DescriptionHoratio Nelson Royal Marines Enlistment Signed "Nelson & Bronte." One page, 8" x 13", "on board HMS Victory," July 12, 1804. Nelson, Duke of Bronte and a British flag officer, signs this Royal Marine Forces enlistment of Ferdinando Zucco, a native of Naples, from his flagship, Victory. In part as written:
"I Ferdinando Zucco do make oath that I am by trade a Blood letter and to the best of my information and belief was born at Naples and am entirely free from all engagements and that I have no Rupture nor ever was troubled with fits and that I am nowise disabled . . . and that I have Voluntarily enlisted myself to serve his Britannic Majesty King George The third in his Royal Marine Forces during the present war under an agreement that I shall be discharged at the end of it and found a passage free of expense to the Mediterranean."
Zucco also swears an oath to serve the king "honestly and faithfully in defense of his Person Crown and Dignity against all his enemies." In the lower half of the document, Nelson signs to certify that Zucco, "Aged 22 years 5 Feet 6 Inches high Brown Hair," voluntarily enlisted. On the verso, Zucco further acknowledges that he had already received one month's pay. Zucco leaves his "X" mark in two places.
In 1799, King Ferdinand of the two Sicilies created Bronte as a Duchy, and made Horatio Nelson duke of Bronte to thank him for a naval victory against the French which prevented France from gaining supremacy in the Mediterranean. Proud of his new title, he began signing his name "Nelson & Bronte." The HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship, was a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line. Sixteen months after signing this enlistment, Lord Nelson was killed aboard the Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, his final victory. This document is toned with weakness and some separation at the folds. Lined paper with several vermin holes, affecting some text. Three very small holes affect "Bronte" in Nelson's signature.
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