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TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GRAND VIZIR.
Valermo, November 4th, 17'J9.
I was yesterday honoured with your Excellency's letter' of September 9th, in which you announce to me that his Imperial Majesty had been pleased to order me a Medallion, which his Majesty desired I would wear, as a mark of his pleasure for my conduct to Osman Hadji, and for the interest which I take in the prosperity of the Sublime Porte. I entreat that your Excellency will present, with the most profound gratitude, my thanks to the Emperor for this new and distinguished honour conferred upon me. I have placed it on my coat, on the left side, over my heart. I cannot say, however flattering this mark of favour is to me, that I can in any manner serve the Sublime Porte more than I have done, for it has ever been with all my soul; but this mark of favour shows, in the strongest light, that the smallest services are watched, and most magnificently rewarded, by his Imperial Majesty, whose life may God prolong, with health and every other earthly happiness; and may he give me opportunities of showing my gratitude, by risking my life for the preservation of the smallest grain of sand belonging to the Ottoman Empire, and may the enemies of his Imperial Majesty fall into dust by the wise councils of your Excellency.
Respecting the force employed in Egypt, it is now far superior to all the Naval force of the Enemy, it consisting of two Sail of the Line and a fine Corvette; but Lord Elgin will join me in assuring your Excellency, that if more force is necessary in those seas, it shall instantly be sent. But to keep a large Naval force there would be useless, and, indeed, do harm to the Common Cause, by preventing so complete a blockade of the French and Spanish ports. I have just ordered four Gun-boats, taken by that excellent Officer Sir Sidney Smith, to be purchased, as it has been represented to me they may be useful in the Nile. I am just going to the siege of La Valctta, and to satisfy the Sublime Porte of my wishes to comply with its desires, the moment the French are driven out of Malta, I will send to Egypt two more Corvettes. May Almighty God prosper all your Excellency's councils, is, and shall ever be, the fervent prayer of your obliged and faithful servant, Bronte Nelson.
i A translation of tbftt Letter is in Clnrke and M'Arthnr.
Abdur Ahmed has executed his commission in a manner highly honourable to the dignity of his Imperial Majesty and your Excellency, and most pleasing to me; and I beg leave to recommend him to your notice.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE CAPITAN PACHA.
Palermo, November 4th, 1799.
I was honoured yesterday by your Excellency's letter, by the gentleman who brought the magnificent present of his Imperial Majesty. Could anything increase my desire of showing my attachment to the Sublime Porte, the goodness of the Emperor would insure it, but that is impossible.
I long for the time when I may make a personal acquaintance with your Excellency; and I assure you till then I shall be happy in uniting my councils and services for the benefit of the Common Cause, and for the destruction of the French. I congratulate your Excellency on the total defeat of the French Army in Switzerland: 35,000 men are killed and prisoners to General Suwarrow. I am collecting a force of troops to besiege La Valetta, and hope soon to drive the French out of Malta, when more Ships, if necessary, shall be sent to Egypt. I again beg leave to recommend Admiral Cadir Bey to your notice. He is a good Officer, and appears a truly good man. His Ship was in particularly fine order. All the Admirals and Captains were my friends; and did the service of our two Sovereigns call upon us to act together, I am sure we should be like brothers.
I am much pleased with, and was highly gratified by, the manner in which he spoke of your Excellency's head, and goodness of heart. With every sentiment of regard and affection, believe me your Excellency's Brother-in-Arms.
TO THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL OF ELGIN.
Palermo, November 4th, 1799.
My Lord, Having yesterday received such a mark of the Grand Signior's favour, I have been puzzled how to express myself properly. I must, therefore, trust to your Excellency's goodness in supplying my deficiency of language. The Vizir wishes for more force in Egypt: it is natural for him to do so, as none but our countrymen render the Porte any service. Your Lordship knows I have not Frigates or Corvettes enough for the common service of the Mediterranean; at the same time, to second your endeavours for the success of your important mission, a Corvette shall be found, and after the fall of La Valetta, two; but the French ought to be out of Egypt before that time, or even this. We have nothing new here since I wrote you a few days ago. In any manner in which I can be useful, pray tell me, and I shall be happy in assuring your Lordship with what respect I am, &c,
TO HIS EXCELLENCY J. SPENCER SMITH, ESQ., CONSTANTINOPLE.
