The Raab Collection announced today that it has acquired two previously unknown and unpublished letters of Horatio Nelson at crucial moments during his career. They date from 1799 and 1805 and have been in the same family since the first half of the 20th century, nearly a century, at least. They do not appear in the published correspondence of Nelson.
“The letters show Nelson facing up to the Napoleonic threat, which he saw clearly; and as commander, taking up the call to serve his country,” said Nathan Raab, author of the Hunt for History. “They also show him a commander. They have European and global interest.”
Finding such unpublished correspondence from an old collection is uncommon.
Nelson Bids Farewell on His Way to Trafalgar: The Very Day Nelson Announced He Would Accept Britain’s Call to Head to Trafalgar, He Laments to His Former Commander: “Perhaps I may see you in Winter but that depends upon others”
An unpublished letter, written the month before his death, with franking signature, and mentioning Lady Hamilton, echoing his famous note of the previous day: “I expected to lay my weary bones quiet for the Winter, but I ought perhaps to be proud of the general call which has made me to go forth.”
Nelson, off Naples defending that port, in the company of Lady Hamilton, announces the capture of one of France’s prize vessels: “The Junon, L’Alceste…and two corvettes are taken by Lord Keith…”
About Raab & The Hunt for History: In 2020 (hardcover) and 2021 (paperback), Scribner published Nathan’s fascinating book about the rarified world of discovering and dealing in historical documents – THE HUNT FOR HISTORY: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, Churchill, and Einstein to the Secret Recordings Onboard JFK’s Air Force One. In the book by Nathan, whom Library Journal has compared to the Indiana Jones of historical document hunting, he shares amazing stories from the families and institutions who’ve called on him to sell, or authenticate, rare and revelatory letters that will often fetch high prices. Among these stories: powerful letters of President Reagan to his daughter, pleading for family unity; the discovery of an early version of the JFK assassination tapes with 40 minutes of new information; Theodore Roosevelt’s letter home from Yellowstone to his young son, who would die in World War I.
Raab has worked with the families of many great historical figures on the treasures that have descended to them, including Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James K. Polk, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, Gerald Ford, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, senior leadership in the Civil War, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has worked to bring to the market many unpublished historical archives from all over the world.