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latter, in my opinion, will be his route, and he will be taken; but no time must be lost in the pursuit.
I approve very much of your directing guns to be landed from the Alexander. I would have every exertion used, and every nerve strained, to fmish this tedious blockade. As Mr. Lucas, the Consul, must return to Tripoli, I beg you will order either the El Corso or Bonne Citoyenne to carry him; you can also write to the Bashaw a compliment. As I think all my public answers are finished, I can only most heartily wish you a speedy termination of your labours. The Russian Squadron is still here, nor can I guess when they sail. The Turks have had a quarrel with the Sicilians, and are gone towards Constantinople in disgust and mutiny. News since you left us is, Archduke Charles defeated Massena, completely taken Lucerne, and not a French scoundrel in Switzerland; Massena, having lost his arm, dead, and
d d, of course; the King of the French expected in
Switzerland, as probably a revolution in his favour is now broke out in France; Russia and Sweden attack Holland; England, the Low Countries, under the Duke of York; I hope all will succeed, and gain "us an honourable peace. Forty-four days since, Lord Keith passed the Straits, since which I have never heard from him, nor any report of him. I fear it is a bad omen, but we will hope the best. I am, &c,
TO CAPTAIN FOOTE.
[Letter Book, and Captain Foote's "Vindication," p. 148.]
Palermo, September 14th, I/O9.
My dear Sir,
I did not send your Box by the Goliath as I thought it probable that some event might bring you to Palermo, and, to say the truth, I did not like to trust it in a four-gun Cutter; therefore I fear it must remain in my possession a little longer. I can assure you, my dear Sir, that it affords me infinite pleasure to convey to you the distinguished mark of his Sicilian Majesty's approbation. The dispatch expresses 'for most important services, when left with the command in the Bay of Naples, when Lord Nelson was obliged to order
VOL. iv. c
Commodore Troubridge to join him, and for taking Castel del Mare."
I am this day again requested by his Sicilian Majesty to interest myself with you, and all others who have any of the carronades belonging to his little Yacht, and given his Majesty by the King our Master, and His Sicilian Majesty attaches great value to them on that account. I think I spoke to you before on this subject, therefore I beg you will have the goodness to send them to his Majesty, who will feel very much obliged. If money has been paid for them, I will, with the greatest pleasure, repay it. If Hallowell or any of my friends are in possession of any of them, pray say this for me. I hope that what I have wrote to Darby and Duckworth will please you; for believe me with the very greatest esteem, your obliged humble servant,
y TO CAPTAIN BALL, MALTA.
Palermo, September 14th, 1799.
My dear Ball, As the Deputies will tell you, nothing has been wanting on my part to get provision's, and, indeed, every necessary for the Maltese; but, alas, this Country is not like ours! and until it is in hand we never know whether we have succeeded or not. As far as relates to myself, I wish to strain every nerve to get Malta before the bad weather sets in, therefore land guns and use what the Ships afford for taking it. The Alexanderis in a wretched state. Would it not be better to send her to Mahon? not that there is a fathom of rope there, more than at this place. If you are fortunate to get La Valetta, she will serve for a guard-ship, till the spring. Take care the French ships are not plundered, if you are so fortunate as to get into possession. I send you General Acton's dispatch, naming you as Head of the Maltese people—therefore, let who will come, you will still hold that post. The Russians are very much disposed to pay you a visit. If so, you will, I am sure, heartily co-operate with them, but in that case none but his Sicilian Majesty's colours are to fly in the whole Island. All
the Ships are to remain without colours, in the care of the Governor, and to be disposed of as the Allied Courts shall agree, but I hope you and Niza will take them, which will save me much trouble.
16th: Noon. — I have been with General Acton this morning, and I hope to get the King to give up to me the two Polaccas loaded with corn; then I shall be sure it will go to Malta. I have an order for wood, and Tyson shall have a Transport to send for it. He intends buying for other Ships, as it will come cheap, I am told. The Turks are returned to Constantinople, the Russians gone to Naples, and not a word of the two Fleets. Captain Gore1 left the Combined fleets round Cape St . Vincent's, arrived on the morning of the 6th in London, and has put the whole Kingdom in alarm. Every small Vessel is ordered to sea to collect our scattered Ships, and prepare Ireland. Sir James St . Clair Erskine will not send a soldier at this moment. Duckworth is gone to Gibraltar. God bless you, my dear Ball, and be assured of every support, both public and private, from your obliged and affectionate
TO COMMODORE TROUBRIDGE, H.M. SHIP CULLODEN.
