ADMIRAL THOMAS COCHRANE AUTOGRAPH LETTER Signed.
Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquess of Maranho. British naval officer and mercenary. The supposed model for C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey.
ALS. 2pp. No place, no date. To G.B. Earp.
"I have been in bed ever since I saw you - again deprived of feeling and operated on. Yesterday, I began a little to recover and today found myself able to put on my clothes. My mind however is sadly depressed. So much so that I have been unable to read even your able additions to the observations formerly made. All I can say therefore is that it commences admirably. If you can come to me, do. I am in a spare room next to my bedroom - well aired and uncontaminated by constant use. I hope Mrs Earp and little Abby continue well. Ever believe me, yours most truly, Dundonald. P.s. If you have got the papers corrected, on anything necessary pray do."
8vo. Approx 18 x 11.5 cms. Blank last leaf of bifolium excised to a stub that was used for mounting. Fine.
In his final years Admiral Thomas Cochrane wrote his autobiography in collaboration with the addressee of this letter, G.B. Earp. The reference in the letter to being "operated on" almost certainly relates to a painful operation that Cochrane underwent in 1860 for the removal of kidney stones. He died during a second operation on 31st October 1860. Admiral Cochrane's life reads like an adventure story and it is little surprise that his exploits were used as the basis for two fictional naval heroes, Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey. Cochrane was a highly successful and daring captain during the Napoleonic Wars, leading Napoleon to dub him "Le loup des mers" (the sea wolf). In 1814 he was dismissed from the navy following a controversial conviction for a fraud on the London Stock Exchange (a conviction that was later repealed and for which he was pardoned). Cochrane occupied these years with a series of audacious adventures in which he led the rebel naval forces of both Chile and Brazil during their respective wars of independence. Upon his reinstatement into the British Royal Navy, he was promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue and, by the date of his death, held the honorary rank of Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom. G.B. Earp did much to cement Cochrane's popular reputation and this letter which must have been written to Earp in the last days of Cochrane's life indicates the extent of the latitude Earp was given in the writing of the autobiography.