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1803 - The Blockade of Toulon


To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry written on July 25th

 

Amphion, off Toulon, July 30th, 1803

Sir,

Having some days ago sent His Majesty's Sloop Termagant to the Bay of Roses for the purpose of ascertaining the facility of watering any of His Majesty's ships under my command which I might find necessary to send there, and also with respect to procuring live bullocks and other refreshments for the Fleet; You will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that Captain Elliot found the Spaniards very much inclined to be civil, and that any number of bullocks may at present be had there for ready money; but he found considerable difficulty in paying for three bullocks which he purchased for the Termagant's Company, and was obliged to apply to the Neapolitan Consul to take bills on the Victualling-Board for the value thereof.  I only mention this as an instance to show the necessity of Public money being supplied to the Fleet.  Captain Elliot was directed not to salute the Fort of his Catholic Majesty but upon a positive assurance of an equal number of guns being returned; finding the Governor would only return the intended salute of a Private Ship, with four guns less, the Termagant did not salute the Fort.

I am, Sir, &c.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Henry Addington

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

27th July 1803

Europe seems so degraded that I declare I would rather die with my sword in my hand resisting than hold any Territory by means of a degenerate guarantee.  Can a Kingdom be said to be free which pays contributions at the order of a Foreign Power?  No, yet such is the state of Naples, Tuscany and Genoa.  General Murat demanded at Genoa a contribution of five millions of livres on the 7th, the Government said they could only raise three, the rest must be paid in men for the Army.  1600 men marched into Genoa on the 17th of July.  Yesterday and today, three Corvettes have been trying to proceed to the Eastward, I am confident they want to get to the Heel of Italy and the Adriatic, and it is very difficult to prevent their passing along shore.  At Marseilles they are fitting, as reports say, eighty or ninety Gun-boats, and intend sending them by the Canal of Languedoc to Bordeaux, but I am sure this is not true.  They are to go along shore to the Heel of Italy, and to embark and protect their Army either to Sicily or the Morea, or to both, and the Navy of Europe can hardly prevent these along-shore voyages.  However I am placing an addition to the Squadron I have already stationed upon that Coast, but from Cape St Vincent, where it is absolutely necessary I should have a look-out for the Ships of War coming from the Mediterranean to the Head of the Adriatic, I have only eight Frigates; which, with the service of watching Toulon, and the necessary Frigates with the Fleet, are absolutely not one half enough.  I mean this as no complaint for I am confident the Admiralty are hard-pressed and will send me more when the Service will admit it.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Amphion July 30th 1803

My Dear Sir,

Since I wrote to your Excellency on Tuesday the 26th July, by the Raven, I have only to inform you that three Corvettes from Toulon have twice come out of the Harbour, and were chased back again.  They were apparently bound to the Eastward, and in time the French must get a force to the Heel of Italy to attend their Army.  It must be a mere chance if any of our Ships could lay hold of them from Point to Point, which is all the sea voyage these sort of gentry make.  But I must apprise you that a much more formidable description of Vessels are said to be fitting out at Marseilles, but this circumstance Sir John Acton ought to know from the Neapolitan Consul there.  Our reports from twenty Vessels all agree that a printed requisition is stuck up for obtaining eighty or ninety small Vessels of about forty tons each.  Reports say that they are to be fitted as Gunboats and sent by the Canal of Languedoc to Bordeaux.  If it is true that these Vessels are fitting out, it is perfectly clear they are destined for the Heel of Italy to attend upon the Army, and I scarcely need tell you - certainly not Sir John Acton - that nothing but Vessels of similar descriptions and with the same facilities of going into all the little Ports in bad weather, can prevent their passage alongshore - no, not all the Navies of Europe, therefore if this report is true, and as yet I have no reason to doubt it, the consequences are foreseen and we must more and more look to Sicily.  I see, my dear Sir, all that will happen, so must General Acton, the Queen, and yourself.  It may be a little sooner or a little later as may suit the convenience of the French for their other great objects, the Morea and Egypt.  If we do not occupy Messina I am free to say that the French will not make a conquest of the whole Kingdom of Naples because that would bar their possession of Sicily which is their first and great object.  That accomplished, Naples falls of course, and if not as a conquest, ten times more humiliating, the King being left as an odious Commissary to raise contributions from his unhappy Subjects for the French.  For God's sake, let us reflect.  I have sent an additional force to the Mouth of the Adriatic, and wherever the French possess will of course not be regarded as Neutral ground.  I have serious thoughts of notifying those Ports as blockaded, but I wish not to do anything hastily.  I wish General Acton to tell me whether the City of Naples draws any, and what, supplies from those places occupied by the French, and whether a blockade preventing any supplies going to those places would not be attended with more advantage to the Common Cause than receiving at Naples those supplies which the French not wanting, allow to be exported? 

I have, my dear Sir, finished stating for ever all my ideas about Naples and Sicily.  Whatever happens, I feel that I have done all in my power to prevent misfortune, and for the future I leave the rest to wiser heads, but to none I assert more devoutly attached to the happiness and welfare of their Sicilian Majesties and to the real security of their Kingdoms.  Fourteen days ago a French Seventy-four got into Cadiz from Saint Domingo, and two French Frigates with some Merchant ships, but I have kept everything here to save Italy if in my power, and you know I was ordered to send a Squadron outside the Straits.  What will they say at home?  However I feel I have done right, and care not.  I am ever your Excellency's most obedient Servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Lady Emma Hamilton

Relates to THIS journal entry.

Victory off Toulon August 1st 1803

(I do not know that you will get this letter)

My Dearest Emma,

Your letter of May 31st, which came under cover to Mr Noble of Naples inclosing Davison's correspondence with Plymouth, arrived by the Phoebe two days ago, and this is the only scrap of a pen which has been received by any person in the fleet since we sailed from England.

You will readily conceive, my Dear Emma, the sensations which the sight and reading even your few lines occasioned.  They cannot be understood, but by those of such mutual and truly sincere attachment as yours and mine.  Although you said little, I understood a great deal, and most heartily approve of your plan and society for next winter, and next spring I hope to be rich enough to begin the alterations at dear Merton.  It will serve to amuse you, and I am sure that I shall admire all your alterations, even to planting a gooseberry bush.

Sutton joined me yesterday and we are all got into the Victory, and a few days will put us in order.

Everybody gives a very excellent character of Mr Chavalier, the servant recommended by Mr Davison, and I shall certainly live as frugal as my station will admit.  I have known the pinch and shall endeavour never to know it again.

I want to send two thousand one hundred pounds to pay off Mrs Greaves on October 1st.  But I have not received one farthing, but I hope to receive some soon.  But Mr Haslewood promised to see this matter kept right for me. 

Hardy is now busy hanging up your and Horatia's picture, and I trust soon to see the other two safe arrived from the Exhibition.  I want no others to ornament my cabin.  I can contemplate them and find new beauties every day, and I do not want anybody else.

You will not expect much news from us.  We see nothing.  I have great fear that all Naples will fall into the hands of the French and if Acton does not take care, Sicily also.  However I have given my final advice so fully and strongly that let what will happen, they cannot blame me.

Captain Capel says Mr Elliot cannot bear Naples.  I have no doubt but that it is very different to your time.

The Queen I fancy, by the seal, has sent a letter to Castelcicala; her letter to me is only thanks for my attention to the safety of the kingdom.  If Dr Scott has time and is able, he will write a copy for you.

The King is very much retired.  He would not see the French General St Cyr who came to Naples to settle the contribution for the payment of the French army.  The Queen was ordered to give him and the French Minister a dinner, but the King staid at Belvidere.  I think he will give it up soon and retire to Sicily if the French will allow him.

Acton has never dared give Mr Elliot, or one Englishman, a dinner.

The fleet are ready to come forth, but they will not come for the sake of fighting me.

I have this day made George Elliot post, Lieutenant Pettit a master and commander, and Mr Hindmarsh gunner's son of the Bellerophon, who behaved so well this day five years, a Lieutenant.

I reckon to have lost two French seventy-fours by my not coming out in the Victory, but I hope they will come soon, with interest.

This goes to Gibraltar by Sutton in the Amphion.  I shall write the Doctor in a day or two.  I see by the French papers that he has kissed hands. 

With kindest regards to your good mother and all at Merton,  &c. &c. &c. ever yours, most faithfully and affectionately,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the Commanding Admiral of the Fleet of the French Republic

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Off Toulon, August 8th 1803

Sir,

Your Frigates have captured the Redbridge Schooner and two Transports loaded with Water.  There are many French Prisoners both at Malta and Gibraltar, therefore as it cannot be the wish of us Officers to detain those as Prisoners who can be exchanged, I therefore offer you Sir to send immediately as many men as you may send to me.

I have the honour to be, Sir, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

N.B. - Only one Transport was taken.

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory off Toulon, August 9th 1803

Sir,

On Thursday morning last, as appears by the Phoebe's log sent herewith, the Redbridge Schooner and a Transport loaded with water was captured by four Frigates and some Corvettes which came out of Toulon in the night: having made the capture, the Frigates worked for exercise apparently between the Petit Pass and Cape Sicie and returned into Toulon on Saturday.

I have the honour to be, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Lady Emma Hamilton

Relates to THIS journal entry

Victory off Toulon, August 10th 1803

My Dearest Emma,

I take the opportunity of Mr Acourt's going through Spain with Mr Elliot's dispatches for England, to send this letter, for I would not for the world miss any opportunity of sending you a line.

By Gibraltar I wrote you as lately as the 4th, but all our ways of communicating with England are very uncertain, and I believe the Admiralty must have forgot us, for not a vessel of any kind or sort has joined us since I left Spithead.

News I absolutely am ignorant of, except that a schooner belonging to me put her nose into Toulon and four frigates popped out and have taken her and a transport loaded with water for the fleet.  However I hope to have an opportunity very soon of paying them the debt with interest.

Mr Acourt says at Naples they hope that the mediation of Russia will save them, but I doubt if Russia will go to war with the French for any kingdom, and they, poor souls! relying on a broken reed, will lose Sicily.

As for getting anything for Bronte, I cannot expect it, for the finances of Naples are worse than ever.  Patienza, however; I will....

I see many Bishops are dead.  Is my brother tired of Canterbury?  I wish I could make him a Bishop.  If you see him, or write, say that I have not ten minutes to send away Mr Acourt, who cannot be detained.

I hope Lord St Vincent has sent out Sir William Bolton.  As soon as I know who is First Lord, I will write him.

 

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To Alexander Ball

Relates to THIS journal entry written on August 12th

 

August 13th 1803

My dear Ball,

The French Admiral will not receive my letter which I sent a few days ago relative to an exchange of Prisoners.  From this circumstance combined with others I am sure they are on the eve of coming to sea, and if they have read all your letters about Sicily I should not be surprised if they push for Sicily, or they may be bound out of the Straits.  I have no Vessel to send to Naples with the account that probably the letters from Malta have been captured and it distresses me.  Send away the Phoebe for I am confident I shall want her very soon to tow either an English or French Ship of the Line.

Ever, my dear Ball, yours faithfully,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To French Officers who were Prisoners of War at Malta

Relates to THIS journal entry written on August 12th

 

Victory, August 13th 1803

Gentlemen,

I have sent to offer the French Admiral in Toulon an exchange of Prisoners.  After keeping the Boat waiting three hours, a message came down that the French Admiral would receive no letter or message, and ordered the Boat to return: therefore, you must blame the cruelty of your own Admiral for keeping you Prisoners.  At the same time, I shall be happy to do all in my power to render your captivity as easy as possible - always remembering Do as you would be done by.

I am, Gentlemen, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Henry Addington

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, August 24th 1803

My dear Sir,

Your time is too precious to be wasted reading unnecessarily, therefore I begin.  By the inclosed letter from the Morea you will see the good disposition of Ali Vizir towards us.  You will be the best judge, as things are at present, how he can be made most useful to us.  The French will have him if we do not.  You will recollect this is the person who I ventured to recommend our Government sending a present of a handsome pair of pistols to, and you also thought it proper.  I was so referred from the Treasury to other places and at last to the Admiralty who I knew could have nothing to do with it, that I gave it up, and had only to regret that it was not accomplished.  A few hundred pounds would have made him ours forever.  I must apprise you that General Villettes although a most excellent officer will do nothing but what he receives, 'You are hereby required and directed,' for to obey is with him the very acme of discipline.

