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Commodore Troubridge is ordered with the Culloden and Minotaur to join me at Mahon; but it is my intention that one Ship of the Line should remain, with a proper number of Frigates and Sloops, for the protection of the Island of Minorca, and to give Convoys to Victuallers, &c. It is therefore my wish that Captain Darby should be left with the command, unless the wants of any other Ship makes it more eligible to send the Bellerophon to Gibraltar, and to direct the Ship wanting a re-fit to remain. If the Northumberland is at sea, it is my directions that a Vessel be dispatched to direct Captain Martin to join me at Gibraltar, or wherever I may be, upon intelligence gained there from the Commanding Sea-Officer, or the Commissioner.
It is also my directions that the Thalia is sent directly to Gibraltar, with similar orders, and the Earl St. Vincent Cutter. I also have to desire that you, as soon as convenient, send a Vessel with my letter to his Excellency the Right Honourable Sir William Hamilton, at Palermo. The Alceste is ordered to take the Convoy of Victuallers from Messina, Palermo, and Cagliari, for Mahon. The Salamine I have sent to put the Ships off Malta on their guard, although I believe the Vessels seen by the Fly schooner were the Alceste and her convoy. I send you a copy of my directions5 to the Masterbuilder relative to the Ships. For your further instructions, I have only to refer you to the general directions of the Earl of St. Vincent, the orders left you by Rear-Admiral Duckworth, and your own judgment. I have received the report of the Naval Hospital, and also of the Princess Charlotte and Courageux. I am, &c,
* These directions merely referred to the refitting of some inefficient Ships.
TO CAPTAIN DARBY, H.M. SHIP BELLEROPHON.
Letter-Book. "October 12th, (11th,) Port Mahon, N.N.E. 4 miles; made the Bellerophon's signal for a Captain. Sunday 13th, spoke H. M. Sloop Bulldog; anchored in Port Mahon; found at anchor here, H. M. Ships Bellerophon, Santa Dorotea, Princess Charlotte, [late Junon,] Courageux, Vincejo, and Eutreprenant C utter."—Journal. ]
. Foudroyant, 11th October, 1799.
My dear Darby, I wish to see you for ten minutes, or if you are not able, send a boat and an Officer, for I wish to know the state of Minorca in as short a space of time as possible, that I may not lose this very fine wind. Ever faithfully,
P.S.—You will hurry the Chichester to execute my orders for carrying stores to the Ships off Malta, immediately on the return of the Salamine, depending on the information she may bring. If the Dover is a Store-ship, and not wanted at Minorca, send her down when Troubridge sails, for those Ships are much wanted in England.
TO LTEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR JAMES ST. CLAIR ERSKINE, BART.
Foudroyant, at Sea, 11th October, 1799.
My dear Sir James, I wrote you a line last night to tell you, in case I had not been able to reach Minorca, that the Phaeton brought me an account that thirteen Sail of the Line, French and Spaniards, were seen off Cape Finisterre. This of course has made me call together some of my Squadron, except from Malta—that I shall never take away, I hope, till we have reduced it. I am endeavouring to make up nine Sail of the Line, that, if they come this way, (but which I do not think,) I may be able to meet them—therefore, for the moment I shall only leave you one Ship of the Line; but of Frigates, except the Thalia, I take nothing from you, and I have no doubt but in fourteen days from this day I shall be in Mahon harbour, consulting with you and General Fox on the best mode of taking Malta— an object which I know our Ministry are very anxious to accomplish, as it is not only of the greatest importance to us, but will be highly pleasing to our Ally, the Emperor of Russia, whose mind, as Grand Master, is set upon getting full possession of his new Dignity. Rome and Civita Vecchia being now evacuated by the French, on an agreement entered into between Commodore Troubridgc and General Grenier, Malta and Ancona are the only remaining posts of the Enemy, from Genoa.
I have with great difficulty induced His Sicilian Majesty to permit Sir John Acton to write to Colonel Graham, that he might take 500 men from the Citadel of Messina, for the important service of Malta; and Sir John has wrote in the same strong manner to the Russian Admiral at Naples, for 700 troops. I have 500 English and Portuguese Marines on shore on the Island; and if I am so happy as for you and General Fox to agree to the sending 1000 or 1200 men, I am sure we shall have it; and without their assistance I fear we shall miscarry in spite of all our exertions. I trust that you will, my dear Sir James, represent me to General Fox as I am, for I am entirely unknown to him. If I did not feel confident of our success, I would not urge it so strongly, although I attach so much importance to driving the French villains from Malta, that there is scarcely any proper risk that I would not run to obtain it. In fourteen days, I hope to be with you. Ever believe me, my dear Sir, your obliged and faithful servant,
TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS AT
Foudroyant, at Sea, 11th October, 1799.
