If we have talents," wrote Horatio Nelson on 13 January 1804, "we have no right to keep them under a bushel, they are ours for the benefit of the Community."
Those few words perfectly sum up Vice Admiral Nelson's extraordinary, and lifelong, devotion to duty and public service. And yet, those words will not be found in any of the hundreds of biographies that have sought to unravel his mystery. Nor will they be found in any collected edition of his letters. They will not be found even in the great collections of Nelson archives at the National Maritime Museum or the British Library. They are found, in fact, in a hitherto unpublished letter preserved in the Henry Huntington Collection of Manuscripts in the splendid Huntington Library in San Marino, California. The letter was written not to a fellow Englishman but to a Dane—Major General Ernest Frederick Waltersdorff, Chamberlain to the King of Denmark.