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In answer to which, I have to inform you that I have written to Captain Sir Sidney Smith, desiring him to investigate those complaints, that justice may be done you; and at the same time you will reflect more maturely on the request you have made to be superseded from such a Ship as Le Tigre. I am, &c,
TO LIEUTENANT THOMAS ENGLAND,1 ON BOARD THE TURKISH CORVETTE, AT MESSINA.
Foudroyant, Palermo, -J'lth October, 1799.
Sir, I have sent the Valiant transport, laden with provisions, 'powder, shot, &c, to supply the Ships under the command of Sir Sidney Smith for the present, and I desire you will immediately take her under convoy with the Turkish corvette, and proceed to join Sir Sidney with all possible expedition; but should the Turkish corvette not be ready to sail in the space of six hours after the arrival of the said Transport at Messina, you will leave her and repair on board the Transport, and conduct her to Sir Sidney without delay. I am, &c,
TO CAPTAIN STR WILLIAM SIDNEY SMITH, H.M. SHIP LE TIGRE. [From a Copy in the Admiralty.]
Foudroyant, Palermo, 26th October, 1799.
Whereas you have represented to me that it is absolutely necessary for the service on which you are employed on the Coast of Egypt to have Gun-boats to act against the Enemy in the Lakes and Bays near Aboukir, and on the Nile, and that four of those you captured from the Enemy are well adapted to the service for which they are wanted:—
You are, therefore, hereby required and directed to cause the hulls of the said four Gun-boats, with the boatswain's, gunner's, and carpenter's stores that arc on board them to be regularly surveyed, and a valuation put on each of them, delivering into the charge of the Lieutenants appointed to command them, all the stores they may respectively contain, that a regular account may be kept of their expenditure, as they will be answerable to Government for any misapplication of them or the provisions, the same as Lieutenants commanding Gun-boats in England are; and you will transmit to the Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy the account of their several valuations, with the abstract of the Stores of each at the time it was taken, in order to have the same charged against their Commanders, and that they may be paid for.
* He was promoted to the rank of Commander in 1813, and died between 1816 and 1820.
TO CAPTAIN BALI, CHIEF OF THE MALTESE.
[Apparently about 28th October, 1799.]
My dear Ball,
General Acton has your letter, and I have begged, almost on my knees, for money, for the present subsistence of the Maltese who bear arms. We shall hear soon to a certainty of at least 5000 Russian troops for the service of Malta. As far as I can, the arrangement is made with General Sir James St. Clair at Minorca; but unfortunately General Fox is hourly expected, and all must be submitted to him. I trust that Niza will not go till I can get not only a proper force to relieve his Ships, but those of his people who are on shore; for if the Marquis should withdraw his people, I do not see how you can hold your ground under La Valetta, and therefore Malta may be lost beyond all our efforts even to land. Under all these circumstances, and those you have pointed out, can it be of real importance to urge the French to a sortie, which, by your account, must succeed, and of course must be highly detrimental to our taking such advantageous positions? therefore, from all I hear, and particularly from yourself, ought the intended battery to be shown? for within a month I hope to see 10,000 men in arms against La Valetta. But I leave all this to your consideration, and only offer my opinion with deference.
I have sent for Troubridge and Martin, that I may get a force to relieve the Marquis. I trust to his loyalty and attachment to the cause of the world, against French villany, that he will not abandon you. May God bless you, my dear Ball, and believe me ever your obliged and affectionate friend,
Bronte Nelson. The Chichester store-ship is bringing you wine and some stores, in her way to Corfu, for the Leandcr.
TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR JAMES ST. CLAIR ERSKINE,
[From it Copy in the Admiralty.]
Palermo, October 26th, 1799.
