England

Admiral Lord Nelson letter to be auctioned in Derby

  • 20 October 2011
  • From the section England
Admiral Lord Nelson's letter (Hansons Auctioneers/PA)
Image caption In the letter, Nelson complains of a lack of government funds to send news of a recent success

A letter written by Admiral Lord Nelson towards the end of the 18th Century is to be auctioned in Derby after being found at a house in Staffordshire.

Nelson is famous for his naval victories over the French during the Napoleonic Wars.

In the letter, the British naval commander complains about being unable to get government funds to courier news of a successful blockade in Naples.

The letter, dated 2 August 1799, was discovered in Lichfield.

It was addressed to the Honourable William Frederick Wyndham, who was the British minister for Florence at the time.

Nelson, who had lost his right arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife two years earlier, wrote: "The Government would not pay £10 for me for any news, however interesting.

'Ink script'

"I am anxious to hear of any movements of the armies. They are most interesting but I could not pay sixpence for the news of the greatest victory from the public purse.

"I am forced to confess that our Government keep us seamen from putting our hand in the public chest."

Charles Hanson, from Hansons Auctioneers, said the current owner, Mark Berry, was a distant relative of Mr Wyndham.

Mr Hanson added: "The letter with Nelson's original ink script is wonderful to handle since it is in the hand of my famous naval hero.

"In these hard times we must take heart in a man who was weary and frustrated but rose again in a magnificent way."

The letter, along with a chunk from the Saddam Hussein statue famously toppled in central Baghdad in 2003, will be auctioned at the Mackworth Hotel in Derby on 27 October.

Estimates for the letter range from £8,000 £12,000.

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