With respect to Sicily, I have no doubt from what is passing at Naples and in Sicily but that the French will have it.  My former reasons for inducing General Villettes to keep the Neapolitan Troops in Malta was to prevent what has happened, but in a month after my back was turned Villettes obeyed his orders, and now the Governor of Messina says we can defend it and want no assistance.  His whole conduct, I am bold to say, is either that of a traitor or a fool, and being either one or the other is the same in its effects to the poor King of Naples.  Not to use every exertion to put the fortifications in repair when a Foreign Army is in one part of the Kingdom is nothing short of treason, and the sixteen Gunboats rotting at Messina without a man, when they ought to be exercising in the Straits every day.  I see clearly if we have not a little Army to take it the French will, I am sorry to say, and conclude that the mass of Sicilians wish for a change of Government.  They wish for us but if we will not go there they will gladly, I fear, receive the French.  The middle and lower class will be relieved from the oppressions of the Nobles; they love their King and English, hate the Nobles and the French.

SARDINIA - I had a ship from thence yesterday.  The King fancies that he can point out his Neutrality.  Alas, he can do nothing but what the French please!  You may rely that 5000 French, or rather Corsicans, are preparing for the invasion (say conquest) of Sardinia.  They are forced to enlist from particular districts - five districts, 1000 men each.  All their camp equipage consists of nothing - a light linen jacket, trowsers, red cap, and a pair of shoes, is the whole expense of Government; a musket, accoutrements such as our gentlemen go shooting with, and a short sword.  The plunder of the Sardinian Anglo-Sardes is held out as the reward.  Not all our Navy can prevent it.  Sardinia will be lost without a struggle, and yet the majority of the Sardinians would fly to receive us, but if we will not then the French, in preference to remaining as they are - oppressed with taxes and no protection from the Barbary States.  I need not say what a loss it will be to us.  The mode and manner of allowing us to possess the Madalena Islands and the North part of Sardinia must be left to heads other than mine.

CORSICA - I am told is so much oppressed by requisitions of men from that Island that I am told they would gladly again shake off the French yoke, and this last order for the 5000 men for the conquest of Sardinia has made them outrageous.  But Buonaparte cares for nothing, he sets all his engines to work.  If they succeed, it is well, and if not, he is no worse than he was.

Pardon my remarks.  I am looking out for the French Squadron - perhaps you may think impatiently, but I have made up my mind never to go into Port till after the Battle if they make me wait a year, provided the Admiralty change the Ships who cannot keep the Sea in winter, except Victory, Canopus, Donegal, and Belleisle.  The Admiralty knows the state of the others and will relieve them as soon as they can.  The Triumph, Superb, Monmouth, Agincourt, Kent, Gibraltar, and Renown, are certainly amongst the very finest Ships in our Service - the best commanded and the very best manned, yet I wish them safe in England where they would man, filled up with landsmen, fourteen Sail of the Line, and that I had Ships not half so well manned in their room, for it is not a Store-Ship a week which could keep them in repair.  This day only six men are confined to their beds in the whole Squadron.  With every good wish for your brilliant success and for getting us an honourable and permanent Peace, believe me my dear Sir with the truest esteem, your most obliged and faithful

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Henry Addington

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 25th August 1803

My dear Sir,

By a Vessel spoke with from Marseilles, it was with real sorrow that I read his Majesty's Message of July 28th on the occasion of the horrid murder of Lord Kilwarden in Dublin.  The unanimity of all good Subjects will I trust soon bring the Rebels to justice, and certainly the more danger the necessary for us all to put ourselves forward.  I assure you that I wish I only knew how I could serve my Country more effectually than in my present command.  I attach no value to the high rank I at present hold and if any, even the lowest, situation is thought to be fittest for me in these times, I should feel prouder to be so placed than in any elevation of rank - all I ask is to be allowed to be one of the men to be placed in the breach to defend my King and Country.  I have but one arm, it is true, but believe my heart is in the right trim, therefore only consider how I can be best employed.  But I trust, my dear Sir, that you know me, therefore I will not say more for fear it should be suspected that I arrogate to myself more merit than I believe will be found in 999 of every 1000 in the United Kingdoms.  These lines have almost involuntarily flowed from my pen as they have done from my heart; pardon the effusion.  I took the pen for a different subject.

I yesterday told you of the intention of the French to invade Sardinia (where no steps are taken against them).  At Marseilles are now ready to sail - the Troops on board - a Frigate, a Corvette and two armed Transports with a 1000 or 1500 men under a General Ceroni, or Veroni.  I believe they are bound to Corsica to go over with the 5000 Corsicans - if they get to Sardinia, it is gone.  I am sending two Frigates, the only ones I have with me, to cruize off Ajaccio in Corsica to try and intercept them, but what I mention these circumstances for is that it may be necessary to mention it to the Russian Minister, for we may be accused of a breach of Neutrality in Sardinia, for being satisfied of the intention of the French invading Sardinia I have directed the Frigates to pursue them even should they chase into Sardinia, and to take or destroy them and also the Corsican Troops, for if I wait till the Island is taken I should feel deserving of reprobation.  Of course they will say that we have broken the Neutrality if we attack them in the Ports of Sardinia before their conquest, and if we do not I shall be laughed at for a fool.  Prevention is better than cure.  Many French Vessels have been chased into Sardinia and of course the Neutrality respected - L'Alcyon, Man-of-War Brig, is an instance.  I mention my intention that idle reports may not be attended to; if Russia is the guarantee of the King of Sardinia's Dominions let Russia look out.  My station to the Westward of Toulon, an unusual one, has been taken upon an idea that the French Fleet is bound out of the Straits, and probably to Ireland.  It is said 10,000 men are collecting at Toulon.  I shall follow them to the Antipodes.  You may rely on the zeal of, my dear Sir, your most faithful friend,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Donnelly of HMS Narcissus

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 26th August 1803

Having received information that there is an embarkation of Troops at Toulon (or Marseilles) intended to join the Corsicans with a view to invade the Island of Sardinia, and as I think Ajaccio is the most likely place in Corsica for their forming such junction, You are hereby required and directed to take his Majesty's Ship named in the margin [Active] under your command (whose Captain has received my orders for that purpose) and proceed with all possible dispatch and take such station as you may judge most likely to intercept them and prevent their landing or forming a junction with the Corsicans at Ajaccio or elsewhere, but should you fall in with them at sea you are to use your utmost endeavours to take, sink, burn or destroy the whole of them.  If however the Enemy should escape into any Port of the Island of Sardinia you are to proceed and attack them wherever you may fall in with them without paying regard to any pretended flag of Neutrality (except under the guns of Cagliari) or considering such Port or place entitled to the respect of Neutrality but as an invaded Country by the Enemy.  In the event of your finding them at Cagliari, that Fort being sufficient to prevent the Enemy's landing, you are to afford the Viceroy every assistance in your power to enable him to destroy the Enemy and frustrate their designs against the Dominions of his Most Sacred Majesty the King of Sardinia.  You are to return and join me on my Rendezvous off this place in fourteen days or sooner if you should obtain any information which you may judge important for me to be acquainted with.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Major-General Villettes

(commander of troops in Malta)

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, September 16th 1803

My dear General,

I wrote you on the 29th of August, but such is my want of Small Craft that I have had no means of sending a letter.  We have had near fourteen days very blowing weather but that is to be expected at this season of the year.  The Belleisle is missing since the 14th when I sent for her to look into Toulon.  I hope the gentry did not come out in the gale and got hold of her - that would be certainly contrary to my intentions.  On the 11th a Rear-Admiral Chef d'Escadre, four Sail of the Line, Frigates, and Corvettes, were under sail - a Ship of the Line and some Frigates were some mile outside Sepet, but they returned again and on the 13th they were all snug at anchor.  We are now twenty leagues from Toulon and a calm, therefore she is I hope not far off.  The Frigates I have are dispersed to look out in case the French slip by me, and our little Squadron is so healthy and keen that I would not recommend them to fall in with us.  I am much obliged to you for your goodness about the shells, and I have to apologise to Colonel Bentham for the trouble I am giving him.  I shall be very glad of a hundred for 12-pounders.  I do not mean to use them at sea, for that I hope to consider burning our own Ships, but in case they run ashore then a few put into their sides will do their business.  From our communication with Spain, it looks rather hostile, she must go to War either with France or us, and all the blame is laid at our door because we will not bow to France and allow the world to be at peace.  Such is the reasoning of the Spaniards, even the Captain-General of Catalonia, but I have wrote him a letter which will not be misunderstood and I have sent an express to Madrid.

I want Peace and therefore if we are to have more Powers upon us, the sooner they begin the better, and not give us a long War.  Your letters, my dear General, are always so interesting to me that I shall ever feel much obliged by your sending them, and believe me your most obliged and faithful friend,

Nelson & Bronte

I beg my best respects to General Oakes.  As the Prevoyante goes direct for England she will take your dispatches, I think, perfectly safe; mine will go from Gibraltar by her.

A Swiss who was in Dillon's Regiment came on board a Ship at Barcelona, and as he has been a Soldier I send him as a present to you.  Mr Brown, Commander of the Prevoyante will deliver him.

N. & B.

 

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To Alexander Ball

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, September 16th 1803

My dear Ball,

I have had nothing to send you [since] my letter of August 29th, and we had a gale almost ever since.  I bear up for every gale.  I must not, in our present state, quarrel with the North Westers, with crazy masts and no Port or spars near us.  Indeed, in the whole station there is not a topmast for a Seventy-four.  On the 11th a Ship of the Line and some Frigates were outside Sepet; a Rear-Admiral, Chef d'Escadre, and another Ship of the Line, four in the whole ,&c.  Eight were under Sail, but seeing Canopus stand under Sicie they hauled their wind and worked in again.  On the 12th and 13th they were at anchor.  That night I sent Belleisle to work off the Port, wind blowing Strong out ESE and SE, which has drove us to twenty leagues West of Sicie.  I am a little anxious at her not joining, but they must have more than common luck to get hold of her.  The Squadron has health beyond what I have almost ever seen, except our going to the Nile, and I hope if the French will give us the opportunity that our beef and pudding will be as well applied.  I should be very glad to copper the Queen Schooner for you but I much doubt if Government send out more than is necessary for the Ships on the station.  If she belongs to the Government of the Island, a line from the Secretary of State to the Admiralty will produce the copper for her, therefore the Builder had better give you an account of the quantity wanted - paper, nails, &c.; and for you to write to Lord Hobart.  With respect to the Commissaryship ship for Prisoners, I only appointed Mr Chapman on your recommendation, and I do not think I ought to appoint anyone, much less a Foreigner, with power to draw bills on our Government, therefore I rely that Mr Chapman will hold it until the Transport Board appoint a proper person, be that person Mr Vankempen or anyone else.  The French Privateers in Sicily do not seem to care for Neutrality.  You and the Viceroy I take for granted will settle this matter.  By Lieutenant Shaw's account I never heard the equal to it both at Girgenti and Alicati  Your advice to Mr Elliot will be good and I think he will attend to it, but Diplomatic men think of course they know much better than anyone else and Mr E. is the oldest Minister we have.  He has got a better appointment than any Minister ever sent to Naples: he first got 3000 for plate money and 4500 a-year being little [less than] Ambassador's pay - no bad hit, Mr Elliot; and they ought, my dear Friend, to give you as much whilst you remain, but I hope to see you again afloat.  I, for one of your friends, never wished you to have Malta: I had destined you in my mind for another appointment.  We are all well: Murray is measuring rope and coals, Hardy rigging the main-yard on the booms, and we are caulking and refitting for a winter's cruise unless the French will be so good as to prevent us, but I am ever, my dear Sir Alexander, most truly and faithfully yours,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the Bey of Tunis

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

His Majesty's Ship Victory, off Toulon, 23rd September 1803

Sir,

Reports having reached me that some Vessels who call themselves French Privateers but who I can consider in no other light than as Pirates lay under the Island Zimbra, and from the top of which make their observations of Vessels passing, row out, and attack Vessels of Nations at peace and amity with your Highness, under your Flag, and that as the occasion may best suit them they are either Vessels belonging to your Highness or pass for French Privateers, and with this deception I understand they have, passing for a Cruizer belonging to your Highness, taken possession of an English Ship who obeyed the summons supposed to be given by an Officer belonging to you, I have therefore to request that your Highness will inquire into the truth of the assertion made to me, and if proved, that you will order such measures to be taken as to justice shall appertain, for the just punishment of the offenders.  I send Captain Donnelly of his Majesty's Royal Navy who will further explain to your Highness what may be necessary to be said upon this subject, and I request that your Highness may give full credit to what Captain Donnelly may say in my name, and I have the honour to assure your Highness that I am your most obedient and faithful humble servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Ross Donnelly of HMS Narcissus

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, 23rd September 1803

Whereas some French Privateers have, as is represented in the Papers sent herewith, made the most unwarrantable use of the Bey of Tunis's Port and Colours for the capture of an English Ship called Pomona, You are therefore hereby required and directed to proceed with all possible dispatch in his Majesty's Ship Narcissus under your command to the Bey of Tunis and endeavour, in concert with Mr Clark (who acts as British Consul in the absence of Mr Magra) to obtain from the justice of the Bey the restitution of the said Ship and any other which may have been illegally taken.  You will deliver to his Highness my letter which accompanies this (a copy of which is also herewith transmitted for your information) and you will urge, but in the most moderate manner, the equity of our demand and point out what would be the consequence if I was inclined to take a similar position; but his Highness knows that I have always respected his Neutrality.  You will also take an opportunity of acquainting his Highness that I have received information that the French have made several purchases of oil, &c. in his Dominions and that they are hiring Vessels belonging to Tunis to bring it to Marseilles, and as a most particular mark of my wishing to pay every respect to his Flag I earnestly entreat that he will order his Subjects not to hire the Ships of Tunis for any such purpose, as if they are found with French property or suspected French property on board they will be detained for trial, for although the Vessels may be bona fide belonging to Tunis, it will not protect the cargo of an Enemy.

