Nelson was in the Leeward Islands from 1785, commissioned to stop the accepted practise of islands such as Antigua, Montserrat and Nevis trading with US ships. At the time Nevis was a rich and fashionable colonial outpost. Nelson introduced himself by storming into Charlestown and impounding four American vessels at anchor. He was promptly sued by the ships’ captains who had the support of local Nevisian merchants, but the case was eventually settled in Nelson’s favour, thanks to the intervention of the President of the Council of Nevis, Mr John Herbert, who owned the Montpelier Estate.
It was here that Nelson met Herbert’s niece, Frances Nisbett, a wealthy widow with a young son. In December 1786, Prince William Henry of England (later William IV) came to the Caribbean as commander of HMS Pegasus. The Prince invited his friend Nelson to act as his aide-de-camp, and when Nelson finally married Nisbet on March 11, 1787, it was Prince William Henry who gave the bride away.
Shortly after Nelson and Fanny left for England, both never to return to Nevis.
with the Polak Gallery, St James’s, London.