Nelson urged mistress to give their baby girl ‘new’ smallpox vaccine

Naval hero praises Jenner’s cowpox jab in a newly found love letter to Emma Hamilton, written as he prepared for war

He is best remembered as the one-armed hero who defeated Napoleon, rewrote the rules of naval warfare and died at sea, in battle, onboard HMS Victory.

Now, the “chance discovery” of a 220-year-old love letter from Admiral Horatio Nelson to Lady Emma Hamilton, his mistress, reveals how open-minded and ahead of his time the formidable captain was about a radical new scientific breakthrough: the smallpox vaccine. In the letter, dated July 1801, Nelson appears to advocate the use of the brand new vaccine on his own baby daughter.

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