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I know what a jumble all this is, but the very great importance of getting immediate possession of Malta makes me recommend it to you in the strongest manner. We have 500 men landed from our Ships, and I send you a letter and plan of Lord Blayney's.8 The French intend trying to relieve it. Let us try and get it in any way. My orders are to co-operate most cordially with the Russians in the reduction of it, and, when taken, the Order is to be restored. It is the hobbyhorse of the Emperor of Russia; and England wishes of all things to please him. I shall send you the Alliance, with some shells, carcases, &c, and they can carry all your troops for such a short voyage; but the Alceste will be with you in a few days, and her Captain will have orders to attend to your desires on that head.
I must now tell you, to complete the glorious jumble, that except the Russian troops before-mentioned, no one is in Italy. Suwarrow, in consequence of the Arch-Duke's going to the Rhine, is gone into Switzerland; and as a finish to all this, thirteen Sail of the Line, French and Spaniards, were, on the 18th September, laying-to off Cape Ortegal. Whether they are bound this way, time will show; in the meantime I am getting ten Sail of the Line together, and, if they venture into the Mediterranean, I will endeavour to get hold of them. All these events will but rouse us to greater exertions. Not a sail shall be drawn from Malta, and, respecting commands on shore, there can be no difficulty. Ball is Chief of the Maltese; you will command all the British; and the Russians I hope will soon be on shore, and two Admirals will be afloat. I can only recommend acting as brothers. I sail to-morrow for Mahon, and General Fox I hope is arrived. I shall try him hard; for nothing at this moment is equal to our getting the French out of Malta. Lord Elgin9 has just arrived on his way to Constantinople,—left London September 3rd. Our troops had made good their landingi with some loss, and it was thought all would go well. Pray God it may. Ever believe me, &c,
■ Colonel Andrew Thomas, 11th Lord Blayney in ihe Peerage of Ireland. He died a Lieutenant General, in April 1834.
• Thomas, 11th Earl of Kinenrdine and 7th Earl of Elgin, who was many years Ambassador to the Porte, and a General in the Army. He died in November 1841.
i In Holland, under the command of H. K. H. the Duke of York.
TO CAPTAIX BAYLEY, H. M. SHIP ALCESTE.
3rd October, 1799.
Sir, Notwithstanding my orders to you of yesterday, on your arrival at Messina, should Colonel Graham want your assistance to carry any part of the garrison of Messina to Malta, you will embark as many of them as you can conveniently carry, with such stores, baggage, ammunition, and other implements of war as he may send on board, and proceed with them to that Island, and having landed them there, will then proceed to Messina, and put the former order in execution.
I am, &c,
TO COMMODORE SIR THOMAS TROUBRIDGE, BART.
[Letter-Book. The Foudroyant arrived at Palermo on the 1st of October from Leghorn, where she landed the King of Sardinia; and on the 4th, Lord Nelson rehoisted his Flag on board of her. On the 5th, " dressed Ship in colours in honour of the birthday of the Hereditary Prince, and saluted with seventeen guns. Weighed and made sail."—Journal.]
Palermo, October 4th, 1799.
My dear Troubridge, For these two days I cannot get the Balloon to move, although of such importance. Thirteen Sail of the Line, French and Spaniards, are on the Coast of Portugal. I sail for Mahon to-morrow, probably to Gibraltar, and if I can but get a force to fight these fellows, it shall be done quickly. I am in dread for our outward-bound Convoys—700 Sail under a few . Frigates, in England thinking all the force was at Brest. I need only say, get to Mahon as quick as possible, that we may join. If you are so much distressed for bread that you must call here, I shall be sorry, but the blame is mine for not keeping you better supplied. All the Small craft which are not wanted, particularly the Cutter, send to me. Ever yours affectionately,
TO CAPTAIN SIR WILLIAM SIDNEY SMITH.
/ [Letter-Book.] .
Palermo, October 4th, 1199.
