Nelson letter lambasting the French sells for a four-figure sum
PUBLISHED: 09:03 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:03 19 June 2013
A letter in which Norfolk hero Admiral Lord Nelson declared his distaste for the French has sold at auction for more than £9,000.
In the letter, from Nelson to an unknown person he calls “My Dear Lord”, the admiral discusses his views on republics as well as criticising nobility and the French.
The letter was written following the Battle of the Nile in 1799 where the Naval hero defeated a French fleet during the French Revolutionary wars.
Lord Nelson signed off the letter as “Your Obliged Bronte Nelson” a name he used after being made Duke of Bronte in Sicily that same year.
He writes: “I pray God this War was over and a monarch placed on the throne of France, not that I like any Frenchman be he Royalist or be he Republican, but the French Republicans have shown themselves such villains.
“I form not my opinion My Dear Lord from others, no it is from what I have seen, they are thieves, murderers, oppressors & infidels, therefore what faith can we hold with these people.”
Lord Nelson goes on to speak negatively of the Sicilian nobility as well as republics and republicans.
“I know well from experience that the good Monarchs of this Country never have heard truths ‘till lately, and the nobles of this Country have generally speaking neither honour or honesty and would destroy one of their own to get his place.
“I have seen much of the world, and I have learnt from experience to hate and detest republics, there is nothing but tyranny & oppression, I have never known a good act done by a Republican, it is contrary to his character under the mask of Liberty.
“A Republic has no affection for its subjects. A King may be ill advised and act wrong, a Republic never acts right, for a knot of villains support each other, and together they do what no single person dare attempt.”
Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe in 1758 and went to school in both North Walsham and Norwich before joining the Navy when he was just 13.
He went on to lead the navy to important victories at battles such as Copenhagen and Trafalgar, where he was killed by a French marksman.
The letter is thought to have been previously unpublished before it was sold at auction in London for considerably more than its £4,000-£6,000 estimate.