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Nepean, Evan, (1751-1822)
Autograph Letter Signed, London, Admiralty Office, May 7th, 1803 to Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, Jamaica

folio, two pages, inscribed on a four page bi-folium, formerly folded, docketed in ink on last blank leaf, in very good clean condition.

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Letter marked "Secret" from Nepean, Secretary to the Board of Admiralty, to Sir John Thomas Duckworth, (1747-1817) Commander in Chief at Jamaica, advising Duckworth of the imminent outbreak of hostilities with France.

"I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint you that the discussions which have taken place between his Majesty and the First Consul of the French Republic have taken so unfavourable a turn as may probably lead to immediate Hostilities between the two Countries, and to signify their Lordships direction to you to hold yourself in a constant state of Preparation to act as circumstances may be found to require the moment you shall receive farther Instructions from their Lordships upon the subject. You will also give directions to the Commanders of your cruisers to apprise the Masters of any Merchant Ships or Vessels they may fall in with of the critical state of Public Affairs, that they may be upon their guard in case of their falling in with any French Ships or Vessels which may eventually be ordered to intercept them."

War did erupt shortly after this letter was written, in the Battle of San Domingo, Duckworth's fleet defeated that of French Rear-Admiral Leissegues near Santo Domingo, off the coast of Hispaniola.