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TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE MARQUIS DE NIZA.
Palermo, November 24th, 1799.
My dear Marquis, Your Officer who brought your letter yesterday noon, did not wait my arrival from Court, and I did not know where to send to him. This moment he gives me hopes that you will wait my answer before you leave Malta, which has relieved my anxious mind from the deepest affliction, which your letter of the 19th had plunged me into. The moment I can get Ships, you shall be relieved; but, for all our sakes, do not draw, in this critical moment, one man from the Island. Do not, my dear Marquis, let any man draw your excellent judgment from doing what is for the good of our respective Sovereigns, and their Allies. They are not your true friends, or faithful servants of their Sovereigns; therefore, again, and ten times again, I direct you, I entreat you, not to abandon Malta. Stay till the Russians, or English troops, arrive; it cannot be many days. You have, my friend, gained more honour by obeying my order against that of your Prince, and for which His Royal Highness will thank you, than ever can be done by obedience, if it is to injure the good Cause. You are a seaman, and we never wish to find shelter, when the public service requires our being exposed; and as we risk our lives, so we willingly risk our commissions, to serve the public. Ever your faithful friend,
TO CAPTAIN BALL, CHIEF OF THE ISLAND OF MALTA.
[Autograph, in the possession of Sir William Keith Ball, Bart.]
Palermo, November 24th, 1799. My dear Ball, 1 love, honour, and respect you, and no persons ever have, nor could they, if they were so disposed, lessen you in my esteem, both as a public Officer and a private man: therefore never let such a thought come into your head, which was never more wanted to be clear from embroils than at this moment . I trust the Marquis will stay till the Russians arrive, or that he is relieved by Troubridge, who I expect every moment; and, from the delay, I think the Troops may come with him. The Foudroyant is in momentary readiness to go to Messina to fetch Colonel Graham. But, my dear friend, your holding your post so long as you have, is matter of the greatest credit to you. But, alas, I am neither able to do justice to my friends by telling a good story, like Sir Sidney Smith, nor are we so near home as Holland. If you are forced to even quit the Island, it cannot lessen your exertion or abilities, and do not let such an event, should it unfortunately happen, depress your spirits for a moment; and believe me, as ever, your obliged and affectionate friend,
TO BRIGADIER-GENERAL GRAHAM.
[Letter-Book. Lord Nelson's Flag was shifted on the 25th of November to the Atty Transport, as the Foudroyant sailed on that day with the Culloden for Malta.]
Palermo, November 25th, 1799.
My dear Sir, Commodore Sir Thomas Troubridge is the Officer destined by me to co-operate with you for the reduction of Malta. One more able and active could not be selected from our service; and as the Commodore is in full possession of my sentiments on every point, there can no doubt arise on any subject, which he cannot immediately clear up. Ball has been, by his Sicilian Majesty, the legitimate Sovereign of the Island, placed at the head of the Maltese, in both a civil, and, as I understand, military capacity. His conciliating manners will overcome all difficulty with the inhabitants. They adore him; therefore, I think in any Capitulation he should sign. I will not state the necessity of a most cordial co-operation with the Russian General. It is the desire of our Government to gratify the Emperor in every wish about the Order of Malta. The Chevalier Italinsky, the Minister at War for the Navy and Army in Italy, is just going to Malta, to concert measures with the Allied forces for the government of the Order, whenever La Valetta shall fall to our exertions. He is a very amiable good man, and a perfect man of business. The inhabitants of Malta may, till the Order has got back its wealth, want some little help in corn. It has been agreed on, in that case, by the Ministers of Russia, Naples, and England, that the expense should be defrayed by the three Courts. Wishing you, from my soul, a speedy termination of this tedious business, and assuring you of my firm and cordial support, in every respect, I have only to beg that you will believe me, with the truest regard, &c.
TO COMMODORE SIR THOMAS TROUBRIDGE, BART, CAPTAIN OF H. M. SHIP CULLODEN.