You will however touch on these points with so much good humour as to leave the impression of my high respect for his Highness and regard for the real property of his Subjects.  I rely with confidence on your ability and judgement in managing these matters to my satisfaction and to the advantage of your Country.  You will of course receive all English Seamen who may be at Tunis, and you will get every information, what supplies of bullocks, water, wood, and onions can be furnished the Fleet, and as near as possible the prices.  Having performed this service as above directed, you are to return and join me on my rendezvous off this place as expeditiously as possible with an account thereof.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, 25th September 1803

Sir,

You will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that his Majesty's Ship Seahorse joined the Squadron off this place yesterday forenoon having left the Convoy which she brought from England at Malta.  You will also please to acquaint their Lordships that a Convoy is ordered from Malta to England and will proceed from Valetta Harbour on the first of next month or as soon after as the Anson and Stately have joined with the Levant trade, which I trust will be about that time: this Convoy will take under its protection the trade which may be collected at Gibraltar.  I am, &c.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Lady Emma Hamilton, Nelson's mistress

Relates to THIS Journal Entry

 

September 26th 1803

My dearest Emma,

We have had, for these fourteen days past, nothing but gales of wind and a heavy sea.  However as our ships have suffered no damage, I hope to be able to keep the sea all the winter.  Nothing but dire necessity shall force me to that out of the way place, Malta.  If I had depended upon that Island for supplies for the Fleet, we must all have been knocked up long ago, for Sir Richard Bickerton sailed from Malta the same day I left Portsmouth so that we have been a pretty long cruise, and if I had only to look to Malta for supplies, our Ships companies would have been done for long ago.  However by management I have got supplies from Spain and also from France, but it appears that we are almost shut out from Spain, for they begin to be very uncivil to our Ships.  However I suppose by this time something is settled, but I never hear from England.  My last letters are July 6th, near three months.  But as I get French newspapers occasionally, we guess how matters are going on.

I have wrote Mr Gibbs again a long history about Bronte, and I hope if General Acton will do nothing for me, that he will settle something, but I know whatever is settled I shall be the loser.  Till next year, the debt will not be paid off, how...

There is no more to this letter.

 

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To Captain Richard Moubray of HMS Active

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, 28th September 1803

Having received information that there are two of the Enemy's Frigates to the Eastward of Toulon You are hereby required and directed to take his Majesty's Ship named in the margin [Phoebe] under your command (whose Captain is directed to put himself under your orders) and proceed immediately to the Eastward of Toulon in search of the said French Frigates, looking into the Bay of Nice, from thence to Genoa, and strictly examine any Bay between that and Leghorn, in which you may judge it mostly likely to fall in with them.  Not finding them at any of the before-mentioned places you are to call at the Island of Elba where it is probable they may touch.  Should your endeavours be ineffectual to fall in with the Enemy in the course of fourteen days from the date hereof, you are to return and join me on my Rendezvous off this place at the expiration of that time.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Commissioner Otway, Gibraltar

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, September 29th 1803

My dear Sir,

The Halcyon is going to put herself under the orders of Sir Richard Strachan but I have directed Captain Pearse to carry the Gibraltar mail to Lisbon and to bring back the mail for Gibraltar.  The Monmouth I expect every day from Naples.  She is to go to Gibraltar to fit out the Ambuscade and probably to carry her home with the Convoy which will sail from Malta about the middle of October.  The Prevoyante is gone to Malta and when she has delivered her stores will proceed to Gibraltar.  I have been expecting either the Bittern or Termagant for this month past and also something from England, but they seem to have forgot us.  I am, my dear Sir, your much obliged and faithful, humble servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain William Layman of HMS Weazle

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, 6th October 1803

Having ordered that His Majesty's Sloop Weazle under your command may be taken into the Mole at Gibraltar so soon as Commissioner Otway has completed the Ambuscade's defects, You are hereby required and directed to cause the utmost exertion to be used (so far as the same may depend upon you) in getting the Weazle's defects made good and the said Ship fitted for sea with all dispatch, and so soon as she is in all respects ready you are to proceed and cruise very diligently in the Gut for the purpose of keeping the communication between Gibraltar and the Coast of Barbary open, proceeding (as circumstances of information respecting the Enemy's Privateers may render necessary) for the purpose of protecting the Trade of His Majesty's Subjects and destroying the Enemy's Privateers and Cruisers which are stationed there to intercept our commerce, attending most strictly to my order of the 30th May last (which will be delivered to you by Captain Durban) respecting the non-interruption of the Trade of his Catholic Majesty's Subjects and the Neutrality to be observed with the Powers in amity with Great Britain.

You are never to exceed to the Westward of keeping the limits of Cape Spartel in sight on any account, and in the execution of this service you are to pay due regard to such desires as Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Trigge may find necessary to require of you for the protection of the Boats employed in bringing the necessary refreshments to the Garrison or otherwise, as his Majesty's Service may require - calling once every week on the Lieutenant-Governor to know his desires and to receive such orders as I may find necessary to send you.  You are to continue on this service till otherwise directed, acquainting me from time to time as opportunity may offer, with an account of your proceedings.

Nelson & Bronte

N.B. - The Halcyon under similar orders.

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

I have had the honour of receiving your letter of the 27th August desiring me on the Ambuscade's being purchased to appoint Captain Durban to the rank of Post-Captain, Lieutenant Yarker to be Commander, and Mr G. Greensill to be Lieutenant.  I was sorry that having waited till the 5th of October, I then appointed Captain Durban to the Ambuscade and Lieutenant William Layman to the Weazle, which I trust (not knowing their Lordships' wishes respecting any other Officers) that they will be pleased to confirm; but their Lordships may be assured that the very first vacancy (which I trust will not be many days) Lieutenant Yarker and Mr G. Greensill shall be appointed.  As I am sure their Lordships know the very happy consequences of a Fleet looking up to a Commander-in-Chief for promotion that they will excuse my not having reduced Lieutenant Layman from the Acting rank I had given him, as he would not have been with me had he not been an Officer of acknowledged abilities and merit.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

P.S. - The Commissions shall be delivered to Captain Stuart and the Hon. Captain Elliot, and the fees received for them as marked thereon.

 

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

Yesterday evening I received their Lordships' order of the 24th August last, directing the the complements of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels under my command may be forthwith completed to the War establishment and to enter and bear as many more men in addition to their present complements as may be necessary for that purpose.  You will please to acquaint their Lordships that direction shall be given accordingly, but upon this subject I must beg to observe that there is but little probability of procuring men in this Country as there appears no inclination in the Maltese to enter into the Navy.  The means to induce them shall however be held out and everything done that remains with me for that purpose.

I enclose you for their Lordships' information extracts of three letters from Sir Alexander Ball on this subject together with a Proclamation issued at Malta for the purpose of procuring Maltese for the Fleet, but I am sorry to observe that there are not more than four in the Squadron at present off this place, nor is there, as their Lordships will observe from the extracts above mentioned, any probability of procuring more Maltese for the Navy, so that the very considerable number of Seamen wanted to complete the complement of the Ships here must be looked for from some other quarter.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

I received by the Childers fifty-four printed Admiralty orders dated the 30th June last, with the two additional Instructions under His Majesty's Signet and Sign Manual dated the 24th of that month, therein mentioned, directing the Commanders of His Majesty's Ships and Privateers not to detain or molest any Ships or Vessels belonging to any State in amity with His Majesty on account of their having on board organzine, thrown, and raw silk, the growth and produce of Italy; or any Neutral Vessels which shall be carrying on trade directly between the Colonies of the Enemy and the Neutral Country to which the Vessel belongs: you will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that the said orders shall be issued to the respective Flag-Officers, Captains and Commanders of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels under my orders.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

I yesterday received by the Childers their Lordships' order of the 26th August last (together with copy of Lord Pelham and Mr Falcon's letters therein mentioned) directing me to send a discreet Officer to Algiers with instructions to demand from the Dey, in His Majesty's name, immediate restitution of the Maltese Vessels mentioned in the said letters together with their cargoes and the release of their respective crews.

You will please to acquaint their Lordships that I will take a very early opportunity of sending a proper Officer to Algiers with instructions conformable to their orders to demand of the Dey immediate restitution of the Maltese Vessels and cargoes and the release of their respective Crews, and shall direct the Officer sent on this service not to subject himself or the Ship under his command to the risk of capture on his arrival off Algiers.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

I yesterday received your letter of the 13th August last with transcript of a dispatch from Mr A'Court, His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Naples, therein mentioned, respecting two French Vessels which were attacked by the Boats of the Cyclops and Experiment in the Bay of Naples, and beg to refer you to the extracts to Sir John Acton, Bart., mentioned in my letter to you of the 8th July last; and also to request you will be pleased to acquaint their Lordships that the other Vessels was liberated by my directions at Malta and sent back to Naples under the authority of my protection; that the most strict orders have been issued to prevent similar proceedings; and that my marked disapprobation was signified to the Commanders of the Cyclops and Experiment the moment I was made acquainted with their conduct.  You will also please to acquaint their Lordships that the Vessel taken by the Spider has been delivered up and that I have very severely reprimanded Captain ...... of the ..... for the captures he made under the Spanish batteries, which have also been given up.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

Yesterday I received their Lordships' order of the 20th August last, containing directions respecting the Ports of Genoa and Especia, and you will please to acquaint their Lordships that I had anticipated their order from the Gazette of the 16th of that month and given the necessary directions to the respective Flag-Officers, Captains and Commanders under my command in consequence, a copy of which is herewith transmitted.  The Active, Phoebe and Childers are under orders and will proceed from hence tomorrow to block up those Ports.  You will also please to acquaint their Lordships that I have received forty-eight printed orders dated the 24th August addressed to the respective Admirals, Captains, Commanders, and Commanding Officers of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels, directing them to seize and destroy all Ships and Vessels belonging to the Countries styling themselves the Italian and Ligurian Republics, which shall be issued to them respectively.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Lieutenant William Pemberton

(Resident agent of transports in Malta)

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

I have received your letter of the 27th ultimo acquainting me that a Transport had sailed to Corfu and that two were ready to proceed to Tunis for cattle for the Army and Island; also, that General Villettes had expressed a wish to have two Transports for the sole purpose of bringing cattle for the use of the Army at Malta; I have therefore to desire that you will wait upon Sir Alexander Ball and know from him what Transports he will require for the use of the Island, and after having received his instructions on that head you are to appropriate the number he may judge necessary for bringing cattle for the use of the Island, and also two Transports agreeably to General Villettes's desire for the sole purpose of bringing cattle for the use of the Army.  The Transports for the service of the Fleet will eight months out of the year be at the disposal of the General and Sir Alexander Ball; therefore take this into the calculation in consulting with them, which you are to acquaint General Villettes of immediately on receipt hereof, as it is my particular wish that the inhabitants and Army should have every necessary accommodation afforded them, and in doing so, that Government should not be put to undue expense, or the Transports for the above service remain unemployed.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Nathaniel Taylor

(Naval Storekeeper at Malta)

Relates to THIS journal entry

Victory, off Toulon, 7th October 1803

Sir,

I have received your letters of the 4th and 23rd ultimo with the Instructions &c. therein mentioned and must desire whenever you may judge it necessary, consistent with the said Instructions, to muster the Crews of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels as they arrive at Malta, that you will apply to the Captains thereof to furnish you with a Boat for that purpose, and that I do not feel justified to make any addition to your establishment of Clerks.  Having so recently left England those things ought to have been perfectly understood and settled by the Navy Board to whom you must make application on the circumstances above mentioned.  On the subject of the sails and other stores mentioned in your said letter of the 23rd ultimo, being damp owing to the Storehouses being in bad repair, I am to desire that you will use every means necessary to put the Storehouses in a proper condition for keeping the sails &c. dry as serious losses and consequences may arise from their being otherwise.  But in making this repair which you have represented as absolutely necessary, you are to pay the most strict regard to economy and procure such vouchers for so doing as will satisfy the Navy Board with the correctness thereof, and that Government has not been put to any unnecessary or improper expenses.  I certainly think that English weights are preferable to Maltese and ought to be used for His Majesty's stores provided the alteration is not attended with inconvenience to the Inhabitants who you may have occasion to deal with.  I observe the propriety of the Officer's of His Majesty's Yard at Malta being accommodated with houses contiguous to their duty and have wrote Sir Alexander Ball on the subject.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, October 8th 1803

My dear Sir,

I am glad that your family begins to collect around you and that you stand a chance of seeing Mrs Elliot.  Your taking Harriman is certainly a real act of charity, and whatever you can do for him I believe he will be truly grateful to you.  By his letter he speaks of you as he ought.  He is most sincerely to be pitied.  The remains of Lord Bristol are gone in the Monmouth for England.  If you will direct, agreeable to Lord Hawkesbury's desire, his effects at Naples to be collected together and give me an idea of the quantity, I will send a Ship of War or Transport for them, and if Mr Jackson or Lord Bristol's factotum at Rome will send the effects from thence to either Civita Vecchia or Naples and will let me know when they are at the sea-side and ready, I will send for them.

