'They are thieves, murderers, oppressors and infidels': Letter from Lord Nelson declaring his dislike for the French sells at auction for £9,000

The four-page letter was written shortly after the Battle of the Nile in 1799

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The Independent Online

A letter written by Admiral Lord Nelson in which he passionately declares his hatred of the French has sold for a four-figure sum at auction.

English flag officer Lord Nelson is probably most widely recognised for his service in the Royal Navy during the eighteenth century and is commemorated with Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.

Not one to mince his words, Lord Nelson embarks on an angry tirade about his French counterparts, describing them as “thieves, murderers, oppressors and infidels” and claiming that he “cannot hold faith” with anyone in country, according to the Daily Telegraph.

This wouldn’t be the first time Lord Nelson aired his distaste for the French. In another letter addressed to his mistress Lady Hamilton, he even managed to mention it whilst declaring his love for her.

“That I love you most dearly, and hate the French most damnably,” he wrote. In this particular instance, he was more forceful. He said: “There is nothing but tyranny & oppression, I have never known a good act done by a Republican, it is contrary to his character under the mask of Liberty.

“He is a tyrant, a many headed monster that devours your happiness and property. Nothing is free from this monster's grasp. A republic has no affection for its subjects.

“A King may be ill advised and act wrong, a Republic never acts right, for a knot of villains support each other, and together they do what no single person dare attempt.

“I pray God this war was over and a monarch placed on the throne of France, not that I like any Frenchman be he royalist or be he republican, but the French republicans have shown themselves such villains.

“I form not my opinion My Dear Lord from others, no it is from what I have seen.

“They are thieves, murderers, oppressors and infidels, therefore what faith can we hold with these people.”

The four-page letter, penned following the Battle of the Nile in 1799, was sold at auction in London for £9,000.

The letter is addressed to “My Dear Lord”, although historians have been unable to assert who the intended recipient was.