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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: September 2011
  • First published in: 1840



Towards the close of the year 1770, during the Christmas holidays, when the Rev. Edmund Nelson was at Bath for his health, and the greater part of his family, then consisting of eight children, was left at the parsonage-house of Burnham Thorpe, in Norfolk; his son Horatio, who had often expressed a wish not to be a burden to his father, happened to read in the county paper the appointment of his mother's brother, Captain Maurice Suckling, to the Raisonable of 64 guns. Upon which he exclaimed, ‘Do, brother William, write to my father at Bath, and tell him I should like to go with uncle Maurice to sea.’ William, who had been the constant companion of Horatio, and was a little more than seventeen months older than his brother, wrote accordingly. The worthy rector of Burnham, who loved all his children, and had struggled hard in supporting so numerous an offspring, was sensible of the generous motive which had thus induced a youth of twelve years to endeavour to provide for himself. His father's hopes of assistance from Captain Suckling, notwithstanding his visit to the parsonage on the death of Mrs. Nelson in December, 1767, and his promise to take care of one of her children, were not over-sanguine. Various disappointments, with the difficulties of a narrow income, had chilled in the mind of Mr. Nelson all idea of patronage from his connexions; and the loss of his wife, whom he had tenderly loved, cast an additional gloom over the prospect of his humble expectations.