[ Captain William Pryce Cumby, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar. ] Two Autograph Letters Signed (both 'Wm: Pryce Cumby') to the London solicitor Thomas Wiglesworth, the first regarding a repaired chronometer, the second a power of attorney.

Captain William Pryce Cumby (1771-1837), Royal Navy, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar while commanding HMS Bellerophon [ Thomas Wiglesworth, London solicitor ]
Publication details: 
Both letters from East Hall, Middleton Tyas [ Yorkshire ]. 23 February and 1 July 1819.
SKU: 19774

Early on during the Battle of Trafalgar, Lieutenant Cumby's captain John Cooke was mortally wounded, leaving Cumby in command of HMS Bellerophon during 'the most glorious battle ever fought at sea'. According to John Marshall's 'Royal Naval Biography' (1823): 'At this early period of the battle, the Bellerophon was closely engaged with the Monarca, as well as l’Aigle, and exposed to a distant cannonade from three other of the enemy’s ships. Lieutenant Cumby, however, had soon the satisfaction to see his more immediate opponent disentangle herself and drop astern, of which he took advantage by pouring several broadsides into her stern as she was in the act of falling off; and then directing his fire against the Monarca, compelled her to surrender.' Cumby is said to have annihilated a boarding party from the Aigle, and to have boarded the French ship to force her surrender, at one point picking up a lit grenade to extinguish it. Both items are addressed to 'Thomas Wiglesworth | Gray's Inn | London'. ONE: ALS of 23 February 1819. 2pp., 4to. Bifolium. On aged and brittle paper, with damage to both leaves from the breaking open of the red wax seal. Begins: 'Understanding it to be your intention to attend the Assizes at York next Month; I shall feel greatly obliged if you would take the trouble before you leave town to call on my friend Mr: Baikie of 36 Soho Square, and bring down for me in your pocket a Chronometer of mine which has been receiving some repairs in town'. He asks him 'to wind it up daily and keep it going' until they meet, 'as I trust you will not leave Yorkshire without favoring the ladies of this Mansion with a visit'. In other circumstances Wiglesworth is to leave the chronometer 'at Mrs: Metcalfe's, Monk Bar York'. He ends by conveying the best wishes of 'Mrs: Morley, my dear Elizabeth & Margaret'. TWO: ALS of 1 July 1819. 1p., folio. In fair condition, aged and worn, Docketed: 'Letter of Attorney from | The Revd. J Headlam | The Revd. T. W. Morley | Thos. Wiglesworth Gent | to | Messrs. Child & Co.' The day of writing is the first on which Cumby has seen Wiglesworth's 'two worthy co-adjutors together' since receiving his letter, and he has 'procured their signatures to the annexed document which I beg to return without farther delay'. He conveys the wish of '[t]he Ladies' that they may see Wiglesworth 'at the East Hall' before the year is out: 'Mrs. Morley is I believe writing to you by this Post'.