Hamilton, Emma (DNB00)
HAMILTON, EMMA, Lady (1761?–1815), wife of Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803) [q. v.], ambassador at Naples, was the daughter of Henry Lyon of Nesse, in the parish of Great Neston, Cheshire, and of his wife, Mary, people in the humblest circumstances. She was baptised in the church of Great Neston on 12 May 1765. In the official record of her death in January 1815 she is described as fifty-one, which, if we may allow her own statement that her birthday was 26 April, would place her birth in 1763. This document, however, contains inaccuracies, and there are strong reasons for supposing that she was born earlier, not improbably in 1761, the date given by a contemporary but anonymous writer (Memoirs, p. 16). She was christened Amy, but, after trying the various changes of Amyly, Emly, Emyly, and Emily, finally adopted the name of Emma. Shortly after her baptism her father died, and her mother returned to her native place, Hawarden in Flintshire, where she and her child lived with her mother, Mrs. Kidd. While still quite young Emma is said to have been nurse-girl in the family of Mr. Thomas of Hawarden, and to have come to London a year or two after, apparently in the course of 1778, as nursemaid in the family of Dr. Richard Budd [q. v.] She is said on various and doubtful authority to have been afterwards a shop-girl, a lady's-maid, a barmaid, mistress of Captain John Willet Payne and mother of his child, a street-walker, and the representative of the goddess of health in the more or less indecent exhibition of John Graham (1745–1794) [q. v.], a quack-doctor (Memoirs, pp. 20, 30, 35; Gagnière, p. 4; Angelo, Reminiscences, ii. 237–8). It is certain that about the beginning of 1780 she gave birth to a child, afterwards known as ‘little Emma;’ and that towards the end of the same year she accepted the protection of Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh of Up Park in Sussex, where she lived in a dissolute set till December 1781, when Fetherstonhaugh, apparently offended by what she mildly called her ‘giddy’ ways, abruptly dismissed her, although on the point of becoming a mother, giving her barely sufficient money to enable her to reach Hawarden. She was kindly received by old Mrs. Kidd, and gave birth to a second child, which, as nothing more is heard of it, was probably stillborn. She was at this time in great pecuniary distress, for Mrs. Kidd was almost, if not quite, a pauper, and Fetherstonhaugh refused even to answer her letters. She then wrote anxiously to the Hon. Charles Greville, with whom she had been apparently on terms of ‘giddy’ intimacy, and who was possibly the father of the expected child. Her letters at this time are signed Emily Hart, and are those of a person utterly illiterate. Greville brought her to London, where for the next four years she lived with him in a small house near Paddington Green, her mother, who now called herself Mrs. Cadogan, acting as cook and housekeeper. The style of life seems to have been curiously modest and economical. Greville was an earl's son and member of parliament, but his income was only 500l. a year, and that was encumbered; 20l. was all that he allowed his mistress for dress and pocket-money; and his retirement from society seems to have been mainly a measure of retrenchment. The girl seems to have been really in love with him, and content with her secluded life. Greville's attachment was not of the romantic sort, but he was kind to her, provided for her child, gave her masters in music and singing, encouraged her to read poetry or novels, and ‘taught her to take an intelligent interest in such things as his ancient coins, choice engravings, and mezzotints’ (Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, i. 80). She was refined by her intimacy with Romney [see Romney, George], to whom she was introduced by Greville in the summer of 1782, and who almost at once conceived for her a passion of the best and purest kind, though mixed with a wild adoration, presaging the future darkness of his intellect. During these years she repeatedly sat to Romney; but it is not true that she was Romney's mistress, that she was a professional model, or that she sat for various ‘studies from the nude,’ more than realising ‘a naked Leda with a swan’ (Allan Cunningham, The Most Eminent British Painters, Bohn's edit. ii. 186). There is no trace of indelicacy in any picture for which she sat; she was painted by Reynolds, Hoppner, and Lawrence in England, and afterwards by numerous artists in Italy (John Romney, Life of George Romney, pp. 181–3).
