ON THIS DAY - December

12th December 1786: Captain Horatio Nelson to Frances Nisbet: "Our young Prince William is a gallant man; he is indeed volatile, but always with great  good nature. There were two balls during his stay, and some of the older ladies were mortified that HRH would not dance with them; but he says, he is determined to enjoy the privilege of all other men, that of asking any lady he pleases." Nelson married Frances (Fanny) Nisbet on 11 March 1787.

14th December 1803: Vice Admiral Nelson to his elder brother William: The main Battle is over, if I'm victorious, I shall ask for my retreat - if, unfortunately to the contrary, I hope never to live to see it. In that case you will get an early Seat in the House of Lords."

15th December 1785: Captain Nelson to his elder brother William: "I am in affair way of changing my situation. The dear object you must like. Her sense, polite manners and to you I may say, beauty, you will much admire: and although at present we may not be a rich couple, yet I have not the least doubt but we shall be a happy pair:- the faith must be mine if we are not." The 'dear object' was Frances Nisbet whom Nelson married in March 1787.

17th December 1798: Queen Maria Carolina commits 60,000 ducats in gold and her family diamonds to Nelson's war effort against Rome (which Nelson smuggled on board on the 19th. Rear Admiral Nelson writes to Earl Spencer, "I have had the charge of the Two Sicily's intrusted to me, and things are come to that pitch, that I do not know that the whole Royal Family, with 3000 émigrés will be under the protection of the King's flag this night."

19th December 1804: Vice Admiral Nelson to the queen of the Two Sicilies on Europe's attitude to Napoleon, "Would to God these great Powers reflected that the boldest measures are the safest! They allow small states to fall, and serve the enormous power of France, without appearing to reflect that every kingdom which is annexed to France, makes their existence as independent states more precarious."

22nd December 1798: Nelson to Commodore Duckworth, "I have only to tell you that their Sicilain Majesties with their august Family, arrived in safety aboard the Vanguard last night at nine o'clock, feeling it a necessary measure in the present moment."

24 December 1798: Nelson captures a Spanish ship but she is retaken. He attempts a deal over captives with the Spanish captain general, "The fortune of war put La Sabina into my possession after she had been most gallantly defended; the fickle dame returned her to you with some of my officers and men in her. I have endeavoured to make the captivity of Don Jacobo Stuart, her brave commander, as light as possible and I trust to the generosity of your nation for its being reciprocal for the British officers and men."

25th December 1804: Swiftsure joins the squadron at 8 am. To Captain Mark Robinson, " I would not trouble you to come out of Swiftsure with this swell, not being sure that you are not in Quarantine, and therefore I might be deprived of the pleasure of seeing you on board Victory; and also, hearing from Captain Cracraft that you have lately had the gout."

26th December 1804: Vice Admiral Nelson to William Marsden, Secretary to the Navy, "The Fleet is in perfect good health and good humour, unequalled by anything which has ever come within my knowledge, and equal to the most active service which the times may call for or the country may expect of them."

28th December 1803: Nelson informs Mr Langstaff he has every species necessary except wine. "I am therefore to desire you will immediately purchase such a quantity of wine at this place for supernumeraries at nine pence per gallon, and, very probably, considerably under."

30th December 1804: Nelson to William Marsden, Secretary to the Navy, on hearing he is to return to England to regain his health, "I am much obliged by their Lordships' kind compliance with my request, which is absolutely necessary from the present state of my health, and I shall avail myself to their Lordships' permission, the moment another Admiral, in the room of Admiral Campbell, joined the fleet unless the enemy's Fleet should be at sea, when I should not think of quitting my command until after the Battle".