Lady Hamilton & Horatio Nelson: Emma Carew (part 32)

Emma Hart – or Carew as she became known – was the first daughter of Emma Hamilton, born in 1782.
The identity of her father is uncertain, but itwas probably Sir Henry Fetherstonhaugh, the dissolute dandy who had abandoned his lover, enraged that she had become pregnant.
Greville agreed to take her in as a mistress on condition that she send the child away, and set out to transform ‘the wild unthinking Emma’ into ‘a grave thoughtful phylosopher’.

Romney’s first portrait of her dates back to that period, portraying her as “Nature”, sitting with a spaniel on her lap, perhaps to hide her still bulging belly.

The baby was immediately placed with her great-grandmother until she was three and then she was moved to Manchester with schoolmaster John Blackburn and his wife, to receive “a good education”.
After her mother’s marriage in September 1791, Greville transferred the cost of Emma’s upkeep to Sir William. Lady Hamilton tried to persuade him to allow her daughter to go and live with them in the Palazzo Sessa, introducing her as her mother Mrs Cadogan’s niece, but he always refused.
Therefore she remained under the Blackburns’ tutelage until her mother’s return from Italy in 1800 . Initially, she hoped to be able to go back to the kingdom of the two Sicilies and planned to place her as ‘a camerist’ (i.e. court chambermaid assigned to the princesses) with the Sicilian Royal Family in Palermo, but it was impossible due to the scandal of the betrayal of the agreements stipulated with the revolutionary patriots.

When the young woman visited her mother at Merton, she came to be accepted and liked by Nelson who, in a letter to Lady Hamilton announcing his return to England in August 1805, after two and a half years spent at sea, included the hope of being able to see the girl too: ” and I would not have my Emma’s relative go without my seeing her.

At Merton however she had to change the incriminating surname of Hart (like her mother) to Hartley.

After Nelson’s death, realizing that her only chance was to become a governess or companion, she finally made that journey to Italy that had been planned for her five years earlier.
She probably stayed for a while in Bronte, the Dukedom of Nelson, similar to a character in the eponymous Charlotte Brontë’s novels , a poor relative relegated to the borders of the family.

In 1810 Emma who had now become definitely Carew wrote a letter to the woman she believed her mother, begging her to clearly reveal the truth about her birth:

“… Had you felt yourself at liberty so to have done [confirm their relationship], I might have become reconciled to my former situation … I had nothing to support me but the affection I bore you; on the other hand doubts and fears by turns oppressed me, and I determined to rely on my own efforts rather than submit to abject dependence, without a permanent name or acknowledged parents…”

There was no known answer: her mother probably cruelly chose to ignore this eloquent and emotional plea to know the truth.

After Lady Hamilton’s death there are no further details about her, and for a long time it was assumed that she was dead. Recently, however, it was discovered that an article on the fashionable people and places in Tuscany (Italy) published in 1839 by an American correspondent also mentioned her in a curious combination of truth and (a lot of) fiction

“Among the residents of Florence I must not fail to mention Emma Carew, the unfortunate daughter of the too celebrated Lady Hamilton. Her father, Sir William Hamilton (she was born previous to the marriage of her mother), left her a respectable provision: unfortunately it fell into the hands of her improvident parent, who was her guardian, and, as may be imagined, was speedily dissipated in her career of extravagance. Her unfortunate daughter, long struggled to procure an existence by teaching the English language, during which her privations must have been numerous … “ (The Corsair, 19 October 1839)

Emma Carew died in 1856, struck down by a fatal attack of asthma, and was buried in the English Cemetery on the outskirts of Florence, in whose archives she is listed as governess.

to be continued

Emma Hart – o Carew, cognome con cui fu nota- fu la prima figlia i di Emma Hamilton, nata nel 1782.
L’identità del padre è incerta, ma probabilmente si trattava di Sir Henry Fetherstonhaugh, il dandy dissoluto che aveva abbandonato la sua amante infuriato perché era rimasta incinta

Greville accettò di accoglierla come amante a patto che mandasse via la bambina . e decise di trasformare “la selvaggia e sconsiderata Emma ” in “una filosofa seria e premurosa”.
A quel periodo risale il primo ritratto effettuato da Romney, che la ritrae come “Natura”, seduta con uno spaniel in grembo, forse per nascondere il ventre ancora un po’ prominente.

La neonata fu collocata dalla sua bisnonna dove rimase fino all’età di tre anni e poi fu trasferita a Manchester, presso il maestro di scuola John Blackburn e sua moglie, per ricevere “una buona educazione”.
Dopo il matrimonio della madre nel settembre 1791, Greville trasferì a Sir William le spese per il mantenimento di Emma: lady Hamilton cercò anche di convincerlo a permettere alla figlia di andare a vivere con loro a Palazzo Sessa, presentandola come la nipote di sua madre Mrs Cadogan, ma lui oppose sempre un rifiuto.