In the summer of 1784 Greville's maternal uncle, Sir William Hamilton, ambassador at Naples, came to England on leave, and at his nephew's house saw and was greatly impressed by his mistress. ‘She is better,’ he is reported to have said, ‘than anything in nature. In her particular way she is finer than anything that is to be found in antique art.’ Greville seems to have had no scruple in the following year, when the state of his affairs compelled him to break up his establishment, in asking his uncle to take the girl off his hands. Hamilton readily acquiesced, and, though there was probably no actual bargain, became more willing to help his nephew pecuniarily. Sir William had sportively invited the girl to visit him at Naples; it was now arranged between him and Greville that the invitation should be formally repeated, and that she should come out as if to pursue the study of music and singing. Accordingly she and Mrs. Cadogan left England on 14 March 1786, travelling as far as Rome under the escort of Gavin Hamilton (1730–1797) [q. v.], the painter. Four days after her arrival she wrote to Greville: ‘I have had a conversation this morning with Sir William that has made me mad … Greville, my dear Greville, write some comfort to me … Sir William shall not be anything to me but your friend’ (Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, i. 153). But Greville, after many other letters, coldly advised her to accept Sir William's proposals. To this she answered passionately (1 Aug. 1786): ‘If I was with you I would murder you and myself both,’ concluding with: ‘I never will be his mistress. If you affront me, I will make him marry me’ (ib. i. 167–8). In November, however, she became Hamilton's mistress.
At Naples, as the mistress of the English minister, possessed of a wondrous beauty, singing divinely, speaking Italian—which she picked up with marvellous quickness—with a remarkable turn for repartee, she became a great social power, without much assistance from hints of a secret marriage. Artists, poets, musicians raved about her; and a series of so-called ‘attitudes,’ or tableaux-vivants, which she was in the habit of giving, at once achieved an almost European celebrity (Goethe, Italienische Reise, 16, 22 März 1787). Through all it would appear that she never lost sight of her original purpose of marrying Hamilton. In May 1791 she returned with him to England, and on 6 Sept. they were married in Marylebone Church, where she signed the register ‘Amy Lyon,’ though in the published announcements of the marriage she was spoken of as ‘Miss Harte’ (Gent. Mag. 1791, vol. lxi. pt. ii. p. 872). During her further stay in England the queen refused to recognise her, but in passing through Paris she was received by Marie Antoinette; and on her return to Naples was presented to the queen, Maria Carolina, and became within a short time her confidante and familiar friend. The hatred which the French sympathisers freely lavished on the queen was extended to the confidante, and their friendship was made the subject of the vilest calumnies, which have been accepted without a title of evidence (Colletta, Storia di Napoli, lib. v. cap. i.; Gagnière, p. 31). Lady Hamilton was, during the whole of her residence at Naples, one of the leaders of society, and even respectable English visitors were glad to be admitted to her receptions (Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, i. 282). ‘You never saw anything so charming as Lady Hamilton's attitudes,’ wrote the Countess of Malmesbury to her sister, Lady Elliot (11 Jan. 1792); ‘the most graceful statues or pictures do not give you an idea of them. Her dancing the Tarantella is beautiful to a degree’ (Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot, first Earl of Minto, i. 406). A few years later, when her figure had already lost its sylphlike proportions, Sir Gilbert Elliot wrote to his wife (6 Nov. 1796): ‘She is the most extraordinary compound 1 ever beheld. Her person is nothing short of monstrous for its enormity, and is growing every day. She tries hard to think size advantageous to her beauty, but is not easy about it. Her face is beautiful.’ He adds that she is very good-humoured, and ‘she has acquired since her marriage some knowledge of history and of the arts.’ She shows, however, the ease of a barmaid not of good breeding, and ‘her language and conversation (with men) are exaggerations of anything I ever heard anywhere’ (ib. ii. 364). He is, however, astonished at ‘the very refined taste’ as well as ‘the extraordinary talent’ shown in her attitudes (ib. ii. 365). Hamilton commissioned the German artist, Rehberg, to commit a selection of the ‘attitudes’ to paper; these were afterwards published, under the title of ‘Drawings faithfully copied from Nature at Naples, and with permission dedicated to the Right Honourable Sir William Hamilton’ (1794).