Foudroyant, Palermo, 25th November, 1799. You are hereby required and directed to take under your command the Ships named in the margin,1 whose Captains have my instructions to follow your orders, and proceed to Messina, and embark on board the said Ships, or any British Transports that may be there, such part of the garrison of that place, as Brigadier-General Graham may think proper, with such stores, guns, ammunition, baggage, provisions, &c. as he may wish to have embarked, and proceed with them to the Island of Malta; and having landed them there, you will take upon you the command of the blockade of La Valetta, whenever the Marquis de Niza quits the Island, and co-operate with Captain Ball, who is appointed by his Sicilian Majesty, Chief of the Maltese people, as well as with BrigadierGeneral Graham, or the Officer commanding the British troops. And on the arrivalof the Russian Ships and troops, which may be daily expected, you will also most cordially cooperate with their Admiral and General, and preserve the good understanding which at present so happily exists between us, rendering them any service or assistance in your power. And in the event of the surrender of La Valetta, the colours of the Order of Malta are to be hoisted, and the Government restored according to the plan sent to me, a copy of which is here enclosed for your guidance. And with respect to the public property found in the place, my wish is that it should be valued; and as to the Ships of War, they are to remain for the disposal of the three Allied Courts of London, Petersburg, and the Two Sicilies.
1 Northumberland, Foudroyant.
TO EVAN NEPEAN, ESQ., ADMIRALTY,
[Original, in the Admiralty.]
Palermo, November 26th, 1799.
It was with extreme concern that I read your letter of October 11th, being perfectly conscious that want of communicating where and when it is necessary, cannot be laid to my charge. I find on looking at my Letter-book that I did write to Admiral Duckworth to correspond with you on such points as might be necessary,* and which it was impossible I could detail. I also find that by a Neapolitan courier which left Palermo, the same day, that I wrote, not only to you, but to Lord Spencer. I own I do not feel that if Cutters and Couriers go off the same day, that it is necessary to write by a Convoy. I know the absolute necessity of the Board's being exactly acquainted with everything which passes, and they, I beg, will give me credit for attention to my duty.
As a Junior Flag Officer, of course without those about me, as Secretaries, Interpreters, &c, 1 have been thrown into a more extensive correspondence than ever, perhaps, fell to the lot of any Admiral, and into a political situation I own out of my sphere. It is a fact which it would not become me to boast of, but on the present occasion, that I have never but three times put my feet on the ground, since December, 1798, and, except to the Court, that till after eight o'clock at night I never relax from business.
I have had hitherto, the Board knows, no one emolument— no one advantage of a Commander-in-Chief.
I have the honour to be, &c,
■ Vide vol. iii. p. 158, and p. 11, ante.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE HONOURABLE WILLIAM VVYNDHAM.
Palermo, aflth November, 1799. Sir, I have to request that your Excellency will have the goodness to forward the two letters sent herewith. Yesterday, an order came from General Fox for the garrison of Messina to proceed to Malta, and as the Russians are destined for the same object, I hope we shall very soon be in possession of it. But, from the slowness of the movements, I have great fears that the French may have made a sortie, and that our batteries will, at least, be destroyed, if nothing worse happens. His Sicilian Majesty, I am sorry to say, [will not,] at this moment, return to Naples; but as Ancona is, we hear, taken, we hope it will expedite his Majesty's departure. I have nothing from Egypt for some months. Believe me, with great respect, &c,
TO HIS HIGHNESS THE BEY OF TUNIS.
Palermo, November 28th, 1799.
Sir, I cannot permit an English Cutter to go even into the Bay of Tunis, without expressing to your Highness my most sincere respect, which, on all occasions, I shall feel happy in showing, not only as an obedience to the great King, my Master, but also from my own inclination. It would have given me much pleasure, could I have interfered in the capture of a Vessel, belonging to one of your Subjects, taken by a Portuguese corvette; but as peace had not then taken place between your Highness and the Court of Portugal, it was impossible for me to be of any use. Your Highness well knows that not one Portuguese ship has been cruizing on your Coast. This is such a mark of my attention, as no time can efface from your Highness's head. The number of Vessels taken, having certificates from me, and the English