William died, for they were such good friends.

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William served as an MP for Midhurst in 1761 but then left to become the Ambassador to Naples. He began his collection of Greek Vases and other antiquities selling a part of his collection to the British Museum. A second collection was lost at sea when the HMS Colossus went down. What survived was purchased by Thomas Hope.

Sir William became an author Antiquités étrusques, grecques et romaines (1766–67) and Observations on Mount Vesuvius (1772). And he was a member of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of the Society of Dilettanti. He made more than 65 ascents to Mount Vesuvius and made a number of drawings before it’s eruption in 1765. He met Mozart during his tour of Italy in 1770. Goethe visited Hamilton in 1787. Goethe thought two chandeliers were most likely smuggled from Pompei, and a friend agreed telling the famed poet, that he should not pursue his investigations any further. Hamilton died in 1803 and is buried next to his first wife.



* * *


Mr. Wilkin writes Regency Historicals and Romances, Ruritanian (A great sub-genre that is fun to explore) and Edwardian Romances, Science Fiction and Fantasy works. He is the author of the very successful Pride & Prejudice continuation; Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence. He has several other novels set in Regency England including The End of the World and The Shattered Mirror. His most recent work is the humorous spoof; Jane Austen and Ghostsa story of what would happen were we to make any of these Monsters and Austen stories into a movie.

And Two Peas in a Pod, a madcap tale of identical twin brothers in Regency London who find they must impersonate each other to pursue their loves.


The links for all locations selling Mr. Wilkin's work can be found at the webpage and will point you to your favorite internet bookstore: David’s Books, and at various Internet and realworld bookstores including the iBookstoreAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords.



He is published by Regency Assembly Press
And he maintains his own blog called The Things That Catch My Eye where the entire Regency Lexicon has been hosted these last months as well as the current work in progress of the full Regency Timeline is being presented.

You also may follow Mr. Wilkin on Twitter at @DWWilkin
Mr. Wilkin maintains a Pinterest page with pictures and links to all the Regency Research he uncovers at Pinterest Regency-Era





Friday, December 14, 2012

That Hamilton Woman!


Emma (Hart) Hamilton
April 26 1765 to January 15 1815

Born the daughter of a blacksmith, died in infamy, the avowed mistress of England’s hero, Horatio Nelson. She was born Amy Lyon and later changed her name to Emma Hart.

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 At the age of 12 she was a maid at the Hawarden, Wales. House of Doctor Honoratus Leigh Thomas, a surgeon in Chester. She then worked for the Budd family in Chatham place and helped a fellow maid, Jane Powell rehearse to become an actress. She then became a maid at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane to such notables as Mary Robinson. From being a maid she advanced to model and dancer.

  At the age of 15 she met Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh. She became an entertainer for him, dancing naked on the dining room table for he and his friends. At Harry’s Uppark estate in the South Downs she met the second son of the Earl of Warwick, the honorable Charles Francis Greville. She also conceived a child by Sir Harry. (1781.)

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  Emma was sent off to London until the baby was born but now she became the mistress of Greville. The child, when it was born was taken to be raised by the Blackburn family. Emma saw her daughter frequently until those periods when she was in debt. The girl became a companion or governess in her later life.

  Greville had Emma sit for George Romney and kept her as his mistress. Romney now took on Emma as one of his chief inspirations, his muse. She is in many of the most famous paintings by Romney.

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  By 1783, Greville needed to find a rich wife (though another source says he never married), so he passed Emma to his uncle, Sir William Hamilton, the British Envoy to Naples. Hamilton was glad for Greville’s marriage meant he did not have to support his nephew any longer either. In a transaction, Hamilton acquired Emma much as one buys a piece of pottery. Emma had no knowledge of the transaction, and was furious about it when she found out. But she did become Hamilton’s mistress.

  She created a new art form, crossing between posture, dance and acting for his guests and it was a sensation. Other artists took on this type of performance. In 1791, Hamilton married Emma in England. He was 60 and she 26.

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  And then in 1793, she met Horatio Nelson at the court of the King and Queen of Naples. Nelson came back to Naples in 1798 after the Battle of the Nile sorely wounded, and she nursed him back to health. Then for his 40th birthday she had a party with 1800 guests to celebrate it. Sir William even seems then to have tolerated and encouraged the affair that developed between Emma and Nelson.

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  That Emma and Nelson could have such an endorsement may stem from the age of Sir William, and that Nelson was the most famous Briton in the world now that he had won the Battle of the Nile, and through George Romney and her founding of a new art form, and her great beauty, Emma was the most famous female Briton. (DWW-The two most important Britons, even more so than any King or Prime Minister, right at that moment) And William Hamilton was a collector. These two were under his roof, carrying on. He was able to show them off.

  Emma was now, in 1799, the close personal friend and advisor to the Queen of Naples, Marie Carolina whose sister, Marie Antoinette had been executed by the French. It was probably not too impossible to tell those of Naples, that the French were the great enemy. Those who did want the French as allies, were the aristocrats, not the people or the royals. The royal family fled to Sicily. Nelson tried to aid the Royal family and put down this aristocratic revolution. He was recalled to Britain, though he, Emma and Sir William took the longest possible route back.

  They arrived in Britain in 1800 to a hero’s welcome. They lived together openly and the affair became public knowledge. The Admiralty sent Nelson back to sea.

  Now Emma and Nelson wished to marry, but they would not do so until Sir William died, who they both cared for very much. Nor could Nelson get a divorce from his wife unless he had another great victory. In 1801, Emma gave birth to her and Nelson’s daughter, Horatia. Nelson bought a house in Wimbledon, Merton Place, where they all could live. They became the papers celebrity sensation of the day. Emma was no longer the great beauty, and they did try to live a quieter life.

  Sir William died in 1803 and Nelson left for the sea again. Emma was pregnant once more. The child died a few weeks after it was born. Emma began to spend lavishly and gamble. Then Nelson died at Trafalgar.

  Now she ran through the remaining money and became heavily in debt. Merton Place was left to her and Emma tried to maintain it as a monument to Nelson. It too sent her into further debt. She had now returned to poverty and drank herself to death in Calais. Horatia married the Reverend Phillip Ward and had ten children.



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Mr. Wilkin writes Regency Historicals and Romances, Ruritanian (A great sub-genre that is fun to explore) and Edwardian Romances, Science Fiction and Fantasy works. He is the author of the very successful Pride & Prejudice continuation; Colonel Fitzwilliam’s Correspondence. He has several other novels set in Regency England including The End of the World and The Shattered Mirror. His most recent work is the humorous spoof; Jane Austen and Ghostsa story of what would happen were we to make any of these Monsters and Austen stories into a movie.

And Two Peas in a Pod, a madcap tale of identical twin brothers in Regency London who find they must impersonate each other to pursue their loves.


The links for all locations selling Mr. Wilkin's work can be found at the webpage and will point you to your favorite internet bookstore: David’s Books, and at various Internet and realworld bookstores including the iBookstoreAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords.



He is published by Regency Assembly Press
And he maintains his own blog called The Things That Catch My Eye where the entire Regency Lexicon has been hosted these last months as well as the current work in progress of the full Regency Timeline is being presented.

You also may follow Mr. Wilkin on Twitter at @DWWilkin
Mr. Wilkin maintains a Pinterest page with pictures and links to all the Regency Research he uncovers at Pinterest Regency-Era