« PreviousContinue »
Commander off Malta, that they were actually employed in carrying provisions for those who were fighting against the common Enemy, I own, hurt me. To a mere trader, I never have, nor ever will give a certificate; but as people cannot fight without food, I did hope that those Vessels would have been considered as the Vessels of true friends. But at Algiers, I find other sentiments prevail. If your Highness has any Vessels taken by your Cruisers of this description, I trust that you will order their restoration, and, in particular, the poor people carried into slavery. This will be considered as a great act of friendship and esteem shown by your Highness to your most faithful and attached,
TO HIS EXCELLENCY SIR JOHN ACTON, BART.
Palermo, November 26th, 1799.
My dear Sir,
As I hear your Corvette goes off for Malta this evening, would it not be a good opportunity to send, as your Excellency told us you have, some of the money belonging to the Order, for the use of the poor Maltese? The Inhabitants and Troops under arms, are by this time, again in want, and I hope that the Ministers of the Allied Powers will immediately fix some mode of keeping distress from the Island till the Order is restored.
I have talked much with Sir Thomas Troubridge and Captain Louis on what they think would satisfy the Captains, Officers, and Men, for their renouncing all claim to the French property, and all salvages; and they are clearly of opinion, that to the Navy no sum less than £60,000 could be offered; and that, from our own Sovereign, three times as much would be paid; for that the stores and cannon, even at Civita Vecchia, would, if sold by his Sicilian Majesty, exceed three times this amount. The antiques found packed up at Civita Vecchia, and in the Custom-House at Rome, and which would have been in France but for the blockade by the English, are undoubtedly objects for a large salvage. This sum will only give the Captains employed on this service £3000 each, and Commodore Troubridge can receive no more prizemoney than the Commander of the smallest Vessel of War. The Perseus came from Corfu last night. 1 find the 3500 Russians are arrived at Constantinople. I hope the Russians from Holland will come by sea into Italy, and make head against any attack of the French, next spring. Ever, my dear Sir, your Excellency's most obliged,
TO REAR-ADMIRAL DUCKWORTH.
Palermo, 27th November, 1/99.
My dear Admiral, Many thanks for your letter of November 12th, and I approve very much of your calling at Algiers. I do not consider what are called my passports as anything more than a certificate that the Vessel carrying, was employed in fetching provisions for people fighting against the common Enemy. I am aware that the first moment any insult is offered to the British flag [the best plan] is to get as large a force as possible off Algiers and seize all his Cruizers; but if, in such a contest, any English vessel is taken, I know what will be said against me, and how little support I shall experience. But, my dear Admiral, when the object of the actor is only to serve faithfully, I feel superior to the smiles or frowns of any Board. Apropos, I have received a severe set-down from the Admiralty, for not having wrote by the Charon, attached to a Convoy, although I wrote both by a Cutter and Courier the same day. But I see clearly that they wish to show I am unfit for this command. I will readily acknowledge it, and therefore they need have no scruples about sending out a Commander-in-Chief. Troubridge did not anchor. The Foudroyant weighed, and joined, and they both proceeded for Messina, as expeditiously as possible, in order to take on board the garrison of Messina. I hope they may arrive at Malta in time, but I have my strong fears that the garrison may have made a sortie, and destroyed our batteries. The Russians are slow, but by this time, I hope, are
VOL. IV. I
before Malta. They were to 6ail from Naples the 20th. The Perseus, who is just come in from Corfu, and is in want of everything, goes straight to Gibraltar, to refit, and with orders to come up again immediately, and the Russians and Turks, with the Neapolitans excluded from the Capitulation, which has given great offence. I believe Austria will make her peace with France, and that Russia and Prussia will be at war with the Emperor of Germany. Sir William and Lady Hamilton desire their kindest regards. I am nearly blind, but things go so contrary to my mind out of our profession, that truly I care not how soon I am off the stage. Your Surgeon's mate is appointed to the Mahon, and all your other wishes are, as far as I am able, complied with; and I assure you that I shall always be glad of occasions of proving to you with what regard and esteem I am your obliged,
Pray don't let the Admiralty want for letters of every occurrence.
TO EVAN NEPEAX, ESQ., ADMIRALTY.
Palermo, November 28th, 1?9',).
