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SIR WILLIAM HOSTE.
TO THE REV. DIXON HOSTE.
Amphion, Fiume, Oct. 12th, 1809. MY DEAR FATHER,
My letter of the 29th ult. to my mother, will have informed you that poor Amphion had been very sickly. Thank God, we are all recovered, and ready for any service.
At last it is, I am truly sorry to say, determined that peace, inglorious peace, is to conclude the last struggle of Austria and France. By accounts from Breda that may be depended upon, it appears that General Prince Litchtenstein, Mayer, and another, left the Austrian head-quarters for Vienna, to sign, it is said, the preliminaries of peace. What those will be, is still a mystery; conjecture is busy of course ; but I much fear (indeed how can it be otherwise ?) that the whole of the Litterall will be added to France; in that case, adieu to the Continent. It is the only course we have left us, and in losing that, we lose all chance of disposing of our colonial produce and manufactures. Indeed I despair of being on shore again, on terra firma. Turkey is the only spot on the main we have any hold in, and that is precarious.
I have this day seen French papers to the 27th of September, English news to the 14th. In them a change of ministry is mentioned as likely to take place, and that Sir J. Duckworth succeeds Lord Collingwood in the command of the Mediterranean. The latter I hope is not correct. I should be sorry to lose so good and so able a chief; nor do I know any one who is better calculated for the general good of the service and this important station, than Lord Collingwood. I suppose I shall be ordered on some other service, as Sir J. Duckworth will, most probably, place some of his own friends on the Adriatic service, a preference I have not a right to expect.
If peace be actually signed between Austria and France, the ships of the line will, of course, quit the Adriatic; in that case there will be good pickings : at present there is nothing to be done. What a business the Austrians made of it! How fatal for Spain and the general interests of Europe !
Poor Old England seems the only one who bears up against the storm. Mr. Canning, it appears to me, is playing a desperate game. We hear of the English army in all quarters, but no
The French laugh at our imaginary victory at Talavera.
TO THE SAME.
Amphion, Fiume, Oct. 16th, 1809. MY DEAR FATHER,
Your letters of the 20th of August have this moment reached me. The vessel sails instantly, therefore I have only to say that I am once more left to command here, with
hands full and a pack of troubles. Peace is made, and all the Litterall given to France. Of course it
with the Austrians; they deserve all they get, a pusillanimous set of fellows. I hope the Corsican will work them pretty tight for their cowardly tricks.
What can have become of my letters, I am sure I am quite at a loss to determine. That I have written by every conveyance, I hope I need not say. That I should be wanting in affection or attention to you, my dear father, is of all earthly things the most improbable, and surely you will do me the justice to believe me incapable of being so base.
You must have heard from my agent ere this. I have written to him a few months ago, and now repeat it, I have only to assure you that what little I do make, does not go to myself alone, I have calls on my pocket from many, many quarters, and such as I cannot refuse. To assist you
is a primary object, and I do not want for inclination, though, perhaps, I have not always
TO THE SAME.
Amphion, Lucine, Nov. 15th, 1809. MY DEAR FATHER,
Your welcome packet reached me yesterday, dated September 1st. I was sorry to hear the gout prevented the shooting that day ; I hope all is well again. Dear little Edward left me for Spartan a few weeks ago ; he will have such advantages in being with Brenton, in learning French, Italian, drawing, &c. &c. that I should not have been doing him justice to have kept him after Brenton's handsome offer. It was a sad parting, and I miss him more than I thought it possible, and regret now that we were parted; but all is for the best, and you will, I am sure, approve of what I have done. The officer he is with now, is reckoned one of the best in our service, and he will gain professional skill, besides an education for a diplomatique if you wish him.
I am once more lord and master of the Adriatic. The French are strong in this quarter, and I shall—must have a brush with them this winter, so be prepared for a dash at a frigate. It is