Two French Frigates have had a narrow escape.  They have been chased twice - once into Corsica with the Troops by the Agincourt 64, and on Sunday last by two Frigates, Active and Phoebe, into St Tropez, but these fellows will not fight if they can help it.  Never was health equal to this Squadron.  It has been within ten days of five months at sea and we have not a man confined to his bed, therefore if these fellows wait till we are forced into Port they must wait some time.

May I presume to request of your Excellency to present my humble duty to the King and Queen and assure them of my eternal attachment to their Royal persons and to all their Family, and any other civil speeches you may be so good as to say for me.  To be a Courtier is your trade and I know myself to be a cobbler at that work.  But I am ever with all sincerity of my heart, my dear Sir, your most faithful humble servant,

Nelson & Bronte

This will be presented to you by my nephew Sir William Bolton; you will be so good as to present him to Sir John Acton.  He was Lieutenant of both Vanguard and Foudroyant.  Do not keep the Childers, she has secret orders to execute.

N. & B.

Your letter from Lord Minto was left behind by some mistake.

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, October 8th 1803

My Dear Sir,

The Childers Brig arrived from Plymouth on the 6th, and by her I have had a full and entire approbation of my conduct, both public and private, but at the same time I am desired to guard and to communicate those cautions to Sir John Acton and yourself that we are not lulled into a fatal security: therefore, not withstanding the favourable appearances of the French withdrawing from the Kingdom of Naples, I have strengthened our Squadron in the Adriatic and the Coast of Calabria.  It now consists of the Ships as by list on the other side, under Captain Cracraft -

Anson....44....24-pounders

Juno.....36....12 do.

Arrow....22....32 do.

Bittern....18....24 do.

Morgiana...18....18do.

And I have recommended Captain Cracraft if possible to communicate with Manfredonia and to offer to Sir John Acton and yourself any accommodation in his power by taking a Messenger &c. for Vienna.  In short, my dear Sir, you may rely that whatever man can do for the safety and comfort of the Two Sicilies, none can have more desire to do it than myself.  You will keep the Gibraltar as long as you want her or until I can relieve her, and I am sure Captain Ryves saw the Troops safe to Messina.  The English Merchants, if any remain besides Mr Noble, I believe would have been more correct in applying to me for Convoy than through your Excellency, but it is curious he has not sent you a list of the English Vessels waiting for Convoy nor have I heard of any being at Naples.  If they find Trade it is my business to find Convoy, therefore let them send a list of Vessels to the Senior Officer at Malta or to me.  I should be very happy to receive authentic intelligence of the destination of the French Squadron - their route, and time of sailing.  Anything short of this is useless, and I assure your Excellency that I would not upon any consideration have a Frenchman in the Fleet except as a prisoner.  I put no confidence in them.  You think yours good: the Queen thinks hers the same: I believe they are all alike.  Whatever information you can get here I shall be very thankful for, but not a Frenchman comes here.  Forgive me, but my mother hated the French.  I am ever your most faithful and obliged,

Nelson & Bronte 

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To Admiral Sir Peter Parker

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

14th October 1803

Your grandson came to me with your kind letter of August 20th on October 6th, nothing could be more grateful to my feelings than receiving him.  I have kept him as Lieutenant of the Victory and shall not part with him until I can make him a Post Captain, which you may be assured I shall lose no time in doing.  It is the only opportunity ever offered me of showing that my feelings of gratitude to you are as warm and alive as when you first took me by the hand.  I owe all my Honours to you and I am proud to acknowledge it to all the world.  Lord St. Vincent has most strongly and kindly desired your grandson's promotion, therefore I can only be the instrument of expediting it.  Believe me ever, my dear Sir Peter, your most grateful and sincerely attached friend,

Nelson & Bronte 

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(Unknown Recipient)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 14th 1803

Your letter of July 21st came to me in the Childers, Sir William Bolton, and I assure you that I feel very much obliged by your kind hint but I do not believe one word of your information.  Malicious liars are always travelling about doing evil.  If he comes out here I shall be heartily glad to see him.  I well know his reasons for coming out, and even --, was he an ill-disposed man, could that hurt me?  Can my mind be turned against my King by any beings on the earth?  Besides, what is there to find out here?  Only what he knows and every man in England and the Fleet knows - that I will fight the French Fleet the moment I can get at them.  I have no plans to divulge, and if I had, I should not put it in any man's power to give information.  In finis, I believe the gentleman to be as loyal and attached to the King and Country as you or I are; if he is not, why do not Ministry take him up?  My dear -, some d-d backbiting rascals are in our turns pulling us to pieces; you, I, him, and others.  I shall close by my old expression - they be damned!

In the Fleet I have not seen a French flag since my joining, nor do I expect it unless the Enemy put to sea.  Our gales of wind are incessant and you know that I am never well in bad weather, but patience I hope will get me through it.  Sir Alexander Ball is very well but I should rather think he would be glad to be in the Navy again.  I am at this moment confoundedly out of humour.  A Vessel has been spoke that says she has seen a Fleet six days ago off Minorca, and it is so thick that we cannot get a look into Toulon, and blowing at this moment a Levanter.  Imagine my feelings; but I am, my dear - , most truly your obliged and faithful friend,

Nelson & Bronte 

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To John Palmer

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 14th 1803

My dear Sir,

I was favoured with your letter of August 26th by your son on October 7th.  My time here has been so very short, and you will conceive that I came out well-loaded, that in truth I do not see my way for even clearing the Victory once, and I have upon my list twenty to be made Captains.  Mr Palmer is the third recommended to me by the Duke of Clarence and I sincerely wish it may be in my power to promote them all, more especially the son of an old acquaintance.  The capture of the French Fleet will make an opening for promotion which I shall readily embrace.  You may rely, my dear Sir, that I will not miss an opportunity when I am at liberty to be useful to your son.  I am much obliged for your sending me the Correspondence of the Prince of Wales.  I suppose there must be some strong reasons for not complying with his Royal Highness' gallant wishes.

I think I see that the King intends to have the Prince and his Regiment attached to his person.  As a man and as a Soldier there can be no reason why his Royal Highness should not be promoted if he wishes it, but I believe we are now so well prepared that the French will not venture the attempt at landing in England.  Ireland is their object, and Egypt.  I am ever, my dear Sir, with every good wish, your most obedient and faithful servant,

Nelson & Bronte

I have received Lord William Gordon's note enclosing Mr Kemble's note to Lady Hamilton; time may do much, and I have the inclination.

 

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To the Duke of Clarence

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Off Toulon, 15th October 1803

I am absolutely, Sir, beginning this letter in a fever of the mind.  It is thick as butter-milk and blowing a Levanter, and the Narcissus has just spoke me to say, 'She boarded a Vessel and they understood that the men had seen a few days before twelve Sail of Ships of War off Minorca.  It was in the dusk and he did not know which way they were steering.'  This is the whole story, and a lame one.  On the 8th the French Fleet as counted by Captain Boyle, was eight Sail of the Line, four Frigates, and some Corvettes.  On the 9th it blew a tremendous storm at NW which lasted till the 12th, since which time, although Seahorse and Renown are endeavouring to reconnoitre, it is so thick that I do not think they can either see into Toulon or find me if they do.  Your Royal Highness will readily imagine my feelings although I cannot bring to my mind to believe they are actually out, but to miss them - God forbid!  They are my superior in numbers, but in everything else I believe I have the happiness of commanding the finest Squadron in the world - Victory, Kent, Superb, Triumph, Belleisle, and Renown.  Admiral Campbell is gone to Sardinia and I have been anxiously expecting him these ten days.  If I should miss these fellows my heart will break: I am actually only now recovering the shock of missing them in 1798 when they were going to Egypt.  If I miss them I will give up the cudgels to some more fortunate Commander, God knows I only serve to fight those scoundrels, and if I cannot do that I should be better on shore.

October 16th - The Seahorse spoke me in the night, and made known that the Enemy were in the same state as when last reconnoitred on the 8th.  I believe this was the only time in my life that I was glad to hear the French were in Port.  I think Captain Keats is very much better in his health, he is a most valuable Officer and does honour to your friendship.  Every day increases my esteem for him, both as an Officer and a man.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Lord Hobart

(Secretary of State for the War Department)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 16th 1803

My Lord,

On the arrival of the Childers on the 6th, the blockade of Genoa and Port Especia immediately took place and the Southern parts of France and the Ligurian and Italian Republics will, I trust, severely feel the effects of it.  There was certainly a difference between the situation of the poor Tuscans and those other Powers; the former will always be ready to assist us against the French whenever they can do it with safety to themselves.  By letters from Mr Elliot and Sir John Acton, I am glad to find that some active measures are taking for the security of Sicily and putting Messina in such a state of defence that it cannot be taken by surprise.  I have told them some truths, but I am sure they are truly sensible that I have no further views in doing so than to urge them to do what is right for the security of the Royal Family and Sicily.  I will not touch on Mr Elliot's mission.  He believes that he is fully acquainted with the whole machinery which governs Naples: I own I doubt that he knows more than they wish him, but if they do what is right for their security I am content.  I have always kept a Ship at Naples for the personal security of the Royal Family, and I have strengthened the Squadron which watches the French Army in the Heel of Italy in case they should wish to cross to the Morea which many think is their intention.  What the real destination of the French Fleet may be is very difficult for me to guess.  Mr Elliot thinks they will try to have Sicily previous to their going to Egypt, others think they may go direct to cover the Army across to the Morea, others that in the present unsettled state of Egypt they may push with ten thousand men to Alexandria, and they may be bound outside the Mediterranean.  Plausible reasons may certainly be given for every one of these plans, but I think one of the two last is their great object, and to those two points my whole attention is turned.  If they put to sea I hope to fall in with them and then I have every reason to believe that all their plans will be frustrated.  I have, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte 

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To Lady Emma Hamilton, Nelson's mistress

Relates to THIS Journal Entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 18th 1803

My Dearest Emma,

Your truly kind and affectionate letters from July 17th to August 24th all arrived safe in the Childers the 6th of this month.

Believe me, my beloved Emma, that I am truly sensible of all your love and affection, which is reciprocal.  You have, from the variety of incidents passing before you, much to tell me, and besides you have that happy knack of making every thing you write interesting.  Here I am, one day precisely like the other except the difference of a gale of wind or not.

Since September 1st we have not had four fine days and if the French do not come out soon I fear some of my ships will cry out.  You are very good to send me your letters to read.

Mrs D- is a damned pimping bitch!  What has she to do with your love?  She would have pimped for Lord B- or Lord L- or Captain M'N- **** of **** or anyone else.  She is all vanity, fancies herself beautiful, witty, in short like you.  She be damned!  As I wrote you, the consulship at Civita Vecchia will not in itself pay their lodgings, and the bad air will tip her off.  There will be no Lord Bristol's table.  He tore his last will a few hours before his death.  It is said that it was giving every thing to those devils of Italians about him.  I wish he may have given Mrs Denis any thing but I do not think it, and as for you my dear Emma, as long as I can I don't want any of their gifts.  As for old Q. he may put you into his will or scratch you out as he pleases, I care not. 

