Vanguard, off Malta, Oct. 24, 1798.MY DEAR MADAM,
After a long passage, we are arrived; and it is as I suspected—the ministers at Naples know nothing of the situation of the island. Not a house or bastion of the town is in possession of the islanders; and the Marquis de Niza tells me, they want arms, victuals, and support. He does not know, that any Neapolitan officers are in the island; perhaps, although I have their names, none are arrived; and it is very certain, by the Marquis's account, that no supplies have been sent by the governors of Syracuse or Messina.
However, I shall and will know every thing as soon as the Marquis is gone, which will be to-morrow morning. He says, he is very anxious to serve under my command; and, by his changing his ship, it appears as if he was so: however, I understand the trim of our English ships better.
Ball will have the management of the blockade after my departure; as, it seems, the Court of Naples think my presence may be necessary, and useful, in the beginning of November.
I hope it will prove so; but, I feel, my duty lays at present in the East; for, until I know the shipping in Egypt are destroyed, I shall never consider the French army as completely sure of never returning to Europe.
However, all my views are to serve and save the Two Sicilies; and to do that which their Majesties may wish me, even against my own opinion, when I come to Naples, and that country is at war. I shall wish to have a meeting with General Acton on this subject.
You will, I am sure, do me justice with the Queen; for, I declare toGod, my whole study is, how to best meet her approbation.
May God bless you and Sir William! and ever believe me, with the most affectionate regard, your obliged and faithful friend,HORATIO NELSON.
I may possibly, but that is not certain, send in the inclosed letter.Shew it to Sir William. This must depend on what I hear and see; forI believe scarcely any thing I hear.
Once more, God bless you!LETTER II.
[May 12, 1799.]MY DEAR LADY HAMILTON,
Accept my sincere thanks for your kind letter. Nobody writes so well: therefore, pray, say not you write ill; for, if you do, I will say—what your goodness sometimes told me—"You l—e!" I can read, and perfectly understand, every word you write.
We drank your and Sir William's health. Troubridge, Louis, Hallowell, and the new Portuguese Captain, dined here. I shall soon be at Palermo; for this business must very soon be settled.
No one, believe me, is more sensible of your regard, than your obliged and gratefulNELSON.
I am pleased with little Mary; kiss her for me. I thank all the house for their regard. God bless you all!
I shall send on shore, if fine, to-morrow; for the feluccas are going to leave us, and I am sea-sick.
I have got the piece of wood for the tea-chest; it shall soon be sent.
Pray, present my humble duty and gratitude to the Queen, for all her marks of regard; and assure her, it is not thrown away on an ungrateful soil.LETTER III....