Lady Hamilton & Horatia After Nelson’s Death (part 53)

HMS Victory’s Captain Thomas Hardy, who had handed Emma Hamilton some of Nelson’s belongings, had also conveyed his diary back to England, but government lawyers advised him not to make it public as it also discussed the politics and actions of the Queen of Naples. Therefore he left it with Nelson’s brother, but two months later he went to retrieve it in order to read it to Lord Grenville, then Prime Minister, in an attempt to obtain parliamentary support for Nelson’s final requests.
But, despite the efforts of Captain Hardy and other friends, Parliament did not bestow any honours or an annuity upon Lady Hamilton or Horatia.

Unfortunately, although England was willing to grant a pension to the widow of any officer killed in battle, it could not provide for his mistress or other persons named in his will. It would be a very dangerous precedent for state resources: the almost 1,600 men who died at Trafalgar could have a number of illegitimate lovers and children!

However, even though Emma’s income was immediately reduced, she did not reduce her expenses. Perhaps she was incapable of managing a family budget: she had grown up in extreme poverty, and later she hadn’t had to spare any expenses.

She nurtured great hopes: in the inebriation of reflected glory and in the expectation of the substantial gratitude of her country, her loss seemed almost to take second place. Lord Nelson had been away from Merton so often that life there gave the impression of going on as before.

She liked to keep the house open, and despite her mourning, she continued to entertain guests: she seemed to lack the strength to gracefully retreat into an obscure and glamourless life.
It goes without saying that her behaviour was not such as to arouse great sympathy and many stiff men in power seemed disgusted.

She seemed unaware that she no longer had a husband to give her an air of respectability or a lover to pay her debts. She found solace in hosting lavish parties, with numerous guests including the Royal Princes, and she rapidly fell into ruinous debt.

One of the reasons for keeping in with the Princes was that the Prince Regent would soon become the new king, George IV, and might persuade the government to grant her the financial support Nelson had demanded.
And it seems that the Prince of Wales was really inclined to comply with that request until he came across some papers in which Nelson, crazy in his uncontrolled jealousy, had ridiculed him by describing him as a villain, a rascal, and unprincipled liar, “dotingly fond of women … without one spark of honour”, and “a frequenter of pimps and bawds”.

NOTE

Thomas Hardy was created a baronet in 1806, and 1807 he married Louisa Emily Anna Berkeley, daughter of an admiral, and they had three daughters.
Lady Hardy had a kind of epistolary love affair with the poet Lord Byron, a distant relative of hers, around 1822.
In one of those half flirtatious letters, he wrote to her:
“For my part, I think, you are quite right; … a woman (as society is constituted in England) who gives any advantage to a man may expect a lover, but will sooner or later find a tyrant…
You can write to me at your leisure and inclination. I have always … found that a man and a woman make far better friendships than can exist between two of the same sex; but these with this condition, that they never have made, or are to make, love with each other. Lovers may, and, indeed, generally are enemies, but they never can be friends; because there must always be a spice of jealousy and a something of self in all their speculations.
Indeed, I rather look upon love altogether as a sort of hostile transaction, very necessary to make or to break matches, and keep the world going, but by no means a sinecure to the parties concerned.”

To be continued

Il Capitano della Victory Thomas Hardy, che le aveva consegnato a Emma Hamilton alcuni degli effetti personali di Nelson, aveva riportato in patria anche il diario dell’Ammiraglio, ma gli avvocati del governo gli avevano sconsigliato di renderlo pubblico poiché parlava anche delle azioni politiche della regina di Napoli. Hardy quindi lo lasciò al fratello di Nelson, ma due mesi dopo andò a riprenderselo per mostrarlo a Lord Grenville, allora Primo Ministro, nel tentativo di ottenere il sostegno richiesto dall’eroe che si era immolato per la Nazione.
Ma nonostante gli sforzi suoi e di altri amici, il Parlamento non concesse alcun riconoscimento o pensione a Lady Hamilton o a Horatia.