If Mr Addington gives you the pension, it is well, but do not let it fret you.  Have you not Merton?  It is clear - the first purchase - and my dear Horatia is provided for, and I hope one of these days that you will be my own Duchess of Bronte, and then a fig for them all!

I have just had a letter from Gibbs of which I send you a copy.  You see what interest he is taking about Bronte.  I begin to think, without some assistance like his, that I never should have touched a farthing.  It will be 1805 before I touch the estate.  Neither principal or interest of the seven thousand ounces have been paid, and it is now eight thousand ounces debt.  You will see Gibbs at last has fixed on sending his daughter home, and I shall be glad of so good an opportunity of obliging him as it will naturally tie him to my interest.  He was a great fool not to have sent the child with you as you wished. 

I am glad to find, my dear Emma, that you mean to take Horatia home.  Aye! she is like her mother, will have her own way or kick up a devil of a dust.  But you will cure her; I am afraid I should spoil her, for I am sure I would shoot anyone who would hurt her.  She was always fond of my watch, and very probably I might have promised her one; indeed I gave her one which cost sixpence!  But I go nowhere to get anything pretty, therefore do not think me neglectful. 

I send you Noble's letter, therefore I hope you will get your cases in good order: they have had some narrow escapes. 

I am glad you liked South End.

How that Coffin could come over, and palaver, Rowley, Keith, &c, and Coffin to abuse the Earl!  Now I can tell you that he is the Earl's spy.  It is Coffin who has injured Sir Andrew Hammond so much, and his custom is to abuse the Earl to get people to speak out; and then the Earl takes his measures accordingly.  To me it is nothing.  Thank God! there can be no tales told of my cheating or, I hope, neglecting my duty.  Whilst I serve, I will serve well and closely; when I want rest, I will go to Merton.

You know, my dear Emma, that I am never well when it blows hard.  Therefore imagine what a cruize off Toulon is; even in summer time we have a hard gale every week and two days heavy swell.  It would kill you, and myself, to see you.  Much less possible to have Charlotte, Horatia, &c. on board ship!  And I, that have given orders to carry no women to sea in the Victory, to be the first to break them!  And as to Malta, I may never see it, unless we have an engagement, and perhaps not then, for if it is complete I may go home for three months to see you, but if you was at Malta I might absolutely miss you by leaving the Mediterranean without warning.

The other day we had a report the French were out and seen steering to the westward.  We were as far as Minorca when the alarm proved false.

Therefore, my dearest beloved Emma!  Although I should be the happiest of men to live and die with you, yet my chance of seeing you is much more certain by your remaining at Merton than wandering where I may never go, and certainly never to stay forty-eight hours.  You cannot, I am sure, more ardently long to see me than I do to be with you, and if the war goes on it is my intention to get leave to spend the next winter in England, but I verily believe that long before that time we shall have peace.  As for living in Italy, that is entirely out of the question.  Nobody cares for us there, and if I had Bronte - which thank God! I shall not - it would cost me a fortune to go there and be tormented out of my life.  I should never settle my affairs there. 

I know my own dear Emma if she will let her reason have fair play will say I am right, but she is, like Horatia, very angry if she cannot have her own way.  Her Nelson is called upon in the most honourable manner to defend his country!  Absence to us is equally painful but if I had either stayed at home or neglected my duty abroad, would not my Emma have blushed for me?  She could never have heard of my praises and how the country looks up.

I am writing, my dear Emma, to reason the point with you, and I am sure you will see it in its true light.  But I have had my say on this subject and will finish.

I have received your letter with Lord William's and Mr Kemble's, about Mr Palmer: he is also recommended by the Duke of Clarence, and he says by desire of the Prince of Wales.  I have, without him, twenty-six to be made Captains, and list every day increasing.  It is not one whole French fleet that can get through it.  I shall probably offend many more than I can oblige.  Such is always the case: like the tickets - those who get them feel they have a right to them, and those who do not get them feel offended forever.  But I cannot help it.  I shall endeavour to do what is right in every situation, and some ball may soon close all my accounts with this world of care and vexation!

But never mind, my own dear-beloved Emma: if you are true to me, I care not - and approve of all my actions.  However, as you say, I approve of them myself, therefore probably I am right.

Poor Reverend Mr Scott is I fear in a very bad way.  His head has been turned by too much learning, and the stroke of lightning will never let him be right again.  The Secretary Scott is a treasure and I am very well mounted: Hardy is everything I could wish or desire.

Our days pass so much alike that, having described one, you have them all.  We now breakfast by candlelight and all retire at eight o'clock to bed. 

Naples I fancy is in a very bad way in regard to money.  They have not, or pretend not to have, enough to pay their officers, and I verily believe if Acton was to give up his place that it would become a province of France.  Only think of Buonaparte's writing to the Queen to desire her influence to turn out Acton!  She answered properly, at least so says Mr Elliot who knows more of Naples than any of us, God help him! - and General Acton has, I believe, more power than ever. 

By Gibbs's letter I see he has sent over about my accounts at Bronte.  He can have no interest in being unfriendly to me.  Why should he?  I want no great matters from him and he can want nothing from me that it is not my duty to give his Sovereigns: therefore why should he be against us!  For my part, my conduct will not alter, whether he is or not. 

Our friend Sir Alexander is a very great diplomatic character, and even an Admiral must not know what he is negotiating about, although you will scarcely believe that the Bey of Tunis sent the man at my desire.  You shall judge - viz. "The Tunisian Envoy is still here, negotiating.  He is a moderate man, and apparently the best disposed of any I ever did business with."  Could even the oldest diplomatic character be drier?  I hate such parade of nonsense!  But I will turn from such stuff.

You ask me, Do you do right to give Charlotte things? I shall only say, my dear Emma, whatever you do in that way I shall always approve.  I only wish I had more power than I have!  But somehow my mind was not sharp enough for prize-money.  Lord Keith would have made twenty thousand pounds and I have not made six thousand.

Poor Mr Este, how I pity him!  But what shall I do with him?  However, if he comes I shall shew him all the kindness in my power.

October 22d

The vessel is just going off.  I have not a scrap of news!  Only be assured of my most affectionate regard.  Remember me kindly to Charlotte.  Shall always love those that are good to Horatia.  I will write her by another opportunity.  Remember me to Mrs Cadogan.  You may be sure I do not forget Charles, who has not been well; Captain Capel is very good to him.

I am ever, for ever, my dearest Emma, your most faithful and affectionate,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Rev. Nelson

(Horatio's brother, William)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 18th 1803

My dear Brother,

Accept my thanks for your kind letter of July which I received by the Childers.  I sincerely hope that Canterbury will prove as profitable to you as to your predecessor last year: perhaps if I take another French Fleet they may make you a Bishop: therefore I shall try hard whenever they give me the opportunity.  They are our superiors in numbers - they being eight to six, which is the force I can count upon being off Toulon, for one must be in turn in harbour watering, and I have Cadiz to watch with another, and one always at Naples in case of accidents for the security of the Royal Family, therefore although the Admiralty may say I have ten at my orders, the fact is I can never count upon more than six.  If I am so fortunate on the day of Battle to have the seventh, I shall be very fortunate.  For two days last week I was in a fever.  A Frigate spoke a Spanish Vessel in the night who said that he had seen a Fleet of twelve sail of Men-of-War off Minorca steering to the Westward.  It was thick for two days and our Frigates could not look into Toulon: however I was relieved, for the first time in my life, by being informed the French were still in Port.  They have a number of Troops ready for embarkation, but as to their destination that is a secret I am not entrusted with.  The Fleet has been five months at sea this day, and in two days I [shall] have been as long, but we are remarkably healthy and in fine order to give the French a dressing.  I shall try and do a little better with the Victory than Admiral Keppel.  We are not remarkably well manned but very well disposed people.  I have wrote to Dr Fisher to congratulate him on his preferment, and if he offers his services you may be sure I will then clinch him for Mrs Nelson's brother.  I think this mode will be more likely to succeed than attacking him the moment of his appointment and I assure you that I am anxious to mark my attention for good Mrs Nelson whose kindness I am truly sensible of.  I am sorry for Mr Rolfe: if young Mott does not do something handsome for him, he is a beast.  I had wrote to Lord Hood long ago to thank him.  If Sir William Fawcet had not given us his vote he would have forfeited his word, and should the Phoenix come in my way I will notice Lieutenant..., but I cannot make him a Captain.  I have twenty-six on me at this moment and sixty to make Lieutenants.  It is not one French Fleet will do me service and I shall be sure to offend more than I can oblige.  However if I take one more Fleet somebody else must take the others.  With very sincere and affectionate wishes for you and yours, believe me ever, with the greatest truth, your most affectionate brother,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Sir Edward Berry

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 20th 1803

Mr dear Sir Edward,

I received your kind letter by the Childers on the 6th instant.  You are right to be as quiet as you can, although it is vexing to be unemployed at such a moment, but it is useless to fret oneself to death when the folks aloft don't care a pin about it.  Although we have constant and very hard gales of wind yet this place is certainly very healthy - much preferable for an invalid to either Channel or North Seas.  Young Forster has gone with Captain Layman in the Weazle: this Ship was too large.  The Seahorse is with me and you may be assured Mr Steele shall be put upon some Quarter-deck.  I will mention your wishes to Lord St Vincent within these two minutes: what effect it will have, time must show.  It will have my sincere good wishes, for I am ever, my dear Sir Edward, ever yours, faithfully,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Spiridion Foresti

(Resident Minister at Corfu, he played a central role in Nelson's intelligence network)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 22nd October 1803

Sir,

I have received by the Niger, Captain Hillyar, duplicate of your letter of August 23rd and triplicate of yours of July 25th for which I am much obliged to you, and also your letter of September 23rd.  In reply to the first part of your letter I beg leave to acquaint you that I have enlarged the Squadron destined to watch the French at Otranto, Brindisi, &c. &c., and have given Captain Cracraft, the Senior Captain, orders to call occasionally at Corfu and to afford every assistance to the Republic of the Seven Isles, which I am sure he will do.

To the second part of your letter: You say that you would 'write to Ali Pacha that your Lordship had transmitted the letters, &c.'  I am very sorry for my omission but I transmitted them to Mr A....m [Addington?] the moment I received them the 24th August.  I am really much interested for Ali Pacha for he has always been a stanch friend to the English and most particularly kind to me, and if I ever should go to Corfu I shall certainly, if he is within a few days' reach, go and see him.  I am very happy to find that the powder and ball sent by the Arab has been seized and some of the troublesome Greeks removed.

I have given Captain Cracraft such directions for the protection of our commerce as cannot fail of the desired effect unless the Republic allow the Enemy's Privateers to be sheltered in their Ports and from thence make depredations as has, I am sorry to say, been the case in Sicily.  Your attention to every part of your duty leaves me nothing to recommend, and I only beg that you will assure the Government of the Republic my sincere good wishes for its prosperity, and be assured that I am, with the highest respect, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,

Nelson & Bronte

You will be so good as to forward my letters, and you mentioned sending the two letters from his Excellency Mr Drummond: I only received on dated July 13th.

 

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Orders to Captain Donnelly of HMS Narcissus

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, October 24th 1803

Sir,

I am going with the Squadron to the Madalena Islands to water and shall return to the Rendezvous as soon as possible, but I think it will be about fourteen days from this time; you will therefore, with the Seahorse under your command, remain off Toulon and occasionally on the Rendezvous till my return, taking every care in your power that the French Fleet do not put to sea without your knowing it, and in case of their coming out you will send the Seahorse direct to me to let me be acquainted with it, and you will endeavour yourself to ascertain their intended route, by which time I may be able to have the Fleet ready for putting to sea.  I expect the Termagant with dispatches from Gibraltar, you will therefore direct her Commander to come to me at the Madalena Islands, cautioning him not to entangle himself with the Islands unless he is assured, by sending his boat onshore to the town of Madalena, or exchanging signals with the Fleet, that it is safe to approach.  Should you fall in with either the Canopus or Renown you will acquaint Admiral Campbell and Captain White where I am and of my desire for their immediate junction with me.  Should certain circumstances occur which I cannot foresee, I rely on your ability and zeal for acting in the properest manner for his Majesty's service, and I am, Sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS Journal Entry

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, November 1st 1803

My dear Sir,

The Fleet being very much in want of water, I have taken the opportunity of moonlight nights to come here in order to obtain it and some refreshments for our crews who have now been upwards of five months at sea.  But our health and good humour is perfection and we only want the French Fleet out.  This day week they had eight Sail of the Line ready, and a ninth fitting, so that we shall surely meet them some happy day, and I have no doubt but that we shall be amply repaid for all our cares and watchings.  I have left Frigates to watch them.  The Raven goes to Naples in order to obtain candles and other things of which we stand in need, and I hope she will be favoured with the winds and catch us here.

