Copyright © 2008, Alison Pryce, all rights reserved.
These letters were drafted by Francis Goldphin Bond August 29, 1798, while at Haslar Hospital. Both written to General Bentham.
The first is complaining that Nelson hadn't attended to the fitting out of the Netley in Portsmouth Harbour and hadn't inspected it as he was meant to.
The second states that the Netley's mast is not well-supported and "complains much in carrying a press of sail."
Apparently Nelson is supported by the Navy Board, though Francis Godolphin Bond hopes that "he well get rewarded according to his merits."
Haslar Hospital 29th. Aug. 1798
It is with much sorrow I find that Misters John and Henry Peake have fallen under the displeasure of the Board of Admiralty and that the latter of those Gentlemen has felt some severity from the Commissioners of the Navy.
As I have reason to believe this affair has originated in a dispute with Mr. Nelson, late of Portsmouth Yard, and that this gentleman has endeavoured to influence the Board in his behalf by attributing his neglect of superintending the Netley, to delicacy towards you, or Mr. Peake,- I think myself bound in justice and honour to confess to you my late intentions of preferring a complaint to the Navy Board of Mr. Nelson's not attending to the fitting out of the Netley and that I was witheld from it but by a motive of forebearance; as I had always been given to understand at the Yard that she was under his directions. About a fortnight before the departure of the Netley from Portsmouth Harbour the few shipwrights that had been employed on it were withdrawn without giving me any intimation on that head: and on my remonstrating with the Master Shipwright, and acquainting him that the jobs in hand were not finished, he confessed his ignorance of the affair and told me she was immediately under the inspection of Mr. Nelson, who by the by, had never made his appearance in the vessel. I inquired of Mr. Derrick, the foreman afloat the reason of the Assistants' not examining into our wants, and he very significantly told me "that he was sure Mr. Nelson never would go on board the Netley." I shall feel much grieved Sir, that if that prejudice which has so particularly distinguished the conduct of Mr. Nelson towards the vessels built under your directions, should meet any countenance - the more so as I have ever preferred the Publick Zeal to private interests, and trust at least that all those whose employments are under Government will be actuated by the same principle.
I have the honour to be
Your most obedient
F. G. Bond
From the many favors and civilities I have experienced at your hands I am induced once more to claim your protection, and ask your assistance. I ever considered myself chiefly indebted to you Sir for the professional step I acquired when under your command in the Minerva- since which period I have dared to consider you the father of my fortune - It has been the general opinion that Lt. Portlock? of the Assistant, and myself as first Lieutenant of the Providence, would indisputably have gained promotion on our arrival, since the expedition had ended with every ~avorable circumstance: but the unfortunate report concerning the conduct of our commander in his former voyage, I am afraid has prevented My Lord Chatham from giving him an audience, consequently will very much weaken the efforts he has made to serve me, and probably tend to my total disappointment on that head. And as it is rumoured abroad that a large promotion of officers will take place in the course of a few days, I am exceedingly anxious to use my greatest efforts before that time, lest a long recess afterwards might effectually preclude me from advancing myself in the profession, for which I have the utmost respect and zeal. If I might dare Sir to solicit a letter from you to My Lord Chatham in my behalf, and his Lordship was also informed of the misfortune which had befallen me in being blown up, for which I receive not the least gratuity; I should indeed be very sanguine, knowing in what estimation your character is universally held. - I beg leave to acquaint you Sir of having been on half pay for six weeks, and from the hope of preferment, living in London to my great inconvenience, not having stirred from town to see my friends, that I might not be absent if any thing was presented to my advantage.
I have the honor to be Sir Your very faithful
and much obliged