Palermo, September I6th, 1799.
My dear Troubridge, I have now only to say, How are you? Since I wrote last, not the least thing has occurred. Two vessels from Mahon, where they know nothing of the two Fleets. It has been rumoured at Barcelona that the Combined fleets are arrived at Brest; but I do not believe they can have any such . . . vant, although I fear it will be so, and overturn our secret expedition to Flanders, under the Duke of York. Duckworth sailed the 4th from Mahon, with five Sail of the Line—more than I intended to leave that Island, but I have directed two to be returned. Northumberland he has left orders with Darby to keep, and send to the Coast of Spain. They have more troops
1 Of the Triton: afterwards Vice-Admiral Sir Jolm Gore, K.C.B,
in Minorca than they know what to do with. I wished Sir James St. Clair Erskine to let me have 1200 for either the Roman State, or for Malta; but I have not been able to succeed at this moment—under pretence that General Fox is hourly expected, and it would not be proper to lessen the garrison under these circumstances; and then Sir James enters upon the difficulty of the undertaking in a true soldier way. I can only say, my dear Troubridge, that I am perfectly easy about Minorca, and I see no immediate use of sending more Ships off Malta—therefore, you need not hurry, if it is of any importance, or probability of success attending your labours, by remaining at Civita Vecchia. If not, I shall rejoice to see you soon.
The Court has just got an account of Captain Gore, and you know he carried the news of the Combined fleets sailing, and of their being past Cape St. Vincent. As Gore left them the 24 th, and arrived in London on the 6th, in the morning—although a Frigate moved as fast again as the Fleet—yet, as the probability is that Lord Keith was not much, if anything, to the westward of Cape St. Vincent, when Gore arrived in London, there is but little hopes of his overtaking them, for they must have had a good wind. In England it has created a general consternation. Every small Vessel is sent forth to collect our scattered Ships, and to prepare Ireland for this damned event. God bless you. I am, &c,
Lieutenant Parkinson landed at Yarmouth on the 9th. The Courier spoke to him and Sylvester.
TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR JAMES ST. CLAIR ERSKINE, MAHON.
Palermo, 17th September, 1799.
My dear Sir James, The Salamine* brought me your letter of September 5th, and the original, by a Polacca, came yesterday. I was sorry to find that, under your present circumstances, it was not in your power to make such a detachment as I so earnestly requested, and which I am . convinced would have so much assisted the King of Naples in restoring peace and quietness to his Kingdoms, by first driving the French out of the Roman State. Whenever, my dear Sir James, you can with propriety send these troops, it will be my business to take care they be properly conveyed; and nothing you will believe will be wanting on my part to afford them every support, either in the attack of Civita Vecchia, in landing them in the City of Naples, or in sending them to finish this very tedious business of Malta. Certainly some small articles necessary for a siege would be desirable to be brought—if on the Continent, particularly entrenching tools; gunpowder, &c, we can get from Gaeta. If Malta may be judged more eligible, mortars and shells are the principal things wanted. Guns can be landed from our Ships, but shot of 32 pounds and downwards may be wanted. I know if we could get an outwork, Vaubois would be forced to give up.
* Commanded by Captain, now Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Briggs, G.C.M.O.
I was sorry Duckworth took so many Ships from Minorca. It was not my intention, as I had sent Ships direct from the Coast of Naples for Gibraltar. I am sure you will agree with me in the necessity of keeping the door of the Mediterranean open. Northumberland will be with you and some Frigates, and I have desired Duckworth to send up two Sail of the Line to Mahon, which shall always be an object of my attention.
A Neapolitan courier is just arrived—left London the Cth, on which day arrived Captain Gore of the Triton, who left the Combined fleet, on the 24th July, to the northward of Cape St. Vincent. The news has created much surprise. I have now my fears that this Fleet will safely enter Brest.
Pardon what I am going to repeat, that either in Malta or on the Continent, a field of glory is open; and I can take upon myself to say, that every support of His Sicilian Majesty will be a most acceptable service to our good King. I need not say how anxious I am to support the good Cause, and to get an honourable peace, but which can only be hoped for by activity and vigour of all the Allies. Ever believe me, my dear Sir James, &c., Nelson.
P.S.—His Sicilian Majesty has 2000 men raised, regular troops, at Veletri, and about 6000 Calabresc, and troops en masse.