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against my plan—viz., our seamen get no good by going to England, to which I perfectly agree; but the Ships left here with me are beyond all common refit, nor can they be furnished with stores, not having any foundation to be kept up; and what would be an ample supply to keep up a Squadron, is really nothing in our situation. Lord Keith will, be the event what it may, with the combined Fleet, probably be at Gibraltar; but I hope he will make allowances that I am acting in the same way as if I knew nothing of his [being there.] If Captain Buchanan goes to Port Mahon, it is your wish, I understand, to have Captain Dunn; if so, I will send an order, and you will have the goodness to direct the Lieutenant of the Incendiary to bring her to me, that I may put an Acting Commander into her. We are longing for news of the Fleet—therefore, trust you will not keep us longer in suspense than you can help. Make our best regards to General O'Hara. I am, &c,
Nelson. Do you know what was the intention of the Commanderin-Chief respecting the French prizes at Mahon? for it is my wish to follow up his plan.
TO REAR-ADMIRAL DUCKWORTH.
[Apparently about 12th September, 1709.]
I am venturing certainly out of my line of duty, but as the Commander-in-Chief may not even be on the station, I must do the best which my judgment points out during his temporary absence. If Sir James would have allowed the troops from Lisbon to have proceeded to Malta, I would have forfeited my life if, in three days, it had not surrendered. I am far from being in good health, and the infamous politics of the Austrian Minister Thugut, who ought to be hanged if half what is said be true, do not serve to give me comfort. I am, &c,
TO HIS HIGHNESS THE BASHAW OF TRIPOLI.
[Autograph, in the possession of William Upcott, Esq.]
Palermo, September 13th, 1799.
I am told that your Highness thinks that I should have shown you greater friendship in sending a Ship of War to pay you a compliment, than in the way I have employed them; but your Highness will not think so, when I tell you how the British Fleet has been employed.
You will have heard that a French Fleet ventured itself into the Mediterranean, and how the British Fleet has chased it into the Ocean, where I hope they will meet; and if so, I venture to assure you that the Naval power of France will be totally annihilated. You will have heard of the total defeat of that vain fool Buonaparte by the English and the brave Inhabitants of St . Jean D'Acre: you will have heard of a part of my Squadron taking all the French Frigates and Corvettes from Egypt: you will have heard of the glorious successes of Field-Marshal Suwarrow, and that an English Squadron was on the Coast of Tuscany and Genoa to support him: you will have heard that I went into the Bay of Naples, landed the people from my Fleet, took the Castles of St. Elmo, Capua, and Gaeta, and had upwards of 6000 French prisoners at my feet, besides rebels; and that, having placed his Neapolitan Majesty again on his throne, a part of my Royal Master's fleet is gone to carry the King of Sardinia and his family to his Kingdom. This is the glorious work I have been engaged in, and which I should have the greatest pleasure in giving your Highness, did you want, the assistance of the Ships of your most faithful Ally.
I am now pressing Malta very hard, and it shall soon surrender. Your Highness will not now think I have either been neglectful of your friendship, or been idle. Never, I entreat your Highness, think so of your attached and faithful servant,
TO B. M'DONOUGH, ESQ, CONSUL AT TRIPOLI.
Palermo, September 13th, 1799.
Sir, As I send you a copy of my letter to his Highness the Bashaw, you will be able to answer all the points which appear to have given him discontent. He is right that if he had behaved ill, I would have brought the whole Squadron to Tripoli; but as His Highness is come to a proper way of thinking, I have sent nothing. You will explain it, that I had not the smallest cause for complaint. He will see the Ships under my orders have not been paying compliments, but rendering most important services, to him as well as all the rest of the world. Make His Highness understand this, and his good sense will approve of my conduct. I have sent every paper to England, and in due time he will, I dare say, have an answer, as Mr. Lucas tells me of his intention of returning to Tripoli. I shall only trouble you with telling Mr. Horneman8 that his letter for Sir Joseph Banks is gone to England, and to say that I am sensible of the care you have taken to maintain a good understanding with his Highness, which I shall not fail to mention in my letter to England. I am, Sir, with great esteem, your most obedient servant,
TO LIEUT.-GENERAL SIR JAMES ST. CLAIR ERSKINE, BART., MAHON.