The favour of Maria Carolina, won probably by Emma's beauty and unaffected good-humour, was continued with a distinctly political object. The queen was a keen and intelligent politician, and her horror of the revolution in France culminated on the execution of her sister, Marie Antoinette. Her hatred of the French was bitter beyond expression, and she looked for her best support to England. But she was surrounded with spies, and correspondence with the English ambassador was difficult. Her ostentatious friendship with the ambassador's wife rendered it easy. Billets addressed to Lady Hamilton excited no suspicions. Thus there sprang up a remarkable correspondence now preserved in the British Museum (Egerton MSS. 1615–19) and the Public Record Office. Some imperfect selections have been published in Italy and France, which, wanting the key of the official despatches, are crude and frequently mysterious. On the continent it has been believed that Lady Hamilton was a ‘spy of Pitt,’ whose function was to simulate a friendship with the queen, and worm herself into the queen's confidence, in order to obtain secret intelligence (GAGNIèRE, p. 30). No intrigue was required, for the queen gained by her intimacy precisely the weapon which she needed. Lady Hamilton's vanity led her to exaggerate enormously her share in various transactions of which she became cognisant, and to put forward imaginary claims upon her country.
Nelson sanctions one of her best known claims in the last codicil to his will. ‘She obtained,’ he says, ‘the king of Spain's letter in 1796 to his brother, the king of Naples, acquainting him of his intention to declare war against England, from which letter the ministry sent out orders to then (sic) Sir John Jervis to strike a stroke if opportunity offered against either the arsenals of Spain or her fleets’ (Nicolas, vii. 140). Lady Hamilton herself, in a memorial to the king in 1813, says that she ‘obtained the king of Spain's letter to the king of Naples, expressive of his intention to declare war against England. This important document your Majesty's memorialist delivered to her husband, Sir William Hamilton, who immediately transmitted it to your Majesty's Ministers’ (Pettigrew, ii. 632). It would appear, however, that in familiar conversation her claim went far beyond this. Several different versions have been given of it (e.g. Memoirs, p. 149); but Lady Hamilton's own statement, formally drawn up and signed, is that her husband being dangerously ill, she prevailed on the queen to permit her to take a copy of the letter, and spent 400l. from her private purse to secure its safe transmission to Lord Grenville (Jeaffreson, Queen of Naples, ii. 307). The Hamilton correspondence in the Public Record Office (Sicily, vol. xli.) shows that the whole story is based only on the fact that some letters relating to the turn of affairs in Spain in 1795 were sent to Hamilton by the queen, under cover, as usual, to Lady Hamilton; others were given to him by the queen direct; but there is, throughout, no hint at any intention of declaring war with England, though a letter from Galatone (the Neapolitan minister at Madrid) of 30 March shows that the Spanish government thought it probable that England might declare war against Spain. This letter, which did little more than confirm direct intelligence to the government from Spain, was sent to Hamilton by the queen on 28 April, with a request that it might be returned at once. Hamilton, in returning it, desired his wife to ask the queen for a copy of it, and this she sent him the following day, 29 April. Hamilton was then just convalescent after a serious illness, and sent a despatch, with the correspondence in question, to the English government, taking great precautions for secrecy. The queen's letter to Lady Hamilton of 28 April (Palumbo, p. 153; Pettigrew, ii. 610; the holograph letter in Sicily, vol. xli., is not dated; the date is given by Hamilton in his despatch) is sufficient to show the measure of the part Lady Hamilton had in the business.