Rimase quindi sotto la tutela dei Blackburn fino al rimpatrio della madre dall’Italia nel 1800. Sperando inizialmente di poter fare ritorno nel regno delle due Sicilie, progettò di collocarla come camerista (cioè cameriera di corte addetta alle principesse) presso la Famiglia Reale Siciliana a Palermo, ma poi il rientro in Italia si rivelò impossibile per lo scandalo del tradimento dei patti stipulati con i rivoluzionari.

Quando la giovane andò da sua madre a Merton, fu accettata e apprezzata da Nelson che, in una lettera a Lady Hamilton per annunciare il suo ritorno in Inghilterra nell’agosto 1805, dopo due anni e mezzo trascorsi in mare, le comunicò la speranza di poter vedere anche la ragazza:”e non vorrei che il parente della mia Emma se ne andasse senza che io la vedessi.”

A Merton tuttavia dovette cambiare il cognome incriminante di Hart (come la madre) in Hartley.

Dopo la morte di Nelson, rendendosi conto che la sua unica possibilità era di diventare governante o dama di compagnia, fece finalmente quel viaggio in Italia che era stato programmato per lei cinque anni prima.
Probabilmente rimase per un po’ a Bronte, la Ducea di Nelson, simile a un personaggio dell’omonima Charlotte Brontë, una parente povera relegata ai margini della famiglia.

Nel 1810 Emma che ora era diventata definitivamente Carew scrisse una lettera alla donna che credeva fosse sua madre, implorandola di rivelarle chiaramente la verità sulla sua nascita:
“… Se ti fossi sentita libera di fare così [confermare la loro relazione], avrei potuto riconciliarmi con la mia situazione precedente … non avevo nulla che mi sostenesse se non l’affetto che ti portavo; d’altra parte dubbi e paure mi opprimevano, e decisi di fare affidamento sui miei sforzi piuttosto che sottomettermi a una dipendenza abietta, senza un nome permanente o genitori riconosciuti … “

Non c’è traccia di risposta: sua madre probabilmente decise crudelmente di ignorare quella sua richiesta

Dopo la morte di Lady Hamilton non si hanno più dettagli su di lei, e per molto tempo si pensò che fosse morta. Recentemente però si è scoperto che un articolo sui personaggi e i luoghi alla moda della Toscana pubblicato nel 1839 da un corrispondente americano si parlava anche di lei in una curiosa combinazione di verità e (tanta) finzione

Tra i residenti a Firenze non posso non citare Emma Carew, la sfortunata figlia della celebre Lady Hamilton. Suo padre, Sir William Hamilton (era nata prima del matrimonio di sua madre), le lasciò una rispettabile somma: purtroppo cadde nelle mani della sua improvvida madre, che era la sua tutrice, e, come si può immaginare, fu prontamente dissipata nella sua vita di sfarzo. La sua sfortunata figlia, lottò a lungo per guadagnarsi da vivere insegnando la lingua inglese, durante la quale le sue privazioni dovettero essere numerose…” ( The Corsair, 19 ottobre 1839)

Emma Carew morì nel 1856, stroncata da un attacco mortale di asma e fu sepolta nel Cimitero degli Inglesi alla periferia di Firenze nei cui archivi del Cimitero degli Inglesi viene indicata come governante

continua

Image – George Romney – Lady Hamilton (as Nature) – 1782

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57 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton & Horatio Nelson: Emma Carew (part 32)

      1. I’m new on blogging please read ,like, comment and follow my page.

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  1. Luisa ! Fate of a premarital child is always uncertain . Emma Hart’s story was something like that . Her unknown father or little known father or uncertain father left her mother Emma Hamilton long back . Grenville , the new lover of Emma , was not ready to accept her . And when Emma married to Sir William Hamilton , Grenville was not ready to bear educational expenditures of Emma Hart at all . And it was shifted on Sir William . When Emma Hart returned after getting education , she wanted to go to Italy on assignment , but due to technical causes and past actions of Emma Hamilton there , she could not go there . She was only wished by Nelson to meet her as a relative of Emma Hamilton after his return from the sea to Merton where she was staying with her mother (Emma Hamilton) . Sorry to say that this was the fate of a premarital child Emma Hart who even there in Merton had to change her incriminating surname of Hart to Hartley . Thanks for sharing !

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  2. You couldn’t expect Lady Hamilton to act like a true mother to her daughter. You could even say that he was cruel to her. One more additive for the story to take on another dimension. Greetings Luisa.

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  3. In ogni pagina c’è una nuova complicazione causate anche da bugie su bugie, verità non dette etc. Una storia davvero complessa 😌 B79na se4ata car8ssima Luisa e ancora grazie per queste tue ricerche 🥀🥀🥀😘

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  4. decisamente non fortunate le figlie di Emma.
    Comunque questa visse abbastanza a lungo e condusse una vita quasi normale.
    O.T. scrivi ‘Nel 1610 Emma che ora era diventata definitivamente Carew’ ma forse l’anno è 1810.

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