August 12th, 1798.
MY DEAR SIR,
As the greater part of this squadron is going down the Mediterranean, we shall not want the quantity of wine or bread ordered; therefore, what is not already prepared had better be put a stop to. I will settle all the matter, if ever I live to see Naples.
I have the satisfaction to tell you, the French army have got a complaint amongst them—caused by the heat, and nothing but water—which will make Egypt the grave of the greatest part.
Ever your’s, faithfully,
Vanguard, off Malta;
October 24th, 1798.
MY DEAR SIR,
I am just arrived off this place; where I found Captain Ball, and the Marquis de Niza. From those officers, I do not find such an immediate prospect of getting possession of the town as the ministers at Naples seem to think. All the country, it is true, is in possession of the islanders; and, I believe, the French have not many luxuries in the town; but, as yet, their bullocks are not eat up.
The Marquis tells me, the islanders want arms, victuals, mortars, and cannon, to annoy the town. When I get the elect of the people on board, I shall desire them to draw up a memorial for the King of Naples, stating their wants and desires, which I shall bring with me.
The Marquis sails for Naples to-morrow morning. Till he is gone, I shall not do any thing about the island; but I will be fully master of that subject before I leave this place.
God bless you! is the sincere prayer of
Vanguard, off Malta,
October 27th, 1798.
MY DEAR SIR WILLIAM,
Although I believe I shall be at Naples before the cutter, yet I should be sorry to omit acknowledging your kind letter of the twenty-sixth.
When I come to Naples, I can have nothing pleasant to say of the conduct of his Sicilian Majesty’s ministers towards the inhabitants of Malta, who wish to be under the dominion of their legitimate Sovereign. The total neglect and indifference with which they have been treated, appears to me cruel in the extreme.
Had not the English supplied fifteen hundred stand of arms, with bayonets, cartouch-boxes, and ammunition, &c. &c. and the Marquis supplied some few, and kept the spirit of those brave islanders from falling off, they must long ago have bowed again to the French yoke.
Could you, my dear Sir William, have believed, after what General Acton and the Marquis de Gallo had said, in our various conversations relative to this island, that nothing had been sent by the Governor of Syracuse—secretly (was the word to us) or openly—to this island? And, I am farther assured, that the Governor of Syracuse never had any orders sent him to supply the smallest article.