Letters of Horatio Nelson

To say that Lord Nelson penned a lot of letters would be an understatement. Over the course of his life he authored many missives to a diverse audience, from Lady Hamilton to his superiors at the Admiralty. As of yet, there has been no complete edition of his letters, although for the past two centuries various editions of his writings have been published as new material has been uncovered. The following information is culled from Colin White’s introduction to his Nelson, the New Letters (2005). His undertaking of the Nelson Letters Project unearthed hundreds of previously-unknown letters by Nelson found in archives around the world and many are incorporated into his above work. (A great one, btw.) He reviews the often tortuous history of previous compilations; what I have done is located these predecessors in digital form. It must be emphasized that Dr White’s book contains newly discovered letters, not ones already collected, so these previous volumes do offer access to other letters by Nelson. Herewith, guided by Dr White, are some older collections: he mentions an 1809 edition of which I find an 1810 abridgement – The life of Admiral Lord Nelson, K. B. from his lordships manuscripts and a three-volume 1840 edition; in 1814, there is the two-volume The letters of Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton; and the mid-1840s saw the publication of the seven-volume The dispatches and letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson. Believe it or not, this collection was the last full compilation published, with additional letters being either discovered or re-edited in the two-volume 1849 Memoirs of the life of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson; the 1894 Catalogue of the collection of autographs letters and historical documents formed by Alfred Morrison. Second series. volume II – The Hamilton & Nelson Papers; and the 1903 Nelson and the Neapolitan Jacobins. Documents relating to the suppression of the Jacobin Revolution at Naples. June 1799. Other post-1903 works are few and far between and are not available freely online; however, there is surely enough in these works to give the reader a sense of the man.

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