Page images

guard. I was on my way to join you at Gibraltar, having directed Culloden and Minotaur to join me here, and I was between this Island and Majorca, when I fell in with the Bulldog, which removed the necessity of my going further down. I am very anxious about a report that the Ships from Toulon have been seen on their passage to Malta. Although Niza has under his orders seven Sail of the Line, a Frigate, and three Sloops, they are, I fear, so carelessly thrown about, that some of these Vessels will get into La Valetta, which will give us much trouble. I will take care and give you the best Frigates, and everything in my power to make your situation easy; and for the employment of them from Cape Finisterre to Gibraltar and upwards, if necessary I leave to your excellent judgment. I want, if Malta is not effectually relieved, to get troops from home to assist in reducing it; for my friend Ball now acknowledges he was too sanguine in his expectations. Niza and Company are ordered to Lisbon—therefore I shall be truly distressed for Ships for the various services wanted. Having lately received a letter from the Russian Admiral, saying he had orders for the giving up of the Leander to us, I shall send the Chichester with all the appointment of Officers, to bring her to this Port. Sir James St. Clair has begged me not to send away the Dover, as troops will either move to Malta, if General Fox approves the measure, or, what I am more afraid of, that two regiments will be ordered to England.

Captain Buchanan has just told me that you wish to put two young men into the Port Mahon, and that Lord St. Vincent had intended you should name all the Officers for her. Believe me, I would not on any consideration do less than was intended by the Earl—therefore I beg you will send up all Officers you like, and I will leave Acting orders for them with Captain Buchanan. I am, &c.,



(Fac-simile in Clarke and M'Arthur, vol. i. p. 2.)

October 15th, 1799, Port Mahon. My dear Sir, I send you a Sketch of my Life,' which I am sensible wants your pruning-knife, before it is fit to meet the public eye, therefore, I trust you and your friend will do that, and turn it into much better language. I have been, and am, very unwell, therefore you must excuse my short letter. I did not even know that such a Book' as yours was printed, therefore I beg you will send me the two volumes, and consider me as a sincere friend to the undertaking. That every success may attend you, is the sincere wish of your obliged friend,



[Autograph, in the Admiralty.]

Port Mahon, October 15th, 1799.


In consequence of information received by the Phaëton (by the arrival of the Speedy Brig at Gibraltar, the night of the 24th) that a Squadron of large Ships supposed to be French and Spaniards to the number of thirteen, had been seen on the 8th and 9th of September, laying-to, off Cape. Ortegal, I detached a Vessel to direct the Culloden and Minotaur to proceed directly and join me off Mahon. The day I sailed from Palermo I fell in with the Salamine Brig, bringing me a letter from Captain Darby at Mahon, that a Vessel had arrived there on the 1st, which two days before had fallen in with a Fleet of twenty vessels of various description, and amongst which were two Sail of the Line and several Frigates, steering to the S.E. If this is true they can only be the two Venetian Ships from Toulon with a convoy for Malta, but as the Marquis de Niza has under his command seven Sail of the Line, one Frigate and three Sloops, I have a fair right to

· Vide vol. i. p. 1.

* Apparently the "Naval Chronicle” which first appeared in 1799, and was continued until 1818.

hope that the greater part of them will be taken. I have sent the Salamine to know the event and anxiously expect her arrival.

I arrived off here the 12th, and leaving orders for Commodore Troubridge with some other ships to follow me, I proceeded on my route for Gibraltar; between this place and Majorca I fell in with the Bulldog, ten days from RearAdmiral Duckworth at Gibraltar, who giving little or no credit to the report of the Ships seen off Cape Ortegal, and Sir Edward Berry from Lisbon assuring me that the information was entirely disbelieved there, I returned to this Port: where, if Malta is not effectually relieved, I wish to arrange a plan with General Sir James St. Clair for forcing its surrender, as that Island will, if allowed to remain in the hands of the Enemy this winter, call for more Ships to attend to it than I may have the power of placing there. It will necessarily cramp other services required of us, for not only our Levant trade will be exposed, but the trade of His Majesty's Allies will be ruined if we are forced to draw our Squadron from that service. However, their Lordships may depend I will do my best as circumstances may arise, but it is of the very greatest importance to us and our Allies, that a land-force should be assisting our labours for its reduction.