I send you herewith nine books of the New Signals, to be
distributed to the Ships of the Line as they may arrive at
Minorca, and to the Thalia and Mermaid one each,* but not to
the Ships thatare employed about the Island of Minorca, or going
• In the margin, Lord Nelson put the names of the Ships: "Culloden, Bellerophon, Minotaur, Northumberland, Thalia, Mermaid." VOL. IV. E
to the eastward, as the Ships off Malta are not yet in possession of them, not having received as yet a sufficient number for the whole Squadron. You will therefore be guarded in the distribution, and only give them to such Ships as absolutely stand in need. They are to be considered as in force from the 1st of September, although they have only come to my hands a few days ago. I am, &c,
TO REAR-ADMIRAL DUCKWORTH.
Port Malum, Uth October, 1799.
My dear Admiral, I send you down the Bellerophon, who, Darby says, and I believe truly is, in exceeding good order, and fit to stand fair winter's service. The Thalia also goes with him. I wish I could say anything in her praise, inside or out. You will receive an order for holding a Court-Martial on the Lieutenant of Marines. Perhaps you may be able to make something of Captain Nisbet; he has by his conduct almost broke my heart. The Ship I believe wants some little matter doing to her. If so, I wish Inglefield7 would bring her out of the Mole as soon as possible, and if, after all our pains, no good can be got out of either Ship or Captain, send the Thalia to England with some of the Convoys, or send her anywhere out to try. I wished to have placed him with my friend Cockburn, but, alas, he will not let me do for him what my heart wishes. I am sorry I cannot put Captain Buchanan into the Princess Charlotte, as Hardy8 is named by me for her; but it is of the less consequence to Captain Buchanan, as the Port Mahon will be launched on the 31st. I shall, I assure you, be happy in always paying attention to your wishes; and as I hear you have a young man who you wish to place with Captain Buchanan as Lieutenant, send him to Mahon as soon as you can, to assist in fitting her out . The Powerful I cannot think of sending home, when so many others are on this station in such a bad state—viz., Alexander, Lion, and Audacious, Culloden, &c, &c, &c. I send you orders for the Ships on the Coast of Portugal to put themselves under your command, and you will be so good as to have an eye that way, and get a particular return of all Vessels taken from the 1st of August. Lord Keith arrived in Torbay the 17th. Whether we are to be considered as the only two Flag-officers in the Mediterranean, custom will point out; and freights of money, by Lord St. Vincent's acting, belong to the Commander-inChief. Whether that is so or no, we shall never differ about . My only wish is, to do as I would be done by.
'Captain John Nicholson Inglefield, Commissioner at Gibraltar. Vide vol. i. p. 312.
• Captain Hardy had acted as Lord Nelson's Captain in the Fondroyant during the absence of Captain Sir Edward Berry, who was detained in England for some months by severe illness. He came from Gibraltar in the Bulldog, and rejoined the Foudroyant on the 13th of October.
Respecting the Squadron seen off Cape Ortegal, I am still of opinion they were there, although certainly they did not remain. Yet I do not blame Captain Faulknor* for using a degree of caution, especially, as it appears by Captain Blackwood'si orders, that the Admiralty are exceedingly on their
* Captain Jonathan Faulknor, of the Terrible 74. He died a Flag Officer between 1809 and 1814.
i Captain the Honourable Henry Blackwood, of the Penelope, fifth son of Sir John Blackwood, Bart, by Dorcas Baroness Dufferin. This distinguished Officer, whose zeal and ability were eminently conspicuous in watching the combined Fleets before the Battle of Trafalgar, and who possessed a large share of his Chiefs esteem and regard, as will appear from his letters to him in a subsequent Volume, was introduced to Lord Nelson by the following letter from Commissioner Isaac Coffin:—
"Portsmouth, 24th August, 1799. "My dear Lord, "Whenever I recommend to your notice and protection a friend, you may always conclude I have the best opinion of him. Receive, therefore, into the list of your firm support, rs, Penelope and her gallant Captain; and credit me, when I assure you, that neither one or the other will ever omit to act up to the expectation you may form of them. Blackwood will tell how I am to be disposed of. Present my best love to your heroes, particularly Troubridge and Hallowell, being ever, my dear Lord, your obliged friend,
"Isaac Corns. "If an opportunity offers, let me [hear] at Halifax how my young friend Colquile goes on."—Autograph, in the Nelson Papers,
Captain Blackwood obtained his Flag in June 1814, was created a Baronet the same year, and was made a Knight Commander of the Bath in 1819. He was also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Guelphs, and died, a Vice-Admiral of the White, in December 1832.