Another very well known allegation, also approved by Nelson in his last codicil, is that by her influence with the queen she obtained an order for the governor of Syracuse to permit the British fleet to water there in July 1798, without which order the fleet would have had to go back to Gibraltar. The statement itself is wonderful, but still more so is Nelson's endorsement of it, for he at least knew perfectly well, first, that, even under the terms of the treaty with France, the delay in watering would not have extended over more than three or four days; secondly, that he had strict orders from Lord St. Vincent to take by force, in case of refusal, whatever he needed (Nicolas, iii. 26); and thirdly, that he actually did water at Syracuse by virtue of a letter in the king's name from General Acton, the Neapolitan prime minister (Hamilton to Nelson, 17, 26 June 1798, in Clarke and McArthur, Life of Nelson, ii. 64; Hamilton to Lord Grenville, 18 June, 4 Aug., enclosing copy of letter from the governor of Syracuse to Acton, 22 July, in Sicily, vol. xliv.) If, as is just possible, the queen, through Lady Hamilton, added a further letter to the Sicilian governors, it does not appear to have been used; and Nelson's own letters to Sir William (22, 23 July, Nicolas, iii. 47) and to Lady Hamilton (22 July, Morrison MSS.; Edinburgh Review, clxiv. 549) prove conclusively that no secret orders had been sent to the Sicilian ports. And the statement repeatedly made and insisted on, that on Troubridge and Hamilton's going together to Acton a council was summoned, which, after an hour and a half, ended in disappointment and refusal (Harrison, i. 244; Blackwood's Mag. cxliii. 643; Jeaffreson, Queen of Naples, ii. 309), is entirely false. There was no council; the interview with Acton lasted half an hour, in which time Acton, on his own authority and in the king's name, wrote and handed to Troubridge the letter addressed to the governors of Sicily, and which at Syracuse proved sufficient. Nelson's acceptance of Lady Hamilton's version of the story, in spite of his certain knowledge of the actual facts, is only one out of very many instances of his extraordinary infatuation.
In a flying visit to Naples in September 1793 Nelson had first met Lady Hamilton; he had then described her to his wife as ‘a young woman of amiable manners, and who does honour to the station to which she is raised’ (Nicolas, i. 326); it was not till his return in September 1798, after the battle of the Nile, that he can be said to have made her acquaintance. She had already, some three weeks before, publicly shown the most extravagant joy at the news of the victory, and on Nelson's arrival she, with her husband, and attended by a large party of friends in a procession of boats, went out into the bay to meet him. She went on board the Vanguard, and, on seeing ‘the conquering hero,’ exclaimed, ‘Oh God, is it possible!’ and fainted in his arm. ‘Tears, however,’ as Nelson wrote to his wife, ‘soon set matters to rights’ (ib. iii. 130). A few days later she gave a magnificent fête in honour of Nelson's birthday (29 Sept.), when ‘H. N. Glorious 1st of August’ was the favourite device. ‘Eighty people,’ Nelson wrote to his wife, ‘dined at Sir William Hamilton's; 1,740 came to a ball, where 800 supped’ (ib. iii. 139; Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, ii. 8). The Hamiltons seem to have but kept pace with the general enthusiasm. Within a couple of months war was declared against France, and an army of 35,000 men was levied, only to be swept away by the first advance of the French troops. Lady Hamilton afterwards considered that she had forced the war policy on the queen, who brought the king over to it; and that she had inspired her husband, Nelson, and Sir John Acton, and brought pressure on the council (Pettigrew, ii. 617; Jeaffreson, Queen of Naples, ii. 313). In point of fact the war policy was determined in concert with the Austrian government; the defensive and offensive treaty was formally ratified at Vienna on 16 July, and reached Naples on the 30th; the declaration of war followed as a matter of course when the plans of the two governments were ripe; and Lady Hamilton had nothing to do with it beyond serving as the queen's occasional intermediary with the English ambassador. Of the same nature was her real share in the conduct of the celebrated flight to Palermo on the scattering of the Neapolitan army. The measures relating to the royal family and their property were arranged by the queen; Lady Hamilton was the medium of correspondence with the English admiral, and through her the cases of treasure and other valuables were transmitted (Nicolas, iii. 210; Gagnière, p. 94). The popular story (Pettigrew, ii. 617–18) that the queen's timidity was controlled by Lady Hamilton's high spirit is the very reverse of the fact, though there is no doubt that Lady Hamilton behaved admirably under very trying circumstances. On this point, as a matter that came under his own notice, Nelson's evidence is indisputable (Nicolas, iii. 213). She afterwards stated that, to avert suspicion of the intended departure, Hamilton sacrificed property to the value of 30,000l., and she herself sustained a loss of 9,000l. But Hamilton's most valuable property had been shipped several months before for carriage to England, and lost in the wreck of the Colossus; and though the household furniture was left behind at Naples, Nelson, writing with direct information from Hamilton, and urging his claim for compensation, estimated the total loss, in the Colossus and at Naples together, at 10,000l. (Egerton MS. 1614, f. 12). As to Lady Hamilton, she did not possess property of the value of 9,000l., and carried away the greater part of what she had (Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, ii. 35–8). Her statement that she had bought corn to the value of 5,000l. for the relief of the Maltese is equally false; she had no such sum of money at her disposal (ib. ii. 132–5). She may have been able to influence the despatch of provisions for the starving Maltese, and it was presumably on some such grounds that Nelson applied to the emperor of Russia, as grand master of the knights of Malta, to grant her the cross of the order. The emperor sent her the cross, naming her at the same time ‘Dame Petite Croix de l'Ordre de St. Jean de Jérusalem,’ 21 Dec. 1799 (ib. ii. 135; Nicolas, iv. 193 n.)