The Chichester Store Ship, Captain Stevens, sails in a few days with the Officers of the Leander, for Corfu, I having now got the Russian Admiral's order for her delivery; and I have no doubt but Captain Stevens, who appears an excellent seaman, will very soon get her to this Port. From what the General tells me, this Island is in such a state of security as to bid defiance to any force Spain can send against it: and if General Fox was not hourly expected, Sir James would go with me to the attack of Malta with 1500 good troops, which with the Garrison of Messina about 1000, as many Russian Marines, and as many as we could spare from our Ships' would in all probability ensure its reduction.

I am sending the Bellerophon to Gibraltar, as she has been well refitted here, and is fit to stand a fair winter service off

• Captain, or, more properly, Commander John Stevens. He and his son, several Officers, and fifty-eight of the crew of the Chichester, died of a malignant fever on her passage from Jamaica to Halifax, in October 1802.

Cadiz. I have sent directions to Rear-Admiral Duckworth to arrange all the Ships on the Coast of Portugal, and to cor- . respond with you during my absence. I have the honour to be, &c.,




Foudroyant, Port Mahon, 15th October, 1799. Whereas, William White, Boatswain's mate of His Majesty's Ship Gibraltar, but serving on board His Majesty's Ship Courageux, hath been tried by a Court-Martial on charges exhibited against him by Lieutenant John Glover, of the said Ship, for having seized him by the collar, and wishing he had the said Lieutenant Glover on shore, he would then do his business, and other mutinous expressions; and the Court having found him guilty of the twenty-second Article of the Articles of War, hath adjudged the said William White to suffer death by being hanged by the neck at the yard-arm of such Ship, as the Commanding officer for the time being might direct; and, whereas, I think it proper that the said sentence should be carried into execution,

You are hereby required and directed to see the said sentence of death carried into execution upon the body of the said William White, in the usual manner, on Thursday next, the 18th instant, at nine o'clock in the morning, by causing him to be hanged at the fore yard-arm of His Majesty's Ship Courageux under your command, according to the sentence, a copy of which you have enclosed.



[Letter-Book.] My dear Lord,

Port Mahon, October 15th, 1799. I have little to add to my letter to Mr. Nepean, except to assure you that all my exertions shall be used to meet your

$ Captain John Richards : he was not made a Post Captain until June 1809, and died in 1830 or 1831.

wishes. You will believe I have but one object in view—that of faithfully serving my Country, in which I have considered the security of his Sicilian Majesty's Dominions as very near the heart of the King. This makes the reduction of Malta of the very utmost importance, and to accomplish which, is now, in Italy, the dearest object I have in view. If Niza has stopped their supplies I shall be happy; and I hope General Fox will spare us a part of this garrison to complete that good work, which has cost us so much labour in the blockade, and in keeping the poor Islanders in tolerable humour. I wish General Fox had arrived here, that the business might have been settled. I thank you for promoting Lieutenant Compton to the rank of Commander, and I shall always endeavour to merit your kindness, for believe me, my dear Lord, with the greatest regard, your obliged and affectionate,

NELSON. Sir Edward Berry joined the Foudroyant by the Bulldog. I have put Captain Hardy into the Princess Charlotte, and, mustering a few men, I shall take her to sea with me. My friend Hardy will make a Man-of-War of her very soon, and I make it my earnest request, that if Captain Stephenson is not sent out to her, that Captain Hardy may be allowed to remain in her, and receive an Admiralty commission.

I have given my brother belonging to the Navy Office a strong letter of recommendation to your Lordship, that he may be appointed a Commissioner of the Navy. I mention the circumstance that you may be aware such a letter is coming, and prepared, I most earnestly hope, to meet my wishes.



[ocr errors]


Foudroyant, Port Mahon, October 16th, 1799. The following Ships are to be considered as belonging to the Mahon station, and to be employed in cruizing for the

• His eldest brother, Maurice Nelson.

« PreviousContinue »