My dear Sir James, I am in desperation about Malta—we shall lose it, I am afraid, past redemption. I send you copies of Niza's and Ball's letters, also General Acton's, so that you will see I have not been idle. If Ball can hardly keep the inhabitants in hopes of relief by the 500 men landed from our Ships, what must be expected when 400 of them, and four Sail of the Line, will be withdrawn? and if the Islanders are forced again to join the French, we may not find even landing a very easy task, much less to get again our present advantageous position. I therefore entreat for the honour of our King, and for the advantage of the common Cause, that, whether General Fox is arrived or not, at least the garrison of Messina may be ( ordered to hold post in Malta until a sufficient force can be collected to attack it, which I natter myself will in time be got together; but while that is effecting, I fear our being obliged to quit the Island; therefore, I am forced to make this representation. I know well enough of what Officers in your situation can do; the delicacy of your feelings on the near approach of General Fox I can readily conceive; but the time you know nothing about; this is a great and important moment, and the only thing to be considered, is His Majesty's Service to stand still for an instant? I have no scruple in declaring what I should do, knowing the importance of possessing Malta to England and her Allies, that if even two regiments were ordered from Minorca, yet it must be con
sidercd, (for which the Officers certainly must be responsible,) was the call for these troops known at home, would they not order them to proceed where the Service near at hand loudly calls for them? this is the only thing in my opinion for consideration. If we lose this opportunity it will be impossible to recall it . If possible, I wish to take all the responsibility.
I know, my dear Sir James, your zeal and ability, and that delicacy to General Fox has been your sole motive for not altering the disposition of the troops; but I hope General Fox is with you, and I am sure, from his character, he will approve of my feelings on the subject. If he is not, I must again earnestly entreat that, at least, you will give directions for Colonel Graham to hold Malta till we can get troops to attack La Valetta. May God direct your counsels for the honour of our King and his Allies, and to the destruction of the French, is the fervent prayer of yours, &c,
TO COMMODORE SIR THOMAS TROUBIUDGE, BART.
Palermo, October 2(itU, 1709.
My dear Troubridge, My letter to Sir James St. Clair, if this finds you at Mahon will show you what I feel about Malta. I hope the General will give troops to at least hold possession till we can get a force to attack La Valetta in a regular way. I have entreated and ordered Niza not to quit his post, or withdraw a man from the shore till I can get troops to relieve them. If he does, and I fear he will be persuaded by the Commodores, we shall lose all hold on the Island, and it would perhaps be more difficult to regain our present position than to take La Valetta at this moment. I hope General Fox is arrived, and I know Sir James will lay all circumstances before him. From experience I know Sir James to be a most fair, honourable, and zealous Officer, and I earnestly hope that you will have the carrying him and 1500 troops to Malta. If, alas I all my arguments arc in vain against orders (not knoiciny our situation here) or the delicacy of the approach of General Fox, then it is only for mc to grieve, and entreat of you to come here, and bring the Northumberland, that at least I may prevent supplies getting in; and for this purpose I shall be under the distressing necessity of taking as many Ships as possible from Minorca, which I assure you would hurt me very much. Ask the General to give me, on proper receipts, 3000 or 2000, 32-pound shot . I have sent most of mine to the Tigre and Theseus, and Minotaur's is very short . We have nothing new here. Send or bring me all my letters which came from Palermo in the St . Vincent Cutter, and Entreprenant will sail in two days. Bring what stores you can for Louis, and in particular a boat . Ever yours, &c,
TO HIS EXCELLExVCY THE MARQUIS DE NIZA.
October 27tb, 1700. My dear Marquis, This moment, on the departure of the Transfer, I received your letters relative to your going down the Mediterranean. By every tie of honour to your Court, the Ally of my gracious Sovereign, do not quit the blockade of Malta, or withdraw a man from the Island, until I can get troops and Ships to relieve them, for which purpose I have sent an express both to Naples and Minorca, pressing for orders for the garrison of Messina to go directly to Malta. If you quit your most important station till I can get these things, depend upon it, your illustrious Prince will disapprove of (in this instance) your punctilious execution of orders. I shall send El Corso in a few days. Ever believe me your obliged and affectionate friend,
TO CAPTAIN BALL, CH1EK OF THE MALTESE.
27tU October, 1 700.
My dear Ball, Sir William has sent your letter to General Acton. The Order of Malta is to be restored—therefore the King of