My dear Sir, The Admiralty hope, with all the civilized world, from the consequences of your great exertions and bravery at St. Jean d'Acre, that all the French are destroyed in Egypt, together with their Shipping, &c. I am therefore particularly instructed to direct you, that if this has happily taken place, that all the English ships are to join me. You will, therefore, should that be the case, join me immediately, with the Tigre, and all the English ships; and as the Enemy have a large force on the Coast of Portugal, it is of the utmost importance that the junction should be made as soon as possible. At all events the Theseus cannot be wanted. The frigate carrying Earl Elgin to Constantinople has my orders to return immediately here. You will not therefore on any account detain Captain Morris one moment. The Turks having no object to attend to but their own Coast, I should think are equal to that service. Ever, my dear Sir, your faithful humble servant,
TO CAPTAIN SIR WILLIAM SIDNEY SMITH, H.M. SHIP LE TIGRE.
Palermo, 4th October, 1799.
In consequence of instructions from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, you are hereby required and directed, should the French shipping be destroyed in Egypt, and the English ships be no longer necessary on that Coast, to join me with the whole as fast as possible, as the Enemy have a large force on the coast of Portugal; and it is of the utmost importance, that a junction should be formed without delay. But should the French shipping not be destroyed, and you can spare the Theseus, I request you will send her down to Mahon. And you are further required not, on any account whatsoever, to detain the Phaeton2 one moment, who is carrying the Earl of Elgin to Constantinople.
• Captain James Nicoll Morris, who commanded the Colossus at Trafalgar, and died a Vice-Admiral and a Knight Commander of the Bath in April 16<30.
TO CAPTAIN BALL, CHIEF OF THE MALTESE.
At Sea, 5th October, 1799.
My dear Ball, I fervently hope that Niza has got hold of the French ships from Toulon. As that business is over, I have only to hope the best . This day, by his Sicilian Majesty's orders, a letter is wrote to Messina to request General Graham to go to Malta with five hundred men. The Russian Admiral is wrote to, to go with at least seven hundred. A corps of Russian grenadiers are also expected at Leghorn for Malta. If Niza has been successful, all will end well . Ever yours most faithfully, Nelson.
I am not well, and left our dear friends Sir William and Lady Hamilton very unwell.
TO LIEUTENANT BLOW, ACTING COMMANDER OF THE ALLIANCE.
5th October, 1799.
Ordered Lieutenant Blow,' Acting Commander of the Alliance, to proceed with the mortars, &c, he has on board to Messina, and there wait the final decision of Brigadier-General Graham, whether he will send part of that garrison to Malta. If he determines in the affirmative, to take on board the troops, and carry them to Malta, land them there, delivering the mortar, shells, &c, to Captain Ball, Chief of the Maltese, and then to proceed without delay to Mahon.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE MARQUIS DE NIZA.
Fondroyant, at Sea, October 5th, 1799. My dear Marquis,
Having this day received information that the French ships
from Toulon are at sea, with Transports, bound to Malta, I am anxious in the extreme to know the result of their approach. I pray God it may have been glorious to you, by the destruction of all the scoundrels; therefore I beg your Excellency will send me the account by the Salamine, who is ordered to join me at Mahon. I hope the Benjamin had joined you before their approach. Ever, my dear Marquis, your faithful servant, Nelson.
* Lieutenant John Aitkin Blow: he was not promoted until 1826, and was made a Post Captain in 1842.
TO COMMODORE SIR THOMAS TROUBRIDGE, BART, OR SENIOR OFFICER AT MAHON.
Dear Sir, Fondroyant, at Sea, 10th October, 1799.
In case the wind will not admit of my calling at Mahon in my passage down to Gibraltar, and as in all probability the Enemy's Squadron seen on the Coast of Portugal may attempt to come through the Straits, you will immediately, on receipt hereof, proceed down and join me at that place, with the Northumberland, and either Minotaur or Bellerophon, leaving the other behind at Mahon, with such a sufficient number of Frigates and Sloops as you may think necessary, for the protection of that Island; but should Minorca be threatened by a superior force, and you think it not safe to quit it, you will send some Vessel down to me immediately [with a notice] of such event. I am, &c,
TO COMMODORE SIR THOMAS TROUBRIDGE, BART., CAPTAIN DARBY, OR THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS AT MAHON.
Sir, Fondroyant, at Sea, October 11th, 1799.
As I am on my way to Gibraltar, to look after a Squadron
of the Enemy of thirteen Sail of the Line which has been
seen towards Cape Finisterre, for which purpose it is necessary I
should collect as large a force together as the service will admit,