[ Rear-Admiral Sir Nesbit Josiah Willoughby, naval hero ('The Immortal'). ] Three secretarial letters, all signed 'N. J. Willoughby', to 'Sir John', regarding his book 'Extracts from Holy Writ', and why he is not a 'good man'.

Sir Nesbit Josiah Willoughby (1777-1849), Royal Navy Rear-Admiral and naval hero ('The Immortal')
Publication details: 
6 Chapel Street, Grosvenor Square [ London ]. Letters to Hardy dated 27 and 31 September 1839. Letter to unnamed party dated 3 October 1839.
SKU: 19890

All three letters are on bifoliums, and they total 11pp., 12mo. In fair condition, lightly aged and worn. They are all written by a secretary (for reasons made obvious below), and signed by Willoughby. ONE: To 'Sir John', 27 September 1839. 4pp., 12mo. He is sending him copies of his work, 'The one dedicated to Seamen and Sailors meant for Greenwich [i.e. 'Extracts from Holy Writ, and Various Authors, intended as Helps to Meditation and Prayer, principally for Soldiers and Seamen' (1839)] and every officer in it has got one and it is in the Libraries as also in the Library of Chelsea &c.' He explains that he has sent it 'to all the Magazines both for and against Government', and that 'it is at my own expense already nearly £100'. He has not 'read a line for the last three years and can only write a line now and then'. He has written 'to Admiral Sir Jahleel B. [i.e. Sir Jahleel Brenton (1770-1844)] to ask him what Naval Authors he knew of who had written religious books', and to his surprise was told that Brenton only knew of 'Newton and '. He hopes he will not be 'roughly handled by the reviewers', and is sending letters he has received from Aden and India. TWO: Addressed 'Dear Sir', 31 September [1839]. He has 'read with interest' his 'account of Sir T Hardy particularly his sounding at Copenhagen and James's detail of it has just been read to me'. He refers to letters from two 'clever fellows', reviews, and a note from 'Lieut. Hall'. 'I have none but one anxiety left which is the Times. Sir John Barrow when attacked about Admiral Hawkers business in his Letter to the Times spoke so highly of its great power that I am anxious to get a review from it'. The United Services Gazette 'spoke a word of my being a good Man to the best of my opinion I declare that I am not one though I go to Church every day & whether in the Street, riding or walking, or in my room am constantly repeating prayers that I have got by heart yet I find all this will not make me a good man though I try hard to be so'. He ends by reminding him of his promise to send 'Prince Eugene's prayer which I mean to put in my book'. THREE: To 'Sir John', 3 October 1839. 3pp., 12mo. He tells him not to trouble himself 'about looking for Prince Eugenes prayer for I shall not publish it with the different opinions of the reviewers in my work untill [sic] the first week of November or perhaps January.' He will not see him until after his paper comes out: 'I will shew you a very flattering review from the Captain General of the Navy or Senior one of Greenwich the Rev. J R Goldney'. He asks him for a favourable review and again discusses Brenton's statement on religious naval authors. Willoughby's 1850 obituary in the Annual Register notes that his career was 'a wonderful mixture of brilliant successes, heavy disasters, and wonderful escapes […] 'He was thrice shipwrecked; […] was two years in slavery at Tripoli […] was eleven times wounded with balls, thrice with splinters, and was cut in every part of his body with sabres and tomahawks; his face was disfigured by explosions of gunpowder, and he lost an eye and had part of his neck and jaw shot away [...] at Leipzig had his right arm shattered by a cannon shot. Amongst sailors in his day he was called “The Immortal;” at any rate, he seems to have possessed more lives than a cat, with all the courage of a British lion.'?>