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TO CAPTAIN DARBY, H.M. SHIP BELLEROPHON.
Palermo, 18th September, 1799. My dear Darby, I return the Salaminc to you, with my answer to Sir James St. Clair, and I am sure you will make every arrangement in your power should Sir James St. Clair wish to embark any troops. I am ignorant of what Transports are at Mahon, but the Princess Charlotte, if a hundred men from four different Ships could be lent to her, would carry a great number of troops. Troubridge and Louis are off Civita Vecchia, and I hope to force that garrison to evacuate that place. They are trembling for fear of an exasperated populace. Totally ignorant as I am of the Frigates and Sloops left me by Lord Keith, I cannot fix what shall be in my power to give to Minorca. But take care of it I will, but not a Ship more than is necessary. The object is to prevent troops passing from the Continent to the Island. I send you a line for Admiral Duckworth, which you will send when opportunity offers. Captain Gore arrived in London on August 6 th, and all are surprised at his news. Small craft are sent everywhere to call in our detached Ships, but I fear the Combined fleet will reach its destination safely.
I am, &c,
TO THE MARQUIS DE NIZA.
Palermo, 18th September, 17911.
Should the Affonco be found in so bad a condition as to
make it necessary to send her down the Mediterranean, I must
request of you to order the Marines, or Soldiers, landed from
her, to the number of a hundred, to be left behind on shore, to
strengthen the force there. With my best wishes for a speedy
reduction of the place, I am, my dear Marquis, &c,
TO EVAN NEPEAN, ESQ., ADMIRALTY /
[Autograph, in the Admiralty.]
Palermo, September 20th, 1799. Sir,
I am honoured with your letter3 of August 20th, conveying to me their Lordships' approbation of my conduct in having gone into the Bay of Naples, for the purpose of endeavouring to bring His Sicilian Majesty's affairs in that City to a happy conclusion, and of my having landed a large body of men to reduce the Castle of St . Elmo. I have also received their Lordships' disapprobation of my conduct in having sent a part of the crews of the Squadron against Capua, and their direction not to employ them in like manner in future. And I also observe, and with great pain, that their Lordships see no cause which could justify my disobeying the orders of my Commanding Officer, Lord Keith, or for leaving Minorca exposed to the risk of being attacked.
I have to request that you will have the goodness to assure their Lordships that I knew when I decided on those important points, that perhaps my life, certainly my commission, was at stake by my decision ; but, being firmly of opinion that the honour of my King and Country, the dearest object of my heart [were involved], and that to have deserted the cause and person of His Majesty's faithful -Ally, His Sicilian Majesty, would have been unworthy my name and their Lordships' former opinion of me, I determined at all risks to support the honour of my gracious Sovereign and Country, and not to shelter myself under the letter of the law, which I shall never do when put in competition with the Public Service.
I only wish to appeal to His Sicilian Majesty, Sir John Acton, Bart., and His Excellency Sir William Hamilton, whether they are not clearly of opinion, that if I had drawn any part of the force landed from the Squadron from the shore, that Capua and Gaeta would at this moment have been in the hands of the French; and who can say what evil consequences might not have ensued from it?
'Vide vol. iii. p. 410.
I beg to thank their Lordships for the promotion of Lieutenant Parkinson to the rank of Commander; and am with great truth, your most obedient servant,
TO EVAN NEPEAN, ESQ., ADMIRALTY.
Sir, The enclosed is the Medal intended by His Majesty to have been presented to Captain Ralph Willet Miller, to commemorate the Battle of the Nile. As that Officer has been unfortunately killed by the bursting of some shells on board the Theseus, I now return it to be disposed of as His Majesty or their Lordships may think proper. I have the honour, &c.
4 About this time Lord Nelson received the following letter from His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence:—
"Bushy House, August 4th, 1799. "Dear Nelson,
"It is a long time since I wrote last, and, besides, I. owe you two letters, in answer to yours of April and May. I was earnestly engaged in Parliament upon the Slave Trade for several weeks, when I received your first; and Davison assuring me you was shortly to return home, 1 did not think of acknowledging the second; however, as maritime affairs have taken so strange a turn in the Mediterranean, 1 think this letter must reach you.
"Your first letter, I perceived, was wrote in ill spirits; however, thnnk God, the Arch-Duke and Suwarrow have brightened up our prospects, and by this time, Italy is delivered from French freedom. Had the same good fortune attended our Fleets, as has the Austrian and Russian Arms, I believe the war would have been over. 1 trust it is only protracted, and that another Naval victory will seal the fate of France. 1 lament on every account the illness of Earl St. Vincent, and particularly in the present moment; for 1 believe the enemy's Combined Fleet would not have escaped from his Lordship's vigilance and abilities.
"Your friend Buonaparte and his Army are no more. I am in great hopes that the formidable expedition from this country, together with the Russians and Swedes, will recover Holland and the Netherlands, and drive the French into their own country. Sure France cannot withstand all these attacks and misfortunes, and tranquillity must at length be restored to Europe. Adieu for the present; write as circumstances arise, and ever believe me, yours sincerely,—William."
TO EVAN NEPEAN, ESQ,, ADMIRALTY.
I have received their Lordships' secret orders, of the 11th July, respecting the re-establishment of the Order of Malta, should we be so happy as to force it to surrender. I am glad I can assure their Lordships that Captain Ball who is named by His Sicilian Majesty (who is the undoubted Sovereign of that Island) at my request, and by the unanimous desire of the Maltese people, Chief of the Island of Malta, has had since last March my secret orders and instructions for a cordial cooperation with the Russians, should they arrive. The better sort of people of Malta know that the Emperor of Russia is named Grand-Master, yet the lower order have not an idea that the Island is to be under the Order again, or bad consequences might be expected, from the dread of, as they say, their former oppressors: the better sort hope, from the character of the Emperor Paul, to have their condition meliorated. I am, Sir, &c,
DISPOSITION OF THE SQUADRON UNDER THE COMMAND OF LORD NELSON, THE 21ST SEPTEMBER, 1799.
[Original in the Admiralty.]
Theseus, 74, I On the Coast of Egypt, bad state.
Cameleon, 18, )
Alexander, 74, very bad state,
Audacious, 74, bad state,
Lion, 64, very bad state,
Success, 32, ) Blockading Malta.
La Bonne Citoyenne, 20, bad state>
Strombolo bomb, 10, bad state,
Culloden, 74, \
Minotaur, 74, Off Ci vita Vecchia, and if they do not suc
Mutine, 18, ceed, to return to Palermo.
Perseus bomb, 20,'
Bellerophon, 74, bad state,
Seahorse, 38, to heave down, or go to England, \ „ ,
Princess Charlotte, 36, not manned, ,-«•-" i ,
San Leon, 14, bad state,
I Not to be considered in force as a Frigate:
Zealous, 74, must go to England,
Bulldog, 14, represented as very bad,
Gone to Sardinia to convey His Sardinian Foudroyant, 84,- Majesty and Family to Leghorn, or some
part of the Continent. Alliance, half-manned—at Palermo, to proceed to England.
Balloon, 14—gone to join Commodore Troubridge.
At Gibraltar and
Off Malta, blockading that Island—all very bad state.