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TO COMMISSIONER INGLEFIELD, GIBRALTAR.
Palermo, November 15th, 1799.
My dear Sir, I have sent everything from the Foudroyant to the Ships in Egypt, for no other Ship has any stores; therefore you will be so good as to ship the proportion of stores demanded in such Ship as the Commanding Sea-officer may appoint . I can only say, my dear Commissioner, that we are all in distress, and I know not who is in the best state. I am in desperation about Malta, and know not which way to turn. I look anxiously towards Minorca, and the Russians, at Naples; for you know the importance of getting Malta from the French. As this is what I call a flying letter, I have only to say what is truth and comes from the heart, is, that I am your sincere and affectionate friend,
I must beg your assistance in getting the ordnance stores forwarded also.
TO ins EXCELLENCY THE MARQUIS DE NIZA.
Palermo, 15th November, 1799. My dear Marquis, I have this moment received your letters by the Foudroyant, of the 6th and 7th, which I have sent to General Acton, and I hope the mast will be immediately ordered for the Principe Real. 1 trust that Commodore Troubridge will be soon here, when I shall send him to relieve you; for I am, I can assure you, perfectly sensible of your exertion, and loyal and proper disobedience of the orders of his Royal Highness, who, I am sure, as a faithful and attached Ally of my most gracious Sovereign, will highly approve [of it.] I hope that the General at Minorca, and also the' Russian Admiral and General at Naples, will soon send you sufficient force for the reduction of La Valetta, and place the Grand Master firmly in his seat . A brig is said to be in sight.
November 17tL—The brig is from Naples: 3000 Russians would sail for Malta on the 17th, therefore, for Heaven's sake, do not take a man from the Island till their arrival. I expect also the troops from Minorca; and I should wish, for your sake, that your Marines could be left. It would, I am sure, flatter the Prince of Brazil, to have an opportunity of assisting in placing the Grand Master in Malta. I would not have this matter of the Russians being so near, talked of, as it is possible, as a last effort, the garrison may not only make a sortie and destroy our battery, but drive us from the Island; therefore the more private this account is kept the better. I expect every moment Commodore Troubridge, who shall instantly come to your relief. Your Excellency's conduct as an Officer and as a man, in every situation, has been most grateful to my feelings; but your conduct since you have been off Malta, will stamp your character as a Sea-officer, second to none in Europe. If it is of any value, you have my warmest gratitude for your support of me on every occasion; and believe me, for ever, my dear Marquis, your affectionate friend,
TO HIS EXCELLENCY LE CHEVALIER LIZAKOVITZ.
[Letter-Book. The Foudro}anl having returned to Palermo on the 17th of November, Lord Nelson's Flag was rehoisted on board of her.]
Palermo, 17th November, 1799.
Dear Sir, I know not how to sufficiently thank your Excellency for all your kindness towards me, for I never receive any details from Tuscany but from you. I earnestly hope that Prince Suwarrow will be completely successful in Switzerland, and that we shall be the same in Holland. I then think the war must be brought to a happy issue. My great object now is to see the French drove out of LaValetta, and the illustrious Grand Master in quiet possession. For this purpose I have been to Minorca, to arrange with our Generals a plan of operations with the Russian Admiral and General at Naples. As yet I have had no answer from Naples, but I look for it every moment. All our affairs in this Island are exactly as you left us. The King has been a little unwell, but is now perfectly recovered. Sir William and Lady Hamilton feel equally obliged as myself for all your most interesting letters. We beg our best respects to Madame Lizakovitz, and believe me, dear Sir, your Excellency's most obliged
TO HIS EXCELLENCY SIR JOHN ACTON, BART.
Palermo, November 18th, 1799.