I have not a word of news from any quarter and I have only to hope that all goes on well in the Two Sicilies.  I should be happy, was it in my power, to communicate oftener with you, and dire necessity only obliges me to send the Raven, and I am left without a small Vessel.  Pray tell me, can I write to England through Naples with safety?  How do your dispatches go?  I am ever, my dear Sir, your Excellency's most faithful and obliged servant,

Nelson & Bronte

Captain Murray, Hardy, and Dr. Scott, desire their compliments.  My letters I send as I can, generally to Gibraltar.  The other routes are uncertain, and I have no spare Vessels.  I feel even parting with the Cameleon, and he has strict orders to join me as soon as possible.

 

 

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To Captain Ryves of HMS Gibraltar

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, November 2nd 1803

We anchored in Agincourt Sound yesterday evening, and I assure you that I individually feel all the obligation due to you for your most correct Chart and directions for these Islands.  We worked the Victory every foot of the way from Asinara to this anchorage, the wind blowing from Longo Sardo, under double-reefed topsails.  I shall write to the Admiralty stating how much they ought to feel obliged to your very great skill and attention in making this Survey.  This is absolutely one of the finest harbours I have ever seen.  I am, dear Sir, your obliged and obedient servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Schomberg of HMS Madras

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, Sardinia, 5th November 1803

Sir,

The Raven will be put particularly under your orders for the various services which may be wanted, and not to exclude her from being sent to me if you should want to send her.  She must immediately convoy the two Transports to the most secret Rendezvous herewith sent, and moor them in safety under the Fort, giving directions to the Masters to take care of their Ships and wait for my further orders, and I need not tell you to keep the Raven active.  She sails so fast that no Privateer can get from her, I am sure, but you must caution Captain Swaine, and very strictly, in your orders, to keep his Convoy close in passing the Faro, if you have occasion to send him to Naples.

Convoys for the Archipelago and Adriatic I trust Captain Cracraft with furnish, for my wish is to confine the Raven as much as possible to the service of Malta, and this you will say to Sir Alexander Ball.  With respect to bearing supernumerary Officers and men for the Packets, I do not conceive that you can bear any Officers by rank for wages and victuals.  The fifty desired by Sir Alexander Ball are borne, I suppose, for wages and victuals on board the Madras and lent from her to the Packets: farther than that I don't believe we can do with propriety.  With respect to the petition of the Maltese, it is not mentioned where the Vessels are blockaded, nor dated: I cannot understand it.  If it is in the Morea, Captain Cracraft has liberated them long before this time.  I congratulate you on being confirmed, and when I can, compatible with my other engagements, I shall certainly be glad to put you into a good Frigate or do anything else in my power to serve you, being with real esteem and regard, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Alexander Ball

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, November 7th 1803

My dear Ball,

Captain Staines delivered me your kind letter two days ago.  As I expect Mr Falcon every moment, I shall take the first opportunity of settling our business with the Dey of Algiers.  The documents which I have received from you are perfectly regular.  I wish we may be able to get over the Sicilian Vessels, but that I doubt being able to accomplish.  Apropos, our Vessels make so many mistakes and call every Barbary Cruizer an Algerine that I fear if we should go to war with that State, that some untoward mistakes may happen.  But I believe each Cruizer is obliged to produce a Certificate from our Consul of the State she belongs to; pray tell me if I am correct.  I am glad to find that you are so well pleased with the Minister from Tunis.  I send you an extract of my letter to Mr Elliot in answer to his about a coolness between you and Sir John Acton, and also an extract of a letter from Madrid, and Captain Swaine was at Barcelona on October 13th, therefore I do not think a Spanish War so near.  We are more likely to go to War with Spain for her complaisance to the French, but the French can gain nothing but be great losers by forcing Spain to go to War with us, therefore I never expect that the Spaniards will begin unless Buonaparte is absolutely mad, as many say he is.  What! he begins to find excuses!  I thought he would invade England in the face of the Sun!  Now he wants a three-days' fog, that never yet happened! and if it did, how is his Craft to be kept together?  He will soon find more excuses or there will be an end of Buonaparte, and may the Devil take him!

Our two last reconnoiterings: Toulon has eight Sail of the Line apparently ready for sea, five or six Frigates, and as many Corvettes - they count twenty-two Sail of Ships of War, a Seventy-four is repairing; whether they intend waiting for her I can't tell, but I expect them every hour to put to sea, and with Troops, but their destination? - is it Ireland or the Levant?  This is what I want to know.  However, out they will come, and I trust we shall meet them.  The event, with God's blessing on our exertions, we ought not to doubt; I really believe that we are the 'strong pull and pull together'.  With this force opposed to me I cannot with prudence leave myself with less than six Sail of the Line, and from various circumstances, Ships going to water &c., I am too often with only five Frigates, and Smaller Vessels I am most distressed for.  However, I send the Raven to be under Captain Schomberg's particular orders, for upon every occasion I had rather leave myself bare than have my friends complain.  Lord St Vincent's words are, 'We can send you neither Ships or Men, and with the resources of your mind, you will do without them very well.'  Bravo, my Lord!  I have all the inclination in the world to send Sir Richard Bickerton to Malta but I dare not do it at this moment - not so much for the want of the Ship, but from my sincere esteem for the Admiral, and in charity to them both; for if the battle took place and Sir Richard absent, they would have reason to curse me forever.  But you may assure her Ladyship that I know what attachment is, and that the Admiral shall be the first detached after the Battle; and if I can, on any belief that the Enemy are not coming immediately to sea, he shall go before the Battle.  Remember me kindly to Macaulay and all our friends at Malta.  I admire your Malta Gazettes; it is the custom, and a very bad one, for the English never to tell their own story, and you have put it well together.  This Anchorage is certainly one of the best I have met with for a Fleet - water, brooms, sand, onions, some beef, plenty of sheep, and but little of aqua denta; but I suppose the French will take it now we have used it.  I am ever, my dear Ball, most sincerely and faithfully yours,

Nelson & Bronte

No wonder Neutral Powers complain when we do not send out a Judge of the Admiralty: it is cruel both to the Detainer and the Neutral.

 

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To the Captains and Commanders of the Mediterranean Fleet

Relates to THIS journal entry.

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, 7th November 1803

Memorandum,

Lord Nelson is very sorry to find that notwithstanding his forgiveness of the men who deserted in Spain, it has failed to have its proper effect, and that there are still men who so far forget their duty to their King and Country as to desert the Service at a time when every man in England is in arms to defend it against the French.  Therefore Lord Nelson desires that it may be perfectly understood that if any man be so infamous as to desert from the Service in future, he will not only be brought to a Court-Martial, but that if the sentence should be Death, it will be most assuredly carried into execution.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, November 16th 1803

Sir,

You will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that this morning the Squadron under my command captured Le Renard French National Schooner, mounting twelve four-pounders, with six swivels, and manned with eighty men; also Le Titus, Transport, having on board ninety-six soldiers from Corsica, bound to Toulon.  The Schooner and Transport are gone to Malta under charge of the Stately.  I am, Sir, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS Journal Entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 24th November 1803

Sir,

The Fleet being very short of wood and water, you will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I judged it better to go to the Madalena Islands in order to obtain it than to separate the Fleet, as by experience it is found almost impossible in the continued gales of wind at this season, for any Ship to be certain of joining in any given time; I therefore left the Frigates off Toulon and proceeded to the Madalena Islands, where having procured wood and water and some refreshments, I returned to my Rendezvous.  The Chart of Captain Ryves, which the Board has received, is the most correct thing I ever met with.  The Fleet worked up from Asinara with a strong East wind to the anchorage with the perfect ease, from the Chart and directions; and Captain Ryves deserves the greatest credit for the accuracy of his Chart and remarks.  The remarks I send you and I would recommend their insertion on the Chart.  I am, Sir, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, November 24th 1803

My dear Sir,

The Raven joined from Naples as we were weighing from the Madalena Islands; and yesterday the Excellent, seventy-four, joined from England.  I send Sir John Acton's dispatches, via Malta, to Messina, and so overland; for I have no Vessel which I can send to Naples.  Your letter from Lord Minto - at least, the letter which I supposed came from him, was sent in your packet either by Gibraltar or some Vessel before her.  It had 'Evan Nepea' wrote on the outside and was a short thick letter.

Lord Hobart writes me in confidence that they would not have drawn all the Egyptian Army from the Mediterranean, but that it was necessary in the state of England as to Troops, and the preparations of the Enemy had they profited of the moment, but that as they get strength in England they will send troops here.  500 are coming out, and Dillon's is to be re-established: therefore, your Son's 80 men will be a good beginning.  The French force yesterday at two o'clock was correctly ascertained - eight Sail of the Line, eight Frigates, and five or six Corvettes, perfectly ready, and as fine as paint can make them.  A ninth Ship is visibly getting forward.  I only hope in God we shall meet them.  Our weather-beaten Ships, I have no fears, will make their sides like a plum-pudding.  As to news, I can tell you none.  We have nothing later than September 29th, from Portsmouth.  I am ever, my dear Sir, your most faithful servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Dr John Snipe

(Physician to the Fleet)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 25th November 1803

Sir,

The Commissioners for taking care of Sick and Hurt Seamen and Marines, having acquainted me that they had appointed Mr John Gray to be Surgeon of a Naval Hospital intended to be established at Malta, I am therefore to desire you will proceed immediately in his Majesty's Ship Narcissus to Malta, for the purpose of examining the situation and necessary accomodations of such Hospital previous to its being occupied as such; and, as it has been mentioned to me by the Admirals and Captains who have service in the Mediterranean for some considerable time, that the situation of the former Naval Hospital at Malta was particularly unhealthy, it is my directions that you do not suffer that house to be received as an Hospital, or any other which, from situation, you may judge improper; but endeavour to procure a convenient and well-appointed house, in an airy and healthy situation, for a Naval Hospital pro tempore, until such time as Government shall take the necessary measures for building, or otherwise providing, a convenient and proper Hospital.  If such accommodations cannot at present be had, you will beg Major-General Villettes to allow Mr Gray the use of the Wards in the Military Hospital at present appropriated for the Seamen, until the necessary arrangements can be made for their reception into some other place.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

P.S. - You will order Mr Gray to transmit to the Commissioners for Sick and Wounded Seamen an account agreeable to the letter and form herewith inclosed; also similar Returns to be made to me for my information.  The letter and form you will bring with you, and deliver to me on your return by the Narcissus.

 

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To Captain Schomberg of HMS Madras, Malta

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 25th November 1803

Sir,

If the Raven has not sailed with the Transports to join me, I have directed either Stately or Narcissus to take them under their Convoy, in order that the Raven may be at your disposal for the various services required of her.  I have wrote to Captain Cracraft to give every facility in Convoys, and we must endeavour that our Commerce, both in the Adriatic and Levant, is kept in circulation, and protected from the French Privateers.  I am, &c.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To J.B. Gibert

(British Vice-Consul in Barcelona)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, off Toulon, 25th November 1803

Sir,

Captain Staines of his Majesty's Sloop Cameleon, will deliver you two letters, and three for his Excellency Mr Frere and Mr Hunter, which you will be good enough to forward by the first opportunity to Madrid.  I must beg you will be so obliging as to give me all the political news with respect to the situation of our two Countries, which I am very anxious to know, and hope they remain in every respect friendly to each other.  Captain Staines is good enough to undertake the execution of some commissions for me in the stock way, and I shall be much obliged by your friendly assistance in procuring the several articles.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the French Admiral at Toulon

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, December 4th 1803

Sir,

Although my Flag of Truce was treated so unkindly when I wished to send you a letter relative to an Exchange of Prisoners, by being kept several hours under Sepet, and then ordered off in a very uncivil manner, which I am sure must have been unknown to you, yet when the comfort of so many individuals is at stake, I again take this opportunity of offering an Exchange of Prisoners of War; therefore whenever you please to send to Malta any number of English Prisoners of War, I will direct as many French to be returned, and I shall be glad of this occasion of allowing of a number of your Officers to return on their parole of honour until they shall be regularly exchanged by an arrangement between our Governments.  I have the honour to remain, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the Captains and Commanders of the Mediterranean Fleet

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, 10th December 1803

Whereas Robert Dwyer, a Private Marine belonging to His Majesty's Ship Belleisle was, by the sentence of a Court-Martial held on him the 4th ultimo, to receive 500 lashes for disobedience of orders and insolence to his Superior Officer, crimes of the most serious nature, and for which the delinquent no doubt looked forward to the awful sentence of death being pronounced upon him instead of the corporal punishment above-mentioned: and, although the said Robert Dwyer has received only part of his punishment, yet it being the first offence of a public nature which has been brought to trial since my taking upon me the command of His Majesty's Fleet in the Mediterranean, and the respective Captains having particularly mentioned to me the very orderly conduct and good behaviour of their Ships' Companies, I am, therefore, induced from these circumstances to remit the remainder of the said Robert Dwyer's punishment; but I must desire it to be perfectly understood, and to warn the respective Ships' Companies against the commission of crimes of a similar or any other nature, as well as against the shameful disgraceful crime of Desertion, as the sentence of the Court-Martial for either of these offences, be it death or otherwise, will most certainly be inflicted without mitigation.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the Captain of any Ship who May be in Search of Me

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Gulf of Palma, December 11th 1803

Sir,

I am at anchor in the Gulf of Palma, which I prefer to St. Pierres: indeed, we were not able to get in for the bad weather.  In your passage round you must not pass between the Vacca and Antioco, but may safely pass between Toro and Vacca.  I am, Sir, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

N.B. - If you have intelligence of importance to communicate, a Boat can come through the bridge of Antioco, at the North end.  The Boat must be a small one.