Her exaggerated claims have been counterbalanced by maliciously false charges. Of these the most atrocious is that which accuses her of being the virtual murderer of Caracciolo, who was executed for treason and rebellion on 29 June 1799; of having been present at his execution, and of having shown indecent satisfaction at his death. In the whole story as told (among many others by Brenton, Naval History, ii. 483) the only particle of truth is that Lady Hamilton was on board the Foudroyant at the time (Lomonaco, Rapporto al Cittadino Carnot, p. 80; Colletta, lib. v. cap. i.).
Whether from vanity, emotional enthusiasm, or genuine admiration, Lady Hamilton undoubtedly laid herself out, with too complete success, to win Nelson's heart. The two lived for and with each other, to the scandal of the whole Mediterranean station, keeping up all the time the extraordinary pretence of a pure platonism, which not only deceived Sir William Hamilton, but to some extent even Nelson himself, between whom and Hamilton there was to the last a feeling of warm friendship. It has indeed been suggested, though the probabilities seem to be against it, that till April 1800, when Lady Hamilton with her husband accompanied Nelson in the Foudroyant on a visit to Malta, their relations were really platonic (Pettigrew, ii. 640; Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, ii. 140). In the summer of 1800 she left Palermo in the company of her husband and Nelson. From Leghorn the party travelled homeward through Vienna, Dresden, and Hamburg, whence they crossed over to Yarmouth. Afterwards in London, at Merton, on tours of pleasure, or in different country houses, she and Nelson were seldom apart, except when he was serving afloat, and his devotion to her led directly to his separating from his wife. They kept up a pretence of purity and platonism, and their friends, as well as Nelson's sisters and relations, who treated Lady Hamilton well, regarded the relationship as innocent (Nicolas, vii. 394; Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot, iii. 284; Phillimore, Life of Sir William Parker, i. 230–1). A mystery long enveloped the parentage of Horatia, the child to whom Lady Hamilton gave birth on or about 30 Jan. 1801. Many years ago Pettigrew (ii. 652) quoted passages of a letter (1 March 1801) from Nelson to Lady Hamilton distinctly acknowledging the child as theirs. The original letter, in Nelson's handwriting, is now in the Morrison collection. This and other letters in the same collection, the tone of which is quite beyond doubt, make the close friendship between Nelson and Hamilton, which continued unbroken till Hamilton's death on 6 April 1803, truly surprising. Latterly indeed, with the peevishness of old age, Sir William expressed himself dissatisfied with the engrossing attention his wife paid to Nelson, but at the same time he added: ‘I well know the purity of Lord Nelson's friendship for Emma and me’ (Jeaffreson, Lady Hamilton, ii. 253). During his mortal illness Nelson sat by his side for the last six nights, and at his death ‘the pillow was supported by his wife, and his right hand was held by the seaman,’ who wrote a few hours afterwards to the Duke of Clarence, ‘My dear friend, Sir William Hamilton, died this morning; the world never, never lost a more upright and accomplished gentleman’ (ib. ii. 254). That this was hypocrisy is contrary to all that we know of Nelson's or even of Emma's nature, and we are driven to suppose that the two had persuaded themselves that their conduct towards the injured husband was void of offence.