Purtroppo sebbene l’Inghilterra fosse disposta a concedere la pensione alle vedove di ufficiali uccisi in battaglia, non poteva provvedere alle loro amanti o ad altre persone designato nei loro testamenti. Sarebbe stato un precedente molto pericoloso per le casse dello stato: i quasi milleseicento uomini morti a Trafalgar avrebbero potuto avere amanti e figli illegittimi che si aspettavano qualche riconoscimento.

Tuttavia, anche se le entrate di Emma subirono subito un notevole taglio, non ne derivò alcun taglio alle spese. Forse non era in grado di gestire un bilancio familiare: era cresciuta in estrema povertà, senza denaro da amministrare, ed in seguito non aveva mai dovuto badare a spese.

Nutriva grandi speranze: nell’ebbrezza di tutta quella gloria riflessa e nell’attesa della sostanziale gratitudine del suo paese, la sua perdita sembrava quasi passare in secondo piano. Lord Nelson era stato così spesso lontano da Merton che la vita lì sembrava procedere come prima.
Le piaceva tenere aperta la grande casa in cui, nonostante il suo lutto, continuava a intrattenere ospiti: sembrava proprio incapace di trovare la forza di ritirarsi con grazia in una vita modesta e priva di mondanità.
Ovviamente il suo comportamento non era tale da suscitare grande compassione e molti uomini di potere, soprattutto quelli che si nascondevano ipocritamente dentro la loro rigida corazza esteriore, se ne dissero disgustati.
Non si rendeva conto che oramai non aveva più né un marito che le desse un’aria rispettabile né un amante che pagasse i suoi debiti e sembrava trovar conforto nell’ospitare feste sfarzose, con numerosi ospiti tra cui i principi reali.

Uno dei motivi per restare al fianco dei principi, era che il Principe Reggente sarebbe presto diventato il nuovo re, Giorgio IV, e avrebbe potuto convincere il governo a concederle il sostegno finanziario richiesto da Nelson.

E pare che il Principe di Galles fosse realmente propenso ad esaudire quella richiesta, finché non si imbatté in alcuni documenti in cui Nelson, folle nella sua gelosia incontrollata, lo aveva messo in ridicolo descrivendolo come un furfante, un mascalzone e un bugiardo senza scrupoli “ affezionato a donne … senza una briciola d’onore” e “frequentatore di prostitute e magnaccia”.

NOTA

Thomas Hardy fu nominato baronetto nel 1806 e nel 1807 sposò Louisa Emily Anna Berkeley, figlia di un ammiraglio, da cui ebbe tre figlie.
Lady Hardy ebbe una specie di storia d’amore epistolare con il poeta Lord Byron, un suo lontano parente, intorno al 1822.
In una delle sue lettere un po’ ammiccanti lui le scrisse:
“Da parte mia, credo, Voi abbiate perfettamente ragione; … una donna (come è costituita la società in Inghilterra) che dà qualche vantaggio a un uomo può aspettarsi un amante, ma prima o poi troverà un tiranno…
Potete scrivermi a vostro piacimento. Ho sempre… trovato che un uomo e una donna stringono amicizie di gran lunga migliori di quelle che possono esistere tra due persone dello stesso sesso; ma a condizione che non abbiano mai fatto, o mai facciano, l’amore tra di loro. Gli amanti possono essere, e in effetti generalmente lo sono, nemici, ma non possono mai essere amici; perché ci deve sempre essere un pizzico di gelosia e qualcosa di egoistico in tutte le loro congetture.
In effetti, considero piuttosto l’amore nel complesso come una sorta di transazione ostile, molto necessaria per fare o rompere i matrimoni e far andare avanti il mondo, ma non una sinecura per le parti interessate.”

Continua

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62 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton & Horatia After Nelson’s Death (part 53)

  1. Excellent, dear Luisa. It’s such a delight to read this very interesting series. Hats off to you for making it so amazing. Love it sooo much. ❤❤❤🌹🌹🌹🌹🥰🥰🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You reveal quite a lot about the standards of Regency England. I never thought about the cost of a precedent where mistresses and their offspring could get it even come to expect a government pension. I’ve read in novels where the Prince Regent could be an unforgiving man as shown by his treatment of Beau Brummel. We also go down another fascinating branch in our saga. Magnifico.

