Lot 398: ALS signed "Nelson & Bronte," one page, 7.25 x 9, February 28, 1804. Letter to Earl Macartney, written from the "Victory" while blockading Toulon. In part: "Your godson Mr. Macartney Cauldwell…was appointed surgeons mate to the Excellent but I have taken him into the Victory and shall be happy after the Battle to assist in his promotion." Nicely double-matted and framed with an engraved portrait to an overall size of 21 x 15. In fine condition, with intersecting folds. The surgeon in question, Dr. George Macartney Caldwell, RN, was lost at sea on the HMS Arab in 1824.During this early part of 1804, Nelson continued his long blockade of Toulon, a defensive tactic preventing the French fleet there from escaping into the Mediterranean and contributing to the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson had frigates patrolling the waters to gather intelligence on any troop movements and was eager to lure the French out of their port and destroy them on the open sea—surely the "Battle" he anticipates in this letter. Contrary to his expectations, the fleet did not attempt to escape Toulon and it was not until a year later that Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve managed to slip through Nelson's blockade. This would result in the famed Battle of Trafalgar, during which Nelson was killed while leading the Royal Navy to a decisive victory. Remaining in superb condition with bold writing and excellent content—the Royal Navy's surgeons had famously amputated his right arm years earlier—this is a choice example from the famed admiral.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 462
Wednesday, 14th October 2015
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