To be put under a cover and left for any other Ship which may come to St. Pierres in search of me.

 

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To Alexander Davison

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Gulf of Palma, December 12th 1803

My dear Davison,

By the Excellent I received all your truly kind and friendly letters, and duplicate of one by Lisbon, with all your kind present of pamphlets, &c., for which I am truly obliged to you, and I only wish I had the power of returning your continued kindness in any manner, but that is impossible.  I rejoice to hear such good accounts of your new House, and I wish I could pass fifty thousand pounds through it.  However, my name shall stand in it, if only for 10, and I sincerely hope every success will attend it.  You deserve everything which your most sincere friends can wish you.  Your letter of July 13th only arrived in the Excellent, with a packet of newspapers sent to Plymouth.  I have signed the Proxy for Lord Moira, and in doing it I have broke through a resolution I made, never to give a Proxy, nor could anything have induced me to swerve from it but to such a man as Lord Moira.  Whether he is in or out of Office, my opinion of him is formed for ability, honour, and strict integrity, which nothing can shake, even should ever we unfortunately differ on any particular point.

I wish, my dear Davison, that I had the power, as I have the inclination, to have named you Agent for the Prizes taken by the Victory, but they all know my wishes, and if they will not, I cannot help it.  It has fretted me not a little.  My Secretary, Mr Scott, who is a good man, perfectly understands that if we take any part of the French Fleet, and I am offered to name the Agent, which I do not expect, that I shall name you, and that although his name will not appear in the Agency, that I had settled with you that a part of the Agency, such as I thought just, should go to him for his trouble in this Country, and if he was satisfied to do all the business in this Country, that the Agency being five per cent. on the nett proceeds, two per cent should go to him for his trouble, and three per cent to you for making the distribution, and that sum you would pay him, with which he seemed perfectly satisfied, and so I hope will you; but I assure you I do not expect any offer of the kind will be made me.  They are all nearly strangers to me and have their own friends and connexions.

Dear Lady Hamilton tells me of all your kindness to her, and I am truly sensible of it.  I shall not enlarge on that topic, you know what I must feel.  I wish I could be useful to Mr Lucas, who Mr Sparrow has recommended, but the Sceptre is gone to the East Indies: so finishes that matter.

You will remember me kindly to Nepean.  I hope your news from that quarter is correct.  My crazy Fleet are getting in a very indifferent state, and others will soon follow.  The finest Ships in the Service will soon be destroyed.  I know well enough that if I was to go into Malta I should save the Ships during this bad season, but if I am to watch the French I must be at sea, and if at sea must have bad weather, and if the ships are not fit to stand bad weather they are useless.  I do not say much, but I do not believe that Lord St Vincent would have kept the sea with such Ships.  But my time of service is nearly over.  A natural anxiety, of course, must attend my station; but, my dear friend, my eyesight fails me most dreadfully.  I firmly believe that in a very few years I shall be stone-blind.  It is this only, of all my maladies, that makes me unhappy; but God's will be done.

If I am successful against the French, I shall ask my retreat; and if I am not, I hope I shall never live to see it, for no personal exertion on my part shall be spared.  I can only again and again thank you for all your kindness, and to beg you to believe me for ever, with the sincerest friendship, your most faithfully,

Nelson & Bronte

Be so good as to order my account to be made up, that I may know what I am in your debt. 

 

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To Earl St. Vincent

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Gulf of Palma, December 12th 1803

My dear Lord,

I have received your kind letters by the Excellent, who joined me on the 24th of November, Captain Sotheron, having very properly, when off Minorca, left the Convoy to join me.  I shall only say that all your wishes respecting Officers shall be complied with, and occasionally I hope to be allowed to put in some of my followers; for as to deaths in this country, they cannot be expected; and dismissals by Court Martials I hope never to experience.  The station I chose to the Westward of Sicie was to answer two important purposes: one to prevent the junction of a Spanish Fleet from the Westward; and the other to be to windward so as to enable me, if the Northerly gale came on to the NNW or NNE, to take shelter in a few hours either under the Hieres Islands or Cape St Sebastian, and I have hitherto found the advantage of the position.  Now Spain having settled her Neutrality, I am taking my winter's station under St Sebastian to avoid the heavy seas in the Gulf, and keep Frigates off Toulon.  From September we have experienced such a series of bad weather that is rarely met with, and I am sorry to say that all the Ships which have been from England in the late War severely feel it.  I had ordered the Transports with provisions to meet me at St Pierre's, but as yet they have not made their appearance; and although this day we average three months' provisions, yet I wish to keep them complete to near five months.  You will see by the Admiral's letter that the Kent has suffered so severely that she is going to Malta, and I much doubt our getting her to sea again under six weeks or two months, and the passage from Malta is hardly to be made with any Ship.  The Amazon, who I have not seen but heard of, was three weeks from Malta as far as Minorca.  In short, my dear Lord, if I was to allow this Fleet to get into such a Port as Malta, they had better be at Spithead.  I know no way of watching the Enemy but to be at sea, and therefore good Ships are necessary.  The Superb is in a very weak state, but her Captain is so superior to any difficulties that I hear but little from her.  Triumph and Renown complain a good deal.  The next Convoy will probably be the Braakel and Agincourt.  The Donegal I am ordering to join me, and the French L'Aigle must take her chance till I can get something more about me.  However, you may rely that all which can be done by Ships and men shall be done; whilst it please God to give me strength of health, all will do well, and when that fails I shall give the cudgels to some stouter man; but I hope to last till the Battle is over, and if I do that it is all I can hope for, or in reason expect.  Sir Richard Bickerton is a very steady, good Officer, and fully to be relied upon; George Campbell you know; and I am ever, my dear Lord, with the greatest regard, most faithfully yours,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the Reverend Dr. Nelson

(Horatio's brother, William)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, December 14th 1803

My dear Brother,

Your letter of September 23rd I received November 24th from Captain Strachey, who wants to be made a Post-Captain.  I thank you much for your letter, and always sure of your unalterable regard and affection.  Most certainly, if you send out Charles Brown, I will, (if he has served his Time during my stay here) if opportunity offers, promote him; but next Christmas, please God, I shall be at Merton; for, by that time, with all the anxiety attendant on such a Command as this, I shall be done up.  The mind and body both wear out, and my eye is every month visibly getting worse, and I much fear it will end in total blindness.  The moment the Battle is over, if I am victorious, I shall ask for my retreat - if unfortunately the contrary, I hope never to live to see it.  In that case, you will get an early Seat in the House of Lords.  If Mr Addington does not give me the same Pension as Government gave to the rich Lord St. Vincent and Duncan, I shall consider no great favour done me, and the Country never could avoid giving the Pension to you; therefore, unless the other is tacked to it, I would not give thanks or sixpence to have it brought before Parliament to benefit Lord St. Vincent's heirs, and certainly, from circumstances, not mine.  The putting the stone over poor Maurice was well done, and I approve very much.  I do not know that you owe me anything respecting Hilborough; but if you do, I fully acquit you of the debt, and so let it be considered.

The Ministers ought to have done more for you; but if you are made more comfortable, that is well.  I have wrote to Horace at Eton, as I suppose his holidays will be over before this letter gets to Canterbury.  I desire my kindest regards to Mrs Nelson; and believe me ever your most affectionate brother,

Nelson & Bronte

 

Maurice was Horatio's eldest brother, who died suddenly in 1801.

Horace was William's son (so Horatio's nephew).

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, 19th December 1803

Sir,

Having ordered a Transport and Victualler from Malta to rendezvous at St. Pierres, near the Island of Sardinia, you will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I bore up for that place with the Squadron, the 6th instant; but finding it impracticable, from the excessive bad weather, to gain that anchorage, I proceeded to the Gulf of Palma, and arrived there the 11th.  It is a most excellent and commodious Bay, with good and safe anchorage for any number of ships; and having communicated with St. Pierres, and finding the Transport and Victualler had not arrived, I remained in the Gulf of Palma till the 19th instant, when I got under weigh, and was joined by the Narcissus from Malta, with the Transport and Victualler before mentioned, which will nearly complete our provisions, and in some measure supply our wants of stores.  The Squadron was only able to procure bullocks for ready money, which was done as far as private individuals could contribute, but not sufficiently, although there was great abundance of cattle, and to be had upon reasonable terms.  Finding from the Cameleon, which has just joined me, that the Enemy's Ships at Toulon are still in Port, I shall proceed to the Madalena Islands for a few days, to clear the Transports and complete our water, and immediately after return off Toulon.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Evan Nepean

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, 21st December 1803

Sir,

The French National Schooner Le Renard, captured by the Squadron under my command on the 16th ultimo, as mentioned in my letter to you of that date, having been found upon survey by the Officers at Malta Yard fit for his Majesty's Service, and Vessels of that description being very much wanted, you will please to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I have ordered her to be taken into His Majesty's Service by the same name, and have directed the respective Officers at Malta to fit her for sea with all dispatch with a complement of sixty men including two boys to be borne on the third class.  I have appointed Lieutenant Richard Spencer, late of the Cameleon (who has been for some time in the Triumph) to command the Renard, and have placed her immediately under the directions of Sir Alexander Ball for the protection of the commerce at Malta and the various other services of that Island; consequently, have desired Lieutenant Spencer to apply to Sir Alexander for his assistance in procuring Maltese to man the said Schooner, which I hope will meet their Lordships' approbation.  I am, Sir, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To the Admirals, Captains and Commanders of the Mediterranean Fleet

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, 21st December 1803

Having placed His Majesty's Schooner the Renard under the immediate directions of Sir Alexander John Ball, Bart., to be employed for the protection of the commerce of the Island of Malta, or on such other service as the Governor may think proper, You are therefore hereby required and directed on no account to interfere with the said Schooner, or to give her Commander any order whatever, unless upon consulting with Sir Alexander Ball you find her service for the time being can be dispensed with, and the urgency of the case shall require it.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Rear-Admiral Thomas Troubridge

(Lord of the Admiralty)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Off Corsica, 21st December 1803

Were I, my dear Troubridge, to begin describing all the complaints and wants of this Fleet, it would be exactly the same, I dare say, as you receive from all other Stations; but as it can be attended with no good effect, I shall save myself the trouble of writing, and you of reading them.  The Storekeeper has sent two Ships to the Adriatic to land [?] hemp, and therefore I hope that we shall in time get rope to supply our wants.  Every bit of twice-laid stuff belonging to the Canopus is condemned, and all the running-rigging in the Fleet, except the Victory's.  We have fitted the Excellent with new main and mizzen rigging; it was shameful for the Dock-yard to send a Ship to sea with such rigging.  The Kent is gone to Malta, fit only for a summer's passage.  They are still under such alarm at Naples, that I cannot withdraw the Gibraltar.  I have submitted to Sir Richard Strachan, whether the state of the French Ships at Cadiz would allow of his coming to me for six weeks?  for although I have no fears of the event of a Battle with six to their eight, yet if I can have eight to their eight, I shall not despise the equality.

