Nelson’s Godson

This is from News from the English Countryside, from the Lancaster Gazette of 1805:

As Colonel Tyrwhitt, Vice Warden of he Stannaries, Cornwall and Devon, was, with other gentlemen, looking through his telescope at the French prizes going up the harbour, he observed a fine little boy of an open countenance, cheering with his playfellows, and heard him several times called Nelson. this raised (on being often repeated)a curiosity to know who the boy was. Colonel Tyrwhitt went to his father’s cottage, who was a quarryman, and lived at Rusty Anchor, under the West Hoe. By this time the boy was returned, first appearing shy, but, on a little conversation, this wore off, and he said Lord Nelson was his god-father, but he was shot and killed the other day i a great battle. The colonel then entered the hut and found the father, who had lost a limb on the Minotaur, in the battle of the Nile, and his wife and 4 children, clean, though poorly dressed. Colonel Tyrwhitt then asked if the circumstances were true, of Lord Nelson being god-father to this little boy and was answered, yes. The mother then produced a certificate of his baptism, at the British Factory Chapel, Leghorn, July 1800, attested by the clergyman, Rev. Mr. Cummins – and signed

Emma Hamilton

William Hamilton

Nelson and Bronte.

The child was named Horatio Nelson – his mother was a washerwoman on board the minotaur, of 74 guns, Captain Lous. when the child was born, in the Bay of Leghorn, his Lordship and sir Wm and lady Hamilton said they would stand sponsors. He had promised, when the boy grew up, to put him to sea, and give him a nautical education. But after the Peace of Amiens, these poor people, from ignorance, neglected (though desired by his Lordship when he sailed for England) to write him when they were settled. The Minotaur was paid off at Plymouth and the father of the boy, with his small pension, has contrived to maintain his family ever since. After talking over the circumstance of the intended kindness of Lord Nelson to this poor little boy, if he had known their situation and place of abode, Colonel Tyrwhitt determined to follow up his Lordship’s good wishes, took the boy as his protege, and with his usual humanity, had hi decently clothed and put to school, and means to give him a regular nautical education to fit him for the naval service of his country. A little purse, by way of subscription for the present purposes, has just been opened, under the patronage of Mrs Admiral Sutton, which will  no doubt soon be filled, out of respect to the memory of a hero, beloved, admired and almost adored; and whose memory will be cherished an entwined round the heart of evert lover of British naval virtue and heroism.


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