Hamilton left a large property to his nephew, charged with an annuity of 800l. to Emma for her life; she also had 800l. in cash, and the furniture, paintings, &c., valued at about 5,000l. (ib. ii. 259). It appears, however, that she had already, unknown to her husband or Nelson, contracted debts—possibly by gambling—to the amount of upwards of 7,000l. (Greville to Lady Hamilton, 8 June 1803, Evans, Statement regarding the Nelson Coat, p. 37), and that from the first she was in straitened circumstances, notwithstanding Nelson's allowing her 1,200l. a year and the free use of Merton. Her application to the queen of Naples for relief was coldly received (Nicolas, v. 117, vi. 95, 99, 105, 181); and Mr. Addington or Lord Grenville, as first lords of the treasury, turned a deaf ear to all her memorials for a pension on the ground of her services at Naples. The queen and Lord Grenville have been unjustly blamed for refusing to reward services which they knew to be purely imaginary. During the last years of his life Nelson repeatedly expressed a hope of marrying her at some future day. His loss must have touched her keenly, but the repeated exhibition of herself fainting in public when Braham sang ‘The Death of Nelson,’ going apparently to the theatre for the purpose, throws some discredit on the genuineness of her woe. Under Nelson's will she received 2,000l. in cash, an annuity of 500l. charged on the revenues of Bronte, and the house and grounds of Merton, valued at from 12,000l. to 14,000l. The interest of 4,000l. settled on Horatia was also to be paid to her until the girl should reach the age of eighteen. Nelson further left her, by his dying request, as a legacy to his country, mainly on the ground of her public services. The story of this codicil having been concealed by Nelson's brother, the first Earl Nelson, until the parliamentary grant had been passed (Pettigrew, ii. 625), has been disproved by Mr. Jeaffreson (Lady Hamilton, ii. 291–3), who has shown that the codicil or memorandum was duly handed over to Sir William Scott; that on account of its reference to the queen of Naples it was deemed unadvisable to make it public; but that it was laid before Lord Grenville and decided on adversely, in all probability, on the merit of the alleged claims. After the death of Nelson she was nominally in the possession of upwards of 2,000l. a year; but everything was swallowed up by her debts and by her wasteful expenditure. Within three years she was in almost hopeless difficulties; on 25 Nov. 1808 a meeting of her friends was held to consider her case; as the result of which Merton and the rest of her property was assigned to trustees to be sold for the benefit of her creditors, and a sum of 3,700l., to be charged on the estate, was raised for her immediate necessities. The old Duke of Queensberry, with whom during the life of Nelson she had been on terms of friendly intimacy, and who seems to the last to have been fond of her society, left her in 1810 a further annuity of 500l.; but his will became the subject of a tedious litigation, and she received no benefit from it. Her affairs rapidly grew worse, and in the summer of 1813 she was arrested for debt and consigned to the King's Bench prison. About a year afterwards she was released on bail by Alderman Joshua Jonathan Smith, with whose assistance she escaped to Calais, where she lived for the next seven or eight months, and where she died on 15 Jan. 1815. It has been confidently stated and very generally believed that during this period she was in the utmost penury. Her letters show that she was living on partridges, turkeys, and turbot, with good Bordeaux wine (ib. ii. 321). There is no reason to suppose that she was altogether penniless, and in any case Horatia's 200l. a year was payable to her for their joint use. According to the false story told to Pettigrew by Mrs. Hunter, Lady Hamilton died in extreme want, unattended save by herself and Horatia; she was buried at Mrs. Hunter's expense, in a cheap deal coffin with an old petticoat for a pall; and the service of the church of England was read over the remains by an Irish half-pay officer, there being no protestant clergyman in Calais. Lady Hamilton's daughter assured Mr. Paget (Blackwood, cxliii. 648) that Mrs. Hunter was unknown to her. The funeral was conducted by a Henry Cadogan on the part of Mr. Smith. Of this Cadogan we know nothing; but his name would seem to point to a possible connection with Mrs. Cadogan, as Lady Hamilton's mother had been called for more than thirty years. It is at any rate quite certain that she was buried in an oak coffin, and that the bill, including church expenses, priests, candles, dressing the body, &c., amounting to 28l. 10s., was paid to Cadogan by Mr. Smith (ib. p. 649). The mention of priests and candles agrees with her daughter's statement, and confirms the story that during her later years she had professed the Roman catholic faith (Memoirs, p. 349).
