MEMOIRS OF LADY HAMILTON ; WITH ILLUSTRATIVE ANECDOTES OF HORATIO, LORD VISCOUNT NELSON, AND MANY OTHER OF HER FRIENDS AND CONTEMPORARIES. THIRD EDITION.

Anonymous.


£300.00




Printed for Henry Colburn, 3rd.ed., 1835. 352 pp., engraved port. frontis. (the original plate of April 10th, 1815). Original blind-tooled green cloth ; re-cased ; gold lettering to spine ; edges uncut. 21 x 13cm. Frontispiece foxed and further light spasmodic foxing ; small ink-stain to rear board o/w V.G. Bookplate of the late Ron Fiske (1938-2018), Norfolk Nelson collector and bibliophile. Within months of Lady Hamilton being laid to rest in Calais, this controversial book made its first appearance followed rapidly by a second edition in the same year – 1815. Emma’s reputation during her own lifetime suffered considerably ; partly through her own actions and partly through the efforts of her enemies. Whatever her faults – and she had a fair number – she did not deserve the outrageous statements and accusations thrown up by this book. Many of the errors and falsehoods which still persist to this day can be traced back directly to this malicious publication. A pirated edition was printed in America before the year was out ; a French edition was published in Paris in 1816 ; and this third English edition appeared in 1835 – all of which ensured that Lady Hamilton’s name would remain sullied throughout the 19th century and beyond. In the 1890s W. H. Long, the Portsmouth naval bookseller, re-published the second edition with notes, designed to restore the balance and repair the damage ; and in 1905 Walter Sichel’s definitive biography of Emma finally set the record straight in the public arena. However, in 1815 it was a different story. The book was eagerly devoured by a public entertained by the shocking scandals it revealed. The narrative is hostile and malicious in the extreme. It did nothing to enhance Nelson’s reputation either – still reeling from Southey’s ill-informed comments regarding the Naples affair published in 1813, and more so by the publication in 1814 of the infamous Letters that Nelson had written to Emma in the belief that they were being systematically destroyed as per his implicit instructions. It took decades to repair Nelson’s reputation and Emma’s remains as controversial as ever. Copies of this third edition of 1835 are even more uncommon than the first and second editions of 1815.


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