We are not stoutly, or in any manner, well-manned in the Victory, but she is in very excellent order, thanks to Hardy; and I think, woe be to the Frenchman she gets alongside of.  I have just been to the Southern end of Sardinia, having ordered the Transports with provisions to meet me at St. Pierres; but it blew such a tremendous storm that we could not get in.  It, however, turned out fortunate, for after the gale we got into the Gulf of Palma, which is without exception the finest open Roadstead I ever saw.  I shall send you the plan of it, and soundings taken by the Master of the Victory, an eleve of Hallowell's; I have him here to make him a Lieutenant.  Lemon-juice we are getting, and much better than we procure from England; but the difficulty is coming at the price; and at this distance it is not all our letters that can rectify incorrectness.  I have directed Sir Richard Bickerton, who is gone in the Kent, to make inquiries into this department: there is no such thing as stopping the baking of bread, although I have accounts of abundance coming from England; but they like to buy, and so they may; I will, however, give no order.  You will see the reports respecting a Naval Hospital at Malta.  It is curious that in a place taken by the close blockade of the Navy, and when the only reason for keeping it was to have a Naval Station, that no spot has been allotted for a Naval Hospital; and we are upon sufferance from day-to-day.  Bughay [?] is certainly the only proper place, as it stands insulated with grounds and has every means of comfort; but to complete it for 150 men would cost, besides the purchase of house and grounds, 1000l., and 2000l., more to put it in order.  Ball says 5000l., would do the whole; but I say for 5, read 10,000l.  I have six Frigates and Sloops watching the French Army in the Adriatic and at the Mouth of the Archipelago.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Donnelly of HMS Narcissus

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, December 21st 1803

Sir,

Being obliged to go into the Madalena Islands for water, and being very anxious to know if the Enemy's Fleet are still in Toulon, I have to desire that you will immediately proceed off that Port, and either by looking in or speaking any of the Frigates stationed off there, ascertain whether the Enemy are in or out of Port.  It is probable, supposing the wind Westerly, that I shall not be able to leave Madalena until Monday the 26th, and you will therefore regulate your movements according to circumstances; and you will direct every Vessel of War which you may fall in with to join me without loss of time: from Madalena I shall proceed directly under Cape St. Sebastians.  The Amazon, Seahorse, Termagant and Niger are the Vessels you are most likely to fall in with.  I am, Sir, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Alexander Ball

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

I have to thank you very much for a number of baskets of very fine Malta oranges; and in the proper season, if you have people that pack them in paper, I wish they should pack some for me, and send the account; for I insist, as the only terms on which I shall take them, that at least you, my good friend, are put to no expense.  By the Cameleon, who has just joined, I find that a Cutter from England is hunting for me with dispatches; and the Niger is also off Toulon with a mail for Malta.  You shall have them as soon as possible, and every other assistance in the power of, my dear Sir Alexander, your most faithful and affectionate friend,

Nelson & Bronte

You will see how Mr Stone calls out.  I have now before me Captain Raynsford's letter, assuring me that there is not a Privateer on that Coast, from whence he is just returned, dated December 6th.

December 28th, Madalena.  We put in here to water and clear the Transports, and are this day moving out.  I send you a complete list of the French Fleet, found among the papers of the Renard.

 

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To Captain Schomberg of HMS Madras at Malta

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, 22nd December 1803

Sir,

By the Narcissus I received your letter of the 30th ultimo acquainting me with the steps you had taken to forward the provisions and stores for the Squadron, and that the residue on demand should be sent by the first opportunity; that you had ordered scuttles to be cut in the Raven, so as to enable her to use her sweeps with effect; that the Spider was completely refitted; that, in order to enable the Yard Officers to caulk the Juno, it became necessary to remove a great part of the stores on board the William Store Ship to get at the pitch, and that, in consequence, it was advisable to unload her: in answer to which I beg to observe that the whole of your conduct in the above particulars of service, meets my entire approbation.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Nathaniel Taylor

(Naval Storekeeper at Malta)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, at Sea, 22nd December 1803

Sir,

By the Narcissus I received your letter of the 5th instant, acknowledging my several letters &c., and requesting, for the reasons therein mentioned, that your instructions may be returned; that you had forwarded by the Eliza and Ellice an additional supply of slops, hemp, &c.; that the Yard punts were repaired, the Cracker hauled up for that purpose, and two new ones agreed for; that the Thomas and Mary Transport proceeded to Trieste under protection of the Jalouse, for hemp, which you had desired might be taken from the person in charge of Government hemp and other stores; and that you had drawn on the Navy Board for 10,200 sterling for the payment thereof and sent the bills to be negotiated on the best terms for Government.  In answer to which, I herewith return your instructions and am glad that the slops, hemp and other stores are arrived, the Squadron being very much in want of them.  I approve of the Cracker's being hauled up for repairs, and two others agreed for, as you mention; also of the measures you have taken to procure hemp for the Fleet, and other Naval stores, should they be wanted.  I hope supplies of the stores you may soon be in want of will arrive from England in the Hindostan, time enough to answer your necessities, as purchase must, on all occasions, be avoided as much as possible.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Thomas Capel of HMS Phoebe

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, 26th December 1803

You are hereby required and directed to proceed immediately with His Majesty's Ship Phoebe under your command, to my Rendezvous No 97, under Cape St Sebastians, and cruize there till you shall fall in with any of the Squadron; upon your doing so, you are to communicate to them where I am at this moment, and that the first change of wind after Wednesday next, the 28th instant, I shall proceed immediately to the said Rendezvous, under Cape St Sebastians.  Should you on your way to that place fall in with either the Seahorse, Niger, or Termagant, on their passage to this place, you are not to order their return to the Rendezvous, but direct their Commanders to proceed to this anchorage with the utmost dispatch.  Having performed this service you are to land the Spanish recruits on board the Phoebe, either at Barcelona, or any other place more convenient, and write a letter to the Captain General, impressing upon his mind your great attention to His Catholic Majesty's Subjects in not sending them to Malta, being taken in an Enemy's Vessel; and also state very particularly the conduct of the party which fired upon the English Boats.  You are immediately (after having landed the Spanish recruits as above) to proceed to Gibraltar and deliver my dispatches for the Admiralty to Commissioner Otway, and those also bearing his address, and use every possible exertion in refitting HMS Phoebe, and in completing her stores, provisions, &c. to the usual time; having so done, you are to return and join me on my Rendezvous No. 97, under Cape St. Sebastians, with all dispatch; and as it is probable the Hindostan Storeship may have arrived from England, and being very much distressed for stores, you are to take her under your protection and bring her with you to the Squadron on the Rendezvous above-mentioned.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To James Cutforth

(the Agent Victualler at Gibraltar)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, 26th December 1803

Sir,

As provisions will soon be wanted for the Fleet under my command off Toulon, I am to desire you will load a proper Transport with a proportion of bread for 5600 men for two months, about six weeks' beef and pork, with every species of provisions in proportion to the bread, except wine, of which a small quantity only will be wanting, as supplies of that article can be had from Rosas upon more reasonable terms for Government than from your stores.  The Victualler to be loaded immediately and to be held in readiness to join me by the Phoebe, or the first Man-of-War coming to the Fleet.  I am, &c.

Nelson & Bronte

N.B. - The provisions to be all put in one Transport or Victualler, that the Convoy bringing her may take her in tow; the wine, therefore, to be excepted if it cannot be stowed.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Madalena, December 27th 1803

My dear Sir,

The Kent being done up, and gone to Malta, has reduced me from seven Sail of the Line to ten, therefore I have left it to the King's pleasure to send me the Gibraltar or not; and so entirely do I wish it to be left to the King, that I request your Excellency will not urge it, as you might naturally be supposed to do when the superiority is looked at; but the safety of the Royal Family shall not be risked one moment by me. 

We have had a most terrible winter: it has almost knocked me up.  I have been very ill, and am now far from recovered; but I hope to hold out till the Battle is over, when I must recruit myself for some future exertion.  I hear there is a Cutter from England looking for me with dispatches: she left Portsmouth the end of November.  I have not a scrap of news to tell you, for we have none.  I am ever, my dear Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and obliged,

Nelson & Bronte

Doctor Scott is very well: perhaps he will go to Naples.

 

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To Captain Ryves of HMS Gibraltar

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, December 28th 1803

My dear Sir,

The Cameleon merely goes to Naples to inquire how all goes on in that Kingdom.  I came here to clear out Transports from Malta and to complete our water, and am now unmooring.  Your old Ship goes home the next Convoy, and hope in March I shall be able to send the Gibraltar, which I fancy will not be displeasing to you.  We have had a dreadful winter.  The Kent is almost done for, and she is going to Malta merely for a passage in the summer.  Stately is obliged to have her lower-deck guns taken out, she is so very weak.  I now hope that we shall get a little better weather, but we are all in good health, and I hope the air, &c. at Naples has produced no maladies in the Gibraltar.  I am, my dear Sir, with every good wish, your most obedient and obliged Servant,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Hugh Elliot

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Madalena, December 29th 1803

My dear Sir,

Your kind letters of December 10th, and also your private letters of the 10th and 11th, arrived at nine o'clock last night.  Your news, every part of it, is so interesting that I read it over and over; and I am sorry that I cannot send you news in return of the sailing of the French Fleet - our meeting, fighting and beating them; but as yet they have not come out: therefore, I can only thank you for your letters.  A Cutter sailed from Portsmouth November 27th, came on my Rendezvous this day fortnight; but not finding me has, instead of remaining, run after me, and I know not where she is gone.  She sailed without notice, and has only dispatches.  The dispatches, the Commander states (but he can know nothing) are of great importance.  He has fell in with many of our Frigates, who are now with me.

With respect to Sardinia, I have not the smallest doubt but if we do not, that the French will possess it before two months, and the invasion of Sicily is not difficult from Sardinia.  The Viceroy of Sardinia has no means to prevent a descent: he could not send a hundred men here.  I have stated my opinion fully to Lord Hobart.  If we possessed this Island, it would save Sicily - perhaps Italy, certainly Turkey and Egypt.  But we shall never point out to the King of Sardinia that he will lose it, until the French have it.  I can be of little use in having a Vessel cruising in these Straits.  It is only ten miles from Bonifaccio; and either a calm or a gale of wind renders all our efforts useless.

The good King of Naples has, under the advice of Sir John Acton, always supported his honour and dignity; and if other Powers, more powerful, had done the same, they would not now have become degraded by great sacrifices.  The Queen is a great woman and, I think, would hardly commit herself in communicating secrets to a Frenchman.  We have had the French papers to December 5th, and the King's speech I sent to Malta.  Windham spoke violently on the Address, but there was no opposition to it.  The moment I get the Cutter, if there are any dispatches for your Excellency they shall be instantly forwarded; and I am, my dear Sir, most faithfully yours,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Captain Donnelly of HMS Narcissus

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Victory, Madalena Islands, 29th December 1803

You are hereby required and directed to proceed with all possible expedition in His Majesty's Ship under your command, off the harbour of Toulon, in order to ascertain whether the Enemy's Ships are still in Port, and immediately after join me on my rendezvous No 97, under Capt St. Sebastians, with an account thereof; unless, from the state of the weather, you should judge that the Squadron has not been able to obtain that situation, in which case you will stand over to Asinara and endeavour to effect a communication with me.  Should you fall in with any of His Majesty's Ships, you will acquaint their Commanders with my present anchorage and that I shall leave this the moment a change of wind takes place, and proceed to Rendezvous No. 97, before mentioned, a copy of which you will give to any of the Captains who may not have received it.

Nelson & Bronte

 

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To Mr. Jackson

(Minister at Turin)

Relates to THIS journal entry

 

Madalena Islands, 29th December 1803

I anchored here to clear my Transports which provisions, and was going to sea this morning, but I am prevented from a heavy gale of Westerly wind.  By letters from Mr. Elliot of December 11th, received last night, I find apprehensions are renewed of the invasion of Sardinia from Corsica.  The King may be assured that as far as I am able I should be happy in preventing it; but a Vessel cruising in the Straits of Bonifaccio would not have the desired effect; for either a calm, a gale of wind, or even a night, would preclude any use from such a Cruiser.  I only hope that the King will not be alarmed.  The Sardinians, generally speaking, are attached to us; yet there are French intriguers amongst them, and I understand they hope to bring about a revolt before this invasion.  In whatever I can be useful to their Majesties, they may command me; but the destroying of the French Fleet is the greatest service I can render to them, to Europe, and our own Country.  The Chart of Sardinia which you sent me is a most excellent one.  I am, &c.,

Nelson & Bronte

 

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