Of her children, the eldest, Emma, was brought up at the expense of Mr. Greville and afterwards of Sir William Hamilton; she appears to have died about 1804. The second, the presumptive child of Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh, was probably still-born, or died in infancy. The third, Horatia, lived, after her mother's death, with Nelson's sisters; in 1822 she married the Rev. Philip Ward, afterwards vicar of Tenterden in Kent, became the mother of eight children, and died on 6 March 1881. A fourth, also Emma, of which Nelson was the father, born in the end of 1803 or the beginning of 1804, died in March 1804 (Jeaffreson, Queen of Naples, ii. 257).
The portraits of Lady Hamilton are very numerous, and have been repeatedly engraved. Twenty-three painted by Romney are named by his son in a list admittedly imperfect (Romney, Life of Romney, p. 181). Two of these and engravings after ten others were exhibited at the Royal Academy in the winter of 1878; one, a head only, sketch for a Bacchante, is in the National Gallery; another, as a sybil, with auburn hair and dark grey eyes—of a wondrous beauty—is in the National Portrait Gallery. There are many others by most of the leading artists of the day, English or Italian. One by Madame Lebrun was bought by the prince regent in 1809. As early as 1796 Lady Hamilton was growing very stout, the tendency increased, and in her later years she was grotesquely portrayed in ‘A New Edition, considerably enlarged, of Attitudes faithfully copied from Nature, and humbly dedicated to Admirers of the Grand and Sublime,' 1807 (anonymous; catalogued in the British Museum under 'Rehberg ').[The writer has to acknowledge the courtesy of Mr. Alfred Morrison in permitting him free access to his collection of manuscripts, which is particularly rich in documents relating to the private life of Lady Hamilton. Working from these, Mr. J. C. Jeaffreson published in 1887 a memoir under the title of Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson, and in 1889 another with the title The Queen of Naples and Lord Nelson. In this last he has included an examination of the manuscripts in the British Museum (Egerton, 1613-1621), but not of the official correspondence from Naples or Spain in the Public Record Office. A selection of these, with the title 'Nelson's Last Codicil,' was published by the present writer in Colburn's United Service Magazine, April and May 1889. The Memoirs of Lady Hamilton, with illustrative Anecdotes (1815), a book of virulent abuse and pseudo-religious reflections, is of little authority, but not quite worthless. The Letters of Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton (2 vols. 8vo, 1814) require corroboration from other sources; the same may be said of Harrison's Life of Nelson (2 vols. 8vo, 1806), inspired if not virtually written by Lady Hamilton, and crowded with falsehoods, many of which, through the influence of Southey, have passed into general currency. Nicolas's Despatches and Letters of Lord Nelson contains much interesting and valuable matter, see index at the end of vol. vii.; and in Pettigrew's Life of Nelson were published for the first time many of the Nelson-Hamilton papers, though the author's easy credulity deprives his work of much of its value. Paget's Memoir of Lady Hamilton, originally published in Blackwood's Magazine (April 1860), and afterwards in Paradoxes and Puzzles, is an interesting sketch drawn mainly from the imperfect materials at the disposal of Nicolas and Pettigrew; to this Mr. Paget has added a supplementary article (Blackwood's Mag. May 1888), severely, but unjustly, criticising Jeaffreson's examination of Lady Hamilton's claims, and especially in reference to the entry of the fleet into the harbour of Syracuse. There are besides interesting notices of Lady Hamilton in Life and Letters of Sir Gilbert Elliot, first Earl of Minto; Mrs. St. George's Journal, kept during a visit to Germany in 1799, 1800 (edited by her son, Archbishop Trench); and Miss Cornelia Knight's Autobiography. Palumbo's Carteggio di Maria Carolina . . . con Lady Emma Hamilton (1887), and Gagnière's La Reine Marie-Caroline de Naples (1886) are largely made up of the queen's correspondence, but of Lady Hamilton personally they know nothing beyond what has been handed down by scandalous rumour. Helfert's Revolution und Gegen-Revolution von Neapel (1882) and Maria Karolina von Oesterreich, Königin von Neapel und Sicilien (1884) contain no original information on the subject.]