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  3. Poor Emma seemed unable to adjust to her new position and financial situation. The fate of a mistress when her keeper dies and his family decides to erase that part of his past. Instead of focusing on her daughter, she just splashed whatever she was left with in a frenzy of bereavement. It doesn’t bare well for their near future.

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  4. Luisa ! Poor Emma had a painful story . She spent lavishly despite any income from any source . We, in India , have an ancient Philosopher called Charvak . Some scholars say that Charvak was a group of Philosophers . Anyway , he said,’ Yavat jivet , sukham jivet ; rinam kritva, ghreetam pivet .’ These words are in Sanskrit language . It means ‘as long as you live , live with pleasure ; take debt and drink Ghee ( made of butter )’. He had very nice idea of ‘eat , drink and be merry ‘. Perhaps one of the earliest Materialistic Philosopher of the world . Lady Emma appeared to be one of the ardent followers of that ancient Indian Philosopher called Charvak . Thanks !

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    1. Once again your comment opens a window on new and distant horizons (for me)! Mentioning Charvak in your answer is another wonderful proof of how you can find the subtle connections between things, Thank you with all my heart ❤️

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  5. Una storia davvero affannata!!! Con tutte le ricerche che hai condiviso con noi a biamo s operato tutto quello che mai prima d’ora av3vam9 appreso e come sempre: grazie 🥀🥀🥀 Buona serata carissima Luisa 😘

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  6. I find it hard to think of Emma as ‘poor Emma’. She had no respect for marriage, morality, and monetary needs. And it was one thing for Nelson to speak against the Prince Regent but only a fool would put it in writing. And as far as giving Nelson’s diary to his brother…

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  7. Isn’t it a shame that human beings see love in this way? I never have. It seems to me that bedroom games can remain there, and ordinary life can proceed in good partnership right beside them ~ but have never found a man who thinks this way, so perhaps I am wrong, and among humans at their current evolutionary stage it cannot.

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    1. Sometimes human beings are unable to distinguish between love-feeling and love-sex, which complement each other and perhaps you are right when you say that you have never found a man who thinks this way. Sometimes they seem to ignore that trust, complicity, understanding and above all support are part of true love❤️

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      1. I read recently a wonderful post from a man who had taken a medication which suddenly gave him emotions. They were so unfamiliar and overwhelming to him that he sought advice about it from his friends. Absolutely every female told him he was just joining the rest of the human race. Absolutely every male was worried about his mental stability. He changed medications, but afterward put a lot of thought into what he’d found out ~ not only do men not have them, but neither men nor women know it. He himself ended up wishing he’d stayed on the medication longer. He felt that he would have learned much of value. I wish everyone could read that post. We would understand one another so much better.

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      2. it must have been a shocking and destabilizing experience to feel emotions, without having ever felt them before.
        I can believe that many men are unable to feel them. I think that only men who are aware that they also have a feminine side, and accept or love it, experience emotions similar to those experienced by us, women😘💞

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  8. Ah, the very inclusion of the note at the end of this post is one of the reasons I love visiting here! It’s one of those fine details that adds even more to the rich tapestry of Emma’s life that you’ve been weaving for months now. Thank you so much Luisa. Love and light, Deborah.

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      1. Yes, in his Don Juan:
        “Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange;
        Stranger than fiction: if it could be told,
        How much would novels gain by the exchange!
        How differently the world would men behold!”

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  9. So awesome read this Part 53 🙏🌷✍️ Emma never thought her and daughter’s life so miserable 😩
    But she is brave and sure will have some good changes as well, my thinking 🧐 thank you for sharing
    dear friend and Grace wishes 🌹👍🏻💕👏

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  10. La storia continua e si arricchisce di nuovi dettagli. Emma non esisteva come persona per quell’Inghilterra bigotta. D’altra parte lei non era così matura da mettere da parte quanto le poteva servire in futuro.

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    1. Emma è sempre stata considerata un’ex attrice e quindi prostituta e “mistress”=amante, cioè prostituta. La diabolica tentatrice del candido eroe
      Ed è vero: avendo sempre vissuto mantenuta da Greville, Hamilton, Nelson, non pensava che la favola potesse finire!

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