Sir, I wrote to you by the post (now open) yesterday, but as the Perseus is going direct to Gibraltar to refit, -I write a line just to say that General Fox's permission for the Garrison of Messina going to Malta was brought me by Commodore Sir Thomas Troubridge, the day before yesterday. I directed, in the moment, the Foudroyant to weigh, and both are gone to Messina for the troops. I earnestly hope they will arrive in time at Malta to hold our present advantageous positions, but I have my fears; nothing but the prudence, judgment, and bravery of my friend Captain Ball could have kept us on the Island for many months past. The Russians, T hope, sailed from Naples on the 20th, their Lordships may be assured of our cordial co-operation with
them, and of my earnest endeavours to merit their Lordships' approbation.
Last night I received from the inhabitants of the Island of Zantc a letter of which I enclose a copy, and also a very massy and elegant gold-hilted Sword, and a beautiful Cane, enriched with diamonds; these flattering marks of approbation from all Religions cannot but afford me the greatest pleasure, and be a stimulus for the greatest exertions, not only from myself, but also to the Officers in our Service growing up to the superior ranks.
I have the honour to be, &c,
I send a letter from Mr. Spiridion Foresti, and I must beg leave earnestly to recommend him to their Lordships' notice, and I also desire to do the same to Major Magra, the Consul at Tunis. These two gentlemen are the only ones I have found who really and truly do their duty, and merit every encouragement and protection. B. N.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE EARL SPENCER, K.G.3
Palermo, 28ih November, 110'.).
My dear Lord, I am writing a letter to you on the subject of our situation with the Barbary States, but I shall not keep the Perseus, by detaining her a moment with this fine levanter. I hope Ball
'It must have been about this time that Lord Nelson received the following letter from Earl Spencer, the importance of which has been pointed out. Vide vol. iii. p. 509.
"Admiralty, 7th October, 1799. "My dear Lord,
"In answer to your Letter of the 23rd of July, which did not reach me till the 20th of last month, I can only now repeat what I believe I have before said on tho subject—namely, that the intentions and motives by which all your measures have been governed, have been as pure and good as their success has been complete.
The arrival of the Squadron detached under Admiral Duckworth to Minorca, was a very satisfactory event to us, as it put that Island in a more perfect state of security, though I do not apprehend that in the present state of things there is much danger of its being attacked, and we are now looking forward in the expectation of hearing
will be able to hold fast a little longer. All the Marines from the Foudroyant are on shore at Malta, and nothing has been wanting on my part to second his truly meritorious exertions. The Marquis de Niza has the greatest merit in obeying my orders, in direct disobedience to those of bis Court, but by his letter of the 19th—I fear by the advice of some of his English Commodores—he may be induced to quit Malta, which would be ruin to us in that Island. He has quoted Sir James St. Clair Erskine and Colonel Graham as a justification of his obedience of orders; for they would not, he says, disobey their orders, to save Malta—therefore, why should he? But as he would, about that time, receive from me, a stronger order and requisition if possible, than ever, holding out the certain displeasure instead of approbation of his Royal Highness the Prince of Brazil, should he obey, in this critical moment, the order to proceed to Lisbon, I trust he will remain. Commodore Sir Thomas Troubridgc will relieve him, and all will then be well.
In General Fox's orders to Colonel Graham, he says, 'you will not incur any expense for stores, or any article but provisions.' What can this mean? But I have told Troubridge that the Cause cannot stand still for want of a little money. This would be what we call 'penny-wise and pound foolish.' If nobody will pay it, I shall sell Bronte and the Emperor of Russia's box; for I feel myself above every consideration but
cither from you or from Captain Ball, of the surrender of Malta, which, I hope, cannot hold out much longer, as the approach of the bad weather may much increase the difficulty of the blockade. You will receive a copy of a communication on the subject of this Island from the Secretary of State, which was left with Lord Keith by Lord St. Vincent, and from the circumstances under which the former quitted the Mediterranean, had not been transmitted to your Lordship. I have only to add to what you will collect from that paper, that the utmost importance is attached by his Majesty's Government to the object of carefully avoiding to do anything which may raise any jealousies in the mind of the Emperor of Russia, who is particularly bent on the point of restoring, under some new regulations, the Order of Malta, and whose conduct ever on this subject, though one on which he may perhaps have been Bus pected by the world of entertaining more ambitious views, has been, as far as we are enabled to judge of il, of the most disinterested and honourable kind.
"I trust this letter will find you in good health and spirits, and shall conclude with assuring you, that I am, very faithfully, your obedient humble servant, Spescek."—Autograph, lately in the possession of Mr. Evans, of Maddox Street, Hanover Square.