I had almost forgot to mention, that orders should be immediately given, that no quarantine should be laid on boats going to the coast of Sicily for corn. At present, as a matter of favour, they have fourteen days only. Yesterday, there was only four days bread in the island. Luckily, we got hold of a vessel loaded with wheat, and sent her into St. Paul’s.
Once more, God bless you! and ever believe me, your obliged and affectionate
This day, I have landed twenty barrels of gunpowder (two thousand eight hundred pounds) at Malta.
Palermo, January 10th, 1800.
Your Excellency having had the goodness to communicate to me a dispatch from General Acton; together with several letters from Girganti, giving an account that a violence had been committed, in that port, by the seizing, and carrying off to Malta, two vessels loaded with corn—I beg leave to express to your Excellency my real concern, that even the appearance of the slightest disrespect should be offered, by any officers under my command, to the flag of his Sicilian Majesty: and I must request your Excellency to state fully to General Acton, that the act ought not to be considered as any intended disrespect to his Sicilian Majesty; but as an act of the most absolute and imperious necessity, either that the island of Malta should have been delivered up to the French, or that the King’s orders should be anticipated for these vessels carrying their cargoes of corn to Malta.
I trust, that the government of this country will never again force any of our Royal Master’s servants to so unpleasant an alternative.
I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency’s most obedient and faithful servant,
March 8th, 1800.
MY DEAR SIR WILLIAM,
I thank you kindly for all your letters and good wishes. It is my determination, my health requiring it, to come to Palermo, and to stay two weeks with you.
I must again urge, that four gunb-oats may be ordered for the service of Malta; they will most essentially assist in the reduction of the place, by preventing small vessels from getting in or out.
I think, from the enemy, on the night of the fourth, trying and getting out for a short distance, a very fast-sailing polacca, that Vaubois is extremely anxious to send dispatches to France, to say he cannot much longer hold out: and, if our troops, as Captain Blackwood thinks, are coming from Gibraltar and Minorca, I have no idea the enemy will hold out a week.
I beg General Acton will order the gun-boats.
Troubridge has got the jaundice, and is very ill.
As I shall so very soon see you, I shall only say, that I am ever, your obliged and affectionate