NELSON (HORATIO, Lord)
Autograph letter signed (Nelson & Bronte), to Admiral Sir Richard Bickerton, ordering him to take command in the Mediterranean (...Having received information that the Combined Fleet from the West Indies are gone to the Northward I am proceeding in pursuit of them...) and describing the force he conceives to be necessary, especially for the protection of Malta (...fully sensible as I am of the necessity of Keeping the force on these Stations, and most particularly that of Malta, without which force the Island could have no commerce or even communication with any place from the Numerous French Privateers in that neighbourhood, and both the Inhabitants and troops would be reduced to a very disagreeable if not distressing Situation, I shall only take the Amazon frigate with Me and as soon as I get to any force which may render my present one unnecessary I shall detach or recommend it to My Superior Officer Two Sail of the Line to reinforce You...), and ending by assuring him of his complete confidence in his abilities (...I will not presume to say anything farther on the duties of the Commanding officer on the Mediterranean Station as You have before My arrival, and since My departure for the West Indies fill´d the Post with so much ability and honor to Yourself and advantage to Your King & Country...), three pages, 4to, contemporary dockets, Bickerton Papers stamp, Victory, 25 July 1805
NELSON IN PURSUIT OF THE COMBINED FLEET BEFORE TRAFALGAR. This letter dates from soon after his return from the Long Chase´, when he had pursued the Combined Fleet to the West Indies and back, and three months before he finally brought them to engagement at Trafalgar. Bickerton was Nelson´s second-in-command in the Mediterranean, and had taken over while he was in the West Indies. It is published (from an Admiralty copy, with minor differences) by Nicolas, Dispatches and Letters, vi, pp.498-9.