Palermo, September 13th, 1799. My dear Sir James, Many thanks for your very kind and flattering letter of September 1st. It is true, and I see with pleasure, that you do not envy me my good fortune. The field of glory is a large one, and was never more open to any one than at this moment to you. Rome would throw open her gates and
* Frederick Horneman, author of" Travels from Cairo to Mourzouk, the capital of the Kingdom of Ferran, in 1797-8." London, 4to, 1802.
receive you as a deliverer; and the Pope would owe his restoration to the Papal Chair to an heretic. This is the first great object, as it would not only be the complete deliverance of Italy, but restore peace and tranquillity to the torn-to-pieces Kingdom of Naples. For such an occasion, a part of the garrison of Messina might be taken. The next great object is the reduction of Malta, and in any other moment than the present, it would be a most important one. Vaubois only wanted a pretence to give up. His only hope is, that in the next month he may escape with the Ships. To return to the first object, I can take upon me to say, that our King would be much gratified that Britain not Austria should re-instate the Pope. You are at perfect liberty to say this from me; for the world sees the ambition of Austria, and her eagle wants to extend her wings from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean. I will not say more, but that I will support you to the utmost of my abilities. We are not officially informed, but have every reason to believe, that a revolution is on the point of breaking out in France for the restoration of Louis XVIII. The accounts are also arrived of the Archduke Charles's complete defeat of Massena, who, having lost his arm, is dead." Lucerne, and all Switzerland is now free. The Cutter goes on direct for Gibraltar, to get us news of the Fleet: the anxiety respecting them half kills me. But ever believe me, my dear Sir James, yours, &c,
TO CAPTAIN DARBY.
Palermo, September 13th, 1709. My dear Darby,
I am sure Duckworth could not have left any one who will take
better care of Minorca than yourself, if you have the means; but
it was not quite my intention to have stripped Minorca so bare
of Ships. Duckworth has directed you to stop Northumberland,
and to use her actively. This, Martin will like. Respecting Fri
• The Archduke Charles defeated Massena, near Klotten, on the 5th of June; but the account of that battle must have reached Lord Nelson before the middle of September: the report of Massena's wound and death was untrue.
gates and smaller Vessels, I am totally ignorant of what Lord Keith has left me. If the Seahorse cannot be refitted without draining us of all our stores, send her to Admiral Duckworth who has my directions, if Gibraltar does not afford the means of refitting her, to send her to England. I wish you would send me the state of the French frigates, whether they are appropriated for any particular service in Mahon, or whether they are fitting for a voyage to England? for being left completely in the dark, I am obliged to feel my way. I trust Sir James will make application to you for assistance to bring troops to the Continent, where, at this moment, they would render the greatest service. All our news from the Continent is good. Archduke Charles has completely defeated and killed Massena: a revolution in favour of Louis XVIII. has probably, by this time, taken place. Ignorant as I am of the Ships left with you, I can only say, take care of Minorca; and if, in any way, I can do you a pleasure—if I am left in the command—tell me, and it shall, as soon as possible, be complied with, for believe me, my dear Darby, your obliged and affectionate friend,
TO HIS EXCELLENCY REAR-ADMIRAL THE MARQUIS DE NIZA.
Palermo, September 18th, 1799. My dear Marquis,
I know not what to say to the state of the Affonco. If, on a survey of three good carpenters, it is absolutely necessary that she should go to Lisbon, keep her as long as it is prudent, and then send her home. Respecting the state of the poor inhabitants of Malta, nothing has been wanting on my part to give them every relief. I send Ball, who is now regularly appointed to the command of the Maltese people, a paper of the corn sent since this time last year. I wish I could do more. If Mr. Vaubois puts his garrison afloat, I have no doubt but some of your Ships will catch him. If such an event should happen, push immediately part of your Ships on the west side of Sardinia, and part on the east side. The