Palermo, November 4th, 1799.
My dear Sir, I am penetrated by your kindness, and can truly assure you how much I wish to make your acquaintance. Accept again and again my thanks for all your goodness to me, both public and private. What a voyage—from September 9th to November 3rd! I have not got a force, even was it necessary, to send at this moment into Egypt; for Lord Keith carried off all he could lay his hands upon. Your excellent brother will find me everything he can wish his Commanding Officer to be, and should the French not be extirpated in Egypt before they are in Malta, I will send him two more Corvettes. The Turkish Corvette has only reached Messina, being leaky; but I hope she will be able to carry this gentleman back to Constantinople. As he leaves this place to-morrow, I have
sent to get some Sherry wine and sugar; but as to Madeira, or Claret, there is not a drop of such even in this Island, or in all Italy. Only tell me in what I can be useful to you, and I shall have great pleasure in assuring you, by fact, that I feel myself your most obliged friend,
Bronte Nelson. Remember me affectionately to your brother,' when you write. I have just sent him a large cargo of good things.
V TO THE RIGHT HON. EARL SPENCER, K.G.
I had entertained sanguine hopes that troops would have been obtained from Minorca to join the Russians in the attack of Malta; but that hope is much diminished by a letter from General Sir James St. Clair, writing me word that the 28th Regiment was ordered for England, and that he expected General Fox every moment, and that [till] he was here, the General would not, on any consideration, break his orders for any object.
Much as I approve of strict obedience to orders—even to a Court-Martial to inquire whether the object justified the measure—yet to say that an Officer is never, for any object, to alter his orders, is what I cannot comprehend. The circumstances of this war so often vary, that an Officer has almost every moment to consider—What would my superiors direct, did they know what is passing under my nose? The great object of the war is—Down, down with the French! To accomplish this, every nerve, and by both Services, ought to be strained. My heart is, I assure you, almost broke with that and other things. The moment I get General Fox's
answer "for General St. Clair cannot lend me even
the garrison of Messina, to hold the posts occupied by our and the Portuguese Marines, till a force can be collected to attack it properly. If I am obliged to withdraw from the shore of the Island, what a thorn it will remain to our trade and to our Allies! It will require a constant succession of good Ships, which are very scarce with me, to cruize off it; and if the Enemy get supplies in, we may bid adieu to Malta. This would complete my misery; for I am afraid I take all services too much to heart. The accomplishing of them is my study, night and day.
The services of Captain Ball will not, I am confident, be forgot by you, but I feel sensible that my pen is far unequal to do justice to the merit of my friends; for could I have described the wonderful merit of Sir Thomas Troubridge and his gallant party in the Kingdom of Naples—how he placed his battery, as he would his Ship, close alongside the Enemy —how the French Commander said,'This man fancies he is on board Ship—this is not the mode a General would adopt;' in what a few days this band went to the siege of Capua, where, whatever was done, was done by the English and Portuguese, for the Russians would fight, but not work. The Neapolitan corps were in air, and 600 Swiss were all who Troubridge could depend upon. If I had, as their Chief, a looker-on, a pen to describe their extraordinary merits, they would not be diminished by the comparison of our success in Holland, or by the gallant exertions of my friend, Sidney Smith—of whose zeal, judgment, and gallantry, no man is more sensible than myself—and been equally entitled to the thanks of their Country, by its representatives in Parliament. A few days ago, a gentleman from the Grand Signior came here with letters for me, and also a magnificent diamond Star, in the centre of which, on a blue enamel, is the Crescent and a Sfar. It is desired by the Grand Signior, that I will wear it on my breast. I have, therefore, attached it to my coat, over the Star of the Order of the Bath. This is sent simply as a mark of his—[imperfect.']
TO HIS EXCELLENCY J. SPENCER SMITH, ESQ.
[From a Copy in the Nelson Papers.]
Palermo, tith November, 1799.
My dear Sir, I send you a cask of sugar, such as I think you mean by saying prize-sugar: I would also have sent loaf-sugar, but it