Extraordinary Autographed Letter Signed in Spanish
Place Published: Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Date Published: 1805
Description: 3 pages (front and back), each measuring 8 x 6 inches, no place (but on the mainland), no date, but shortly after November 4, 1805. Signed: "C[arlo]s Carrasco," possibly a relative of Naval officer and explorer Juan Carlos Carrasco, to [His Lordship] Roberto de Herrera, Santa Cruz, Tenerife, translated in part: "...I have written Your Worship a number of letters with the news of the day. I do not know whether they have reached you...I hope this is not because of any illness, and that God may grant you perfect health for many years...As for my own, I am suffering from...a great pain in my right knee, which obliges me to walk little and to climb stairs less. Your Worship will already know of the tragic events which befell the combined fleet in the battle it fought with the English fleet, in which we have lost ten warships, and the English have only lost nine; we have lost more than 7,000 men, with many wounded and over 110 officers killed, and among the wounded are Gravina and Alva, Valdes and other high-ranking officers, who are being treated and are not out of danger; it is painful to speak of such a tragedy. Magnificent services are being held here in all the churches in honour of the souls of those who perished in the battle, and on the fourth of this month a most splendid one was held in the cathedral...On the same day, the fourth...our Governor did not hold any court or ceremonial or banquet. There is misery and hardship on all sides, and our own is increasing daily, because of the ill-will of the attorneys of the French heirs of Arbore and the injustices of the Council, and for this reason I again beseech Your Worship to come to my assistance by sending an order to pay me some money, such that I will not fail to find it there, via Cadiz or Madrid, as not to expose ourselves, through a sea voyage, to the risk of it being captured by the English, who are still masters of the seas; I would be as grateful to you as if it were a gift...In the battle which we have had with the English we have lost ten ships and the French another ten. Three of ours are in Gibraltar; the others out of the ten have been sunk or burned, or they have been unmasted and lost on the coast owing to the force of the storm. The English have lost no more than nine ships, along with the death of General Nelson and another general, who was commanding their fleet, a very small loss compared with that which the combined fleet has suffered...Gravina is better...His brotherhood [sic] the Nuncio is expected from Madrid today or tomorrow. Our Governor is constantly being insulted; he received an insult the day before yesterday at the theatre, and it was repeated to him afterwards in his house..." Carrasco was privy to some of the most sensitive information released by the Spanish Navy including some that was clearly untrue, i.e. "Gravina is better." Fine signature, housed in a custom made blue linen folder with inner flaps and a gilt-stamped title. Very good(+) condition.
Comments: For morale reasons, the Spanish Government withheld the seriousness of Gravina's injuries and promoted him to the highest military rank of Admiral of the Fleet. He died 5 months later on March 9, 1806, at the age of 49. On his death-bed, he said, "I am a dying man, but I die happy. I am going, I hope and trust, to join Nelson, the greatest hero that the world perhaps has produced."Signed: Y
Book ID: 232113