The moment I can get a Corvette she shall carry the Consul to Tunis; therefore be so good as to keep him ready at a moment's warning. Your Excellency's last observation, about a new disposition when Malta is taken, that the Flag of the Order is to be hoisted instead of the three Flags, appears to convey that my sentiments of respect for his Sicilian Majesty's flag were lessened. I send you two papers, on which my order to good Captain Ball was founded. If I have erred, it is not too late to call back my order, and if you think so, I shall be happy to meet your Excellency, and the Ministers of England and Russia, on this subject . There is not, I can assure you, that man on earth, who would so strongly unite the two Monarchs whom we serve as myself, and may perdition seize the wretch who would do the least thing towards lessening that harmony! And could it ever happen that any English Minister wanted to make me an instrument of hurting the feelings of his Sicilian Majesty, I would give up my commission saoner than do it. I am open to your Excellency, and I think you are so to me. The interest of our Sovereigns requires it, and I am sure that we both only think of uniting the Courts of London and Naples still closer together. I am placed in such a situation—a Subject of one King by birth, and, as far as is consistent with my allegiance to that King, a voluntary Subject of his Sicilian Majesty—that if any man attempted to separate my two Kings, by all that is sacred, I should consider even putting that man to death as a meritorious act. Therefore, my dear Sir John, never, never for a moment think that I am capable of doing anything but endeavouring to exalt the glory of their Sicilian Majesties; and believe me, my dear Sir, with the sincerest esteem and affection, your obliged,
TO CAPTAIN BALL, CHIEF OF THE MALTESE.
Palermo, November 19th, 1799.
My dear Ball,
The Chevalier Italinsky will be with you in a few days— probably before the arrival of the Russian troops. He is the second Minister from the Emperor of Russia to this Court, or Corresponding Minister, through whom everything relative to the Fleet and Army passes. He has a proclamation to publish at a proper time. You knew him, I believe, at Naples. He is an old acquaintance of Sir William's, and a worthy, good, and able Minister; and you will ever, I am confident, experience his friendship and just way of thinking.
The troops going against Malta, will, of course, be maintained at the expense of their respective Sovereigns; but the Maltese, till the restoration of the Order (at least) by the three Powers of Russia, England, and Naples. I shall give the Chevalier Italinsky a letter to you when he goes, and he will explain to you our conferences with General Acton. Ever, my dear Ball, your affectionate,
TO SIR JAMES ST. CLAIR ERSKINE, BART.
Palermo, 20th November, 1799.
My dear Sir James, The movement of the Russians towards Malta only acts as an additional reason for the troops from Minorca going / straight to Malta, instead of coming to Palermo, that the business may be soon settled; and does not take away from me my argument respecting the two Regiments. Ever, my dear Sir James, your obliged,
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK.
Palermo, November 22nd, 1799. My dear Lord, By your last letter from Trieste, I take for granted you are with the Austrian army, under the command of the Baron Melas. We are anxious to hear of the success of our friend Suwarrow. Although I never had the pleasure of seeing him, yet, as an individual of Europe, I love, honour, and respect him. Others may love the great hero—Nelson loves the man/ for I hear that he despises wealth, if it stands in the road to fame. The corps of Russians is just about sailing for Malta, and I hope that our Generals at Minorca will give a part of that garrison to assist in the capture of Malta. Our Squadron have had a blockade by sea and land, for more than a year past; but we have never had a force to commence a regular siege. But I now hope to see an end put to our truly hard service. The Royal Family do not return to Naples till after the capture of Ancona, which I am looking for every day, when both Sir William Hamilton and myself, think they will go to Naples as soon as possible. At home the Admiralty think, and naturally, that the Russian Squadron, eleven Sail of the Line, besides Frigates and Corvettes, would look out on the Coast of Genoa; but in truth their Ships have not the ability of keeping on that Coast in the winter season, and I regret that at present I have not Ships enough for that service. I beg you will assure Baron Melas, that whenever he approaches the Coast, I will endeavour, at the expense of cramping other services, to have a small Squadron at the Coast of Genoa, to support his communication with the sea. I rest confident of your kindness in expressing [my sentiments], and to do everything that is possible for the finishing the war, and I beg that your Lordship will believe me truly your obliged humble servant,