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ADMIRAL SIDNEY SMITH - THIRD PERSON AUTOGRAPH LETTER 11/12/1805 - HFSID 320252

 
ADMIRAL SIDNEY SMITH
While commanding forces assigned to prevent a French invasion, Smith summons an applicant for a ship-building position to present his certificate to him aboard HMS Antelope
Third Person Autograph Letter, 1 page, 8x10. HMS Antelope (off Dover), 1805 November 12. In full: "Sir Sidney Smith in answer to Mr. Edwards' letter of the 9th inst. desires he will bring his certificate to him aboard the Antelope off Dover without a moment's pass of time, where he will place Mr. Edwards according to his qualifications on application to Mr. Bray builder at Dover. Means of getting off to the ship will be furnished." Sir Sidney Smith (1764-1840) entered the Royal Navy in 1777, distinguishing himself so fully in the American Revolution that at age 16, well below the required minimum age of 19, he was placed in command of the 74-gen Alcide. He fought with distinction at the Battle of the Chesapeake and the Battle of the Saintes, and was promoted to Captain of the HMS Fury. Placed on leave at war's end, he traveled in France and Spain, observing port fortifications of these potential enemies, and then accepted a commission in the Swedish Navy, as advisor to King Gustav III and as leader of a naval force which defeated the Russian Navy at Svenskund (1790). (In so doing he incurred the permanent enmity of British officers who had served on the Russian side, the first of many sets of enemies Smith would make in his naval career. When Britain was forced to abandon the French port of Toulon (which had been captured with the aid of French royalists), Smith was assigned to burn the French fleet, partially succeeding but incurring the hostility of Admiral Horatio Nelson by not completing the job. In 1796, while on blockade duty in the English Channel, Smith was captured by the French, who imprisoned him for two years and threatened to try him for arson, on the grounds that he had not been on active duty at Toulon, and hence was not a combatant. He escaped, again with the help of French royalists. Smith served in the Mediterranean with a dual military and diplomatic assignment, assisting the Ottoman Empire in resisting a Napoleonic invasion. Smith, a gallant naval officer, achieved the rank of Admiral, but might have played a greater part in the war had he not had powerful enemies, including Lord Nelson. Napoleon, however, gave Smith credit, declaring "That man made me miss my destiny." Smith, finally awarded a knighthood in 1814, was rumored to have had an affair with Princes Caroline, estranged wife of the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV. Multiple folds. Heavy surface creases. Corners lightly worn and creased. Toned. Soiled, esp. heavy on verso. Tears on folds. Tape on verso on tears.


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ADMIRAL SIDNEY SMITH  


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ADMIRAL SIDNEY SMITH
Born: June 21, 1764 in Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: May 26, 1840 in Paris, France





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